Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Butlins and life

Blimey, life has been so hectic recently what with Lucy's heart issues, our first grandchild arriving, GIC appointments, work being manic, Pinks (as always) to name but a few.

Yes, we became grandparents for the first time on 28th January to a lovely little boy called Arthur thanks to my eldest son and his wife. He is totally gorgeous and his nannies Avril and Lucy adore him dearly.

Lucy had her second operation end of January and is now on the road to recovery. She is still getting out of breath and using the GTN spray but she is miles better than she was. She has had to pull out of a 10k run she was planning on doing in April and I think she will have to do the same for the half marathon that she is due to run in May. I think it is highly unlikely she will be able to do this as she is not even fit enough to get back to refereeing yet let alone training for and then running/walking a half marathon.

The staff at the hospital for the second operation were great with Lucy and were very understanding. They made a couple of little slip ups but nothing major. She felt relaxed enough that she showed them pictures of us out and about and they were incredibly complimentary and friendly.

All the health issues means that Lucy being out to one and all has stalled. Our plans were for her to tell everyone by end of Jan 2018 but we had to concentrate on her health first and didn't want to be worrying about fall out from anything else. So now it looks like we will tell everyone who doesn't know by the end of May, just before we go away on holiday to Cyprus for 8 days. This gives time for her health to improve and for us to concentrate in getting everything ready for 'go-live' day. I'm still surprised people have not picked up the signs, they really are there for all to see if only they really saw the person in front of them. The only person who has made any comment is my mum who has now mentioned several times how much 'he' looks like a woman! She still thinks she is being derogatory but doesn't realise how complimentary she is being!

Obviously not being able to referee is costing us financially but also this was the main source of fitness for Lucy where she would be running more than 20km a week. It also means that by the time she gets back to refereeing she will be fully out so there are all sorts of other issues associated with that. We need to have conversations with the FA not just to protect her but also a plan of how they are going to assign matches to her. She is quite high ranking for male football (she referees woman's football too but these games are lower and won't be affected) and she believes she will lose her ranking when she is full time..... this shouldn't be the case as that would be discrimination. In any case these are things that need to be addressed.

For the end of February we had planned a trip to Butlins Minehead with our friends Jennie and Ethan and actually this came at a good time for us as we needed the break away and Lucy was well enough to go. We had never been to Butlins before and went to Pontins with the kids 4 years ago and we hated it - dirty, horrid accommodation and rubbish entertainment, so we didn't know what it would be like. Lucy was also nervous as we would be in an environment with lots of families as it was a family weekend and half term and didn't know what to expect.

First impressions were great. The staff were really friendly and the accommodation was simple but clean and not tired or worn. The entertainment was amazing and the whole place was huge but clean and well kept. We paid to have the premium food and the food and the restaurant was lovely. The first night we didn't sleep much as the mattress was awful and we we went to guest services the next day and the mattress was replaced with a brand new one with 40 minutes! No quibble. How amazing is that! We went 10 pin bowling most days and just enjoyed meandering around.

We had a great time. Despite there being hundreds of families staying (it holds 9,000 people) only one little girl looked at Lucy all wide eyed and watched her as she walked.... it was an amusing moment. None of the other children didn't even notice her. A chap was coming down some stairs as we were walking up and he just couldn't help but stare openly so much so he nearly fell over. There were a couple of adults who stared at us but once I started staring right back at them they would eventually look uncomfortable and look away embarrassed that they had been noticed. All bar one of the hundreds of staff there came over as transphobic. This barman kept calling Lucy 'mate' and was just downright rude. I went over and he served me and was friendly and polite and didn't call me mate so we knew 'mate' wasn't a term he used generally. On the last evening Lucy confronted him and he was very defensive saying he called everyone 'mate' but we knew this was a lie. In any case, we had his name from the bar receipt and have raised a complaint against him. On the last day as we were preparing to leave a group of builders who were working on site walked past us and then all fell about laughing. Although they are not Butlins employees their company is employed by Butlins so we mentioned it on the feedback form.

There was one woman though who needs a special mention as for us she wins the idiot of the year award. We were playing crazy golf with Jennie and Ethan and had reached the 10th hole waiting for the 2 women and 1 child ahead of us. The older woman (in her late 40's) turned round and looked at us and said to Lucy "are you an honorary woman for the day?" WTF??!!! Lucy was wearing leggings and a tunic top, Ugg boots, fitted jacket, casual daytime make up, and had her usual hair. What on earth made Lucy look like she had been dressed up for the day??!! Once we got over the shock (we were seriously gobsmacked) I turned round and said she is a woman, a woman every day! Well I'm not sure if she felt embarrassed or not, her friend did, but she turned round and continued her game and when finished ushered her son and friend away telling him to move on to let these 'ladies' finish their game. As with all things, you think of a billion other things you should have said, "are you an honorary idiot for the day" but this did upset Lucy and it was on her mind for the rest of the break away. I kept telling Lucy just to forget it as it was said in ignorance however in my heart there was nothing that should have made this woman say this so I understand why Lucy was so bothered. Let's hope this woman has learnt by this experience. 

However we had such a great time that we are now booked to go back for an adult 80's weekend in November which also includes a fancy dress Halloween ball and again we have booked for 3 days in December between Christmas and New Year and are taking our youngest daughter M, Jennie and Ethan and their 6 kids will be going and now my eldest son, wife and their new son are also coming too. Can't wait!

Last week Lucy had her first GIC pre-op appointment. We saw the person we saw before, Vanessa Crawford. She is so lovely and we both feel very relaxed chatting with her. We updated her on Lucy's heart issues and medication and she has allayed our fears that it may hinder surgery. She has confirmed that Lucy will still be able to have surgery but just they need to be a little more careful with her. The appointment was really relaxed and went really well. She was horrified at the way Lucy was treated (as a transgender person) at the first hospital and mentioned that Dr Barrett would be more than happy to write to the NHS Trust but we said we felt we had it all in hand (more about this later). Lucy was told to think about whether she wanted her surgery at London or at Brighton and which surgeon she would prefer. There is no guarantee that you will get your surgeon of choice however there is a strong possibility you will. Apparently once referred the waiting time for surgery at London is 4 months and Brighton 6-8 months however the Brighton timeline is deceasing. We didn't have to make a decision there and then but we did indicate we would prefer London. From this you can tell she had no hesitation in giving 1st approval for surgery. The next appointment for 2nd approval is not until Jan 2019 with Gurleen Bhatia and as long as we get her approval Lucy could have her surgery as early as April/May 2019. Exciting! This also falls in line with our plan for a marriage blessing October 2020.

Straight after this appointment Lucy had her first voice coaching assessment session. Following this she will get 4 personal sessions and 8 group sessions. This was very interesting and despite Lucy laughing at some of the exercises she now has some exercises she needs to keep practising. The therapist was really good. I am glad I was there as I know what she should be doing and keep nagging her to practice! There is lots of humming going on in our house at the moment.

Last week she also had a scan on her thyroid due to the overactive thyroid she now has. Because of this she will need to see a local hospital endocrinologist so that could be an interesting discussion bearing in mind her situation. The scan went well although it did take the radiographer a few moments to realise I was not the patient. 

As for her treatment during her heart issues I contacted the trust PALS and without giving any details of any issue I asked them to provide me with a copy of their transgender patient care policy. After a week they came back and said that they don't have one and included another chap on the email and invited us to come in and be involved in the production of one. I responded that of course we would, however at this point in time Lucy had not had her second surgery and requested that they leave it a couple of weeks until Lucy was back on her feet. Well I did not hear anything for over a month so sent them another email:

This is a serious issue and Lucy's treatment (non surgical) contravenes The Equality Act 2010 and as there is no policy in place the presumption is that all treatment of transgender patients under the trust are more than likely contravening the Act.

Funnily enough I received a phone call within 5 minutes of sending the email. We are now liaising to get a mutually agreeable date for us to go in to discuss. Watch this space.