Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Have You Been Here?

Caught between male and female?

Suppose you are a post op trans-woman and you are rushed to the emergency room with pains in your abdomen what would you tell the doctor?

Would you tell them that you are a trans-woman?  It could cost you your life if you don’t*.
Parts Unknown
Huffington Post
By Leslie Lagerstrom
Posted: 09/20/2013

Severe pain in my 17-year-old son's abdomen took us to the ER last week. It's one of those situations that everyone dreads, but if you're transgender, there can be an added level of anxiety when the medical professionals you are dealing with aren't current on trans health care. Such was the case for us, beginning at the reception desk.
Yeah, I dreaded going to the emergency room. Heck I even dreaded going to my primary care physician, when I had a fever over 100 I toughed it out because back then I didn’t want to have to explain it to him why I shaved my legs, chest and arms.
I hold my breath as flashbacks of other occurrences of this very scenario begin playing in my head. It's happened at the orthodontist's office, at school, at the bank, at the library, at the community center -- basically at any institution, organization or business that has Sam's birth name, Samantha, in the computer system from the years before it was legally changed to Samuel.
Been there, done that. Talk about having to out yourself, there is nothing like arguing that you don’t want to change my last name, only my first name and being told they can’t do that because their computer isn’t set up for that.
Next up is the triage nurse. A woman wearing white orthopedic shoes, which seems premature given her young age, ushers us into a small, sterile room to take Sam's vitals and discuss his symptoms. Protocol dictates that she also determine what current medications he is on, if any, which we openly share.

"Testosterone?" she repeats in the form of a question. "Why are you taking that?"
For me it was when I got to my estrogen that she asked me the question. before I transitioned but when I was taking hormones I had to go to the ER; I could see her type in on the computer as I was telling her my meds… heart medication, cholesterol medication, Finasteride… prostrate, Spironolactone… high blood pressure and then I got to Estradiol. And that puzzled look came on her face when she asked "Why are you taking that?" I then could see her go back and fill in the blanks after my meds with “transsexual.”
We entered parts unknown that night, and to our surprise, some of Sam's medical staff were along for the ride. While Sam had someone who could advocate for him and speak on his behalf, many transgender people do not, which makes them even more vulnerable when seeking medical attention. We share this experience not to shame but to shed light on the fact that education and training are still greatly needed to ensure that trans patients receive the same respect and level of care as everyone else.
And that is what I’m doing right now, I’m at a medical school and I’m on a panel  doing a “Trans 101” (Actually, it is "LGBT 101" we are on a panel with gays and lesbians) for second year med students today and Thursday.

*Acute bacterial prostatitis can be the result of bacteria, a virus, or a sexually transmitted disease. Symptoms may include fever and chills, low back pain, frequent and painful urination, weak stream when urinating, and infrequent urination.

And don’t think that after you had your surgery that you are safe from Prostatitis because you are not! Your Prostate isn’t removed and it still can get infected.

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