Waking up having fallen asleep in the daytime is a particularly stale feeling. When my wife and I arrived home a few hours ago we sat down on the sofa and were both so tired we were well away, fast asleep before we realised it. We had just returned from my second appointment at our local hospital with the psychologist who is the first port of call for transgendered people in this part of the world.
I first saw him back in May. Back then he listened sympathetically, but had to admit there wasn't much he could do for someone in my non-transitioning position. He was happy to give me a diagnosis to cover my arse with respect to my work, but beyond that his message amounted to not much more than "Come back when you've started to get worse", about which I probably wasn't as charitable in my post-appointment reaction as I should have been. When the letter confirming the diagnosis arrived as requested though, he asked me to book a repeat appointment and for me to bring my wife with me, he wanted to see her side of the picture. I think he's more used to people whose path is very much to go forward rather than to stay where they are.
So this afternoon we found ourselves in an impressively dismal waiting room. Continuing my survey of NHS magazine choices: a great pile of the Sunday Times magazine, another pile of the Waitrose (UK supermarket chain) in-house food magazine, an out-of-date copy of the Daily Mail (rabid headline decrying the justice system for not spotting criminals before birth) and the hospital trust's own in-house PR magazine. Inspiring stuff.
It's not easy to sit next to the person you really care about and listen to her detailing the strain your own condition is putting on her. I have had people congratulate me on my good fortune to have an accepting spouse when so many leave, however the truth is not quite what the word "accepting" might lead you to believe. "Accepting" might suggest that she's fine with all this when the truth is closer to "tolerant" and she's certainly had a toll taken on her by everything. So this afternoon's appointment was a no-holds-barred exposé of a transgendered marriage, and it was pretty strong stuff from where I was sitting. Which is good, being able to talk about this, and especially being able to do so in front of a professional, is one of the things that is enabling us to stay together.
My question at the end, "What can be done for people in our position?" was one to which I didn't expect much of an answer. But having now seen our situation from both viewpoints he at least could appreciate that while the standard NHS "GIC for RLE, hormones and eventual GRS" path had nothing to offer us we could really use something more than the "Come back when you've gone potty" I came away with last time. So he's going to consult with the colleague who is his liason at the GIC to see if there is anything further that can be done for someone in my position. Which can't mean much more than further talking therapies, counselling and the like, but is better than nothing and at least offers some hope.
After the drama of the last couple of weeks, a work flood crisis for my wife, all my new job worries and the emotional load for both of us in dealing with the issues confronted in my T-Central piece, I guess it's not surprising we were both so tired. We made our way to our neighbourhood café for a restorative meal and a bout of people-watching among the Friday evening revellers. A good way to end what turned out to be a far more positive day than we expected.