The 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.