Time passed. I couldn't wait to leave school, but Mum encouraged me to continue to the end of Year Twelve. I wasn't academically inclined. I'd already made up my mind to be a secretary/typist like Mum. Thanks to her I could touch-type and my English was very good. Of course my chief aim in life was to transition and have a woman's body as well as a woman's mind. Alright, I knew it wouldn't be a perfect woman's body, but it would be as good as could be achieved now. Who knows, one day it might be possible to transplant ovaries and a uterus so that transgendered women can have babies too. Now that I had grown, my 'A' cup breast forms were too small, so I returned to the company in Brisbane and 'upgraded' to 'B' cup forms which I intended to start wearing as soon as I had left school, so that no-one would notice a sudden change.
I left school with some subjects passed, including English, and soon found myself a job as a secretary in a law firm. I had an advantage in that Mum had allowed me to type some of the less sensitive documents she brought home, although I wasn't stupid enough to mention that in my job interview. I just said that my Mum typed legal work and had taught me some of the terminology.
As soon as I passed my eighteenth birthday, I went back to the GP who had seen me two years earlier and told him that I had now lived full-time as a female for two years and would he please refer me to a specialist so that I could commence hormones and start to transition.
Dr Fleming leaned back in his chair and looked at me with some surprise. He referred to his notes and said. “Well Mandy, I have to admit that you've come a long way since I last saw you. So you are still determined to live permanently as a woman?”
“Yes doctor, more than ever.”
“What about your family, how do they feel about it?”
“They've been a great support to me doctor, they know that it's who I am.”
“Very well,” he said. “I'll refer you to a specialist, but you'll have to go to Brisbane to see him. His name is Dr Brentwell, and he has rooms in a large medical centre there. I'll ring and make an appointment for you.”
He lifted up the telephone and dialed a number. When the call was answered he told them his name and asked to make an appointment for me to see Dr Brentwell. There was a pause and after a while he said 'I see”, and made a note on a pad on his desk.
After he hung up he said “I'm sorry but it will be nearly a month until he can see you. He's very much in demand, but he is an expert in this field.”
“Thank you very much doctor.” I said, taking the piece of paper with Dr Brentwell's address, phone number and my appointment date and time.
Never did a month take so long to pass, but eventually the day came when I took my suitcase to the station and boarded a train for Brisbane. I had booked into a budget hotel, not too far from the medical centre where I was due the next morning. I didn't sleep much that night, and by seven o'clock I was showered and starting to dress. I wanted to look very female but not over the top like a drag queen. I put on a knee-length tartan skirt with a white cotton blouse, and wore pale tan stockings and pumps with three inch heels. The weather was warm so there was no need for a coat. I went down for breakfast, but I was so nervous and excited that I found it difficult to eat,
My appointment time was 11.15am and I arrived at 10.30. This was a mistake I suppose. It always seems that the more senior a medical practitioner is, the longer you have to wait to see them. In my case this was not a good thing. I picked up one of the magazines, but I couldn't concentrate on the content at all. Thirty minutes past the appointment time I was looking at the clock on the wall, and the doctor's secretary caught my eye and smiled sympathetically. Another twenty minutes past, and by now my heart was pounding and I was keyed up to the point where I was ready to run out of the waiting room. Doubts started to assail me. What was I doing here? Was this what I really wanted? Then finally I heard a door open and a young woman appeared and walked towards the receptionist's desk. She was blonde and quite pretty, and if I had seen her anywhere else I would never have guessed she was like me.
She caught my eye and must have seen how terrified I was because she then did something extraordinary. She stepped over to where I was sitting and touched my hand gently, saying “Don't worry, he's such a nice man and so understanding.”
I can't remember if I said anything in reply, but that act of kindness suddenly made me feel calmer, and I knew that is was right that I was there. As she walked over to the desk, another woman stood up and walked over to her, obviously a friend of hers, and I envied her that because I was on my own.
Just then I heard a man's voice say “Miss Collins?” I stood up and followed Dr Brentwell into his consulting room. He showed me to a comfortable chair and sat in another one facing me, a clipboard on his knee.
“Before we begin doctor, that young lady you just saw.”
“I can't discuss other patients,” he began but I continued “Oh no! I wouldn't expect you to. I just wanted to say that she was so kind to me just now in the waiting room. She saw how nervous I was and offered me words of encouragement. I...I wanted you to know that.”
“Thank you Miss Collins,” he smiled “It's very good of you to tell me that. I have here a letter from your G.P. Dr Fleming and he tells me he saw you two years ago when you were sixteen. Since then I gather you have been living full-time as a female?”
“Yes, that's right doctor. When I first saw Dr Fleming I was sixteen and he told me I was too young to receive any treatment and that I would have to live as a female for at least two years before that happened. I suppose he thought I was so young it might be a passing phase in my life. I was so determined that I actually changed schools so that I could live full-time as a girl. Dr Fleming now he accepts that I am serious in my intention to transition to living as a female, which is why he's referred me to you.”
“Well I can see that you pass very well as female,” said Dr Brentwell “In fact more so than many of my patients when they first come to see me. I will explain what can happen from this point. First I take a full history from you, and then you need a full physical examination and some blood tests. You will have to return for a second discussion and a review of your test results If you pass all of these stages satisfactorily, then you will be referred to an endocrinologist and can be given oestrogen therapy which will make your body more feminine. You will have to be monitored while the hormones take effect of course. The final stage is that you may undergo sexual reassignment surgery. Up until that point everything is reversible, but you have to be aware that once you have surgery, it is not possible to restore a functioning penis. should you should change your mind.”
I opened my mouth to speak but he held up his hand “I know you are going to say that you won't change your mind because that is what everyone says. What I must tell you is that a few of my patients have decided against surgery. There have also been a few cases, none were mine thank goodness, where someone has had surgery and then later decided it was a mistake and wanted their male body restored. Naturally they also looked for someone to blame for the position they found themselves in and that person or persons were the medical practitioners who had treated them. You will now understand why we are very careful in assessing all candidates for gender reassignment.”
“Yes doctor.” I replied. It occurred to me that the path I was taking was likely to be more difficult than I thought. Dr Brentwell then went on to take a detailed medical history from me, asking when I first felt that I was really a female, and my early cross-dressing and the effect on the family. He made notes when I explained how I felt it contributed to my father leaving, but he made no comment. I continued to describe my relationship with Tom and how I also felt responsible for his accident, and how bad I felt when he went away.
Finally Dr Brentwell asked “And did you ever have sex with him?” He saw me hesitate and said “You need to be totally candid with me Miss Collins. Nothing you say will go out of this consulting suite unless it aids in your treatment, and then only with your informed consent.”
“I understand doctor.” I drew a deep breath “I didn't have sex with Tom, but I did with another man. It was right after Tom left and I felt so lonely and miserable, I allowed myself to be picked up in a bar.”
“And was the sex oral or anal?”
“It was both, doctor.”
“And how did it make you feel?”
“After the initial discomfort I enjoyed it. It made me feel very feminine.” I hesitated again. “I spent the night with him. He was gone when I awoke in the morning and discovered he had left me some money.”
“And how did you feel about that?”
“I felt ashamed. I hadn't done it for money. I wished I'd done it with Tom. I wonder now if in some way I was sort of paying Tom back for leaving. It only ever happened the once.”
Dr Brentwell sat back in his chair and looked at me. He didn't look in the least bit shocked. I suppose he'd heard everything there is to hear about people's actions. I had flushed bright red as I confessed though. I didn't need a mirror to confirm that.
“Very well Miss Collins. Thank you for being so frank with me, that couldn't have been easy. I still have my certificate of general practise in addition to being a psychologist, so if you wish I have time to give you a medical examination and take some blood for tests.”
“Yes please doctor.” I said. I hadn't really expected to get this far at my first appointment. He showed me into the room next door where there was an examination couch, asked me to undress, put on a gown, and let him know when I was ready. The examination was very thorough, including my genital area, but I realised that there would be a lot more of this before I was through. He asked how long I had been using the breast forms, and I said it was over two years now as I had started at the time I changed schools to live as a girl full-time.
“Whoever supplied them picked a suitable size for you.” he commented.
“Well I did start with an 'A' cup.” I said “And as I grew older I changed to the 'B' cup I use now.” He smiled at that but made no further comment. Finally he took blood and placed it in several tubes with brightly coloured stoppers, and then told me I could get dressed.
When I returned to the other room, he told me that that was all for the first session. I should see him again in two weeks for the results, and all being well, he would refer me to an endocrinologist who would monitor my hormone treatment.
“There is one final thing though,” he said “And that is the cost. I am prepared to vary my fees according to a patient's capacity to pay, and also to bill you as much as I can in a way that you can claim on Medicare. However, you should realise that this will not cover all your costs and you must be prepared for some considerable expenditure which sadly Medicare does not cover at this time. Surgery, should you wish to have it, is much cheaper in places like Thailand, but still costs thousands of dollars, plus of course there are travel and accommodation costs involved. They have considerable experience in Bangkok so I have no hesitation in referring you to some surgeons over there.”
“Thank you doctor.” I said and he showed me to the door. I noticed he did not offer to shake my hand, something he would surely have done with another male. I went to the reception counter and spoke to his secretary. She asked if I would like to pay now, and I said 'Yes'. The bill was rather more than I had hoped, and I realised that I was going to have to save every penny I could. I made an appointment for two week's time and left the building.
Next time: My next appointment, and a new job
Author's note. This chapter and Chapter 4 modified due to errors kindly pointed out by reader Eric.
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