I met with both new doctors on the same day, Dr. Patricia Robbins (at the University Medical Center) in the morning and Dr. Art Simon (private practice) in the afternoon. I prepared parallel folders with the article about cross-sex hormone therapy for transsexuals by the two MD’s, along with my two most recent blood papers from Dr. Clinton. In the case of Dr. Simon, I also had filled out the patient information form I received when I made the appointment.

I wore yellow, v-neck t-shirt that clearly revealed what was growing underneath, and a sports coat in case I was too chicken to appear in public with just a t-shirt.

Dr. Robbins

I went to the UMC clinic (the wrong one first, then the right one, after walking through a labyrinth to get from the hospital to the offices). There was almost no paperwork to fill out, so I sat patiently in the waiting room until the intake nurse came in and asked me questions and took my measurements. When she asked about medications, I told her about Estradiol and Spironolactone, as well as aspirin and other things. It was a short intake, and she had a smoker’s raspy voice, which struck me as a little odd for a nurse.

Dr. Robbins walked in the door, not smiling broadly like she had been on the web page, but still a reasonable facsimile of herself anyway. She asked what I was here for and I said primarily to replace my old doctor, who had quit. She nodded and said she had seen a few of Dr. Clinton’s patients. I told her that the second thing was that I am transsexual and need a PCP for a variety of purposes. She didn’t go running from the room, which I half-expected, but said, “OK, just let me say this, that I really don’t have any particular experience with this.” Fine and dandy, I said, as I was already set with my scripts from Clinton and that I was seeing Dr. Simon in the afternoon to help with endo-type things. Her face lit up – “I went to school with Steve, and he’s just fantastic.” She seemed to relax when she realized I’d be in Dr. Simon’s capable hands. She had me hop up onto the table, asked me to take off my jacket, and she asked right off the bat, “so when is your surgery?”

I suppose the leap to imagine surgery is normal if you don’t deal with GID much.

I told her that it wasn’t scheduled and that we were working on psychology with Dr. Garcia and letting the hormones do their magic. She hit my knees and elbows, felt my glands around my neck, and asked about my lipomas, particularly if they had sprung up as a result of hormones. No, I said.

Well, that’s it, she said. I signed some paperwork authorizing her to get my files from The Kelly Clinic, where Dr. Clinton stored them when he went out of business and to discuss my case with Drs Simon and Garcia and my wife Mary. I told her I was going to give Dr. Simon the same file and the same permissions, and that I would certainly expect everyone to perceive Drs. Robbins, Simon, and Garcia as my team. She said ok.

It was a very good feeling to have told another person about my condition and not get terribly anxious about it. True, she’s bound by ethics not to tell, but I think I’m not so worried about people telling as I am about disclosing things about myself.

Dr. Simon

A few hours later, I was in Dr. Art Simon’s office, which was unbearably hot (turns out they had not managed the vents correctly on this particular day, but we didn’t discover this for quite some time). I took off my jacket (and I had a tight T-shirt on that certainly would have revealed my boobs if anyone had been looking) and graded a batch of papers.

A woman came from behind the counter and said, “Dr. X? I’m Mrs. Simon, and I’m really glad you can come here to be our patient.” She is Dr. Simon’s wife, I presume, but I’m not sure, but she (and everyone else) makes the place unbelievably warm and inviting. She asked if I knew her thesis advisor, Dr. T in Psychology, and I said no, but I have heard the name. I told her of my contacts in Psychology, esp. KJ, who she didn’t know. We talked about the university for a bit and she said she would show me the way to deal with insurance that’s out of network (which he is) to my best benefit. Very nice, made me feel right at home.

Eventually, the burly nurse asked me back and took my measurements. I guessed within a pound and he said he was impressed until I told him I had just done the same routine a few hours earlier. We sat in the exam room and talked about gender and sex changes and he took notes about drugs and therapy. He asked me, “so what do you expect out of all of this?” and I answered quickly, “a sex change.” Obvious, at least to me, but I suppose it had to be asked. We talked about society and sex and gender and it was a pretty nice discussion, then Dr. Simon popped his head in.

This was fully 1 hour after my appointment, but he explained that he takes his patients one at a time, and everyone gets full attention, which is fine with me. He’s a smallish man with a mustache and glasses and a really nice demeanor. Dr. Simon asked about Dr. Clinton’s treatment, and I told him the story and give him my chart of doses and physical changes (mostly measurements), which he said he’d study, along with the article by the two MD’s I gave him.

We talked about hormones and sex and gender. “The thing about hormones,” he explained, “is that while everyone thinks of them as sex hormones, they’re really brain hormones, and when you change them, a lot of things readjust.” Accordingly, he wanted to do his own blood work in December, so we set up a schedule for the blood work (he does it in his own office, along with the labs), and the follow-up visit, all in December. He said we would reevaluate the prescriptions when we analyzed the blood work in December. He told me that spironolactone at 200 mg/daily was really very reasonable and that we could double it or take more drastic measures to get my testosterone under control, and I found that reassuring.

More than once in the meeting, he volunteered that there was a great deal of variety in sex, gender, and expression, and that such variation was what made life interesting. He was obviously making a great effort at making me feel not like a freak, and he was successful. True, I already felt pretty good about myself, but it was comforting to know that this doctor I was going to work with on my hormones was open-minded and encouraging.

He listened to my lungs and heart, felt my glands in my neck, and asked about my lipomas (which, as you recall, was exactly what Dr. Robbins did 6 hours earlier). I told him about Dr. Robbins and my files and give him my permission to speak to Dr. Garcia, Mary, and Dr. Robbins, thereby creating a gender team as it were.

A very good day, and I felt proactive and optimistic.