As angry as I am at having to have a mental health professional write a letter of recommendation before my insurance will authorize my hysterectomy, I’m quite pleased with how the visit went. I think it was about as enjoyable as an instance of gatekeeper bullshit could be.
I went into my appointment with Dr. K expecting it to go pretty well; I hadn’t had an appointment with her since last fall but I knew she was trans-friendly since I specifically asked about that before I initially started seeing her. She has a template she uses for this sort of letter; she hadn’t used it for a hysterectomy but had written letters for hormone therapy and other surgeries so she just prepared one that she read out to me, with the thought that I could help her fill in blanks where she didn’t have information and point out any wording that I wasn’t happy with.
What was really refreshing, and actually a little unexpected, was that Dr. K seemed to feel about as uncomfortable with the process as I did. When we hit a tough paragraph about my diagnosis with Gender Identity Disorder and its treatment, I told her that I’m not comfortable with that language but am ok using it to get my medical needs met, and she put the paper down and said “you know, this is hard for me too – I want you to know I don’t think this about you” which was a great moment and really put me more at ease. We then had a brief discussion about how she feels trapped by the gatekeeper nonsense too, and wants to get her clients the care they need while also respecting them. She agreed with everything I said about how gross and angry the process made me, and I hadn’t thought about how she might feel just as uncomfortable on the other side of things. So we were really on the same page, and it felt more like we were collaborating together to solve a problem than like I was a little kid getting a permission slip signed for a field trip.
She was, like me, confused by the “general identifying characteristics” item on the list of guidelines – we agreed that it sounds like something you’d write on a wanted poster. So she put my height in there, and I think described me as having a beard, glasses, and a septum piercing. She asked if she could put “enjoys crafting and baking” in there too, and I told her to go ahead, but it’s not in the final draft. I appreciate her dedication to taking absurd requirements overboard, though.
My appointment was last week before I left town for a few days, and I came home to a completed letter that’s already been accepted by my insurance. It’s a nice feeling, and hopefully I’m done with this and can get back to the important business of not thinking too hard about robot arms poking around inside me.