Sweet moment: this morning after my dressing was removed (about which more farther down) I went out into the hedge-encircled garden of the residence to get some air and sun. It was very warm today in Montréal, though not as warm, I gather, as down in the States. Anyway, while I was making up fake yoga and Tai Chi moves on the lawn a gust of wind came along and plastered my nightgown against my front, and I did something I now realize I've been doing a lot for the past couple of years without really thinking about it: an uncomfortable little hitch back of pelvis and spine, to the end of keeping the unsightly bulge from showing. And then I realized: it's gone! I can wear whatever I want - a bikini, 17 artfully interwoven silk scarves, whatever, and that bulge is never going to interfere with my style or the flow of my body ever again. Fucking wow. I'm grinning again as I describe it. It's an all caps moment: IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!! :-D
My plan was to avoid graphic clinical detail in this SRS blogging project, but I've changed my mind about that, at least for this post, because having my dressing removed was gobsmacking, and how as a writer can I pass up the opportunity to do a first-person description of such a rare and surreal and emotionally powerful experience? If you'd rather not go there with me, by all means please stop reading now.
The first step to prepare for the dressing to come off was a hot shower. Bliss! I hadn't had a shower in nearly a week. In the bathroom I took a last look in the mirror at the thick red-infused pack of cotton wadding humped between my legs, then got the water running and exulted in the hot stream. After a bit I glanced down and boggled at the amount of blood washing off me. It just kept coming. After a minute of anxiety I decided it was all right or they would have said something, and so went back to enjoying shampooing and conditioning.
Once out of the tub, following my detailed post-shower instructions, I towel-patted dry, cupped one of those blue-and-white mess-catching absorbent pads under me like a diaper, waddled into the room, lay down on the bed, and then called Manon, the nurse, on the phone, to tell her I was ready. She came bustling in with her kit and gloves, pulled the curtains around my bed, and set to work.
The first step was to snip the stitches holding the dressing down. They were pulled very tight, so each one parted with a snap that sent tingling jolts through the skin where they were anchored. Once that was done - six or seven stitches - she used forceps to pull the separated bits of suture out of the skin on either side of the dressing. Some of them had been passed under a good inch of skin, but they came out slick and clean, with only a curious sliding sensation. Next she used the forceps to begin peeling away the layers of gauze. Her face had an expression of intense concentration, and she breathed slowly and evenly as she worked. I watched here pare away the mutant crayfish until all I could see was a smooth pubic swell curving away out of sight, conspicuously devoid of any sign of the old appendage. I could not believe how wide and empty the space between my thighs was.
Manon couldn't remove quite all the dressing - the last little bit, she said, was stuck to a blood clot and would need to be soaked off over time - but at length she said I could reach for my hand-mirror and look for the first time at Dr. Brassard's handiwork.
On my stomach and thighs, a rainbow of bruising ran from yellow through green to a dark purple-blue. In the area where the dressing had been pressing so hard there was more normal-colored skin, crossed by the puckered lines of the two main surgery incisions, each about five inches long. The incisions, one on each side, make a large V joining at the opening of my new vagina, at this point still stitched shut. All visible skin was stubbly-nude from the knees-to-bellybutton pre-surgery shave. And, in a line from top to bottom down the center of my crotch, I saw the inner wrapper on my still mostly-concealed new parts: the blood-soaked tuft of unremoved cotton; a short stretch of as yet tightly-sutured incision (those stitches will be snipped tomorrow); the orange rubber tube of the urinary catheter; and just below that and above my anus, the marvelously incongruous detail of the end of the stent, the cotton-crammed condom which is still inside me as I type. Just the end projected out, looking for all the world like a the tied off neck of a balloon. I am the inflatable transsexual.
I've done some more crying today, and some cautious dancing in the grass, and a lot of deep breathing and stretching...and from time to time I go into the bathroom and marvel again at my completely penis-free, scrotum-free, testicle-free body.
Tomorrow the stent comes out, and I begin my dilation regimen. Tonight (if I sleep) four high-tech color-coded size-gradated designer dildoes will lurk and loom through my dreams.