The day before the long awaited 2nd appointment with Stuart Lorimer (we had heard good things about him) was finally here. We had booked a stay at the Premier Inn at Chiswick which was a great price (£36 + £10 for parking) and only a 15 minute drive away from the clinic. Although the hotel was on a main road it was dead quiet and far superior to the Premier Inn we stayed in at Hammersmith last time (and cost £100 and £8!). We would highly recommend this hotel and the staff were all polite and friendly.
We did a quick trip to Asda on the way just to pick up some drinks... apparently.... and Lucy ended up spending a fortune on clothes and bras. I had told her before how sometimes Asda have some great clothes and we found the 2 sizes bigger bra range which I had previously mentioned to her as I wanted her to try this range as it could mean she could get rid of the inserts she has to use. There was only one in her size but we got it anyway - it was a great fit and did the job. She now has also bought a few more and doesn't need the forms any more. Another step in the right direction.
In the morning, as always, we were later leaving than we had planned but we still had plenty of time to get there for the 10am appointment. As luck would have it when we got to the clinic there was loads of parking right outside the door. Result! We checked in at reception and were told that Stuart Lorimer was off sick and that we would be seeing Vanessa Crawford. We hadn't heard of her but we were not worried.
We got called in dead on 10am by this little new age hippy type lady with really long dreadlocks and a very friendly face. She explained that actually they had tried to cancel Lucy's appointment this morning but we hadn't got the message (it was on Lucy's other phone but we hadn't noticed it, luckily as it turns out) so she would be taking the appointment. At no point did she say it wouldn't go ahead. She was one of those people that you felt so relaxed with and both Lucy and I felt that she really connected with us and understood our situation. She certainly could see how together and supportive we are as a couple. She explained that since the move to the control of Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust how they are trying to get better with the system, moved everything over to computer instead of paper but it seems it is not yet organised in an easy to find way, they have updated their phone system and are proud of the latest call stats (in the last month CX GIC received approx 2,300 calls and only 6 went unanswered) and they are making an effort to be better with their admin.
She went over some of the questions Lucy and I had been asked previously and updated our current situation. The session was very relaxed and there were a few jokes bandied backwards and forwards. She wanted to know about all the changes from the medication and it was a very open and frank conversation. The way it was between us all made the atmosphere great and was just like 3 friends having a chat. She asked a few extra questions and was speaking to me as well as Lucy and none of the conversation felt intrusive at all even though some things were quite personal to us both.
She confirmed that she would be agreeing for the GIC to take over Lucy's medication which was good news and they will still expect our GP to do the blood tests as they have been doing anyway so we so we do not anticipate any issues there. She couldn't confirm what form the medication would take as Lucy's record would be passed to the endocrinologist Dr Leighton Seal who would make the decision however Lucy mentioned that she seems to be reacting to the patches so a move away from them would be good and Vanessa made a note.
She also said that the waiting list for the voice coaching was about a year and although Lucy was referred in Nov 2016 she would double check to ensure she was on the list as it is very beneficial. She also recommended a book to read so we have ordered that already: The Voice Book for Trans and non-Binary people by Matthew Mills and Gillie Stoneham.
She asked about Lucy's hair removal referral. Lucy explained that this had been bit of a nightmare. She had received the referral and found a clinic but they had been having problems getting the confirmation from the person who had approved the referral. This was only sorted a few days ago when the clinic contacted Lucy quite frustrated and she then emailed the person and it all got confirmed so she is now just sorting out a date for her first appointment in the next couple of weeks.
Vanessa went over a few things and was happy with the progress that Lucy had made with her life and transition. She seemed quite impressed that we were involved in the community, not just for nights out but Lucy's involvement with Sparkle and my involvement in partner support. She advised that before being referred for surgical assessment they require you to have been on hormones for a least a year. As Lucy has been on hormones since October 2016 the next appointment would be in approx 6 months time and would be the pre-surgical assessment. While we waited for reception to book the date we were expecting something far longer as the timelines always seem to be skewed but she got her next appointment for 27 Feb 2018 and again with Vanessa which we were pleased about. Exciting times..... so far but actually so near.......
We came out thrilled with the way that the appointment had gone. This was definitely a good day.