Time for a rant!

So the last few weeks have been challenging both physically and mentally and for some reason yesterday was a very bad day. If it hadn’t been for three lovely ladies it could well have been even worse.  I had a hug and lots of positive energy from my favourite checkout lady in Coles, spent a very enjoyable three hours being pampered by the wonderful Linny and of course had the evening with the love of my life Denise all of which tipped the balance and I went to bed in a fairly positive mood.

This morning I got up, had a quick breakfast and headed to Nannup to put another coat of paint on the ceilings. The forecast for the day was not good so I thought I would be better occupied over there than at home where I could easily have got into a depressed state. I hate rain! Over the last twelve years I have traveled the road to Nannup countless times and know every bend and bump and I know where it’s safe to overtake and where it’s not. Now I appreciate that I was lucky enough to be taught to drive by an ex police tactical pursuit driver back in the late eighties and I haven’t forgotten anything he thought me but this morning I encountered a classic example of someone who had no concept of who else was on the road. It was something that Peter instilled into me, always know what the car in front and the car behind is, how fast they are traveling and expect the driver to have no idea you are there. I was not in any kind of hurry this morning, it was raining and I was nursing the car a little bit as there was less than quarter of a tank on board and as much as I knew I would get there and back with ease you just never know what you might encounter. I could see I was gaining on this particular Toyota Hilux and I could also see in the distance that we were both gaining on a truck which appeared to be traveling quite slowly. I thought to myself we are both going to come up behind the truck at exactly the same moment which we did. From further back I could see the road ahead was clear, checked my mirror, indicated and pulled out to go past them both. I might ad that I had headlights on so was very visible. Just as I started to pass the Hilux the driver just started to pull out, no signal, no mirror check, I sounded my horn to let him know I was there, he must have had the fright of his life to see his mirror full of Volkswagen Amarok coming up beside him, he braked and pulled back in behind the truck which was turning left so had slowed even more then made some sort of gesture at me as I went past. Seriously what is wrong with some drivers? If I had been on a motorbike he would probably have knocked me off. So here is the real rant! All we hear is that “speed kills” and we should all slow down, when are the authorities going to get it that it isn’t speed which kills people it’s badly educated drivers, drivers who don’t pay attention and drivers who are distracted. When you think about it there aren’t many skills or qualifications which don’t require regular training and refreshing, how is driving a car any different? Cars have changed enormously over the last twenty years, they are quicker, and thankfully safer but all you need is a  driver not paying attention and it doesn’t matter how safe the car is there will still be crashes. While I am on the subject, some of the safety features on new cars are truly amazing but do we really need a buzzer to go off if we don’t steer a path between the white lines? Isn’t that and lots of the other features adorned by most new cars taking away the responsibility of driving and encouraging people to rely on them instead of being alert and in control? Just saying?

A different approach?

Those who know me well know of my relationship with my osteopath Annette, without her I would not be the person I am today. It wasn’t something she did in terms of her osteopathic talent which by the way is immense,  it was just an act of kindness which put me in touch with a GP who quite simply made the difference, sent me to all the right people and wouldn’t give in until she had got to the bottom of my oestrogen issue and the rest as they say is history.

Quite out of the blue during an appointment with Annette she mentioned that there is now a holistic GP practicing in Busselton and if I ever got to the stage where I perhaps needed a different approach then it might be a good idea to see her. Now I am very happy with the GP I am seeing, she has been above and beyond with me on many many cases including sending emails to me at nine pm on a Saturday evening which blew me away to think that she was in turn thinking about me at that time of the day or week. Anyway with my recent visit to hospital and the several backwards steps I seem to have made in the last month I though perhaps I have nothing to lose. I looked on the net to find which practice she operated out of and gave them a call. I told the receptionist that I had been recommended to see this particular person and could I make an appointment, she said there is quite a wait and offered me one at the end of September. I replied if that is the first available then it will be fine, she then asked me if I would like to go on her cancellation list which I did, thanked her and ended the call. A few minutes later my phone rang and it was the same receptionist to tell me she had just had a cancellation on the 15th and would I like it. I said that would be perfect and thought how lucky I had been.

So on the 15th I had the pleasure of meeting the lady, as I have said before I never mind waiting to see a doctor if they are running late, it usually means they care and don’t treat patients as numbers and this was no different. It was probably half an hour before I went in but wow, was she worth waiting for. I was immediately struck by the sense of calm around her and how lovely and friendly she was to me even though she didn’t know me from a bar of soap. I had decided to write a sort of “story so far” letter for her so I didn’t have to explain who and what I am and how I got here. She thanked me and read it thoroughly, there was the odd nod and wow and I immediately knew it had been the best way to explain why I was there and she immediately got it. She asked lots of questions, I on the other hand probably didn’t ask enough but there will be another opportunity to do that in the future. There was an empathy about her which I felt straight away and I knew she understood where I am at and had a plan to help, which, when I think about it is all I can hope for. The holistic part is without doubt for me a leap of faith but it is so obvious how much Annette helps that I think it’s something that I can work with. The very first time I met Annette she asked me to lay on the bed and put her hands around my neck and proclaimed “wow, what’s going on with your left knee” I asked her how she knew as I wasn’t limping but did indeed have a big problem with it when in bed, she said she could feel it. I was blown away with her as it was probably one and a half metres from her. I’ve been seeing her regularly ever since and I’ve never ever left her clinic feeling anything but better than when I went in which says it all.

So it’s a bit of a watch this space situation but it has given me hope and that is what I need. Just another example of how lucky I am having yet another beautiful person to add to the list of them caring about my wellbeing. A very lucky girl indeed!

To great days ahead!

After what has been an incredibly challenging week for me I feel I am at the other side of it. Don’t get me wrong I am still in some pain and definitely not my usual self. The fact that I had a dreadful nights sleep last night didn’t help either and to be quite honest I really should be in bed now making up for the very short night I had last night. However, a couple of things happened today which have helped my mental state a great deal, well three actually! one is a very important person with whom I had an appointment this morning. Because I could feel myself slipping into the dreaded downward spiral yesterday with the thoughts of more surgery and everything which goes with it like traveling to where ever the surgeon may be. I’m really over being away from home for long periods, having been out of the country for nineteen weeks since May last year I think that’s a given. I think it’s unlikely that the destination will be Philadelphia as the surgeon there doesn’t seem to be my friend anymore but with very little in the way of options at this side of the country there is bound to be some traveling involved. So I made an appointment with my psychologist, originally for 2.30 this afternoon but she sent me a message to say she had a cancellation and would I like to come at 11 this morning. To say she is a wonderful person is an understatement, the number of times she has brought me back from the brink I have lost count of. She is so kind and caring, always gives me a big hug when I arrive and another before I leave, it means so much to me. She has a way of somehow making me look at things in a different light, she gives me strategies to deal with difficult moments and sent me home today with a mind full of mindfulness which has really helped. The second thing was an incredibly small thing but an act of both kindness and good marketing made my day brighter. I had a script to fill at the pharmacy, I took it to the counter where a lovely lady took it from me and asked if I would wait or come back later. I said I would wait, it gives me a chance to test some different perfumes not that I need any at the moment. While checking what was on offer a lady asked me if she could help. I told her I was waiting for a script and just liked trying new perfumes. She said they had some amazing offers on at the moment on a huge range of things, many had 50% off. I thought about for a few seconds then remembered thinking before I went out this morning that I should really get a new mascara as the one I am using which I bought before I went to England in April has become clumpy. I asked if the one I used was among the ones on offer, a difficult question as I couldn’t remember who makes it just what it’s called. She said I think that is a L’Oréal one, they are down that isle on the left if we have them. I went to look and sure enough there it was, million lashes feline, I took one off the shelf and took it to her counter so she could check that the price had been adjusted and sure enough, $12.50 half price and a bargain so I got two while I was there!

The third and final one is a weird one really, some years ago I bought some miracle tablets off the internet which were supposed to help with stiff joints etc, they weren’t cheap but the website was very convincing and had an offer (as they all do) if you get three bottles, so I did. I can’t say I noticed much difference but took them anyway. The reality is and this is where the good has come out of it, I was by then on their list of email marketing. I did think I would unsubscribe but I started reading the emails the founder of the company sends to me personally. He is called Dr Bereliani and he emails me most weeks and surprisingly most are not trying to sell me anything just a tip here and some advice there and some of his wisdom I have found very useful indeed. So much so that I even wrote to him telling him my story and asking him to change the email address to my new one which he did. The best is yet to come, Dr Bereliani always ends his emails with the same few words and they are classic, today they have just tipped the balance for me and made me feel better. His parting shot is the title of this post so here goes,

To Great Days Ahead!

Round three?

After a number of very positive posts I have been seriously brought down to earth in the last few days. While my visit to Busselton hospital on Saturday was a positive experience and from it I hoped to move forward, Sunday saw me back on heavyweight painkillers for the first time in three months. It started at 1am in the morning with pain that I have not experienced since very soon after my surgery and to say it scared me is I an understatement. Thankfully I still have the goods to do the job and after about twenty minutes the pain had subsided enough for me to get back to sleep. Sunday was a difficult day with a great deal of pain and the call I received from the doctor at the hospital to tell me that all the tests they had done had come back clear didn’t do much to help as it didn’t explain the pain. Monday I felt that maybe the antibiotics might be helping but there were times of excruciating pain again. Then came Tuesday, I had an appointment to see my GP in the afternoon and following the instructions on the website which I make my GP appointments on I called the surgery fifteen minutes before my appointment to see if the doctor was running on time. I was told she was so made my way there. There were two other people in the waiting room so didn’t think I would be long but thirty minutes went by and as much as it really doesn’t bother me how long I have to wait as I have been the cause of GPs running late dozens of time and I would never complain but I did wonder why I’d been told there was no hold up. Anyway wait I did but I started to feel hot and did my best take my mind off it by engrossing myself in a game on my phone but it got worse and worse and I knew if I didn’t get some air I would be in a heap on the floor. I walked to the door and said to the receptionist on my way out that I was not feeling well, I stood outside the door and took some deep breaths. After a short while I decided to go to my car and get a drink but was starting to feel faint, I made my way to the car and had a drink, it certainly helped so I decided to go back to the waiting room but sadly didn’t get there. I am certainly no stranger to fainting, it’s something that has happened far too often, I don’t usually get much warning but this time I could see it coming. I stood outside the door with my head down and the next thing I could feel myself going down and I was gone. The next thing I remember was the receptionist asking me if I was ok, I came round but couldn’t get up, she called for the nurse and between them they got me into a wheelchair. I was taken to the nurses station and my vital sign were checked, blood pressure sky high, temperature low but very clammy and washed out. All in all not good, after a while the GP came in to see what had happened, the nurse explained what had gone on and the GP told me to stay and she would see me shortly. I messaged Denise to tell her what had happened and she said she was on her way. By the time I got in to see the GP she was there, I had a fairly short appointment and it was decided that I would leave my car there and collect it later when I was feeling better. The long and short of the appointment is that the GP is going to contact a surgeon in Perth to discuss if she can help me as it now seems that further surgery is inevitable. It’s only a matter of who, when and where.

How lucky we are!

Today I have spent six hours of my Saturday in The Emergency Department of Busselton hospital. It all started on Thursday evening when I was out on my walk with Bella. I had been in a little bit of discomfort all day but didn’t think anything of it but while out the pain became increasingly worse. By the time I got home every step was painful and I didn’t know why, it felt like there was a swelling inside the site of my surgery and it made it very difficult to either sit or stand. By Friday I was no better so Denise called the surgery to see if I could see my GP but unfortunately she was not working again until Tuesday. After hearing what the problem was the very helpful receptionist said she would call my GP and get her advice. She called back a few minutes later after speaking with her and recommended another GP or if we felt it was an emergency then to go straight to the hospital. I didn’t think it was urgent and thought it would probably go away during the day but made an appointment to see the other GP anyway for Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately when I woke this morning the pain was worse so decided to head straight to the hospital. We were greeted with a smile and asked how we could be helped. I briefly explained the problem and the nurse was very understanding, she attracted the attention of a lady doctor and suggested that she should be the one who looked after me. I’m sure they won’t mind being named so a massive thank you to Sandra and Frank for amazing patient care. You were both wonderful with me and although I am still in some discomfort at least you were able to discount my fears of a serious problem.

This goes to show just how lucky we are to have the amazing health care we enjoy in Busselton. There was very little waiting around, I never felt that I had been forgotten, I was fed and watered, Denise was looked after and I am thoroughly thankful for an excellent experience given the circumstances. It will always be a challenge getting assistance being transgender as very few people have had any experience but today I was extremely well cared for.

Ticked off!

Back in November 2016 when I was in the early part of my transition I made a deal with the psychiatrist I was referred to in order to evaluate my suitability to transition. The rules say you must live in your preferred gender for at least 18 months before receiving hormone treatment. Now I’m sure these rules get bent for lots of reasons but in my case I had a massive excess of female hormones anyway and little in the way of male ones so it didn’t really apply but the rules also say that you must have lived in your preferred gender for the same amount of time before being recommended for surgery. Not only did the psychiatrist bring down the period of time between being officially diagnosed as having gender incongruoence and recommendation to proceed to surgery from three months to one month, she wrote the letter there and then so I could book my surgery straight away. A condition of this was that I receive counseling for a minimum of two years from that date, looking back I would have agreed to anything in order to get my letters of recommendation sooner rather than later and as I had already seen a psychologist in Busselton a number of times since my decision to transition on the recommendation of my GP I considered it a very easy condition. Also, quite how she was ever going to police it I don’t know, it isn’t as though she could send me back to Philadelphia to have the surgery reversed if I didn’t comply, I doubt that they kept the parts they removed!

I have now seen the said psychologist probably twenty times, she has been truly wonderful with me, someone I feel extremely comfortable with and someone I can tell anything without fear of being judged. During my june appointment I was busy telling her how proud I was to have completely stopped taking any opiate based painkillers after almost 11 months. It was largely down to my visit to a surgeon in Brighton back in May but I felt it was a huge achievement. When I had finished telling her how I had achieved it she asked me what other medication I was taking, there was still a number of things on it one of them being Tamazepam, she asked how long I’d been taking it for, I replied most of the last six years. The look on her face was that of shock, as it was close to the end of the session she told me we needed to discuss this in the next session and work out a way of coming off them. I agreed to that and we parted with a lovely hug as usual.

My next appointment with her was not for six weeks and after giving it some thought decided that she was probably right and I should come off them sooner rather than later. In the scheme of things I felt that coming off the opiates was a much bigger deal and so made up my mind that I was going to be off them before the next appointment and just stopped taking them. Getting to sleep was a challenge for a few nights but eventually I got there and felt I had kicked the habit as it were. Then it hit me, I felt really crap, irritable, short tempered and often found myself in tears for no apparent reason. I discussed this with Denise who immediately pinned it on the coming off Tamazepam, she looked it up on good old google and sure enough there are lots of posts about the side effects of just stopping taking it especially after a long period of time. Anyway I persevered, I sent a message to the psychologist to get her thoughts, she immediately sent me a message back saying I should see my GP straight away. I thought about for a while but decided that I could deal with it myself, the GP is a busy person and it’s not as though it was a serious problem and as I caused it myself I felt a little embarrassed about the whole thing. I mean how could I go into her office and say “I feel crap because I’ve come off the medication which you prescribed” as lovely as she is it probably wouldn’t have gone down too well.

As my next appointment with the psychologist approached I thought it a good idea to see the GP first. In a very polite way I felt I got a serious ticking off for not consulting her before coming off the Tamazepam, she went on to explain the correct way of coming off that type of medication, how dangerous it is to just stop taking it and how she could have helped me. The next day I saw the psychologist and got another one! In no uncertain terms she was determined that I knew I’d done the wrong thing. All in all I was left without any doubt of the route I should have taken but it was all done in a very pleasant way, hopefully neither have fallen out with me, I don’t think they have as both appointments ended with the usual heart felt hug which means so much to me.