Recently, I had the privilege of witnessing an amazing event in the world. I was able to see the beginning of an organization’s transition. Like all good stories, it begins with a seemingly unrelated event. I was in the backyard, pulling a knife out of the ground. The knife had landed between my second and third toes. As usual, I had been in the yard barefoot. Observing that there was a small cut in my middle toe, I continued. It appeared to be no more than the outermost layer of skin. After a couple of minutes, I observed blood. For the sake of the squeamish, I’ll skip ahead to Laura rushing home in order to get me to the hospital. We grabbed our two daughters and arrived approximately over an hour later. And yes, we live that far out in the middle of nowhere.
The nurses were fantastic, and the doctor was amazing. I never felt a stitch, and even the lidocaine needle was nearly painless. Laura, my wife, came back with me for much of it. Eventually, she moved to the waiting room to check in on our daughters. When things in the ER were all tied up, I checked up and rejoined everyone in the lobby. When I approached Laura, she appeared incredibly upset. She informed me that the receptionist staff began making comments about being unsure how to address “that thing.” They made jokes of my being transgender and laughed at me in front of them. My wife and eldest overheard the conversation. When I had walked in, the pair of receptionists began giggling from behind their desk. Laura now informed me why. I told her we just need to go. She then told that one of our daughters was still in the restroom. I knew if Laura stayed, there would be a scene, so I asked her to take the other daughter to the car. In full view of the receptionists, I waited by the bathrooms. “Uncomfortable” hardly begins to sum up the moment. When she exited, I quickly and quietly escorted my other daughter out of the building.
That night, I put up a post on Facebook, describing the incident and tagging the hospital. For those who can’t see it, I emphasize being open to discussion and questions. The responses were nearly overwhelming and completely supportive. One of the comments was left by the hospital with a phone number. I called, left a voicemail, and received a call back. A very apologetic woman took my information and apologized on behalf of the hospital and explained it is hospital policy to treat all patients with respect. I was also informed that the guilty parties would be reminded of the policy and disciplined if need be. Later that day, I received another phone call from a senior administrator who also apologized and made me aware of what was happening within the hospital to remedy the situation. She seemed grateful for me bringing their attention to it.
In my opinion, the conversation with the administrator went well. Then again, I was pretty disoriented. (The pain really had me dazed the first day.) I asked if they had a policy on transgender patients. She informed me that the hospital had yet to write one, but assured me she would introduce it at the next meeting. I was asked for resources, and my foggy head drew a blank. Eventually, I remembered the WPATH site. WPATH is the World Professional Association Transgender Health. They are a 501(c)(3) and are the leading organization in setting standards when it comes to treatment and care of transgender patients and clients. The administrator immediately pulled the site up on her computer and said that this was perfect and exactly what she would need. She assured me that if my wife or myself had any questions, we could reach out to her. She, once again, extended an apology to my eldest daughter.
To me, life is not about perfection. Things can and will go wrong. People will be unpleasant. The question becomes how do we deal with life’s unpleasantries. I feel quite satisfied in how the hospital is reacting and believe they are moving in the right direction. I believe the hospital now realizes that part of it doesn’t quite fit in the traditional gender mold. At least for now, they have a new awareness. And we can see where they go and how they transition with that new awareness. I would like to think that someday the local hospital, the only hospital for miles, will have a policy on transgender healthcare that everyone can be proud of. Maybe someday an endocrinologist will take up residence, and I won’t have to travel to Raleigh. A girl can dream, can’t she? (In actuality, I love my endo and still might travel the four hours)
Love and blessings,
PS For those of you still wondering, my pronouns and proper titles of address are “Mrs. Ms. or even Miss.” But I will also accept the title of “angry cunt” and proudly so.