Posted on August 10th 2004, 12:56 am
Day 7 was really really dull. My parents came to visit and I got a call from Beth, my friend who teaches at the local high school and runs the queer group. It was nice to hear from her, especially when I was so bored. Aside from that, the day was uneventful.
Monday finally came. I was so excited. I woke up around 7:00 or so. The nurses informed me that the doctor is usually there fairly early in the morning. So, I was patient and waited. Eventually I decided I was sick of waiting and ordered breakfast. That came, I ate a little of it, and continued waiting. The nurses were surprised he didn't come yet. Usually he's not that late. But, we also figured out that he was about to go on vacation and had no new patients. So he eventually showed up around noon.
Before he actually came in the room, the nurse removed the water from the catheter bubble. The inflated bubble is what holds the catheter in securely. So, after she did that, there was some major discomfort from the tube that was now freely sitting in my urethra. Finally Dr. Schrang came in. Instead of removing the catheter right away, he decided to take off the tape that was holding my boobs in place. It was like a corset, only made out of duct tape. The thing is..."took off" is not the phrasing for it. "Ripped off" is a better choice. It hurt like hell. After that he took the catheter out and the drains and removed the big gauze roll. All I can say is that my eyes were wide throughout this entire process. The only thing that I remember that sticks out in my mind is Dr. Schrang saying "If you can't control your bladder, we'll put a temporary catheter back in." I just thought to myself "I'll be able to pee....no matter what". Turns out, I had no problem with controlling my bladder. No more bedpan for me.
Anyway, after that, they got me out of bed. It was slow going getting up, and it was astonishing how much stronger gravity felt than it used to. I was able to walk about half way down the hall before I was too tired to go any further. I turned around, and pretty much passed out for an hour or so. Finally I had the energy again to try to walk again. This time I walked all the way down the hallway. I sat and looked at the helicopter for a while. Amazingly, just sitting was tiring. After about 15 minutes, someone came to check on me. I was practically asleep in the chair. So we went back to the room and I took a nap.
After the nap, I felt up to taking a shower. So I did. It was probably the most exhausting shower I've ever taken. I washed my hair three times. By the time I finished, I didn't have the energy to dry off. I had to sit there on a chair and try to slowly dry myself off and get dressed. Eventually I made it back to my room and again passed out for a while. A while later, I had dinner and just felt so energetic. The rest of the night I spent walking around the hospital. I felt great. When my parents came, they were amazed. I also got to visit the girl that was down the hall. Her name is Kate. She was a little older than me, but very down to earth. She seemed very cool. We talked for a little while. It was good to get away from my roommate. I also talked with my two cool nurses that night, Melissa and Anna. Anna gave me twizzlers. That was great.
I slept pretty well that night. I was still excited for going home the next day. Up to that point, everyone has said my results are great. There's no visible bruising, which is rare. That made me happy. I was just looking forward to when my strength is back and I'm healed. The pain hadn't been bad, but it would still be nice when the pain is gone for good. Almost time to go home...
Posted on August 8th 2004, 12:20 am
Today was a loooong day. No visitors and only two phone calls. Lauren checked in on me, which is good. The first time she called was the day of surgery and I wasn't really capable of talking. My first memory of the day was a crappy one though. Each day of the week I woke up and watched the nurse rip the previous day off the calendar. On Saturday morning, the nurse did that and I saw that it said "Aug 7/8" meaning I would have to look at that the whole weekend. It was just a reminder of how long the weekend actually was, since on Monday I was going to be able to get out of bed finally. I was stir crazy by Saturday afternoon.
My roommate was going through a rough time. She was 51 and came from a pentecostal christian househole. She found out that her wife of 29 years wanted a divorce now that she went through with SRS. She cried a lot and I really didn't know what to do for her. I do know that it is partially her fault. She didn't get the Harry Benjamin required therapy. She aparently went to one doc once and got her letters for SRS. She also had this notion that everyone was just going to accept it and be happy about it. Her bubble was effectively popped. I think if she had gone through the required therapy, she may have handled things differently. Things may have worked out better. She also seemed more focused on shaking her hips and being pretty than she was about just being a woman. I think it was a big possibility that she made a mistake. I really hope things work out for her.
One more full day before the catheter comes out...that's all I could think about. At least I slept ok that night. The past few nights before my kidneys had been aching like crazy. The ibuprophen seemed to help a lot. I was thankful. I like sleep.
Jill had yet to visit or call. I wasn't really expecting her to though. From past experience, I just didn't expect she'd be comfortable with seeing me. I wasn't sure I would be comfortable with seeing her either. The hospital is not the best place to meet people. I looked like hell since I hadn't had a shower in so long. There were things in my hair, and it was just bad. If she did visit or call, it would have to have been Sunday or Monday since Tuesday I got discharged.
The best part of Saturday had to have been watching Justice League Unlimited. My roommate was asleep or using her computer or something. So the TV was all mine. I loved it. I can't get enough superheroes. It really brought me back to reality too. I needed the memory of being some place other than the hospital. I also got to see my favorite heroine, Wonder Woman. :) I'm such a dork. Damn proud of it too. That was pretty much it for Saturday though.
Posted on August 7th 2004, 12:01 am
On the fifth day I was finally off of the demerol. Instead, they gave me prescription strength Ibuprophen. It's bad for my kidneys, but I figured since it's only a few days, what the heck. It wasn't even remotely as bad as the demerol was. The nurses were very nice. I've had several. My favorites were Melissa, Anna, Ryan, and Amanda. They're all very nice, and also attractive. I can't complain about that. I do have complaints about other things though...like the food. It was ok, but by far not the greatest. I was also limited to a low residue/low fiber diet. So all the good stuff on the menu was not an option. I was pretty much eating the same things each day. I got so sick of the food that I didn't eat a full three meals a day. I ate maybe two. I just couldn't stomach it. The best part about that is that I wasn't feeling hunger. The anesthesia was still affecting my system so I couldn't feel my stomach.
I'd have to say the most humiliating thing about being in the hospital was using a bedpan. Throughout the week, they would ask us if we were passing gas. That's a good sign I guess. Eventually, on the third or fourth day, the bowel movements finally happened. I was given a stool softener so it would be easier, but still....ugh. Because of the skin graft, I couldn't push. So if it happened, it happened. Just...I never want to have to use one of those again.
I learned in the hospital why doctors tell guys to turn their head and cough during physicals. I had no idea how much of the body was used to cough, sneeze, or laugh until it happened during that week. Sneezing hurt the most. Thankfully it was rare. But still, ouch.
A friend of mine, Miriam, also stopped in for a visit. I met her at a seminar Dr. Schrang gave. She spoke about her SRS experience with him. She's been very nice and has been trying to give me advice on how to make things go smoother. It was nice to have her stop in and say hi.
I waited a few days to look at my new vagina. I had been asked several times if I wanted to see it, but I turned it down because I wanted it to heal a bit first. Finally I took a look and was very surprised at what I saw. It looked nothing like I expected it to. There was this thick black gauze roll towards the top of it that was soaking up a lot. There were stitches and tubes and such everywhere. I wasn't really sure what I was even looking at. It was a bit of a shock. Over time, that would change though. The nurses were telling me that in three months, it would look like I never had anything but a vagina.
Other than that, Friday was pretty dull. There isn't much to do laying in a hospital bed. I just looked forward to Monday, when the catheter would come out.
Posted on August 6th 2004, 12:00 am
These two days are a blur. I had several visitors, but I'm not sure which days they came. I'm fairly certain my older sister came on day 3 and my aunt and cousin came on day 4, but I could have that backwards. It was great to see family come and visit. I have such a loving family. My aunt and cousin brought a single red rose in a vase. It was beautiful and bloomed so perfectly. It lasted the whole time I was in the hospital. I also got flowers from Lauren and a gift balloon from Robyn, a friend from college. It was hard to crane my neck around to see them on the table beside my bed, but it was great to know they were there.
Still, there were several days until the catheter came out and I was allowed back on my feet. On day 4, they finally took the IV out. No more liquid demerol for me, but they gave me the pill version. That was actually a lot stronger than the IV. I took that and fell asleep pretty quickly. I didn't like the effects of that drug so much though. I couldn't focus on anything. I had brought a whole ton of books, and I couldn't read worth a damn. I'd read a line, and none of it would actually sink in. I could read it ten times and wouldn't remember it. I eventually gave up on reading. I had also brought a gamecube, but they didn't have a TV that worked with it until after I sent it home. It was also a good thing I didn't have a laptop, because there was no internet access anyway.
Boredom set in pretty quickly. There wasn't much on TV, and I had a direct view of the clock and calendar. My roommate proved to be a huge annoyance too. She arrived on Day 2 and immediately established herself as a bitch by insulting both me and my parents. She also had this attitude like "no one's better than me". She made a point to brag that she drank all of her laxatives. Her surgery happened on my third day in the hospital. There will be more about her later on... Anyway, that was my third and fourth day.
Posted on August 3rd 2004, 10:41 pm
I woke up at about 6:00 am. My parents were there already. The nurses started getting me ready for surgery. It all happened so quickly. I was put on a rolling bed and sent down to the prep room. While I waited, they were asking me if I needed anything. I was a little worried that I had never been asked what size I wanted my boobs to be. I didn't want to wake up with this humungous chest and be angry. So, I made sure I got to talk to Dr. Schrang beforehand. That made me feel much more comfortable. The nurses told me that I wouldn't have had to worry, because he's been doing augmentation for so long that he just has an eye for what looks good.
After a few more minutes, they wheeled me into the OR. From there, they gave me a warm blanket and the anesthesiologist put me under. He was very good at it too. He told me exactly what he was doing. "You're going to feel a cold prick. And now another warm prick. OK, good night." That was it. There wasn't even much bruising afterwards. Very clean job. Then surgery began at about 7:30 am.
I woke up around 1:00 in the afternoon. My parents were there. It was a peaceful time. The most pain I felt was across my chest. The catheter wasn't too bad, but just got annoying. Sometimes it didn't drain on it's own, which required me to mess with it. That can be uncomfortable. Mainly I just couldn't believe I'm post-op. The rest of the day was kind of a haze. They had me on a constant demerol IV. So I was a bit out of it. They gave me a sleeping pill that night as well, not that I needed it with the Demerol. I slept well.