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the thing that should not be

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Jan. 13th, 2012 | 03:34 am
location: beneath human
disposition: disappointeddisappointed

It's the little things, I guess.

Today, I had an appointment for a consultation with the breast surgeon for removing the lump.

Click the cut link to read the details of that visit.
Upon arrival, I was immediately given a clipboard of forms to complete in the waiting room. As I typically do these days, I left several of the questions blank: M or F in multiple places, whether I've had my ovaries removed, etc. When I handed it in, I simply added, "If I could, I would rather fill out the parts I haven't completed in the room with the doctor." I don't know how that was taken back there but in the least they used restraint and didn't embarrass me in the lobby.
 
When I was sent back to a room, I was told to take my top off and put the gown on that buttons in the front. Then a nurse came in and asked me questions like how long the lump had been there and why I was coming in now. She seemed to simultaneously suggest that I was stupid for waiting so long but that if I hadn't come in before that I shouldn't have bothered now, either. Defensively, I said that I hadn't had insurance and she then nodded as if we were now co-conspirators to rip off the insurance company.

The gown was more like a poncho and seemed like an odd invention.  It barely covered anything at all and then only temporarily. I wondered for whose benefit such a thing is until the doctor entered the room with a student. I suppose this is a necessary evil but I often wish this were an option. So along with the doctor and his nurse, a teenage girl was there in the room with us.

If I were casting a movie, I think I would always cast Ron Rifkin (agent Sloane from Alias) as a Jewish doctor. The image seems to reinforce my distrust of them. This season he wants to save my breast but next season he may order to have it killed because it knows too much.

He shook my hand a little differently each time and I wasn't sure if he had yet committed to a gender for me. He had me open the poncho and first place both my wrists on my head. He felt each side and found the lump. Then he rest an arm on his shoulder while he did this strange rhythmic pat-down of each beast. He stopped where the lump was and produced a measuring tape then announced to his nurse 3cm by 3.5cm.

He then proceeded to explain what had already been told to me by the imaging people. He said that if I preferred he could use a large needle to extract the tissue for a biopsy or we could just go ahead and remove it. He gave three scenarios in which the most likely was non-cancerous, the less likely was pre-cancerous, and the least likely was cancer. He asked if I was using hormones and then asked, "And that will be chronic, right?" I wanted to think about the question but regardless of the insinuation, I knew what he meant literally and just said yes. "Then yeah, it would be better to go ahead and remove it."

I asked about the incision and he drew a line on the top of my aureola with his finger saying that it would be inconspicuous. He made it seem routine which I suppose was the only comfort I could find. He asked if I had any other questions and I didn't. I felt as if I hadn't studied hard enough and wished I had more questions to ask him. I was then told to go ahead and get dressed and come out so they could get the surgery scheduled.

We now interrupt this story to explain some basic manors.

Do not construct nouneless statements for transgendered people.
When I came out, the head nurse - office manager walked me to the scheduling person's desk and then said, "...wants to schedule the surgery as soon as possible." The missing noun really bothered me. It was as if she knew not to call me he but wasn't willing to concede in her personal definition of female enough to call me she, either.... and a name would have just been too much trouble, entirely. I'm tolerant of gender confusion... to the point of generally having a policy of "non-correction," but this was something different. This wasn't confusion. This felt more she was saying, "Because you chose to be born transgendered, you have forfeited your right to have a pronoun, subhuman."

Refer to someone as the gender that person is presenting.
If someone hasn't specifically told you otherwise, always refer to a person as the gender that person is presenting as. If RuPaul says, "Oh no, honey, I am a Drag Queen, you can call me HE," then that's another matter. For everyone else, if a person looks like a girl and presents as a girl, please simply bend your little mind into suspending your personal criteria for female and refer to me as female. It really is just that simple.

If number or gender of a person is unspecified, use "they" only as a last resort.
The evolution of English grammar suggests that the word, "they" now be used when gender is ambiguous or unknown. As a defender of the good king's English and of gender equality, I implore you to do this only as a last resort. It is better than being flustered and making a scene but only by a little. Using "they" is preferred to "it."

Never call someone it.
It suggests that the person is not human at all or is yet undefined. If an abortion debate was had strictly based on the language then one might argue that we are not human until the gender is identified, whether that be via ultrasound or written on the side of a cigar. "It's a girl" is not only a recognition of gender but a transference of humanity to the person. Calling a person it may also recall scenes from Silence of the Lambs, which has its own share of associations.

I think sometimes that other people really just don't think we deserve the same respect given  to other people. It is as if we forfeit our rights to be treated as other people by being different. Yet, people refer to the most hated of enemies and criminals by their preferred gender. No one calls Hitler she, they, or it... and rarely is the noun left off entirely even on moderated forums where the name isn't allowed to be spoken.

And now... back to our story.

I couldn't tell whether everyone was "in on it" or not. The person doing the scheduling either didn't know or knew more than most how to be respectful. It surprised me when she produced a prescription for a pain killer. She said I could get that filled before the surgery. She then explained to avoid blood thinning things like aspirin for the next two weeks and other things of that nature. She went down the list of things that included, "Let the doctor know if you are pregnant," without hesitancy.

Another of the office workers entered the room with a large grape soda. One of the other ladies there said, "Oh, that makes me want to get some ice cream and make a grape float." The scheduling girl said she preferred Coke floats and then the other lady yelled over, "What's your favorite kind, Kelly?" I wondered immediately if she was just trying to get me to talk so she could decide which gender I "really" was but since she was being polite I asked, "You mean favorite kind of float?" She innocently clarified, "Yeah... do you like root beer?" I thought for a moment as if answering something important and said, "Yeah, probably root beer," and she nodded.

The scheduling clerk said not have food or drink after midnight the night before, and other things of that nature. This prompted  me to ask if I would be unconscious. She said I would and then re framed her answer by saying that I would be in a "twilight sleep." I asked, 'Then I probably should plan for someone to drive me home." She said yes and said that if you've had anesthesia that you have to have someone drive you to be released.

I had not eaten all day and was starting to feel it when I saw that McDonalds had the McRib on their sign. I laugh at myself for liking the McRib and between that and the Coke, it was enough to keep me from crying until I got back home.

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