I trained as a kindergarten teacher, it seems so long ago now. I loved my job very much. I still miss it, but maybe it's no place for a transitioner. Once I began my transition I rapidly found that nobody would consider me for any of the jobs I applied for. I moved on into working for a community college where I work now with rather bigger students.
These days the classroom for the very young might be far more interactive but things like sand and water play still figure very highly because of their value in helping kids discover, play together and understand their surroundings. As a very new and inexperienced teacher fresh out of college I remember inheriting a huge collection of jig saw puzzles of varying size and difficulty from the teacher I replaced. I was bewildered as to why she had accumulated so many. However, I had a big class and I rapidly learned the value of these puzzles in streamlining the hiccups of a day where some children finish activities before others. There was always one great headache though, or sorrow for the boy or girl in question. That was when there were pieces missing, or even more heartbreaking, pieces from another puzzle. There is nothing worse. Sometimes I could help. I kept a small basket into which I put all the little things you inevitably find on a schoolroom floor at the end of the day. The children called it 'the bits basket'. There were always lots of orphan puzzle pieces in there. If a child was lucky, they would find their missing pieces there. If not they would feel frustrated and cross. Frustrated 5 & 6 year olds need handling carefully! There are often tears or worse.
Like any 6 year old I too get cross and frustrated too. There have been lots of tears. In transitioner's years I'm 7 now but there has been a trail of missing pieces and the wrong pieces in my life too. As well as the obvious body parts that don't seem to fit there's been the hidden frustration of a set of pieces related to my treatment that don't seem to belong to the same puzzle at all; a gender identity clinic in a big city hundreds of miles a way; a well meaning but eccentric local doctor; an endocrinologist in one hospital skilled in treating diabetes but with little clue about how to treat GID; a psychotherapist in another in a different county altogether. As a patient it's fallen to me to try and get these people to fit together and produce some sort of coherent treatment for me. It's about as easy as forcing together pieces of a Taj Mahal puzzle and one of the Eiffel tower. Even if you could force these pieces together you end up with a horrible picture :(
Yesterday I revisited the 'bits basket'. It was yet another hospital in reality. My old endocrinologist has retired. After protesting that nobody had reviewed my hormone regime in almost eleven months, I was offered a new one. Considering my experiences so far, I had little faith in this. I was nervous in the extreme at being seen by yet another practitioner. I needn't have worried. I was treated so considerately and listened to. True, nobody had sent him the results of my blood tests, but I had copies in my handbag having been in that situation too often before. It was so refreshing to talk to someone who seemed to understand my needs, who took one look at my blood results and pronounced the hormone regime I've been on for the last 6 years totally inadequate. It has now changed from 2 x 50 microgram patches a week to 3 x 100 microgram patches and 3 monthly prostap injections. I was shocked, I think I had gotten so used to my view of the brick wall that I never expected anything else.
At last then, I seem to have a good number of the right puzzle pieces, it looks as though this time like they might actually fit. I have a hormone regime which might now do some good and a surgical referral on the horizon next February if my hormone levels do as they're told. I have a psychotherapist who does something as well as listen. It seems like that mish mash of the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal isn't as good as it gets after all. Here's hoping, wish me luck.