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When You Know More Than Your Doctor

“So you’re doing hormone therapy, testosterone. How long will that be going on for, a few months, years…?”

“No, it’s pretty much a life-long thing.”

For anyone who has never experienced this, it’s pretty disconcerting to realize that you know more about your medical treatment than your own doctor does. Maybe it’s all the research I’ve done, but I find it incredible that anyone, let alone a medical professional, would think that hormone replacement therapy on this level would be a short round of treatment and then you’re good to go after that.

I want to say, though I honestly didn’t think about it until much later, “Did your body produce oestrogen for the first few months of puberty and then stop? No. This is the same thing.”

But of course she doesn’t know. She’s a GP, and the treatment of trans patients is well outside of her expertise. However, I don’t really want to be bouncing around getting my prescriptions from multiple doctors. I’d feel a lot more comfortable having one person handling the majority of my physical health care, so I take it upon myself to educate her.

I tell her that though I still have a decent supply left on my current script that I got from the endocrinologist, when that’s done I’d rather get that refilled here rather than try to get in to see the specialist (will I need another referral? I don’t even know. That’s the sort of thing that confuses the hell out of me.) or try to catch my original prescribing doctor during his walk-in hours. I let her know, based on what the other two doctors were monitoring, what she should keep an eye on with regards to my blood tests. We also discuss what I may or may not need in terms of birth control (the information from the pharmacy includes the directive “don’t get pregnant”, but we agree that adding an hormonal contraceptive would be more messing around than either of us want to deal with.)

Still, at the end of the day this is the sort of thing that puts the doctor-patient relationship into perspective. We’re all human. Nobody knows everything about anything, not even doctors.


4 Responses to When You Know More Than Your Doctor

  1. I would’ve expected her to read up on such things once you let her know your intentions. Sure, she won’t be an expert, but it’d give her some idea of potential complications unique to a trans situation.

    Now that being said, I suspect most trans people are doing a ton of their own research simply because it’s so easy to do and mostly private online. You’re doing the right thing, taking control of what you can with self-education.

    • Avatar EricSatchwill
      EricSatchwill says:

      I would have thought so to, at the very least from a perspective of curiosity. But you’re right. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a fellow trans person who didn’t research the hell out of themselves before hand.

  2. Avatar Rebecca Treadway
    Rebecca Treadway says:

    That is sad. The doctor should have done some research on your file prior to your visit. That’s what they’re “supposed” to do. *sigh* you’re not alone, but one would think in your circumstance it’s more “expected” since they’re too lazy to research in your case.
    My Mom has issues with hypothyroidism and her primary referred her to a “specialist”. The specialist, upon examination – expresses shock that she could not feel Mom’s thyroid glands. Mom had it removed (mega cysts), which the Dr. would have known had she bothered to read her file. Next up were tests on her levels of Levothoroxal (sp?) – when the results came back to Mom in the mail, the doctor hand-wrote:
    “may be slightly high” then prescribes a dosage that was higher than the dosage, which she told the doctor – was too strong for her.
    Glad she’s not a heart specialist!

    • Avatar EricSatchwill
      EricSatchwill says:

      Fortunately the specialists I’ve been to have been better than that o.O

      But yeah. I know it’s not her speciality, but I came to her about it for the first time over two years ago now. So.