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Monthly Archives: November 2013

I Love the Smell of Anesthesia in the Morning – GRS cont…

Operating RoomThrough no fault of your own, I seem to be back on an accelerated schedule in my writing. Maybe it’s the time off from work, maybe it’s the need to publish after these long hiatuses, but more likely it represents a sadistic desire to have you all share my pain and triumph, but mainly the pain. Ahem, be that as it may…

When last we left off, our heroine was fervently checking her alarm and bemoaning a combination of hunger and a freshly sanded back door. I had just fallen asleep when the alarm went off on schedule. As per my standard, I gave myself enough time to ready myself in a hurry, and then stare at the wall for an hour until it was time for the car service to pick me up and take me to the hospital. The car was due at precisely 5:30 sharp, and by 5:40 I was in a total panic as the creepy lightless street remained headlight free. I was right to be in a Tijuana tizzy as this always seems to happen to me. If a name is going to be left off the roster, it’s always mine. Usually it’s because my last name usually sends me over to the back of the page that no one ever checks. Zelda Zyxzz, you know what I’m talking about girl.

OK, everyone calm down, the car did come after two hissy fit calls to the dispatcher and the ride to the hospital was uneventful. I couldn’t help but notice we passed a gorgeous looking Sheraton right near the hospital with fun looking eateries right nearby. This would haunt me in the days to come. I have to say, the Lower Bucks hospital staff was fantastic and acted like people blew in at the wee hours of the morning every Tuesday to have some major remodeling done to their tackle. A beautiful calm settled over me, which is totally unusual by the way, and I went through the motions of donning the faded backless gown and socks with the little treads on them. For once I didn’t worry about tucking; if anyone had to guess what I had down there, I was in deep shit.

The wheeled me in a gurney to the pre-op area where I was delighted to see that Heather, the PA from Dr. McGinn’s office, also kept drastically early hours. With the best bedside manner ever, she went over the standard mountain of paperwork with me, most of it indemnifying everyone in a 40 mile radius in case anything went wrong. I had to wonder if anyone at that point said, “yeah… fuck that”, hopped off the gurney and went to hunt down their gear. I realized my relaxed state was mainly due to the promise of sweet, sweet anesthesia right around the bend that would take away my hunger pangs and give me some solid shut eye. Hard to have performance anxiety when your primary role is to act like you are sleeping one off. Dr. McGinn dropped by briefly but rushed off like she had something important to get started on for some reason. Shortly thereafter, they wheeled me into a surreal room.

I immediately understood why Target was always short on 1500 watt bulbs as the eastern seaboard supply was simultaneously lit in the operating room. I squinted my eyes as masked men helped me shove my fat ass on to a table nearly identical to the one I was already on. People shuffled around looking professional, very busy, and yet like it was the usual Tuesday morning hump at the same time. I caught another glimpse of Dr. McGinn. I’m going to be able to eat right after this, right? “Um, no.” Dammit. A friendly man put a clear mask over my face after giving me a shot in the arm. Determined to fight the effects for as long as I could, you know, just for kicks, I faded to black.

The piss about anesthesia is that you wake up microseconds later still tired, but the clock is indicating you accomplished nothing all morning, you useless sack of crap. Immobile and disoriented, I was grateful to realize I was in no pain below the waist, though from the neck up I was a hot mess. I once read of an Inquisition era torture technique where they would use water to force a piece of scratchy adhesive linen down the throat, and then yank it out to tear out the esophagus lining and I was reasonably sure this had been done. Fuck, my check to the hospital must have bounced. These guys don’t play around, do they? Let’s just hope they didn’t install additional testicles down there. No, it was just the intubation that somehow managed to produce the same tortuous effect in a caring medical environment over 400 years later.

I yearned for the tiniest sip of water to ease the smoldering wreckage that was once my throat. I painfully croaked my desire to the approaching nurse. “Sorry dear, no water for a while for you. Oh, and here’s the phone. It’s your mom.”

Stay tuned for the thrilling next episode in our serial in which Michelle figures out the exact timing when the morphine pump goes live again, receives visitors, and manages to hump her ass out of bed early to the ire of the other patients.

Twas The Night Before GRS… so, so hungry…

hungry-womanThe time has finally come for me to recount my great surgical journey. Yes, I know the title seems to indicate that I’m going to draft some kind of clever poem full of wit and homage to a Christmas favorite, but that’s simply not going to happen. I thought about it, but I already infuriate the grammar police in my readership with run on sentences, mixed metaphors, and made up words. It’s all in good fun until someone comes by and pokes my eye out. This is going to be a multi-part post to accommodate my enthroned readers who don’t want their legs to fall asleep.

Twas a beautiful Sunday afternoon when my spouse, son, and mother-in-law dropped me off at the fabulous Ramada just down the street from Lower Bucks hospital. My plans to do a walk about and see the sights of this gorgeous north east Philly suburb were dashed by the hotel being situated in what appeared to be a side access road to a long closed military base. There were a few other sad looking hotels, sure, but there wasn’t even one of the ubiquitous shitty convenience stores of low rent areas that will sell beer to 16 year olds.  Trust me, I had known a thing of two about sniffing those out. I concluded that Dr McGinn made her recommendation based on a desire to discourage panicky clients from escape attempts on foot.

The parting was difficult, especially when my precious 6 year old who decided to break my heart by bursting into tears in the car. I was left  alone to begin my pre-surgical fast with nothing by my thoughts, a TV, Kindle loaded with 11 books, 2 music iPods,  and 1 iPod loaded with 8 books on  tape. Oh, and 45 pounds of saved magazines. I was nervous about digging into any of my media as I still had 2 weeks to kill and didn’t want to run out. My heart leapt. I was in a hotel! The comfort of many lonely nights of business travel was but a click away; pay per view movies! No, no, not the ones you hope won’t show up on the bill; recent Hollywood releases. Yes, I was that kind of pathetic business traveler so sue me. The Ramada, however, apparently catered to the thrifty set in spite of the room rate and only had regular TV and fucking Showtime. Ugh. Bored, I decided the whole recommended fasting bit, 48 to 24 hours, was really intended to gravitate closer to the 24 hour number, so I wandered down to the attached pub grill.

The only thing creepier than staying in a nearly deserted hotel on a post-industrial, post-apocalyptic road is wandering into an empty pub. The muted TVs broadcast a game of no interest and I stood there, feeling like an intruding jackass when the burly proprietor materialized before me. I took a seat in the corner, but allowed him to coax me into the center of the seating area to enhance my feeling of uncomfortable exposure and maximize the probability that someone was going to creep up on me. In honor of the environs, I ordered the Philly steak sliders, which contrary to the menu description, turned out to be egg rolls filled with shaved steak and cheese whiz with a side of marina dipping sauce. It was like ordering a lobster roll in Maine and having it served in the center of a donut.  I scarfed down my last meal for 5 days and went back to the room.

Waking up the next morning, I knew my eating days were done for a bit, and my stomach acquiesced by screaming for breakfast. Fortunately it changed tune later when it began screaming for second breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, and evening, night, and mid-night snacks. Confined to “clear” liquids, I was allowed water, ginger ale, tea, and a whole host of things I would have found delicious had I the forethought to bring them. It’s bad when you start hallucinating cartons of Swanson chicken stock.

The hunger took a break from time to time when I began my “cleanse” at 4 PM. I’m not going to describe this as it’s immeasurably gross. As the evening wore on, and more and more painful trips to the bathroom were made, I further discovered that the hotel cleverly replaced the normal toilet roll with a trick variety that dispensed increasingly coarse grades of sandpaper. Between trips I tortured myself by watching the Food Network almost exclusively. I know what you are thinking, but it’s no different than a horny businessman putting on Skinamax after being shot down by the waitress at Appleby’s; happy ending aside of course.

My long day over, I managed to fall into an uneasy sleep, rousting myself every half hour or so to double check my alarm was still set for 4:00 AM and piss out all the water and ginger ale. I’m going to end this post with a confession. I still peed standing up. That’s right. As long as I had the equipment, and was not in a public setting where such a thing would be noticed, I never sat to take a whiz. Seriously, why would anyone go through the trouble to take everything down and sit when complete avoidance of the filthy bowl was possible? I already understood myself as female through and through and making the extra effort wasn’t going to make a difference. I’m OK with that option being gone mind you, but if you are pre-op trans and shucking your pants down against the underside of the nasty toilet when no one is looking, take a moment and ask yourself why.

This concludes the boring and relatively anti-climactic prologue to my surgical experience. Stay tuned to next episode when we explore a frantic ride to the hospital, pre-surgical rigmarole, going under, and waking up to find your penis missing.

Where’s Michelle?

Question MichelleI know what you’re thinking. “So, little miss thing here got too big for her britches and can’t be bothered to put up one damn post in a New York month?” Clearly I think of you as Nell Carter, and for that I offer no apologies. Also, a New York month is typically 30 days or equivalent to an Oklahoma weekend. It’s OK, I’m going to explain right now.

Before that, let me just quickly add in that this is going to be a shorter than normal post. For those of you who print these out to read on the can, I’m sorry; you are going to have to stare at the wall for spell I’m afraid, or finally polish off that old Newsweek that still has Gadaffi on the cover. You know those people who can just cheerfully type away leading back on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, a cup of Earl Grey balanced on one knee, and write a fricking novel? Yeah, I hate them too. I cannot do this and instead sit stewing in resentment watching reruns of Modern Family. Since sitting in my writing chair (actually just a dining room table chair moved into a different room) is currently akin to being perched on Satan’s own commode, even with the donut pillow, the fuse on this post is already lit.

Getting to the point (see how much faster I do that now?), I had my surgery on Oct 22nd. Remember that writers block I was whining about months back? Yeah, that’s just gone now, and I’m dying to fill up pages and pages with my experiences from the lead up, the surgery and my stunning (fine… average) recovery in full Technicolor details. In the mean time, thanks for bearing with me in my recent silence as you will wish for those days as you awkwardly fumble around this page trying to figure out how to unsubscribe.

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