1st appointment at CX on Fri. What to bring? What to expect?

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Christine
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Re: 1st appointment at CX on Fri. What to bring? What to exp

Postby Christine » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:32 am

Oh, yeah, I wouldn't fancy trying to park around there. The only time I've parked in central London is when I managed to wangle a space for the weekend at my then employer's head office in Holborn, but the traffic was so absolutely awful that I vowed never to do it again! Then again, I hate driving at the best of times.

They are awful to get in touch with: phones typically go unanswered, on the occasions when someone does pick up they're not always entirely helpful, faxes are routinely lost, as are letters, outgoing mail often doesn't get sent, and the icing on the cake is when I first arrived at CX the door buzzer was also broken. Fortunately a passing member of staff let me in and demonstrated that some of them are friendly and helpful! Sad to say I'm not surprised your pre-funding thing broke the admin process; it doesn't take much breaking. The doctors are aware of the problems, so just bring any paperwork into the appointment with you. Dr Barrett (saw him on my 2nd and upcoming 4th appointments) was the one who seemed the most interested and he just made his own copies there and then.

Sounds like your referral process was even worse than mine: I thought my 14 months from seeing my GP to my first appointment at CX was bad enough, though fortunately for various reasons I managed to avoid having to deal with the local mental health team, something which probably shaved a few months off. Which I managed to add back on by suggesting a private referral, which my doctor tried and just ran up against a brick wall. And, yeah, that thing with "you're on the unofficial waiting list to get on the official waiting list" is rather annoying...

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SarahG
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Re: 1st appointment at CX on Fri. What to bring? What to exp

Postby SarahG » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:41 am

Well part of my problem is after asking the GP for a referral, I moved house. It was within the same health authority (Aneurin Bevan) but when I turned up for the local mental health and accidentially let slip my new address I was told there was nothing they could do and referred back to my new GP, from there to a different local mental health person (who was actually really nice, but she knew little about trans stuff) and then to my local gatekeeper who is really horrible and then the fiasco with funding too early.

The unofficial waiting list thing is a con, and the inevitable result of focussing on stats and targets. My local A&E pull the same stunt, only they'll keep you waiting in the back of the ambulance as the timer doesn't start until you are through the door, and once you go over the maximum waiting time, then new arrivals will be constantly put in front of you even for less severe injuries.

Funny you should say good things about Dr. Barratt. Every other trans person I've spoken to has advised me that if you get Dr. Barratt, best approach is to cancel your appointment and hope you get someone else.

As for parking there. No other option really. Bringing a disabled person with me means public transport isn't really an option (no wheelchair accessible link from Paddington to the underground is the least of the problems) and even if it was I'm on immunosupressants, so public transport use is basically a guarantee that I'll be sick for the next week. I guess on the positive side, we'll have a blue badge which should make things a bit easier. (I guess this is the point where I get accused by Daily Mail readers of only taking her for the parking)

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Re: 1st appointment at CX on Fri. What to bring? What to exp

Postby Christine » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:17 am

Oh dear. There seems to be so many cases of general administrative failure causing huge delays and wasting everybody's time. Ain't bureaucracy grand? I remember one of the senior clinicians at the local CMHT complaining about the "exponentially growing" number of managers who were causing enormous problems: I can recall seeing the occasional herd of them randomly wandering around the hospital grounds and it didn't take too much imagination to see the sort of problems that such a calibre of person could cause. The thing about the "gatekeeper" doesn't really surprise me, they do seem to continue to perpetuate the general perception that the whole trans process is hostile and unhelpful. Although it could be improved, in my experience it's a lot better once you're actually there.

I've also heard of people saying that they're not so keen on Dr Barrett, but other than him being very flippant (fine by me, since I am too: I've been "taken to one side" by managers about it before :D) and not taking my social phobia seriously (which was more irritating) I found him okay, he was quite helpful and positive.

I think it's hard for us able-bodied types to really imagine the trials faced by people who aren't. Good luck getting there, and try not to think about the Daily Fail. Newspaper comments sections regularly demonstrate the absolute worst that humanity has to offer, and the Daily Fail readers in particular are an unpleasantly mean-spirited rabble.

emma kate
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Re: 1st appointment at CX on Fri. What to bring? What to exp

Postby emma kate » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:53 pm

Hope your cold is no worse and you have a stress free journey to cx.I can relate to your stress and anxiety with not knowing what to expect from your first visit especially since it has taken 2yrs to finally get your appointment.I certainly was apprehensive prior to my first appointment especially as I was assigned Dr Barret as my lead clinician and I made the mistake of reading what were less than positive comments on some of the threads in this forum whish in my case turned out to be completely unfounded.I presented in male mode on my first appointment because my flights to London had been booked before I changed my name by deed poll and the airline wanted ÂŁ100 to change the name but it didn't go against me.What ever you fell comfortable wearing is the best choice.Your first appointment is a get to know you and your history of gender disorder.They do not set out to trap or trip you up but they do expect you to be honest with them and don't try to give answers that you think they want to hear.YoIf you have self medicated in the past be honest about that as well as they need to know in order to prescribe what is best for you in the furure.I was asked to go over to cx hospital for a blood test so they have a base level of your hormones and they can decide treatment from that.They do work on a measure twice and cut once principle so it is unlikely they will prescribe hormones on a first visit.Unfortunately that usually means a 6 month wait to see another clinician at cx to confirm your diagnosis.The 75 minutes fly by and it is not as daunting as it seems now.I think we spent 15-20 mins discussing my gender issues and the rest was general chit chat.I wish you all the very best and a positive outcome.Taking your spouse is a positive move and shows them that you have support.My ex wife who also has mobility issues has attended every appointment with me and it has been a positive experience for both of us.


SarahG
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Re: 1st appointment at CX on Fri. What to bring? What to exp

Postby SarahG » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:29 pm

Well, that trip went better than I ever could have hoped for. Dr. Lorimer was wonderful, and I got prescribed hormones on the first visit!

Went out in female mode since I am full time now, nothing extravagant, just a nice bergundy maxi skirt and plain black top, took a bit of time to do some natural looking makeup and get my hair nice (not to mention spending 50 quid at the hairdresser the day before!). I think I looked pretty damn good tbh.

It seems he really does appreciate honesty, so when I opened with "well, I know what the standard narrative is, and you're not gonna get one from me..." it seemed to go down well.

Told him about the self medding, even told him about my past history of abuse which I'd been intending to keep quiet, but I had to explain the massive gaps in my childhood memories.

The ridiculous amount of documentation I'd brought (basically anything with the new name) helped a lot too, proving I'd transitioned both in work and outside of work. I guess holding a security clearance and clearances from my individual customers is useful. All of it got taken into account and copies made.

Had a bit of a moan about how the Welsh NHS side of things went, managed to avoid turning it into a rant which is unusual for me, and was told that yes the Welsh system run one of the strictest gateway systems in the UK. Kept my mouth shut at that point, since my belief is that their system exists to avoid having to actually fund it, since they only started funding it at all after a group of six trans people took them to court. The last person I helped through the system had to make a complaint and threaten to sue before anything happened.

Turns out the dosage I'd been taking was basically correct, "sensible doses" was the term he'd used, but they don't like me taking spiro as it screws up blood tests, so I then handed over a full set of test results from late 2012. I was told he'd rather take something else (forget the name, begins with a D and is similar to Zoladex) which I can't get myself and I guess he figured may as well just prescribe me the right stuff, since it's pretty damn clear I know what I want and what I'm doing.

So assuming the admin don't mysteriously lose his letter, which I believe does happen quite a lot (they'd lost the name change details I faxed to them nearly a month ago!) I should be getting it all on prescription soon.

Next appt is in April with Dr. Andrew Davies, but I guess really all I need to do for that now is turn up and not make a complete scr*w up of it, and then wait out my two years of RLE.

Right now I'm basically just bouncing off the walls in happiness :3



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