After Angela had clearly got most of her balance back and was able to eat, we were given the all clear to leave. I was longing to get back to our private space and unpack in order to cook us a lovely dinner. I ended up whizzing out to the supermercado to grab essential provisions for the invalid, ie, chorizo sausage, sangria, garlic, fresh plum tomatoes, onions and anything else that someone else with a mouth with full of stitches would find hard to resist. Later in the evening I cooked it all up with pasta with liberal amounts of grated mature cheddar... and ate it she did, albeit slowly.
We are now in the convalescent stage where, we can only try to rest, ease her pain and deal with her hopes and fears as they emerge. Angela is going to add to the blog soon and talk about what she has emotionally and physically been going through. She is up and down really, laughing and giggling one minute, (One minute I'm one hell of a gorgeous trans person then hey presto I'm a panda!) then half an hour later she is tearful and down. She has felt palpable sorrow and empathy for anybody who has to have their face taken apart and reassembled. All so they can look in the mirror and feel they can walk the streets not in stealth but as just another number. Just to feel normal - like the rest of us. It is absolutely true to say that on one hand Angela and I were accepted but it is a point of fact, every time we went out people stared at us. I wish all transexual women who suffer from this dysphoria could afford this procedure. It must be a terrible curse to be the inhabitant of the incorrect physical form. Gender dysphoria is no joke, it causes divorce, alienation, suicide and horrible fears of rejection. This is NOT a choice, your gender is fixed in the womb, and no one chooses to undergo such an agressive and painfull procedure without being totally driven by the need to feel normal.
It is testament to A that everyday since the op she expressed worry for a good pal of ours Abigail who is due to also have extensive facial feminisation, concerned for how she will cope in the heat and without a partner.
NO ONE UNDERTAKES THIS PROCESS WITH AN AIR OF FLIPPANCY OR VANITY, IT IS NOT A REJUVENATION TO MAKE YOUR SELF A MORE ATTRACTIVE COMMODITY FOR THE OPPOSITE SEX, OR A FACELIFT TO IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE, IT IS FAR GRAVER, IT IS CHANGING THE GENDER OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE. YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR FACE, IT IS THE FIRST THING ANYONE LOOKS AT, IT IS A WEAPON, AN INVITATION, A MESSAGE. THIS OPERATION INVOLVES. PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PAIN IT IS A DIFFICULT PROCESS OF EMERGENCE. IT RICOCHETS THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY AND NETWORK OF FRIENDS. NOTHING WILL EVER BE SAME - IT IS STRICTLY A ONE WAY TICKET AND YOU DON'T KNOW THE WHAT THE DESTINATION WILL LOOK LIKE. ... ONE PRAYS FOR IMPROVEMENT, PEACE OF MIND, FEELING A SENSE OF COMPLETION AND FINALLY RELIEF - BUT THERE IS NO GUARANTEE, NO REFUNDS AND NO WAY BACK.
So what now? She has to recover, it will take months for her to get her true strength back, i think after the bruises have faded like a post pyroclastic sunset, we will still have to put a new and different life together; although Angela disagrees with this - for her she sees life made more easy, hopefully not having to worry about putting lippy on before greeting the postman in the constant battle to remain just a number rather than a freak).
What springs to mind is:
When we got back to the apartment, we were both in better health but in a kind of malaise, Angela is very, very strong and healthy (she has never smoked and did not drink much either) but the trauma of the op has taken it's toll and she has not slept properly due to the physical discomfort and I think being in strange surroundings. It has made us both tired, we have both been having unusual vivid dreams. It has been praying heavily on her mind, whether she has made a mistake - she fears her nose is not set properly.
At 2am on our first night back in the apartment, at the toilet she noticed blood in her urine while she was urinating. This was a little worrying for her but when her urine stopped the blood didn't - there was a fairly strong flow which had completely coloured the toilet water within a minute. She was very frightened. Just before coming here there had been a series of TV programmes about botched surgery and this was foremost in her mind.
So what do you do at 2am? the inside of her penis was still bleeding (although not painful), and to be honest, had we gone to hospital, we would have sat for ages and they would not have done anything then anyway - so we waited until the blood stopped and filled her knickers with a makeshift towel and went to bed.
It was obvious to me that she had bled because the catheter had adhered to her urethra, and caused a small wound when it was removed - I remember she yelped when it was taken out. There was already some blood around her thigh even then - so we guessed that this was when the nick was probably made. It was painless but still disturbing in the wee small hours when I was mopping the blood up of the bathroom floor and then trying to make a pad out of gauze to soak up the bleeding.
In the morning Angela tentatively went to the toilet, dreading what was about to happen - she had not really slept at all, running through the various medical possibilities and ramifications all night. Keeping a tight reign on the flow, - no blood appeared. The relief was visible through those black Panda eyes - I felt like giving her a bamboo stick and a conservation certificate to cheer her up.
So we called Ana the patient co-ordinator and she got Dr Daniel to call us straight back. This bleeding was not unusual at all. The important thing was that the blood had not formed a clot and hence blockage in the tube (which would have meant an urgent op as you could not go to the toilet) - so drink lots of fluids and take it easy. This is not extraordinary.
The last 48 hours has been peculiar, both of us exhausted and me pretty much feeling helpless, just trying to ensure she eats decent food and relaxes.