THE KNIFE FIGHT I WAS SCHEDULED TO LOSE
on february 17th, 2023, i received an unexpected phonecall from my medical people asking when i wanted to schedule my top surgery. this came out of pracitcally nowhere as the last time i had spoken with a doctor about this was my consultation appointment in october. i was homeless at the time so i did not want to schedule anything until i knew i would have somehwere to recover. but lo and behold, on this absolutely random midday i was now agreeing to whatever afternoon appointments this woman could get me.
my first appointment in preperation was on march 2nd, where i talked with an anesthesiologist and my surgeon to go over my medical history and refresh my information (as well as change my address on file as i am housed now!). I was perscribed pain medicine to take during my future recovery and began a countdown on instagram: march 21st. the day after the spring equinox.
as the day drew ever closer, my father and i sprung into preperations; purchasing several button-down shirts from goodwill, contacting the woman i had been discussing my gender healthcare with for years at this point, getting resources on what plans to make to support my recovery, calling the advice hotline about some of the dietary changes that were recommended and promptly being told not to make drastic changes to my diet (thanks for that rec i guess jennifer), emailing a very cool organization called t4t caregiving to have someone come over to help me the first day post-op, and several other random things i am forgetting. there was a failed grocery trip where i got too overstimulated to think straight enough for food planning and left with four cans of soup. like a pack of hyenas, we were.
as always, time pased. my irregular instagram updates continued. "titless tuesday" was coined. with one week to go we celebrated the 9th anniversary of my family chihuahua's adoption. if anything of note happened in the last few days leading up i have forgotten. i followed the doctor's instructions to shower and use the specific sanitation wipes given to me the night before and the morning of surgery. my father took the day off work and drove me to seattle, to the center just down the street from the place i went to a trans club/support group every monday for over six years. i came to them in a delightfully ugly hawaiian shirt and yoga pants. we were significantly early to our 9:30 appointment, but i barely sat down in the waiting room before they called my name.
when i was brought to the pre-op rooms i was told to use the wipes again, but i guess it's good they're thourough. i confirmed my identity and consent to surgery to several people who would be working on me that day. my surgeon drew his plans on my chest in sharpie and i remembered how hellbent i was in covering my hands and arms in swirls and stitches and leafy vines all drawn in the same marker as a child. my surgeon was happy with his work. "I love it when a plan comes together."
I have not seen The A-Team, but i was glad he was confident in the nonsensical lines all over me.
the time finally came to roll my bed over to the operating room. i'd never been inside one before. ive only watched a little bit of medical tv, but i was surprised how well it matched my vague memory of operation scenes. once i had scooted onto the actual operating table i had an oxegyn mask held over my mouth and nose. i took deep breaths as instructed and was told sleeping medicine was being put in my IV. the air in my mask turned warm and tasted different and i passed out.
i woke up around 2 or 3, feeling exactly the way i do when i first wake up in the morning: thoughts moving pretty slowly, feeling very tired. i think i spoke briefly with the person watching over me and possibly fell asleep again. either way, i woke up fully and was moved to the room my father was waiting for me in. i was actually very lucid and didn't have any problem listening to the doctor's instructions on my recovery and managing my drains. i was able to change back into my clothes with the only difficulty being some very unsteady legs. the first thing i did was take a selfie in the mirror. i alerted the beloved people in my phone and the tumblr userbase at large of my triumph and made questionable music choices on the car ride home.
im fairly certain that when i got home i just got myself situated and comfortable in bed and fell asleep again. either that or i fucked around online until i fell asleep. my father spent the night on an air mattress on my floor which i hated but was my only option. i had to be supervised for 24 hours after surgery until the anesthesia wore off to make sure i didn't do anything stupid. even though i personally wasnt experiencing any silliness. i woke up at like 2AM and went in and out of consiousness until around 7, when i woke up to the woman who was there to help out with anything i needed for the day. her name was dani and she was great. i actually didnt need much and mostly just slept and sat with my laptop all day. she got me a milkshake from dick's though, which was very appreciated.
on march 28th i had an appointment to check on my drains and everything else. i got one of them taken out, but the other still needs a day or two. the pads over my nipples have also been taken off and im sticking ointment on them twice a day now. i am certainly having some experiences. currently theres some yellowish (what i assume is) bruising and my pain has increased some, but overall everything's still going great.
the state of america's trans politics is very present in my mind right now, and has been throughout all of this. i cant help feeling like im working against a timer to get all the transition work i think i need before thats possibly made harder for me, and before i turn 26 and im taken off my parents' insurance. im lucky and extremely grateful to be living in a "liberal" state where i dont usually have to worry about much when it comes to gay and trans issues, but sometimes it just feels like everything's closing in around all of us.
MY EXISTENCE IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE! GET BENT! I LOVE MY TRANS SIBLINGS!