7 February 2019
Let me take you back to a more complex time.
A time of conflict.
A time of tucking.
Well, four days ago actually, to Monday, February 4th at 11:00 am.
I was wearing a purple disposable gown with a hose connected to it inflating it with temperature controlled air. The papery-plastic thing expanded like I had just consumed one of Willy Wonka’s experimental sweets, I had been anxiously watching the red digital clock on the opposite wall for the past two hours. It now glared 11:00 as the nurse slowly injected a sedative into my IV. I think I remember them pushing the wheeled bed out of the room and down the hall.
Everything faded from color,
and then nothing.
We had arrived the previous day, Super Bowl Sunday, at 3:00 pm and checked into our room at the Best Western just down the street from University Hospital. I would only be staying the night but my wife would reside there for the next 2 or 3 days while I recovered. After settling into the room, we took a Lyft to the nearest Target store for some supplies, and then back to the hotel and dinner in the hotel restaurant. It would be my last meal until after surgery. We ate a healthy portion of a delicious pepperoni pizza and took the left-overs up to the room so that Ann-Elizabeth had something to eat the next day.
I had to take a preparatory shower that night as well as the next morning with a specific, hospital supplied anti-bacterial soap. After the morning shower I prepared myself with comfortable leggings and long sweater, and accompanied AE to her morning breakfast. I was only allowed the option of four liquids prior to 7 am that day: water, apple juice, tea, or black coffee. I had some water up until about ten to seven, but I really wasn’t hungry due to the anticipation of this major milestone in my transition.
Gender confirmation or gender affirmation surgery, often referred to as “bottom surgery,” previously referred to as sexual reassignment surgery, is THE surgery for so many male-to-female transgender persons. It is the surgery that removes the testosterone producers and allows, those that seek it, a more aligned physical representation of how they should have been born.
There are several options for how this surgery is performed, but in many cases the transgender woman will be able to have a fully functioning neo-vagina with sensate clitoris. There are variations to the surgery such as not having a full vaginal canal created but having everything but. This is the option that I opted for. I’ve written about this in previous entries so I won”t go into it here.
After breakfast I packed my bag and we rode the complimentary hotel shuttle to the hospital some 5 minutes away. I had been to the clinic entrance of this building twice prior for my initial meeting and pre-op appointments with the plastic surgeon who would be giving me my new future. However, this time we were entering the hospital entrance and making our way to the 3rd floor and “First Day Surgery.”
We were both in an extremely happy and giggly mood. Being a type 1 diabetic of almost 35 years, I have had my share of hospital visits, often out of necessity. This was the first time I was there to have a major operation that I wanted and had been waiting for for so long. I registered and shortly a wonderful nurse named Elizabeth ushered us to surgery prep room number 17. I donned my purple inflatable gown and proceeded with all of the necessary steps of answering questions, having an IV inserted, cataloging the things I was bringing with me for the duration of my stay. Opposite the wheeled bed I was lying in, above the sliding double glass doors that we entered through, was a large red digital clock. We were there the required two hours prior to surgery, and I kept looking at that clock as preparations were made and the flurry of medical staff came in a performed their parts. Dr Gast, my brilliant and skilled plastic surgeon stopped in as well as the assisting surgeon, anesthesiologist and other assorted surgical and prep people. I think at one point I was given two tablets of Valium and I remember someone saying “We’re just waiting for the go-ahead that the operating room is ready.”
And then BOOM, it was go time.
The nurse connected something to my IV tube and pushed the plunger on the syringe, the doors to the prep room were opened, and I was wheeled out and everything faded to nothing.
Not even to black.
I remember nothing.
While I was in surgery, Ann-Elizabeth would be shown to a waiting area designated for the relatives of loved-ones being operated on. She was given a pager that indicated specific stages in the operation, and was eventually greeted by Dr. Gast at the end of my 4 hour surgery with news that everything went perfectly and that I was going to be taken up to my hospital room on the 6th floor where she could await my arrival.
A NOTE: These are my experiences with my journey., and this blog is a place for me to tell my story and journal my transition. I am not an expert or medical professional. I am learning as I grow and my experiences may differ from other transgender people. Everything is correct to my best understanding.