A tale of two plans!

I’m a girl that needs a plan! Whether it is working in my business, doing the weekly shopping or attending one of the dozens of medical appointments i have had since making the decision to become the person i should always have been nearly three years ago. Today was no different. Today I attended an appointment with a surgeon in Perth who very kindly agreed to see me with a view to solving the problem of my ongoing pain.

As normal we were 20 minutes early for the appointment and he was running 25 minutes late! He apologised after inviting me into his office for running late, i told him it was fine and that on the grounds that it’s usually me that causes the lateness i never complain. He thanked me for that and began asking me a series of questions about the said pain. After a while he told me his plan. Sadly this was very different to what i had i mind. His plan involved having a good old chat to get the background and sending me away with a date to return where i would be admitted to hospital, given a full anaesthetic so he could thoroughly examine me including inserting a scope up my urethra to check its route to my bladder. He would then attend a fortnightly discussion meeting with a number of other surgeons and a radiologist to try and formulate a plan going forward to get me off opiate painkillers once and for all.

My plan on the other hand was for him to examine me today, then do his research and formulate a plan from that. His reasoning for his plan was sound as he said he didn’t want to hurt me. Now I’m all for no pain but I explained how I’d driven 250kms to see him today and therefore would be driving another 250kms home afterwards and felt that i would be happier if he had a look at me today. If after examining me today he felt that he still needed to put me under to have a better look then i would be happy to go with his plan. One very big flaw in his plan however was that if i was asleep then how would i be able to tell him when it hurt? He thought this was a valid point and went off to get the nurse/chaperone while i got undressed and onto the bed, good result i thought! When he returned, he introduced me to the nurse and positioned a very bright LED light so he could take a close look. As is the norm when someone sees my surgery for the first time I apologised for how it looks, to my surprise he said he was just thinking how “normal” it looked. I relayed the story of the first time my gender specialist (who he knows well!) saw it and commented “wow, what a mess, you must be so disappointed!” He replied “I’ve seen much worse on cis gender women”.  He did a fair amount of pressing and poking, asked me where it hurt the most then announced that he wouldn’t need to examine me under anaesthetic after all! Another good result for Stephanie i thought! He asked me to get cleaned up and dressed and said he would be back in a minute, he had doused me with a fair amount of lubricating gel so i cleaned myself up and pulled back the curtain. He returned and told me to make an appointment for 4 weeks hence by which time he will have had his meeting with other specialists and bid me good day. All in all a successful visit i think – he has a positive next step and a plan going forward if he decides that it needs more expertise to solve to problem. He even said that it may involve going to a surgeon in the eastern states but he was hopeful he would find the appropriate person for me. It all left me feeling quietly optimistic and above all, thankful to the lovely lady who spent a good deal of time searching for someone willing to at least have a look at me. I had a good feeling the very first time i saw her and she seems to have come up with a winner, she even shares my name!

Twenty questions and happy to help a lovely person

Today started with a visit to the hospital carpark where i found the breastscreen wa trailer. My appointment was at 8.30 and it was certainly autumnal to say the least but i was greeted by a smile and invited inside. Once inside i was asked to take a seat and fill in a form. It was the usual disclaimers which no one ever reads then came the “general information” part. First question, have you had a mammogram before? I thought to myself that i could face some questions about that but continued through the questionnaire. Sure enough when i gave the form the the lady she looked at it and asked why I hadn’t had a mammogram before since i am now the ripe old age of 58. I asked if she wanted the short answer or the long one, she said she was happy to have either but i opted for the short one and replied “because the service is not offered to boys regardless of whether they have breasts or not” there was a silence while she digested my answer which seemed to be going on far too long for me so i said “you get that I’m trans yes?” She said “well I hadn’t but now it makes sense” at that point the lady who had been before me came out of the room where it all happens and i was invited in. I was shown where to change and told to wait until i was called. It was only a couple of minutes before i was asked to join the radiographer. She said she just had to ask me a couple of questions before commencing the job, the usual full name, date of birth and address then she asked me if I’d had a mammogram before, i thought here we go again and sure enough after my answer she asked if there was a reason. I used the same reason as before but thought i would go straight for the second bit and said “you get that I’m trans yes?” She said “no, i would never have guessed” i was pleased with that and said “i have had gynecomastia since i was twelve though” surprisingly she didn’t know what that was so I explained, she was intrigued so i told her a little of my story, she asked if I’d had augmentation, i told her it was definitely not needed! The mammogram itself was not as unpleasant as I’d been lead to believe so whether she went easy on me I don’t know but she was happy with her work and said i could get dressed. I thanked her for her kindness and left the room. The other lady was on her own so i thanked her and said that I’d been looked after in a very kind and gentle way. As i left she said she would see me in two years time, job done!

On a different subject, i have mentioned before how much i love working for the Realestate company in town who give me a large percentage of my work nowadays. They are great to deal with and I’d like to think i am as valuable to them as they are to me so it’s a good partnership. Yesterday I received a work order to erect a gate across a drive at a nearby property. I decided to visit the property and meet with the tenant to assess what was needed. When the lady came out of the house she had a somewhat surprised look on her face but was very pleasant as she explained the problem. She then went on to say what a pleasant surprise it was to see a woman doing a job like this, I explained a little about myself and she was clearly very happy for me. Today, after some running around to find a suitable gate i attended the property to erect a post and fit the gate. It was a very successful job, all went to plan and when the tenant arrived home she was thrilled with the result. It just makes the job so worthwhile when clients are appreciative, most are but for  this particular one it was lovely to get a very genuine thank you at the end of it. I am very lucky to work for so many lovely people!

Not your average kind of girl!

I get asked to do all sorts of things in my work and one of todays tasks was to spray paint a garage roof. So there i was, dancing around on what in hindsight was probably a fairly brittle 40 plus year old asbestos roof with spray gun in hand with my back to the drive when i heard someone shout to me from the drive. I let go of the trigger on the gun and turned round to find a man standing on the drive looking up to me. There was a surprised look on his face when he saw me and he apologised for calling me “mate” which I didn’t hear anyway and to be quite honest wouldn’t have been bothered me. He explained that he had come to mow the lawns but couldn’t get his mower past my car in the drive. I climbed down the ladder and went to move my car, as i walked back down the drive he made the comment that it was unusual to see a woman doing that sort of job which I immediately took as being sexist and said you would be surprised what girls can do, he nodded and got on with his mowing.

Some time later when he had finished the lawns he got out his blower and proceeded to blow all the stray grass cuttings off the drive, i needed something from the car and walked towards him. He had his back to me so didn’t see me coming, he also had his ear defenders on so didn’t hear me either. I stopped and waited for him to finish, he turned round and was surprised to see me standing behind him. He took off his ear defenders and asked me what else i did for work. I told him painting was my main job but i did all sorts of property maintenance and again he seemed surprised. As i walked past him he said “good on you” I replied, I’m not your average kind of girl! He smiled and said “obviously not” It got me thinking about a song from about 15 years ago by a young lady called Alex Parks, the song was called exactly that, not your average kind of girl and I’ve been singing all day. It has actually had a really good effect as today has definitely had its moments like several screws shearing off when i was refitting some blinds after painting. It took all of my “thinking outside the box” to figure out how to get round it but as usual, after a drink and some sustenance, some careful repositioning and the blinds were in place. Not so many years ago i would have really struggled with things like that but in the end it’s only a confidence thing and i love the challenges my job throws at me. Variety is definitely the spice of life!