Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Examined by an NHS consultant

A real 'medical' day! This morning I saw my GP about some 'abnormal' blood test results, particularly the one for thyroid. The test result suggested that it was under-active, but the other test results contradicted that, and besides, I felt in good, robust health with plenty of energy (in short bursts anyway, because I still tire rather quickly; but then I'm not exactly as fit as an athlete). She thought it might just be one of my personal characteristics, but recommended that I highlight the low thyroid result to Dr Curtis when I see him on 31 October. I most certainly will.

In the afternoon I went up to The Princess Royal Hospital at Haywards Heath for a consultation with Mr Farrands, whose speciality is digestive diseases and their surgical treatment. I could not have been 'processed' with more promptness and consideration. It was 'Lucy' this and 'Lucy' that, all very sweet, as if everyone enjoyed saying my name! Waiting around was minimal. Soon Mr Farrands' clinical nurse Elaine O'Malley took charge of me. She was very reassuring and cheerful, and set me at ease about the examination. Then I met Mr Farrands himself, who seemed such a kind and gentle man.

Next I had to get up on the bed, at first on my back, so that he could examine my tummy. I had to pull my bottom-half garments right down to expose the entire lower abdomen, although not as low as the vulva itself. So he didn't quite see the last faint signs of my surgery. But nevertheless I was pretty well-revealed! It crossed my mind to tell him that I'd had reassignment surgery, but I decided not to mention it unless he asked. And I hoped that Elaine saw nothing to make her wonder.

He did not ask, and she did not wonder. He ran his fingers down the sides of my tummy, and pressed firmly here and there, with nary a word of query or puzzlement. Clearly he found nothing unusual. Presumably he was feeling for such things as swellings or blockages or an enlarged appendix. I felt no discomfort from this gentle probing, which was actually reassuring - my internals must be in good order!

One thing he wouldn't have felt, of course, were little kicks inside.

Satisfied, he then asked me to turn over onto my side while he conducted further probing, but I won't go into that!

I could then pull my clothes up and hear the verdict, which was that I was basically fine, and should simply maintain the many good features of my diet. He'd noticed one or two things about my digestive tract, but it was nothing of any concern. He explained all this potentially worrying stuff with great gentleness. I was then discharged. Elaine completed the process, with advice on what to do if I ever felt that another appointment might be needed. She too was so kind to me.

So I've passed yet another demanding test in my apprenticeship as a woman. A physical examination, no less, by a senior NHS doctor who did not know that I was trans - because local NHS hospital records do not say so. It makes me speculate that a physical encounter with an ordinary mortal might go rather well, and that I should have nothing to fear.


  1. I don't think it would make much difference as to your post-op status Lucy. The medical fraternity is far too professional to mention such things but I will add they if your health was at risk for their lack of knowledge I am sure you would be the first to tell them. To be honest I think it could be easy for them to discover the truth if they carried out certain tests. I am not sure whether my local hospital would be aware of my status but I paid them a visit one month before I flew to Thailand for my op. They were aware of my status then as I had raised no objections with my GP to reveal it.
    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. Ooops! That should have read 'I will add that if your health...'

    Shirley Anne xxx


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