So, an account of surgery, or an account of some things that have been censored from this blog over the last weeks and months. It’s odd, but actual chest reconstruction as it relates to transition – the part where I might talk about having doubts, second thoughts, regrets, and how a flat chest makes me more of a man, more able to pass – seems less important now than do the many confronting aspects of having major surgery per se. Yes, my tits are now quite ‘masculinely contoured’; and while for the first couple of days I was in too much pain to know if it was right, which confused me, I’m starting to forget how it felt to not be this way. It feels good. Streamlined. Even with scars yet to heal and bruises still to disappear.
Now surgery is over, I can relate how I convinced the psychiatrist to let me go through with it. In November, I went back to see the original shrink who kicked me off the gender clinic program, about whom I have been publicly, and uncharitably, honest in the past. Miraculously, she got me an appointment the day after I called (usually the wait is three months). At the appointment, we went a few rounds; then she presented me with a deal. She would write a surgery approval letter for me, in exchange for, and-I-quote-verbatim, me “writing nice things about her on the Internet.” She did not specify where I was to write such nice things or what I should say; but I was to find something positive to say about the clinic. I was also to be a better patient: submit to more tests, make more of an effort to be pliable; attend follow-up appointments et cetera. She wanted to me to see an endocrinologist, in order to check if I am actually intersexed, because in her words, “You don’t look very much like a man, do you?” She thought maybe the testosterone isn’t having any effect. She said that next time, I had to bring my concerns straight to her. To all this, I agreed. I assume she sent the right letter, because the surgeon never mentioned it; but I never found out what was in the letter. (We patients don’t get copies of anything like that; we are simply the objects of the text passed from doctor to doctor –- unless, of course, we apply for copies under Freedom of Information law.)
Yes, unprofessional. Yes, Faustian. Yes, ripe for an official complaint. Indeed: at one point during our couple of rounds, she sighed heavily and exclaimed, “I’m so sick of people making complaints about me to the Medical Practitoner’s Board!” Difficult to keep one’s face straight. Afterwards, I wrote something quasi-positive to an email list I suspect her spies read. I intended to write more, but the whole thing started to get paranoid: what was enough? Where did she intend me to speak out in her defence? Should I send her printed copies? What if it wasn’t enough, and she didn’t write the proper letter? Oh insomniac spiralling trail of paranoia. So I tried to forget about it, and hope that she trusted me. If you’re reading this, Dr X, you should never have trusted me; but a psychiatrist shouldn’t make such deals with her patients. It’s manipulative. This renders the deal void. And if I turn up to your next appointment, I’ll raise my concerns with you directly. If.