Elizabeth woke, slept, and woke again through the wee hours. Her last shot of Dilaudid had been at 10pm, and by 5:30 the next morning she could feel it had worn off, but she did not immediately call Chantal, the night nurse, to ask for more. Dawn crept through the louvers, a muted green-gold luminosity.
There was no sharp pain, only many discomforts: a sore lower back, various itches and tickles, and between her legs, the sensation of the old accoutrements oddly squashed and pinched. The phantom scrotum, she and Sus had both said last evening, simultaneously finding the aptest and funniest phrase. Elizabeth particularly welcomed the clear feeling of a pinch at the tip of her departed penis - her clitoris, now - because one rare but possible bad outcome had been the loss of sexual sensation.
Then there was the growing feeling of something rocklike in a spot for which she had no word to fill in the blank of "...where my _______ used to be." Chantal, not knowing the English word for what was causing the feeling, called it "la moule," pronouncing it like the English word for a tunneling rodent, which was good for a laugh. A quick check on the Android (and, oh, how Elizabeth loved her new phone) provided the translation "mussel," but also "mold," i.e., something in the line of a condom crammed hard with cotton balls, maintaining the vault of her new vagina.
By 630a, pain meds seemed called for again - sensations becoming more raw - and soon Elizabeth floated warm and sleepy...she set the phone aside to finish her laborious yet meditative one-finger typing later...
After a delicious hour of nap, Lisa resumed her typing, gently stoned. Breakfast would be soon, then a first try at walking. At her request the nurse opened the louvers, which led to an impromptu duet with Danielle in the next bed on "Here Comes the Sun." Danielle, a garrulous Québécoise paper deliverer with an incomprehensible rural accent and little English, made surreal company.
And what of the expected emotions? The tears, the euphoria? Absent. In their place an enduring calm. The drugs perhaps, but also the release from long tension and suspense. The deed was done. No going back. No desire to go back. No regret. And perhaps, theoretical for the time being, the first inkling of a new freedom to turn toward the world with love in a way which had always until now felt unsafe.
Sitting up for breakfast brought on a sharp bout of nausea and dizziness. Much healing yet to done...time to post, then close her eyes as the nurse had ordered. There would be time for more of the therapy of one-finger typing later.