I explained about the problem, explained what I'd been doing to try and counter it, and also that, again since the surgery, a problem I thought I'd left behind a long time ago had returned - last week I had an asthma attack for the first time in about ten years.
I walked out of the surgery with a monster prescription. In addition to my regular HRT repeat, which is due, I got a Ventolin inhaler and a steroid inhaler. The former looks just like I remember, but the latter left me dazed and confused by its appearance, which I thought similar to an alien artifact, and left me feeling like the world has moved on in ways I don't entirely understand, similar to when schoolkids these days talk about "year nine" and suchlike. I seem to be turning into an old fart.
A pleasant surprise was a prescription for diazepam (Valium), which I can use on the occasions when it's really bothering me. After being introduced to diazepam back in the Sussex Nuffield hospital nearly two years ago ("I'm really scared, is there anything you can give me to help?"), I must say that I've developed an appreciation for the stuff (I don't have a Valium habit, nor do I crave it at all - thankfully I seem to be blessed with a body which is fairly resistant to getting addicted to things, but I do appreciate the job it does when it's needed, in myself and in others). I'm debating whether to tell my mother or not (if you still read this, Mum, I guess I just did) - I suspect she would not approve.
After the trip to the doctor's surgery, and the follow up trip to Boots to get the drugs (which were all free - prepayment for the win), and a whole bunch of nice scented things to put in the bath (your prescription will take ten minutes, look at the shiny things in the shop while you wait! Buy them! Buy them now! Good consumer! Well done!), it was back home for a cup of tea before embarking on the second major errand of the day - getting divorced.
the_local_echo and I walked to the bank where we withdrew the court fee - £300. While I was waiting, I got to listen to a man on the bank's phone explaining at great length about how he'd lost his credit card down some narrow gap in a petrol pump by spectacular error, and imagined the poor call centre person on the other end thinking, "I don't care, just let me cancel it and get off my line - I want to go for lunch".
The cash acquired (ouch - that's a sizeable fraction of what I paid for my voice), we then walked to the county court, mentioned to the bored security guard that we "are here to see the nice divorce people", and he was kind enough to wave us round the apparently superfluous airport-style metal detector.
We explained to the lady at reception that we were here for an annulment, but we weren't sure if we'd filled the forms in correctly. She said that she'd get the person who dealt with annulments to come and talk to us.
A few minutes later, the two of us found ourselves sat round a table with a very nice lady who was being very helpful in a maternal way. She told us that she does all the IGRC annulments, and that she's done "four or five already".
Hang on - the Gender Recognition Act was passed four years ago. Apparently about 1 in 25 applications is for an interim certificate (i.e. for marriage annulment). Not everyone who transitions applies for a GRC, not all transsexual people are eligible for one either (because they haven't been transitioned long enough, don't meet some obscure criterion, or haven't transitioned yet (and may not intend to), for example), so let's say half of transsexual people in the UK have a GRC. I'd say that's probably an overestimate, at least based on the circles I move in.
That would suggest a transsexual population in South Cambridgeshire of 25 * 5 * 2 = 250. That's out of a population (Cambridge and its commuter belt) of about a quarter of a million.
Which suggests that about 0.1%, or one in a thousand people in this part of the world are transsexual.
Every time this comes up, someone repeats the mantra that there are "five thousand" transsexual people in the UK, out of a population of sixty million. That's less than 0.01% - a tenth of what I just worked out from the above "back of envelope" calculation.
So either there's "something in the water" in these parts, or the "five thousand transsexual people" estimate is complete nonsense, or a mixture of both. I suspect the latter - trans women in general seem drawn to IT careers, and Cambridge has one of the world's largest high tech clusters.
But still - one in a thousand; I was surprised. It would also suggest that about thirty people from this area transition a year - about ten times the number that the Primary Care Trust allocate funding for. Their stubborn insistence on not funding my surgery starts to develop a little more context.
Anyway, we went through the form - I think the nice lady enjoyed talking to two people who were not only getting divorced in an amicable manner, but possibly even looking forward to it. She was really, really helpful, reassured us that it should be done in time for the civil partnership ceremony in April, and said that we were welcome to keep ringing up to ask about progress, and that we should ask for her specifically. Working in the divorce department of a county court must be a soul destroying job at times, dealing with people whose lives are being dismantled around them, so perhaps it was nice for all three of us.
After she'd gone through the forms with us, Sylvia and I handed over the forms, our marriage certificate, my interim gender recognition certificate (we'd had it for just 48 hours), and the money, while holding hands, and then went and did some last minute Christmas shopping in the nearby Grafton Centre before parting company.
So far today I'd managed to get myself back on asthma medication after being symptom-free for ten years, got a prescription for Valium, had a walk in town, initiated divorce proceedings without the use of a solicitor, and done a load of Christmas shopping. That was before lunch. I think the Chai Latte and mince pie I had in Starbucks after that was well earned!