Apr 15, 2009

Off to the eye Dr

I've been poked and prodded to share the following story and experience on my blog by my friend Cynthia. So, this is for her ..

In transition going into RLT "Real life test" one of the requirements is to change all your documentation into a gender appropriate name. This means going to the court and legally obtaining a name in your target gender, filing it with the DMV for a new license, SS for Govt issues, your financial and so forth. As thorough as one can be even after almost a year the old name still creeps up in areas that haven't been changed. In my case this past month it has been my eye Dr.

Every instance where I have had to change my name for an appointment the office had been notified of the change and noted my account. If they needed addition documentation they would usually say that they noted the account and just bring the new insurance card in at the next appointment. For instance when my dentist was notified they simply asked that I being in my new insurance card and that they had changed my account. They even used my new name 3 days before when they called to verify my appointment all without seeing my new card. I cannot stress how nice it is to not only have it go so smooth but have them call you and say .. Hi, Karyn has an appointment on!

Recently after my wife telling me that she wanted to go to contacts and looking into exactly what our insurance covered I decided it was time to go see the eye Dr as it had been about 3 years since my last appointment. I've never needed glasses but I've noticed in the last year or two that small print is becoming a bit tougher for me to focus on.

In other words .. it's time!

Now for the sake of the story I carry 3 separate types of insurance by different companies. Heath, Vision and Dental ..

When the call was made for the appointment it was realized that my name was never changed with the eye Dr's so Dee explained to them there had been a name change. Having done this with various other Dr's and services she has become accustomed to the old "We'll note the account" answer, but today she wouldn't hear that, instead she heard "Sorry we wont do that until you come in and provide your blue cross cards.


We have been going there long enough for the office to realize that we don't use blue cross for eye insurance, we use VSP! Under the terms of my eye insurance they need to verify make sure we have coverage for services provided and they have been doing this for years. This time they wanted my BCBS cards in ADDITION to my vision care cards.

When I asked Dee if she ever provided them before she said no, they never asked or needed them, so why all of a sudden am I being told they need them? They have no right to demand anything other than my ID and vision care of even the court order and I've refused to give them the cards.

The Friday before my appointment there was a call from the office to my home answering machine asking Kevin to please call back immediately upon receipt of this message.

Ok a couple of things to note ..

1) There is no Kevin that lives at my home or at that number. (unless the people asking had not been previously notified)
2) I was well aware when they tried to pre approve my VSP that they would get denied, after all they refused to use the name of the provider instead opting for my old name which has been changed on all insurance.
3) I wasn't calling them back! Enough is enough

I can only feel like this office had been less than accepting of my change. How hard was it to note the account that I would bring in a court order or whatever. So I set out to find a new eye Dr and succeeded in finding a really nice one.

When I got to the nee office I was handed a medical form, which I proceeded to fill out, and at the very top was the box M-F? When I looked at Dee and pointed it out she told me to just put F. Now normally I have no issue doing this but I am always confused in any health situation because you need to disclose medical status and medications, so I simply left it blank.

The Dr came out, asked for me and introduced herself to both Diane and I. She then took me into the exam room and proceeded to go over my medical history. Like most transsexuals I always face the dilemma of "to tell or not tell" but given the fact that I'm on HRT I felt it best to reveal. When she hit the medications listing I explained to her that I was TG and she looked at me with a stunned look on her face, jaw slightly open.

Dr- You mean you're um, you used to be a man and now you're a woman?
Me-Yup, that's exactly what it means with a grin on my face.
Dr- Um, wow I would have never guessed!!

When I explained that it can be tough because not everyone is accepting of it she seemed to be very compassionate to what we have deal with. She had also explained to me she had known one other but that person was a lot more obvious because they still had a lot of male characteristics in the face and proceeded to be wowed that I wasn't as obvious.

Normally because of my work I don't wear makeup, I don't wear anything extremely girlie. It's girl's jeans, girls T-shirt and usually my hair in a ponytail until I'm away from the machinery. So I guess to some degree I look tomboyish.

As she was getting ready to start the exam she put her hand on my arm and asked ":Do you mind if I'm totally honest with you?" I'm a very open and honest person so of course I said yes. She then reveals that when we walked in that she assumed Dee and I were a lesbian couple and that.. At that point I smiled and stopped her to finish her sentence. You thought I was the butch and she was the fem and she giggled and said yeah! .

All in all I found this Dr to be very open warm and accepting, someone I intend to use for my eyes for years to come. It's nice to find people like this in a world that constantly looks down on our plight!

Oh yeah, and now I need reading glasses, dammit I'm getting old!



Cynthia said...

Great story, old lady!

Samantha said...

Here's a thought for you. Maybe it's not age, but eyestrain from years of reading gauges, technical drawings and machinery. Hang n there Chica, your doing great! I love you eye doctor story, and the summary execution you gave the office of the old one.


P.S. The catcha word, I kid you not is sight...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting experience, but I am not surprised. You are so much a woman that others see it and do not think otherwise.

Funny that as I am reading this tonight, I just had my first eye exam earlier today, my first in 10 years. I had never been there before, and on the forms it only had the salutation instead of the M/F gender indicator. I left it blank as well, just in case. However, I did not list my medications - I guess I felt it may not be as important for an eye exam. Fortunately my eyes are in good shape (no glaucoma or any retina problems). However, I do have slight blurred vision both near and far sight, and opted to go ahead and get some nice glasses. Part of my vision problems can be for looking at a computer all day, but having the glasses will help when my eyes are having a bad day :)

I also had to laugh at the lesbian couple thing. I can imagine that others see that as well, since you both are a loving couple (although not sure you show any PDA while out and about). Still, it is all good.

Take care!

Tiana :)

VĂ©ronique said...

I saw an optometrist about a year ago, after I'd started on spiro and estrogen but before I was full time. When she asked about medications, I told her. As it turns out none of them has anything to do with vision. So even though I'm inclined to disclose in any kind of medical situation, in this case maybe it's not necessary.

It will be interesting to see if I get the same optometrist next year.