Thursday, 29 September 2011

An Incredibly Silly Girl

OK, I've been incredibly stupid.
I've not bothered talking to people, let things slide, let things get on top of me.
I have a lovely bruise on my arm as a temporary reminder of my stupidity.
Why? Well...

At about 1:30am in the early hours of Monday morning I woke up soaking wet with sweat.
I went downstairs and drank nearly two bottles of Lucozade. I then wandered back to bed, still dripping with sweat. Shortly after I was back downstairs having a drink of milk because my stomach felt a bit acidic, two bottles of fizzy blackcurrant drink will do that to you.

Of course it wasn't just that it was the painkillers I've been slowly overdosing with for the last few weeks, only slightly initially but up to nearly four times the daily recommended dose for the previous week.


As I say downstairs on the couch I realized that I'd gone too far with taking paracetamol, had let it get out of hand and didn't really want to die.
I prayed to God to let me get through the night and that if he did then I would seek help first thing in the morning. I was tempted to get up, get dressed and go to A&E there and then. The things that stopped me doing that were I wasn't sure I was in a state to go there on my own and whether or not I went on my own I'd have had to explain to my other half why I was going to the hospital. If she'd come with me then we'd have had to wake up her dad, who has been staying with us this week, and tell him.

I am so stubborn and pig-headed about things sometimes.

In the end I managed to get back to bed at 2am and get some sleep, even though I was still pouring with sweat.

6am and I was awake and out of bed as normal. I pottered around downstairs before everyone got up.

A shave, quick shower to get rid of the stale sweat and then I got dressed as if I was going to work. I sent my closest friend a text message to ask if I could come round to her place because I'd been really stupid and needed her to hold my hand. There was no way that I could face going to the hospital on my own.
At 8:30am I was ringing her doorbell.

Shortly after that we were in her car and driving into the town center.

Parking around the hospital is usually bad and Monday was no different. Rather than pay to use the hospital car park we drove to one of the town center car parks and left the car there. Its only a short walk back to the hospital from there.

I gave the receptionist at A&E my details and told her the reason I was there. She told me to take a seat.
Fortunately it wasn't busy at that time and I was seen by the triage nurse shortly after.

I went over why I was there and she filled in the paperwork and sent us back outside to wait for the doctor. Again it wasn't a long wait and we were back into the main department.

The doctor was really nice. Asked a load of questions and then took some blood so that they could check to ensure that I'd not done any damage to my liver. He also took the packets of paracetamol that I had in my bag, must have been about a dozen packs of 8 tablets in there.

With all that done he sent us back outside telling us that it would take between 20 minutes and an hour for the results to come back. In the end it took closer to 3 hours during which time we'd been for a coffee and then come back, stood outside A&E and then sat inside waiting.

When the results did come back everything was OK.

The doctor gave me a card with an appointment for the Tuesday to see the mental health team for follow-up. He'd assessed me as low risk. He was right, I'd scared myself so much that there was no way I was going to do something that stupid again.

After leaving the hospital I went back to work.

Before leaving for home I got a phone call from Alex, one of the nurses at the hospital who I'd contacted when I got into A&E first thing in the morning. We talked about what I'd done and a few other things.

Tuesday was a busy day.

I managed to get out of work and to the hospital for my 1pm appointment. The mental health nurse came to get me, explained that there would be two of them. She did most of the talking, asking me lots of questions. Her colleague took notes and asked the occasional question.

By the end of the appointment they were satisfied that I wasn't at risk of attempting to take my life again. They made some suggestions as to people I could contact if I did find myself experiencing similar feelings. They also agreed to send a copy of their report to my GP and also The Laurels GIC.

My GP is currently on holiday so I can't see her for a couple of weeks to follow up on everything.

The Laurels will get the report next week and the doctor will read it before I see him. I was told that its likely that what I tried to do will effect my treatment as the Primary Care Trust will want to know that I'm going to be able to cope with transitioning.

I fully expected that there would be some consequences. I'll find out what they are soon enough.

Right now I feel fine and know that there is no way that I would ever be able to do something like this again. There are quite a few people know what I've tried. My friend who was with me, the nurse from the hospital who my son has been meeting up with to talk things through and two women from church, one I bumped into outside A&E on Monday, the other I was meeting up with on Tuesday to tell about Jen.

If things start to get on top of me again I now know that there are plenty of people to turn to.

I have no intention of ever letting myself get so bad that I do something so irrational again. I've got far too much to live for and I don't want to become just another statistic.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Notes from a young man

In the last week I've found two notes written to me by my son.
The first one I found last Sunday morning slotted in between the keyboard and screen on my laptop:

Dad do you love me and my mum as much as you want to be a woman or do you not want me to love you as much as I did before you decided to do this. Think about this again for me and my mum before your appointment.
ps. Don't show mummy or talk about it.

He wrote that note after his mum had decided to discuss things with him last Saturday when I was out for the evening. I found out that he got upset when they were talking. What I haven't found out yet from either of them is what they discussed. I have tried but strangely neither of them can remember what was said. I did find some comments that my other half posted on Facebook. Don't know whether my son saw these comments because as soon as I did I told her that she shouldn't be making the sort of comments that she put because our son could see them, later that afternoon I couldn't find the comments so she might have removed them.

The second one I found this morning as I was sorting out some stuff:

I don't want to lose my mum like you because I'm starting to.

Maybe he did see the comments, maybe not. Either way his mum is showing him more that she is showing me.

I knew that this would be hard for everyone, didn't realise that my little boy would end up unable to talk to me and would resort to leaving me notes.




Thursday, 15 September 2011

Choices

"The people I was watching on television had had their choice removed, shockingly, brutally. I, on the other hand, was lucky enough to have a choice still. And I could chose to try and stay alive, whatever happened, whatever it took.

That day, I knew I wasn't going to commit suicide."

Calie over at T-Central posted a copy of a blog post by someone from the UK where they talked about how they had avoided taking their own life the day before 9/11.
I read through the post and when I got to the end found the above. I keep forgetting that I have choices.
I can choose to transition or not.
I can choose to take control of my life or let it all run away from me.
I can choose continue to live at home or not.
I can choose to pull my life around and choose to live or I can choose to let the darkness that has been afflicting me a lot recently overwhelm me and take my own life.

Day in, day out I have choices.

A lot of people don't.

Those that died in 9/11 or in the bomb attacks in London or at other places around the world never had the choice.

All of the children that we've seen over the years in hospital sick, and in a number of cases who have passed away, didn't choose to be ill or to die of their illness.

All of those children did have a choice though, they could let their illness beat them or they could choose to beat the illness.

About 8 years ago I was at my sister-in-laws, we were having breakfast and Tracey came into the kitchen with the newspaper. She showed me an article about a young child. The young girl had spent time in hospital being treated for cancer. A short while before Christmas she'd gone into a form of coma. Just before Christmas she's come out of the coma. Now, a week later, she'd passed away.

As I finished reading the article Tracey looked at me and said, "she was at the children's hospital when we were there."

Shortly after that I went out for a run. As I raced down the country lanes tears began to run down my face as I thought about this little girl who had been taken from her family so early in life. I told myself then that I'd do what I could to help youngsters like her and their families.

Since then I've done a number of runs and swims for charity.

In recent months I've found that I've began to let things drift in some ways. I've been letting events make choices for me. In the last 12 months I've seriously considered suicide about 4 times. Not because I've chosen to transition, that is the one choice I've consciously made and which I'm completely happy with. Its everything else in life that I've simply given up control of, stopped making choices about. Those are the things that have driven me to the brink of suicide. Those are the things that I have to take back control of and start making choices with.

The first thing I'm going to do is get it firmly into my head that I have choices and that I am not going to commit suicide. I am not going to because I still have that choice to fulfill from all those years back, I am going to keep helping youngsters like that little girl and her family.

I choose to do that.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Gender Adventure: I am not transgender because

Gender Adventure: I am not transgender because:

I came across this post via T-Central.

In some ways it parallels my own story, my own feelings.

I didn't grow up in a woman only household but I did grow up knowing a lot of strong, caring women. They were the product of the society that they grew up in.

The men I grew up with were strong and supportive, very much the traditional providers as the society they were raised in expected them to be. My grandad was a miner, my dad was a stoker on a steam train, a bricklayer and a factory worker.

My relationship with my father was and still is very good, he's the strong, silent type. He is totally amazing with his grandchildren.

Just like my grandad was with me. He taught me to play chess, he took me fishing the one and only time that I've ever been. I think if he'd lived long enough he would have taught me to drive.

If I'd ever needed examples of what a man should be then both dad and grandad were those.

I can relate to the bloggers feelings as to why they are transgendered. Fate has dealt me a hand where my mind and body don't match but I'm dealing with it at last. I just wish I could have written something as good as this to describe my feelings about why I am and am not transgendered.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

F64.0

Despite the weather this morning I managed to drive to Exeter. The SatNav told me that I would arrive at the car park with 10 minutes to spare before my appointment. Lots of time! The car park is about a minute walk from the clinic.
Ha!
I reached the outskirts of Exeter and ran into roadworks. Argh! Why today of all days did they have roadworks slowing the traffic down. Thoughts of trying to find a different route went through my head but there was no point as I was already on the most direct route into the city center.
25 minutes I was sat in traffic, nose to tail, heading into the city center. Eventually I found myself free of the traffic jam and the last two miles of the journey were done swiftly.
By this point I was so stressed out with everything that I was cursing. 20 minutes late for my appointment, I'd be lucky if I wasn't told that I had to remake the appointment for another day.
Fortunately, the counsellor dealing with me was OK and after a brief but slightly bizarre visit to the ladies, we sat down for the last of my 3 assessments.
I had to answer a few questions about my childhood and then had the chance to look over the report that had been written up for doctor to make his diagnosis.
I pointed out a couple of minor mistakes in what had been written and manage to ignore any problems with punctuation.
Everything seemed to be accurate.
Eventually I reached the summary at the end and found myself looking at those magical words "F64.0 male to female transsexual".
I had to ask what F64.0 meant and was told that it was simply medical speak to say that I was a transsexual.
The doctor still has to make the official diagnosis and could decide that I'm a F64.1 or dual role transvestite, I really hope he doesn't though.
The counselor said that is she'd not been sure of her diagnosis then she would have talked with the team to make sure. She also said in response to me asking if the doctor would make the same diagnosing that it was unlikely as the normally agree with her conclusions, however, there is that small chance.
I go back on the 17th October for the doctor to give me the good news that he agrees with the diagnosis, at which point I'll start doing everything I need to do in order to go full time next January. There's going to be a lot I need to do, not least making sure that I have enough clothes to wear to work for at least 7 days. Smart casual is the women's dress code, although I think they get away with outfits that are far from smart casual.
In the mean time I'm going to have to find an outfit to wear to the clinic when I see the doctor next month. Nothing too fancy but also nothing boring. I wore trousers to my first assessment. This time I'm going to go for a dress or a skirt. Something smart and casual that I can wear to go for a celebratory drink afterwards with my friend Kate.

When I left the clinic I did feel like a heavy weight had been lifted off me. I'd been feeling a bit down while traveling to Exeter. When I left the clinic I felt so much happier, more happy than I've felt in ages in truth.

Now I just have to explain what happened to my other half. Unsurprisingly she's not asked me what happened. She's not had a huge opportunity to ask but she has had the opportunity. I'll give her a couple of days to ask of her own volition and then raise the matter myself.

4 more months until I go full time. So exciting!

The wind it doth blow

Its nearly 6:30am.
Outside the rain is hammering down and has been for hours. The wind is blowing a gale and I've got to drive an hour to Exeter for my third and final assessment appointment at The Laurels. By the time I finish there I should have my appointment to see the doctor in order to get the official diagnosis of whether I am gender dysphoric or not.
Today's going to be a long and tiring day I know but an exciting one. A life changing one.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I love the smell of steam in the morning

Yesterday we paid a visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair. We only live an hours drive away to its a great day out for us.
My in-laws introduced it to us about 6 years ago and apart from missing it back in 2008, when my son was in hospital, and last year because I wasn't well, we've managed to get there as a family every year.
The first couple of years my mother-in-law and the wife's stepdad stayed camped there, then when they stopped camping they descended on us the night before. Now they drive the 2 hours it takes to get from their home in the Cotswolds to Blandford where the fair is held.
We have a great day.
After meeting up and getting into the site we start off with breakfast at one of the most popular food stalls on the site. Yesterday there was a waiting time of 20 minutes for a full English breakfast by the time we arrived and that was just after 8:30am. Ordering the food is simple, getting a seat is the challenging part as there are so many people waiting for someone to get up so that they can grab their chair.
For the first time since we've been going there I cleared my plate of the sausage, bacon, fried egg, friend bread and baked beans that were piled on it, then because the children don't like friend egg or bacon I ended up eating theirs. Fortunately all those calories were worked off during the day.
Breakfast out of the way we headed off to look around the fair.
Everybody in the group has different things that they are interested in. The wife's stepdad likes to look at the Shire horses and disappears to their arena. My wife, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and neice like to browse the stalls in the shopping village. My son and I head off to look at all the steam and military vehicles.
This year is the 70th anniversary of the Diamond T truck and as luck would have it we happened to be walking passed the heavy haulage arena when they had 6 of the lorries pulling and pushing a trailer carrying a large cylinder around the arena. The announcer came over the tanoy system to inform everyone that they believed that we were witnessing a world record for the number of Diamond Ts connect together and moving an object.


How they managed to find enough space to turn around at the top end of the arena I don't know! There must have been some really impressive driving somewhere.
My son and I then proceeded to wander around the rest of the vehicles. As much as a day is enough for us to visit I can understand why enthusiasts can spend days at the fair, camping overnight. Listening to the owners tell the stories behind their vehicles is wonderful.

We listened to one owner tell the history of a steam driven racing car called Whistling Billy, made by the White sewing machine company. I've seen pictures and film of race cars from the early 1900s but never realised that there were steam powered ones.

Another owner explained how the makers of the car that he had brought along set a challenge for any potential buyers. The car would be set up so that it had the maximum pressure that it could take and then the buyer could take it for a drive. If they could keep the regulator fully open for a minute then they could have the car for free. As the car was steered by means of a tiller, the speed would continue to increase while the regulator was open and that it had no brakes, this was an incredible challenge. One mistake in steering and you would crash. Its unlikely that anyone ever completed the challenge.

After my son and I had finished with all the vehicles we made our way to the horse arena to catch up with the rest of the family. Unfortunately we discovered that nobody was where they were supposed to be but eventually we managed to track down people.

After a brief wander through the food hall, two pairs of tired feet needed a rest and so we sat down to watch a hilarious display by Cyril the Squirrel and his racing terriers.
The dogs were amazing, especially when they appeared carrying miniature jockeys.
The section where members of the public could race their dogs was even better. One dog got its teeth into the lure that was used to entice the dogs to race up and down and wouldn't let go. It took 5 minutes before its was encouraged to let go. Not all the dogs were interested in racing as the moment that they were let loose there were dogs all over the arena, several showing a lot of attention to each other. The crowd were loving it.
Finally the children in the crowd got their chance to race against one of the dogs. About two dozen children of all ages up to young teenagers came out to race. The youngest had the biggest head start with only two yards to run to the turning point, the older children had about 5 yards to run. There was definitely a bit of cheating on the children's part as several were heading back to the finish line before anyone knew it. The dog lost to one of the children but it was really fun to see them all enjoying it so much.
The display finished with one of the terriers racing up and down the course and jumping through hoops of fire. The speed with which the dog was up and down the course and through the fires was incredible.

With the display over we wandered through the craft hall. My son bought himself a radio controlled helicopter which he can fly inside the house and out. Should be really good fun. I bought myself a silk fan, I've been meaning to get one since I borrowed one when I went to Bristol and did my burlesque debut. Now I've just got to return the one I borrowed.

Shopping over we headed back towards the fairground. Everyone else either went to the beer tent or to the cars to offload the shopping that had been picked up. I ended up on child watching duty and took the children around the fairground. After a half a dozen rides, including one on a rather interesting steam yacht (a bit like the pirate ship ride at modern amusement parks), the three of us went to catch up with the rest of the group who were all now at the beer tent. Everyone else was enjoying a drink so feeling obliged to do the same I wandered into the beer tent, looked over the various real ales on offer and selecting a nice pint of Sharp's Doombar.
The rest of the evening passed quite pleasantly with everyone sitting down to enjoy hot dogs or burgers and chips before wandering back towards the cars with a brief stop for the children to hold some owls.


All in all a pleasant day where I got to spend some quality time with my son. Who knows next year we might get to do it again, except it will be Jenny that he wanders around with. If so I think we'll stick with looking at the vehicles and not joining the rest of the girls shopping.