Snapshots –part II

Sunday 7/26 –Relief

Sleep measured in hour blocks. Girlfriend or Mom emptying my Foley bag; bless them. Time for Motrin, Colace, antibiotic, other scripts. Packing –both medical and body manufactured- increasing discomfort. Surgical packing pressing in all kinds of places in my pelvic area. Not possible to be comfortable for more than a few minutes. Crossword puzzle. Coffee. And then it happens…and happens…and happens JJJ Boredom suppressant becomes some crime or law show of varying names, with varying stars. Suggestion: install a VPN on your laptop to surf internet more safely, don’t trust the open hotel wifi. Make our pilgrimage to the local exterior strip mall for meal supplies, walk the length and back, over did it L, Starbuck’ Frappuccino –WORTH IT. More and more ice on crotch. Will swelling ever go down? Why are there so many rainbow colors spreading??? My body shouldn’t be those colors. Girlfriend –normal, signs of healing. More walks around the hotel grounds. Bedtime.

Monday 7/27 –Ditto-ish

Sleep still measured in hour blocks. Mom or Girlfriend emptying my Foley bag; bless them. Time for Motrin, antibiotic, other scripts. Surgical packing pressing in all kinds of places in my pelvic area increasingly uncomfortable. Comfortable positions measured in minutes. Stand lots, feet want to be hands, if for some relief. Strap on the portable, 3oz Foley bag. Crossword puzzle. Coffee. Empty bag. Walk to breakfast. Empty bag. Boredom suppressant still some crime or law show of varying names, with varying stars. Empty bag. Confirm post-op for tomorrow, building anxiety. Empty bag. Hotel grounds walks. Empty bag….change to 23 gallon size, overnight Foley bag.

Tuesday 7/28 –Easter Egg Colors

Slept well, for first time in days. Mom or Girlfriend empty my Foley bag; bless them. Time for Motrin, antibiotic, other scripts. Strap on the portable, 3oz Foley bag. Surgical packing pressing in all kinds of places in my pelvic area increasingly uncomfortable. Comfortable positions measured in minutes. Neck pillow/butt donut flattening from over abuse, er, use.

Nervously anticipating the removal of the Foley tube(GONNA HURT!!) packing removal(HURT?? TICKLE?? BLEND??). Moment of truth, focus on music in background, deflate balloon(WHAT?!?!?) now pull out Foley tube –stings! Over in a moment though. Packing next, 33-foot long pincers glide in, aimed in my newly created genital area! Tease out a tail of packing. Eyes closed, don’t want to look at the magician’s trick taking place in my crotch. Tickles? Not unpleasant, feels unusual. Event is over. More comfortable sitting already. Picture sent to surgeon –“Nice Easter Egg Colors.” Is that a compliment? Apparently yes.

Dilation. Di-what??? So soon after removing stuffing, I need to put THAT inside me?!?! A solid hunk of molded plastic designed for pleasure in a certain sub-culture. Tip down, under pubis, straighten out, apply gentle pressure, gentle twist, push up to the penultimate white dot. Where is that IKEA cartoon instruction guy? I feel it in my throat. Do this three times a day for 15 minutes. All I can foresee is the sutures unraveling like a sweater.

Hotel and on my own, sorta. Sheet like a tent over my legs. Girlfriend cheering me on(don’t make me laugh). My mom a few feet away, consider embarrassment as a rational fear in this moment. Moms should never be around while their trans-daughters are dilating. Forty-five minutes total time for a fifteen minute exercise. Enjoy sitting on couch in relative comfort.

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Snapshots –part I

Wednesday 7/22 –SURGERY DAY

Arrive at Hospital at 6:00a for admission, 7:30a curtain call.  Prior having showered…and NO COFFEE!  Wear a NASA inspired surgical gown, which gave new appreciation for IKEA instructions as to use.  Hand over jewelry to my girlfriend for protection.  Pre-op picture.  Nurses were amazing all three of them.  Seemed like there were an endless supply lurking just outside the sliding door.  Anesthesiologist comes in, looking too young and with an endless supply of yuk-yuk animal jokes.  None worth remembering, sorry E-  stage one of a sleepy solution flowing through me.  I get a look at my surgical team, after having been wheeled down a winding hallway to the surgery room.  Strapped in crucifix position, I don’t remember my last image.  Maybe the bank of circular lights as if an abduction.

Missing time

Awaken in recovery, so im told.  Post-op picture.

Now in my own room.  Nasal oxygen tube, throat irritated from intubation, other tubes inserted in my groin area, all kinds of tape and gauze embracing my pelvic area.  Thanx to Morphine and her friend Percocet, no form of pain.  Side effect of very real constipation.  A few short hours after anesthesia fades, post my status to those who matter, of course my nearly 40 friends and family on facebook.  Celebrity.  Love to all and doing well.  OMG! It is real.

Thursday 7/23 –DAY ONE POST

After an impossible night sleep?, I meet my nurses taking my vitals.  Low blood pressure, for them, I’m fine I say, more or less normal for me.  Mom and girlfriend sharing private room.  Comforting.  Appetite returned, not surprising from not eating in over 48 hours.  Waste removal does not return for another 4 days- though I jump ahead.  Every nurse, on every shift, every day attending my recovery were AMAZING!  Ice bags, playing with the bed controls, finding a “comfortable” position, for a moment. Be it the morphine, or whatever cocktail of drugs, or my own body’s response, I feel no pain.  My bracelet is scanned more times than a family of 4, self-checkout grocery shopping.  Laughter with family and nursing staff.  Some form of L&O marathon as a boredom suppressant.  Meet my surgeon in the evening, giant smiles and assurance of a beautiful result.  Mom and girlfriend leave for the night, silence of sorts, reminiscing.  Try at reading “City Lights poetry anthology.  Sleep.

Friday 7/24 –DAY TWO POST- WALK DAY

Better night sleep.  Constipation getting more uncomfortable.  Cease morphine and Percocet, dose on Motrin.  Pain not apparent, still at a 1.  Nursing staff FANTASTIC!  They love to scan my bracelet.  Time to venture out into the hallway, beyond the veil of my room’s curtain and door.  Foley bag an anchor to bare, ease off the bed like a gazelle –reality is I position into a sitting position as a boulder coming to rest and lean forward to my feet like a muppet.  First step, notable.  Make it 2 laps around the hallway square.  Hours later, up and around again, out for about 20 minutes, big smiles.  Pain meds not wearing off.  Surgeon visits again, happy with my recovery, going home tomorrow.  Constipation could last up to 4 more days –flush me with Calgon.  Girlfriend and I take a final romantic stroll around and through the surgical floor, 30 minutes later return to room.  Night time and off to ring in the early hours in delightful discomfort.

Saturday 7/25 –DAY THREE POST –DISCHARGE DAY

Mixed emotions, am I truly going back to my hotel?  Will the JP tube hurt coming out? What if I start bleeding? Sutures pull out? Infection? Can mom and girlfriend really handle the(in my mind) pending crisis?  What if I never use the bathroom again? Last day nurse M- comes in for my morning bracelet scan and dispensary of pills.  I’m only taking Motrin, no serious pain killers, I’m strong I’m told. Girlfriend walk many figure-8 laps around the floor. Surgeon arrives and pulls out the JP tube, burns a bit, not painful.  Will hole close up?!?! Relax, yes, it will.  Emotional sendoff with uber pleasant nursing staff. Goody bag of pads, ointment, swabs, latex-free gloves(size L), Victoria’s Secret panties…

victoria's secret panties
victoria’s secret panties

At least I’m in civilian clothes…back at hotel, stand or lie down? What is that adage about 2 evils? Donut –really a travel headrest – used on my buttocks moderately eases comfort for minutes at a time.  Feel like a sand dune, constantly adjusting.  More romantic strolls with girlfriend around hotel grounds, travel sized Foley bag strapped to leg.  Eat while standing, this could be a thing.  Off to bed, hanger under mattress to hang large Foley bag, mom –genius.  drift into Motrin sleep

post breakdown and bowel prep…not haha funny

4:30am Crossword and word jumble puzzles…5:30a onto second cup of black coffee and a small bowl of cereal -just in case.  stress tension stomach…mindless middling to occupy myself…finally-

the phone rings.

I leaped to answer it in one anticipatory stride.  Nurse on the other end gives me the ALL CLEAR!  Giant hugs all around 😀 😀 😀

Out shopping for the last minute necessities for my day of ‘cleansing’

tomorrow is my BIG day, a lifetime in the making day, day of re-birth 😀 😀 😀

Consults…meds…and a breakdown

Yesterday was my official meeting with my GRS surgeon.  Continuing on with our hectic Sunday, we head out to Weight Watchers, for my girlfriend, so-so news there, then on to my pre-op meeting?, interview?, consult? With my GRS surgeon.  Her office is nestled in a quaint hamlet of southern CA.  after a 45 minute wait in her office, met some wonderful people with similar, er, identical life processes.  After my consultation, wonderfully verbally exposed in front my mother and girlfriend, we head out to fill the shopping bag of pharmaceuticals and during the wait slipped into a cozy bookstore and of course, as always, didn’t leave empty handed 😀

Now, we’re off to the hospital for my intake, pre-op meeting?, interview?, consult? with the nurses and leave some blood for whatever cocktail of tests and readings they need.  All goes expectedly well, so now my distracted focus is on getting my mom and girlfriend to see Fisherman’s wharf.

We make it to San Francisco, and walk around Pier 39 for a spell, and decided on a poor decision for a meal.  Waiting, I see a voicemail from the hospital –apparently I find out my phone service isn’t nationwide :O –so make a frantic return call and they tell me I need to have updated blood work for some questionable liver function and blood specific issue.

So…that was all I could handle.  I had a breakdown, sobbing in worst case scenario fears, for the whole 45 minute journey back to the hospital.  I couldn’t handle anything more, I broke down with all the stress, concerns, fears, expectations.  My body’s emotional limit burst it’s banks.

Now I had to look forward to a restless night (sleep?) and a morning of black coffee(not my preferred method of imbibing that nectar of bliss)

Tomorrow –now today- will be a fearful morning of anticipation.  For a lifetime of waiting, these next few hours will define my resilience of making it to become the woman I was to be born as…or terminate this CA excursion and head home with Mont Blancian disappointment.  Should that occur, I question if I will have the reserve to shoulder on.

34,000 feet

so starts physical journey towards being the woman I was meant to be born as.  traveling to CA seems apropos for the lifetime journey I’ve been on.  I am so fortunate to have my mother, truly a saint gracing this Earth, and my devoted girlfriend with me on this leg of my transition.  Shear bliss would have been if my daughters were involved with my life, but at this point in time, they need their space to “process” and quite frankly are mad at me.  And so it goes….  I am hopeful they will come around in time.  So, I welcome the smile of Burlingame CA, the pre-planned Dr. visits, the magical missing time of anesthesia, and the recovery post.  Heretofore, I’ve never felt such anticipation.

unscheduled hiatus

Excitement and anticipation!  I am heading to California in ten days for my GRS(Gender Reassignment Surgery).  There was a cancellation and my date was rescheduled(with my excited blessing).  Preparing for this has been manic, to say the least.  All kinds of personal and professional preparations.   Arranging PreOp tests, filling out FMLA paperwork, assembling the items needed pre- and post-surgery, hotels, flights, rental car, ad nauseam.

I have 2 weeks in California, and 6 – 8 weeks expected recovery.  Beyond all the expected discomfort, I am beside myself with overwhelming joy.  People call it correcting a wrong or whatever.  I don’t.  I know I am aligning my inner and outer selves.

I looked back in my journal to my first entry, after I’d come to the admission that I needed help figuring out what was aswirl in my head.  And how far I’ve come from that trepidation filled day…4-7-08: Made my first appointment with a councilor/therapist to discuss my relationship, marriage, transgenderism, and whatever else comes out in the wash.  This is a big step, one that neither wife family, or friends are aware of.

How so much has changed since that cathartic moment!

So, I will be writing about this microcosmic moment of my journey on a daily basis.  July 19th cannot arrive fast enough, that plane ride will be the gateway to my very eventful life event.

Surgical Interlude

So, five days ago I took the first step at physically realigning my body to match what should have been my birth shape. I have 720ccs of confidence installed in my chest. Body modification is not a correct identifier for what I am doing. Breast augmentation, though accurate, is not why I did what I did. Vanity was not a motivator. I haven’t been able to shower in days, percocet the first day successfully eased my discomfort and with an added side effect of constipation, and my hair is unkempt. No complaints.

I’ve watched more television in the past four days then I have all year combined. I have a permanent ass indentation on my couch, a slope of pillows on my bed, and a pharmacy on my table. I get stronger each day, each hour. I am anxious about my increasing belly, and know it will be back to thinner in due time. No complaints.

My recovery could not have been as rapid and complication free without the loving and caring attentiveness of my Mother and my girlfriend. They were on me to “stay in my box,” where your hands are to remain in front of you and not move outside your torso. Not to reach, my elbows had to remain at my sides as if glued there. Hands and arms were not to raise above my head, no problem there. I couldn’t lean forward, wasn’t allowed to lift, move, pull, tug, basically, all manner of being a free and mobile person was restricted. No complaints.

I want to get outside, doctor orders are not to. I feel well enough to take a walk around my block. Doctor has grounded me. I worked a puzzle with my girlfriend and her daughter, that was exhausting. Went back to my familiar couch position. No complaints.

I am so wealthy by all the support I have in the days leading up to and post surgery. All my co-workers, friends, relatives who know, Zumba and Pound girls, who kicked my ass with exercise bulimia before my procedure. My abs are in excellent shape, enabling me to sit up unaided. Legs strong enough to raise me to a sitting position with ease. That didn’t happen overnight, dedication to my physical health is to blame. No complaints.

I jokingly said this was my birthday present to myself, but the surgery date was purely coincidental. My eternal birthday present to myself is to live my life with the knowledge that I am living as the happiest woman I can be. As I continue my journey, no complaints….