In my previous post, I mentioned that after my ER visit I rhetorically said "But I really do wonder what the documents they reviewed actually list as my gender." That ER's medical facility does not automatically send copies of patient records to doctors who are not practicing there, such as one of mine. So I stopped by the hospital (at the reception desk, once again I was "miss-identified by the clerk) and asked for directions to the medical records office. When I arrived, I showed photo ID and arranged for the file to be sent. In the process, I obtained a copy for myself. After inspection, the answer to my own question is "All records show my correct birth gender."
That only leaves the question of "Why all the 'miss-identifications?'" My true feminine appearance? Lest I over-rate my femininity, "only if they need their eyes examined." In this instance, I wasn't wearing makeup and it actually was 5 o'clock in the afternoon - so my "shadow" was showing. Extreme political correctness? Perhaps, but somewhat doubtful. Maybe a combination of the two? Perhaps more likely. "Paperwork started by the triage nurse and bearing the 'F' identifier may have been used for the exam, but apparently later corrected by someone along the way (maybe in writing reports after the CAT scan)" seems to be the most reasonable answer. With the final record's accuracy, there shouldn't be future problems in obtaining medical service, especially since transition does not appear to be an imminent prospect...if ever.
But time will tell...and yes, it was nice to hear "Ma'am." Even if they "were" just being politically correct.
As for the issue of my mother's missing brassieres: The lost ones still have not been located, but I went through the suitcase of Mom's lingerie in my basement. There, I found lots of likely candidates, one tagged very close to the size estimated by the aide and many approximately the same dimensions. When I took two of them with me the next morning, her aide did not use a gender-specific greeting for me...she was just very friendly. I used a Sharpie to put her name in both of them when I first arrived. So, hopefully future loss should be avoided. The aide tried them on Mom with me in the room, but I faced toward the window, with both Mom and the aide at my back for their privacy. The good news is: both bras fit (which logic says they should, since she has neither gained nor lost weight since she last wore them many years ago.)
Plus, I know there are more where those came from...
A few days ago, I encountered a very interesting - but sad - display of ignorance as I dropped off a copy of the ER report to my Primary Care doctor's office (just in case they hadn't received it like they were supposed to.) My wife and I arrived in our car, and I parked in the first available space. I was wearing light gray capris, a blue boatneck tunic top, pantyhose and ballet flats, with my purse, necklace, long hair and nails. (No picture, sorry!)
As I exited the car (my wife stayed there since it would be only a short visit), I noticed a mega-heavyset, jovial-sounding (?fiftysomething?) lady seated on a bench in front of the medical office building, laughing and talking religion with another lady, who was getting into her car. The closer I got, the more I could hear biblical quotations passing back and forth between them. (Note to self: This should have been a danger alert, not that it would have changed anything.)
Once she noticed me, her smile abruptly disappeared, she got very quiet, and her eyes locked on me as I approached, like radar onto its target. There was no greeting, just a wilting glare, which started from about 30 feet out and lasted until I passed her. Fortunately I was wearing dark (women's) sunglasses and could watch her with impunity, simply by moving my eyes. I couldn't resist following this display.
But here's the best part: unbeknownst to her, the bench she was seated on was strategically placed in front of a huge window, which (due to lighting at that time of day and the shadow from the car-port) gave a mirror-like, well-lit reflection of her sitting on the bench after I passed, without my actually turning around to look. This was vital, as she continued to stare, and craned awkwardly around on the bench once I passed (a major accomplishment, given her extreme plus-size and the fact she was wearing a dress), continuing to glare at me as I entered the building. While I'm absolutely certain many others have done double-and-triple takes before, it's the first time I've experienced this type of extreme hostility, at least when I've been able to "receive it." Normally, I don't have the opportunity to know - and truly don't care - if people stare once I pass them. It's their problem to deal with, not mine. But this was too egregious, so I planned a tactful response.
When I came back out to the car a few minutes later, she was looking away from the door, apparently staring at "nothing," in deep contemplation of "something." (Gee, I wonder what??!!) When she sensed someone coming up to her from behind, she looked around, seemingly startled to see me, with that "deer-in-the-headlights" alarmed expression on her face. I couldn't resist giving her a big smile, and said "have a beautiful and blessed day, Ma'am" to her in my deepest male voice, as I kept walking. She choked up for a few seconds, then gurgled the same sentiment back at me, but with a scowl. She looked so genuinely angry as I passed by her, I thought she might have wet herself. As I got into my car, I couldn't help but notice she was still glaring angrily. Wonder if she spotted the fact that I was traveling with a woman?
I almost felt like rolling down the window and breaking into a rousing rendition of "Don't Worry, Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin's cute little song you may remember, from 1988:
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
And so on...3 more verses.
(For the rest of its lyrics, go to the source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/onehitwonders/dontworrybehappylyrics.html)
But I refrained, because 1) my wife was in the car with me, and more importantly 2) the lady would probably have called the police about this weird guy in girls' clothes, singing to her from a car in front of the medical office building. Not a good scene, since my license plate would be in plain view of her (and the security cameras) as I drove away. I'm not going there...
That's undoubtedly the most blatant example of the ultra-conservative Republican, strict "religious fundamentalist" side of the Delmarva I've experienced (but including anywhere, not limited to the Delmarva.) Fortunately, I've escaped overt displays previously...and hopefully my luck will continue, this incident notwithstanding. However, you can make book on the likelihood that I'll be the subject of a "fire and brimstone" church sermon, come Sunday.
To each, his/her own...
Following is a picture from the turn of the century (sounds so long ago, doesn't it?) Yours truly, with a bit less feminine appearance (as I was growing out my hair), standing amongst the spectacularly beautiful rock formations in Monument Valley, Utah in 2001. Can't you just picture the Marlboro Man riding off into the distance, smoking his Marlboro? (Sorry, showing my age there...that cigarette commercial ended many, many years ago.)
Yes, we travel a lot.