The magical mystery land of community health

I don't make this stuff up!…but I do change identifying information.

Lesbonurse visits her people May 31, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesbonurse @ 2:40 pm

As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Philadelphia, preparing to wrap up my attendance at the 2008 Trans-health Conference. It was awesome to be here–and even awesomer that I got to pay for it with my continuing education money. Woohoo, professional career!

But seriously, this was a conference that I have been waiting months to go to. I got to be surrounded by my trans and queer brethren, take 2 days off of work–thank god!–and get educated about the shit that no one is teaching in school. (Also, as an added benefit I got to scope out all of the hot conference attendees)

As I sat in the Provider Day workshops, I was overcome by an unexpected wave of loneliness. I listened to other people talk about their work with the LGBTQ community and their trans health programs, and I realized how totally isolated I am at my job. Yes, I do have an awesome collaborating physician to back me up on the necessity of providing LGBTQ health care in our community. But in my day-to-day work life, I am so far removed from the queer community. Just as an example, here is a conversation that I had with one of our clinic nurses shortly before I left (her father-in-law is female-to-male and transitioned 2 years ago):

Me, to nurse: “Hey, tell your husband that I’m going to a national Trans Health Conference next week and I can bring him back some information for his parent if he wants it.”

Nurse: “I’ll tell him. I’m sure he won’t want anything.”

Me: “Ok, but it’s going to be good. Lots of good info.” (admittedly, at this point I was just goading her, but I couldn’t help myself)

Nurse: “I’ll tell her [the FTM parent]”

Me: “You mean HIM”

Nurse: “Whatever. I don’t have a problem with it. I just won’t call her him. And I won’t use her new name.”

Me: “So you have a problem with it.”

Nurse: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “So call him him, then.”

Nurse, shrugging and preparing to walk away: “whatever”

Me, under my breath: “fucking kill me”

So yeah, it was great to come here. I talked to my collaborating physician before I left about doing a lunchtime presentation for the residents on the topic of trans health. We’ll have to see how it goes.


3 Responses to “Lesbonurse visits her people”

  1. Alice Says:

    In fairness to the nurse, there are probably a lot of hurt feelings/issues that need to be worked out for her and her husband. She might feel like she is being supportive of her husband in not being supportive of her father in law. Anyway, I saw a m-f trans patient today that I have seen a couple of times for acute issues. She was off of her progesterone and feeling awful and asked me if I could take care of her because her endocrinologist doesn’t speak Spanish. I gave her a refilll but referred her to a good endocrine that does trans care and told her she can come to me for anything else. Do you feel that trans patients should be managed by specialists?

  2. lesbonurse Says:

    One of my career goals is to provide comprehensive trans care–including hormones–as a PCP. I don’t think that the horomone management is too hard for primary care. That being said, I think if a provider doesn’t have the time or the motivation to educate themselves about hormone use, they should refer to a specialist or a trusted colleague. But bear in mind that many patients cannot make it to an endocrinologist due to issues of access or money.
    What if you got a treatment plan from the endocrinolgist and then saw your patient for most of her visits, and sent her back to the endo once a year or for specific issues? Once a patient is on maintenance doses of hormones, it’s not so hard.

  3. […] lesbonurse @ 1:40 am I just returned from the annual Trans Health Conference in Philly.  Last year I spent a good portion of the conference feeling verklempt about my lonely practice as an isolated, […]

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