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An Appointment with a Gender Psychiatrist

My second appointment with my consultant psychiatrist (Russell Reid) was on Saturday 7th September 2002 (my first was on 17th May). By this time I had about 2 weeks supply of hormones left, so the timing was pretty good.

After the experience of going full-time for a week while I was on holiday, I'd resolved that this time I'd go as myself rather than act again. Fortunately, I managed to get my wife's co-operation (she'd helped me try some foundation and eye makeup techniques on me a few days beforehand).

As she was still in bed when I needed to get ready, I had to put the kids in their room while I got my makeup sorted. They not surprisingly started acting up and I had to keep going in to calm them down, resulting in me overheating and my foundation not sticking (pansticks are a pain for that). It took me three attempts and the aid of a desk fan (perched on the loo!) to finally get results I was happy with, but I'm afraid by then I was pretty stressed.

As far as clothing goes, I went for the casual look - jeans, boots, a white top and a black jacket. Before I left my wife had a look and agreed I was "passable" but "looked strange". Considering her current opinion of me and my transition that's high praise indeed.

I caught a fast train from Basingstoke to Waterloo. As it wasn't crowded I ended up sitting on my own which gave me a chance to sort out my nails (I hadn't had time to do them properly before leaving). After arriving at Waterloo I headed for the tube - the London Institute is in Earl's Court, so from Waterloo I caught the Bakerloo Line to Embankment, then the District Line to Earl's Court.

If I had problems anywhere, I expected it to be on the tube (everyone stares at the best of times!), but I'm happy to say that the only problem I had was worrying whether my makeup would stick - it was pretty hot at times.

If you've been to see Russell you'll know that his timekeeping is (shall we say) flexible - and today was no exception. By the time he was ready to see me he was over an hour and a half late, and the two girls due in after me had also arrived (one had brought a friend with her).

I didn't mind as it gave me a chance to grab some lunch and have a good chat with them.

Russell was as friendly as ever. He was very pleased with my progress, and said that at my first consultation he'd had a feeling I'd be back (about half the patients he initially prescribes hormones to don't reappear). I also discovered he's also a Christian, and knows Revd. David Horton (the chaplain of the GENDYS Network, who I'd contacted some months ago about my Church). Small world.

As Ovran is off the market now, he wrote me a prescription for the preferred alternative (a new pill called Yasmin). Although a lower doseage (3 a day compared to the 2 a day of Ovran) it also contains a progesterone which has some anti-androgren properties.

The downside is the cost - about £1 per day on a private prescription. On that basis the prescription I have (18 packs of 21 pills) will cost £126, plus the cost of the oestrogel. As I'm seeing my GP on Monday I'll see if she's willing to take over the prescription (I was going to do that anyway, but Russell also suggested it). *

    * When I talked to her the following Monday she told me she was happy to take over the prescription after I'd been on it for 3 months (assuming there are no side effects). I picked up the private prescription on Wednesday - the total cost was £182.50, of which £133.80 was for the Yasmin, and £48.70 for the Oestrogel. Ouch.

On the way back I had a real "what do I do here?" moment. I was waiting for a tube from Embankment to Waterloo and when it pulled in an ex-girlfriend of mine was on the train! (in the same coach in fact). Talk about being stunned. God certainly has a sense of humour in my life.

Not surprisingly she didn't recognise me, and I couldn't muster the courage to just go up and say "Hi - I used to Andy. How are you?". In fairness, I wouldn't like to drop it all on her so suddenly - we parted on amicable terms, and I still consider her a friend, despite losing touch. *

    * I've since got back in touch with her and discovered she was actually out of the country at the time. So, either I was being particularly blonde that day or she has a clone running around London. Either way, we had a good laugh about it!

As I didn't know when the next time I'd be able to go out without "acting" will be, I couldn't resist stopping off at the shopping centre in Chineham for a quick look around after I got back into town. I found a couple of nice tops in QS, so I didn't come back empty handed.

It was also another good test as Chineham is very familiar territory, and by then I was quite frankly a bit of a mess (my makeup was showing the strain and my hair doing it's usual thing).

Well that was my day in a nutshell. I hope you've found it entertaining reading.

Me after I got back that evening. Very tired, but happy with another small step forward