Friday, 6 October 2017

The Medics And Me

    It sometimes feels as though I never have the chance to sit down and write a personal blog piece, so much of my time being spent chasing tech stories and writing about them. And increasingly these days standing up in front of audiences of hardware hackers, and talking about stuff.
    I've just returned from a walk up the village on a warm Autumn day, past brambles bearing ripe blackberries, past leaves just showing a tinge of russet brown. I've caught the afternoon collection from the post box, and my single envelope should be on its recipient's desk on Monday morning.

    You see, I've just pressed the nuclear button. 

    What I sent off was a formal letter of complaint to the chief executive of the NHS trust whose endocrine clinic has provided my HRT over the past three years, detailing my 2.5 years on HRT, most of which were on a placebo-level estrogen dose, and almost a year of which was on effectively zero testosterone and estrogen levels. I'm within six months of surgery and am still only about two-thirds the level I should be, and I've sacked the clinic in question and found another provider who is competent. 
    The final straw came at the start of last month. I'd had a blood test which gave me 75 pMol/litre estrogen (it should be around 500), and the doctor tried to tell me that was an acceptable level.

    I acidly suggested that if it was so awesome, she should try it for herself.

    That and their losing a blood test meaning I had to have another completely unnecessary one was the final straw. I have been as understanding as I could have been, but after six months of having to badger them all the way for inadequate progress, I'm done. Their house needs to be put in order, and I hope the formal complaint will go some way towards that happening.

    The sad thing about all of this, and being discharged from my GIC a few years ago, is that I have completely lost trust in gender medics. I now go in expecting to have to fight, expecting to be messed around, and questioning everything. I've started with a counsellor at my new GIC, she's a psychiatrist in her own right, and I'm going to have to tell her I can't trust her entirely because my past experience has been universally of people like her taking things away. When I wake up eventually from my surgery, my first thought will be "Finally, they can't take this away from me!", which it shouldn't be. 

    Thanks medics, this is what seven years in the system has done for me. One thing's for certain, when the dust has settled I'm going to write about it. 


  1. Jenny, I went into the system expecting the two generations behind attitude that you have experienced and did loose over a year as one consultant kept changing between yes and no on a decision. Like a simple electrical circuit their procedures should have been soldered in place decades ago and a chimp could see us on our way through. Too many medics in the system for the money rather than our welfare!

    1. I think this is a combination of an administrative cockup and no single doctor having their name on my case. Both of which I have addressed in detail in my complaint.

      I'd quite like in time to make the complaint public. But maybe not yet.

  2. Good for you. Sometimes the NHS does need a quick up the backside in order to get their house in order. Just because we don't have any option unless we go private, doesn't mean that NHS staff shouldn't do their jobs properly.

    I lodged a complaint with our local hospital about one of their doctors the other week as a result of an A&E visit where we received the worst treatment we have ever had.

  3. In my case I did try to take a better option, this is my local clinic who used to have a good reputation, I chose them over the GIC. With hindsight that decision hugely derailed my transition.

    Hope your complaint gets some traction. I'll have to wait and see on this one.

  4. This is so unfair, though sadly far from untypical. When I lived in Cornwall they wouldn't accept the GIC's request for Oestragel because "it was meant for menopausal women, not you!" Now I live in Gloucestershire and my local GP couldn't be more supportive, even advising me to up my Oestragel dose because "270pMol/l isn't really enough for you." Talk about a postcode lottery!

    I sincerely hope that your complaint bares fruit. You really do deserve it.

  5. I'm really sorry to hear your story, not least because my own experience has been almost universally positive. Certainly the admin at my GIC was appalling, but they are addressing that, and all the medics I have seen there have been excellent (even if the wait to see them isn't).

    I did have a little trouble with one GP locum but now have a regular GP with experience of trans matters ~ maybe I am just blessed!

  6. Sorry to hear about your treatment, good luck with your complaint

    1. Thanks :) Apologies. I find this comment was lodged in "awaiting moderation", and I'd missed it.

  7. Thanks all for your comments, sorry I haven't replied. Next post on here explains why.