What you are about to read covers the major memories and feelings I had during my stay. It’s a general over view of the entire trip and my emotions during my experience. This is told as a story and not as a technical report. It’s about my surgery and stay on Bay Harbor Island.
A thought about choosing your doctor.
Before I begin, I would like for any who are reading this and considering surgery to do your research. It’s just general good sense to do so. I say this because of something that has been bothering me personally as I have been reading other peoples stories since writing mine. I am a impulsive buyer. It’s not really a problem and is fun in a way. About 2 years ago I had a financial opportunity to have surgery because of a inheritance lump sum, It was a lot of money. I had decided to have surgery. The Dr who I was looking at back then had a price I thought was good and this is what I was looking at. I though if I used him I would still have a substantial some of money left over. I only spoke to him via E-mail once and never asked a sole a question about what they though of him. I was getting set to get the wheels going for surgery and then I found a pretty little Pitts Special. It’s a temperamental aerobatic aircraft. I handed the man the money for her that same day and put SRS to the back of my mind in the same second. It’s now that I am coming across several stores about that Dr and the terrible experiences some have written of. I cringe to think I almost went to him. I am using him as a example based on the stores people have written about there experience with him. The root of what I am trying to convey here is, take your time and know what you are getting into. A impulse to jump on SRS may well have cost me more than a few thousand dollars. It could have cost me a life of regret for doing what should be the least regretful thing a TS can do. So please people, do some homework. You are not buying a airplane or a car that you can just take back if you don’t like it. You can never take back a SRS, no mater how much you yell sue and stomp. It’s a one time shot that if goes bad, can only be fixed up some, but never re-done.
Facilities over view.
Ok, I am not a writer, nor do I claim to have any talent for such. My over all report of the surgery is excellent. Dr Reed is a outstanding Doctor. His bedside manner is absolutely fabulous. His facility is clean and beautifully adorn with his works of art. I would dare say being in his clinic is like being in a art gallery The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. The stay in his clinic is 1 day. During this time you are monitored non stop 24 Hr’s in a quite and tranquil recovery room. After the 24 Hr’s you recover at the Bay Harbor INN one block away. It’s a beautiful Inn, it makes your stay much much more enjoyable than being in a hospital. Dr Reed will come to see you every morning at the Inn. He will take care of any problems, questions or dressing changes. I have had a few E-mails about my expression of the pain after surgery. I would like to set every ones mind at ease. In retrospect, it was not that bad. Keep in mind as you read the story, in a few places I make reference that I was in real pain. THAT WAS PAIN my friends. all the other references to pain were mostly just severe uncomfortableness. I am sorry if I have spooked any one. Please remember, reassignment surgery is not getting a splinter taken out of your finger, It’s a amputation in a sensitive area. It’s going to hurt some ya know?
Clinic Stay: 1 day.
Under Observation Stay: 7 days
Dr Reed and staff: Perfect 10.
Post Op Depth: 6 inches.
Island Environment: Absolutely breathtakingIf you have any questions or are going to Dr, Reed and want some pointers, you may E-mail me Lela-Brooks@mindspring.com
Or you can go to Dr. Reeds web site: THE REED CENTER. Dr Reeds office web site.
Our story begins to the sound of a alarm clock.4:30 AM : March 30th
My first thoughts.
It’s time to get up. Ugggggggg. I need to make sure mom is awake. Oh gosh, look at the time! I need to shower and get my makeup on! We were supposed to be leaving now! It’s 4:30 and I am just now getting up? I should be on my way to get Angie by now.
It was a warm Sunday morning. My hopes were to leave Alabama at 4:30 AM and hit Miami around 6:30. It’s a 724 mile drive. I’m a pilot and am very good at hitting ETA’s but I made a mistake. I set the alarm for 4:30. I wanted to be on the road by now. I got up and went in and woke my mother up. I had her spend the night at my house because she’s hard to wake up. After I was sure she was up, I went in and got myself set to hit the road. My tummy was turning and I felt a bit hung over. I began thinking; what if I did not make it back, what if I were in a wreck along the way? I would never see my home, pets or friends again if any thing happened. I know this was not a good attitude to have but I was about to take a monumental step in my life. The fear I believe was a anxiety of being on the edge of a new chapter in my life. I had worked so hard to get here; not making it, or just making it and not getting to live it out was a pretty scary thought.
It was about 4:50 I said bye and kissed my cat and parrot, I then fed the fish. Mom and I got in the van and I looked at her and made a sigh as to say “Oh boy, what have I got my self into“ I was very nervous.
I hate to drive and I really hate to drive in a place I have never been before. I was facing fears left and right this day. We had rented a 2003 Ford Windstar to make the trip. It was a peppy V-6 and had all the bells and whistles. Mom and I had packed in the rain the night before so all we had to do was dress and we were off to pick up Angie. That dear Angie, she only lives about 2 Miles from me and she was going to be my driver back home. Angie is a life long friend. She’s a GG who’s working to some day make it to F2M. She’s locked into a inability to transition by her situation of a lesbian relationship and pressure from her family and friends. Well, I was glad she was going. You see, I needed her for support. Mom was good support but there are things she just can’t understand. Only another person who has the same feelings and wants can understand how I was feeling.
We got Angie and it started to rain again. She had enough luggage to go on a world trip. Mom, myself and Angie managed to completely fill up the back of the van with our luggage. We started down 280, it was still dark. I turned on the radio and we made our way south east. We were almost to Dadeville and nature called. It was Sunday and not a lot of stores were open yet. We managed to find a rest stop just in time. My nerves were doing a number on my tummy. The sun was starting to come up and the sky was getting that morning glow. It had been a long time since I had been this far down US 280. The state had done a lot to construction and was making it 4 lanes thus we had to slow down for the 45 MPH construction limits. Most of the trip was uneventful and to tell you the truth pretty boring. We went through some old towns including Plains Georgia the home of Jimmy Carter.
We got to Cordele Georgia around 10:00 am and stopped at a Hardys for some coffee and a biscuit. My tummy was to upset to eat so I just had my coffee and boy was it strong. As a mater of fact, what is it with people as you get farther south? The coffee got stronger and stronger the closer we got to Miami.
We got on I-75 en rout to catch I-10 in Florida. I-75 was having a bout with road construction. I guess our nations Interstate system is in pretty bad shape everywhere. Again, this leg of the trip was ho’hum. We did go through Hahira Georgia. If any of you know who Ray Stevens is you may recognize that town, it’s where Coy and Bubba are from. That stretch of south Georgia was a gruelingly boring drive. We managed to get to Lake City Florida and caught I-10 en rout to Jacksonville to pickup I-95. The leg of I-10 was not bad at all and felt as if it passed pretty quick. It’s also the 3rd Leg of the trip and would be our halfway mileage point. We got on I-95 and the view got better. It’s a historic stretch of Interstate in that there is so much along it’s way. One major place is Datona. As in the Datona 500. Angie and I are huge Nascar Fans and wanted to stop but time was going by to fast.
We talked about trying to stop on the way back and take some pictures but it never did come to pass. We never did see the speedway as we thought we could from I-95 but we could feel the power. Another interesting place we passed was Cape Canaveral. It was only 29 days since we lost Columbia in that shower of fire over Texas and the highway billboards were a memorial to the ship and crew in that area. We stopped at a Mc Donald’s just past Palm Bay. I got 2 small hamburgers and some fries and coke. I never did get my coke. The service was criminal at that store. I got tired of waiting. The people in there were giving me the creeps and I thought it best to just suck it up and get out of there. After all, I had a coke in the car.
It was around 6:45 PM and we were looking for exit 10-A, 125th street exit. The traffic had been nerve racking! It starts to get bad around Boca Raton. From there all the way down to Miami you can not tell where one city starts and the other ends. It all just melds together like one long mega city.
We found the exit and in this area traffic got pretty light; I only almost ran one person off the road here. We merged off and went to the light. We made a left turn and toward Bay Harbor Island we were going. Bay Harbor Island is in the North Miami area. it’s about 5 miles from the Interstate to the Island. There were a lot of shops and stores along this road and it looked like a pretty lively strip. We got to the toll plaza of the Island causeway and I chunked in my 50 cents. The gate lifted and reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember as the gate lifted I thought “Damn Girl, You have arrived!” We went over the draw bridge but by this time it was dark. I rolled down the window to get a smell of the ocean air, ha it was nice. We were on the Island and we counted the 4 lights and turned left, there was our hotel, The Bay Harbor Inn. We had a easy time parking so I let mom and Angie get the bags out of the car and I went on in and to the desk where the nigh clerk greeted me by name. I took a step back and asked ” How did you know who I was?” He told me in his Argentine accent, “You are the only reservation who has not checked in tonight my dear.” I felt pretty blond at that moment. I got all my paper work done and we were given room 208. The room was great! it had a bedroom, a living room and 2 baths. It was a corner room and had two windows in the bedroom and made for a nice cross breeze. The view was not all that great. Actually, it was a view of the city shop and 3 twisted palm trees on one side and the backs of some shops out the other. I didn’t care, I was not there for the view this trip. It was about 7:30 or 8:00, we got all our bags in and decided to go to the bar to relax after the trip. The bar is across the street and is a cozy little place. I ordered a plate of “Corn breaded Calamary or Squid” I ate that knowing it would be perhaps be the last thing I would have to eat for a while. I was due for the bow prep in the morning. Oh yea, I also had 2 margaritas and 5 Beck’s beers but we won’t go into that. Mom, Angie and I got pretty inebriated. For Angie and I, this was no big deal but for mom, it was unheard of. We called home with my cell phone at the bar and let every one know we made it ok. We had a great time. There were not many people there and most of the time it was just us and the two bartenders. They were great and got a kick out of Angies hard southern accent. The woman was a absolutely beautiful Turkish woman and the man was handsome as could be. I forget where he was from, some Central American country I believe. He looked a lot like a young Antonio Banderas; he had those bedroom eyes. About 11:50 or so we all made our way back to the room where I had a cup of coffee and relaxed in quite. What a day this had been.
7:28: AM March 31st I woke up and it took me a moment to realize where I was. I had a lot to do. I was going to meet Dr Reed and Anne today. Angie and I got set to go down stairs and get our breakfast. The Inn gives you a free breakfast every day. It’s a continental breakfast, that is to say pastries, yogurt and fruits. We went over to the restaurant of the Inn and before us was a very nice spread of goodies. I had 2 doughnuts and a healthy helping of strawberries, some orange juice and a cup of coffee. It was cold this morning. Well, I call it cold. It was about 65 degrees. I think I though of every thing on this trip. I am a great planner. I had borough my bomber jacket. It’s a warm jacket, Air Force issue. It was a friend of mines who was killed and has great sentimental value, but alas I digress. We sat outside on the waterfront dining area and had our breakfast. We chatted with a man who was from NYC and he told us of his day on 9-11. He was down town in NY and only blocks away from the towers. He soon had to go and Angie and I finished our food. I had one more cup of coffee and watched the pelicans swoop the water. I told Angie that we needed to find Dr Reeds office before I call. I knew it had to be close because the art gallery on the corner by the Inn was only a few number down of Dr Reeds address of 1111 Cain Concourse. We started walking west and counting the numbers down. My feet were hurting, I had bought a new pair of sandals for the trip and they may have been to tight or it was just because they were new.
We got to where we thought his office was but did not see a address on the building. I thought for a moment and stepped back on the sidewalk, looked up and there it was in 14 inch letters at about the second floor level – 1111. it was a large 6 or so story building with blue panel facing and tan concrete supper structure. It had a pair of elevators in front and a office placard board betwixt them. I scanned the listing and saw his floor and listing. He was on the 3rd floor. I pushed the button to the elevators but noting happened. I assume the elevators are off till a set time when the offices of that building opened. Later I would find out this was correct. We knew where we were going now so we decided to go back to the room. I now had some directional bearings of the island.
Around 8:55 and looking out the window of our room I could see the clinic, it’s one of the tallest buildings there.. I got out my cell phone and called Dr Reed’s office. Anne answered the phone and I told her who I was and I was here. She cheerfully told me to come on over when ever I was ready. I walked over and took the elevator the the 3’d floor made a right turn out of the elevator past a corridor view point and his office was the first door to the right.
Photo taken from car window.
His office is smaller than it looks in his web site but it’s very beautiful. It has a grand dome light in the ceiling. I must tell you, Dr Reed is a artist of the caliber of the old masters. His entire complex is lined with his art work. His paintings are magnificent. My mother is a accomplished artist, I felt she failed in comparison to his work. I walked to the window and introduced myself. I said hello to Anne who I had spoken to more than Dr Reed by this time I believe. I sat down in the waiting room and it was only a short time Dr Reed called me in. I had only spoken to him Via E-Mail and on the phone once. I filled out some standard paper work as we all do at a doctor’s office. I went with him into his office and we talked some. He went over with me as to what he was going to do and what I could expect. I had no grand delusions as to what I was going to end up with. I have read a million accounts of SRS and spoken to so many others that I felt I had done this many times before. However, I was not going through the interview process lightly. I wanted to hear what he had to say so I could make my informed decision that he knew what he was doing. We finished our consultation and he told me all my paper work was in order and my blood work was fine. He weighed me and we went into the exam room across the hall. He examined me and gave me a idea of what I could expect as far as my depth was going to be. Three inches is what it looked like but something good was in store for me as far as my depth would be. As for lower electrolysis, my hair was fine. I am 1/4th american indian and that helped in the area of scrotal hair. I never had electrolysis in that area before today. I would need some for the area of my clitoris and Anne would do it. Again, I can’t help but brag on the fact Dr Reed is a artist and what more could one ask for than a plastic surgeon who is also a artist!
I got my instructions for bow prep. It was going to prove to be a long long night my friends. He called in my proscriptions to the Walgreens on the mainland. It’s about 4 miles up the road and easy to get in and out of. They also sell some very nice light weight sun dresses there. I would suggest you get one if you are going to have surgery. They are worth there weight in gold afterwards. They are easy to get into and out of and since you are in North Miami you don’t need to wear panties. You will understand why this is a good thing after surgery. trust me! I was to come back to the clinic later that day at three o’clock for Anne to do the touch-up electro.
We came back from Walgreens and I began to drink the Citrate Magnesia for the bow prep. Oh my friends let me tell you, you can get this down because you know you must, but I don’t think I can ever do it again. I also think 2 bottles was way to much for me. After I had the two bottles of Cherry Citrate Magnesia I did a enema and pretty much just lounged about the room for the day. I was trying to get my bank account in order. I was using a Visa debit card and the Inn debited the room when I checked in. They took out a substantial deposit that I had not accounted for. I was in a panic! I had only $200 in my bank account. This was not a problem in it’s self because I would have a $1000 pay check from work direct deposited in 2 days but till then $200 was all I would have to last me for food and problems. You see, I thought I had had a major bank error because of the pre damage deposit the Inn put against my bill. I pulled the plugs and called my Dad to have him dump some money into my account. I was terrorized. I went down to the desk and had the clerk work with me and pull the deposit so I would not crash my bank account till the money I had Dad put in cleared. I also had a $250 check I sent to the IRS for my 2002 taxes and was not sure it had cleared the bank yet. I had no net access to see what had cleared my bank. I am happy to say, that check had already cleared and the Inn took off the damage deposit for a night. Also, Dad put in seven hundred dollars. I soon had a picture and understood what had happened. My financial panic was over in about 3 Hr’s. I was safe money wise but what a shock it had been. All the stress of being in a strange place, compounded by going into surgery in the morning and my bathroom problem I was having, it was a bad afternoon. By the way, the Inn now has a guest internet terminal. They were putting it in while I was there.
Later that afternoon the growling and churning in my tummy was telling me the Citrate Magnesia was working very very well. I walked back to the clinic for Anne to do the electro and I just did make it. I don’t want to be crude but I think I blew the back of the toilet out at his office. I lay there on the table and Anne began to zap. I was getting hair removed from the area where my clitoris would be. She had to have Dr Reed come in and give me a shot to numb the area. Anne did not like me jumping each time she hit the pedal. This took about 2 Hr’s and we chatted about all kinds of things. Ahh, it’s a conversation I will always remember. I won’t tell about it because we spoke of things not personal but they were private. All I can say is Anne, watch out for alligators in your yard from now on. That Anne, she is just a great person, absolutely amazing. We finished up and I owed her $25 for the electro. I think it was to little money for her time. she worked on me for 2 Hr’s. I told her I had no cash on me but I could give her a check or I could go to the ATM outside and bring some cash. She trusted me to wait till the next day no problem. I found this a very nice trust, like home. I went back to the room and the bow prep was still working well. I was going to the bathroom a lot and all the solids had pretty much gone. When I would go it was just a red liquid because of the Citrate Magnesia. My pore back side was raw from all the wiping. But again, I had remembered to take baby wipes just for this situation.
Before I get into the events of the night I want to talk about my mindset and emotions, Or lack of. I have been planing on doing this for a long time but got sidetracked by every day life. After my transition I became involved in every day things and purchases. I had bought a house, a new car and was not putting my finances toward SRS. I was mentally prepared for surgery but I had set it to the back burner till now. Here I was, I had made the choice to do it after my life was in order but I was not excited nor was I really afraid. I had more of a feeling that this was cutting into my time to take care of other things I had going on in work and at home. To tell you the truth, I was pretty amazed how little emotion I was feeling this night before a monumental step in my life. Think of it, a part of me was going to die in the morning. Literally, there would be a part of me that was born with me but will not be burred with me when I die.
I know this sounds crude but I am trying to be honest. I took a shower and yes, I spanked monk monk one last time. I read it’s a common ritual right before surgery and it did seem like the thing to do. I can say with absolute certainty, I will always remember where and when the last time was. I guess because of the years on hormones it was less than fireworks. After I had dried myself from the shower I looked in the mirror for a long time, then said my good byes. I did not hate to see it go but was enamored more by the idea I would never see it again.
I decided to go on to bed about 10:30 or so. I awoke at 3 AM and felt I was wet. I got out of bed and looked only to see red staining on the sheets. Thank God there were no solids just liquid, slightly red. Not since I was a baby had I gone in the bed. I was embarrassed and did not want to wake mom or Angie. I took the sheets off the bed and went into the bathroom and washed them in the sink I was crying. Why was this happening to me? I was a total emotional wreck. I felt so alone. It was 3 in the morning. I was to go into surgery in 3 hr’s and I was alone, in the dark and in a strange place almost one thousand miles from home. I was standing there crying and pounding the sheets in the sink. My tears were pouring into the sink almost as strong as the water from the tap. I wanted Mom or Angie to come in and tell me it was ok but they never woke up. I was tired and emotionally drained. I had been holding on to tight. I was losing the edge. Now it was all starting to spill out, the 7 years of shrugging off all the taunts and comments. It was the want to be finished with all of this It was the need to have a life and not just the appearance of a every thing is just fine persona. It was not fine, It was a mess. I tell you what, I could bottle up mental pain, ship it out and make it look like packaged sunshine. Here I was in Miami Florida and as alone as if I had been on the moon. I sucked it up and got back to cleaning my sheets. After that little mental brake down I was fine The staining came out with no problems. I then dried the sheets using my travel hair dryer. It took me about 2 Hr’s to get every thing cleaned up and dry. I re-made the bed and went back to sleep. This time I put on my panties and put a liner in them to protect against another accident. I had less than one hour to sleep. I ended up having only a total of four hours of sleep that night.
5:56 AM April First.
This was going to be no April Fools day my friends. I was up for 6 O’clock and feeling embarrassed with myself over my little guilt trip last night I was getting set to walk over to Dr Reeds office. My surgery was set for 7:00 AM. I watched our boys kick butt in Iraq on Fox News till about 6:55. It was only about a 2 minute walk to his office heck, I could see it from my bedroom window. I told Mom I was going to walk on over. As I have said, she does not wake up well so she stayed in the room.
I hugged Mom and started out the door with Angie. As I walked out the door, I began to cry. I had just leisurely told my Mom bye, possibly for the last time. I tell you what my dear suspenseful and enthralled readers, I, your humble narrator had a feeling as if I were walking to the gallows. I am not saying now I did not want to have surgery, nor did I have worries about Dr Reeds ability. The fact is, SRS is a major surgery and things go wrong when put to sleep and under the knife. I viewed this experience as if I were walking to a unknown the proportions that I had never experienced in my life. I held back the tears and tried to suck it up as I was walking down the hall of the Inn but it sure was hard. I got outside and was able to get a grip on my emotions. Now, I know some say it’s not healthy to hold back things like this but by that same token I did not want to look like a total basket case walking down main street Bay Harbor Fla, crying my eyes out.
I got to the Dr’s office and they took me right in. My surgery was before his normal office hr’s. Dr Reed greeted me in blue jeans and a paint stained tee shirt. Now, to most this would have made one a tad leery. For me, it was a relief and made me know he was relaxed and would take good care of me.
I was walked down the hall to a locker room / bathroom and was told to take off all my clothes and place them in the locker then put on a gown. There on the sink lay a tan gown. I put this on and went to the bathroom one last time. I was worried I would have a accident on the table like I had had the night before so I tried to have a bow movement. I took a deep breath listening to the autoclave working in the room next to the bathroom. I walked into the operating room and every one was scurrying around getting every thing set for my surgery. I stood there for a moment and took it all in. It was so surreal. I saw Anne doing something in a blue cabinet that looked like a tool chest I handed her the money for the electrolysis she had done yesterday. I jokingly told her that I always pay my bills and that if I die on you I sure would hate to see you left out to dry for $25. She laughed and we made light of it. I think at this point perhaps that was a bad thing to say. I tend to crack jokes at the wrong times about the wrong things. I have what many term as a British sense of humor.
I was asked to hop up on the table where I hoped up an lay down. Dr Reed, who was dressed now in dark blue scrubs looked at me and asked, “Are you ready my love?” I said yes and I looked at the big lights above me and remembered seeing them in the photo of the operating room on his web site. Here I was looking at them in person. I just could not believe I was here. There were so many thoughts in my mind at this moment I can’t remember any one. I chatted about nothing with every one as they were getting set. I was strapped down by the arms and put in stirrups. At that moment I remember thinking, I was not so sure about this. It was the only time I thought about getting up and saying Naaaaaaa, I don’t think so. I knew once I was under it was a done deal. I then thought, OK, come on now Lela, get over it. It’s just jitters of what you are seeing and feeling. Lets get this show on the road girl!
The last time I had that same feeling was when I soloed
my first aircraft for my private pilots license back in 92.
Imagine if you will a stop watch counting down very fast in your minds eye.
The anesthesiologist started my IV and I reminded her to keep a eye on the crowns on my front teeth. They have come off every time I have ever been under. Anne asked me to take off my watch. I had forgot to take it off, gezz, I never take it off. I looked up at the big lights over me and closed my eyes and said a prayer asking God to forgive me if what I was doing was wrong or against his will, then I asked that he protect me and let every thing go well. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot via my IV. This surgery was a go.
I have been under before but always had a last thought or a memory of getting sleepy or drunk. This time I don’t remember that transition. I just went out some where like a light switch. I don’t remember getting groggy or fogey. I was there, she injected the IV and I think there was some chat for a second but no particular memory before going out.IT WAS DONE!
I had closed my eyes some what a boy and awoke very much a girl.
Let me rephrase that,
I awoke a “T” Total BITCH!
Or so they tell me.
I vaguely remember waking up cold and feeling like I had to go pee. I felt like I had downed a case of beer and not been to the girls room yet. This was all very much like a dream. I also think I was being moved on the gurney when I woke up but I am not sure. Mom and Angie told me I was not just being a bitch but I was a major bitch from hell! Mom and Angie tell me I was cursing and knew damn well the back of the bed would recline more than it was, also I thought my feet were hanging off the edge of the bed. I think this was from the stirrups but i’m not sure. I Don’t believe I said and did all they say I did. It’s not in my nature to just rattle off at the mouth the way they say I was. I do remember being slightly upset because I was uncomfortable from the catheter. Apparently I was so bad Mom and Angie left feeling they were upsetting me! They left me, can you believe that? It was ok. I bet I was pretty bad. I have foggy memories of getting a lot of blankets. I have a very clear memory of being cold. I am told this is a side effect of being under. I think I remember being told I was in surgery for about 3 Hr’s and lost a quart of blood. I am not sure that is exactly correct but it tends to stick in my mind for some reason. Dr Reed and Anne did tell me I was one of the least bleeders they have had. I believe my prayer was heard about letting every thing go well..
I am not sure what time it was but I woke up much more clear to the phones ring at the night observance desk by me. The assistant answered it and said “She’s still asleep” I knew who it was. I made some kind of noise to get his attention without saying “Is it for me?” He looked over and told me my Mom was on the phone. I spoke to her, I don’t remember what I said but I did tell her to come see me. Soon after, Mom and Angie came in. I was happy to see them. I guess it was late. I don’t remember what time it was but I think it was dark out. They stayed a while, I don’t remember what we talked about. I still know I felt I had to go pee so bad I was crying. It was the catheter causing this feeling I later learned. When they fill the balloon it fills the balder so it will not come out. This makes you feel like you are full and have got to go pee.
The night was long and I was in a fog never sure I was awake or asleep. I was having mild pain but it was a dull annoying pain that would build up. Dr Reed would come in and give me a shot of Demerol and I would feel better. He was so nice. He would tell me I needed lots of hugs. This made me smile. I was hooked up to some machines. I know one was a pulse monitor that clips on your finger. The others were like EKG tabs on my chest. I am not sure if they were in use or were from being in surgery. I don’t remember any times. I just know it was in the night when I write of these things. I was feeling a tad more awake now and I looked up on the table and there was a glass of water. I attacked it, I had not thought of it but I was as thirsty as a lung fish that had been in the ground for a year. I drank the water and noticed my watch and a glass with a biohazard bag in it. I knew what it was. I had seen that sight before. I reached a finger in my mouth and sure enough, I had lost a crown. I asked for my purse from the locker and I got out the old trusty supper glue and put the crown back on. I was starting to come back to reality. I lay there for a moment and in all the interest in what was around me, where my tooth was and putting my watch back on I had forgot the most important thing. I took a deep breath and lifted the covers and looked down. There it was, a bulky bandage. I reached down and lightly put my hand on it and I could tell it was gone. I lay there for a long time using the map of my mind trying to feel what was what. I never could get a image in my mind of where every thing had been moved to. I just had to smile from ear to ear in that private moment. Your humble sliced and diced narrator was done.
My first nurse who was to set with me the night was a lovely young Jamaican girl named Almeir. She was soft spoken, sweet and on her cell phone all night. I can only imagine it was her boyfriend. She and I watched TV and chatted some. The time passed pretty fast. Soon it was time for her to go. I asked her for her name because I knew I would not remember it. It was so unusual to me. I come from a place where people have names like Marry Jean, Sarah Len and Jackie Lee. She wrote it on a Band-Aid pack and I look at it now as I write this. My next nurse that would carry me into the day was Whinny. She also was Jamaican but a older woman. If you saw her on the street, you would have said, she’s a nurse. She was very professional and caring. She was on her P’s and Q’s about writing every thing down I did. If I woke up, I could see her log the time. If my catheter bag was emptied, she recorded the amount, if I moaned in pain, she wrote it down. Soon also she had to go. I slept most of the time she was there. I think she had a good book she was into any way. I could see light in the window of the O.R. across the hall, it was a new day.
April 2. Time unknown. Dr Reed was my cook that morning. He fixed me breakfast then sat me up in bed to eat. I about died! Be set for the set-up at breakfast. It hurt so bad to set on or against the surgery site. I thought I would pass out. He fixed me a slightly burnt omelet, fruits and some kind of veggie sausage that I could not eat at all. The omelet was ok, but Dr Reed could take a lesson in cooking. Perhaps he was just busy getting set for the day and did not have time to tend to the omelet, I give him the benefit of the doubt on this. Later I mentioned it to Anne, she also agrees, his cooking could use some work . In fact it was really just fine. I am some what of a stickler for my own cooking. Mom and Angie came to take me back to the Inn, I was asked if I wanted to try to stand up. You see my friends, I thought I would just hop out of bed, hit the floor and walk back to the room, NOT! I sat up and the pain was unreal. I slid off the bed and made it to my feet and I must say, I did not have a lot of feet left to stand on after being in bed 24 Hr’s. I took about 10 steps and was in real pain. Anne got me into the wheel chair. Setting in the wheel chair was no better. I was just able to take it by putting my feet on the chairs foot pads and pushing my self up on the arm rest so I had no pressure on my bottom. I let it be know if we were going back to the Inn, we had better go now. I could not take the pain of setting. I was crying and just wanted to get back into bed. The small talk was over and I was out the door. The assistant wheeled me the block back to the room. Oh was it ever a bumpy ride my friends. I, your humble narrator had waked that several times now and did not remember so many craters in the sidewalk and road as I did setting in that chair. It made a bronco bull ride feel like setting on a cloud.
I was wheeled the block back to the Inn. I had to get out of the chair and walk up about 6 steps from the lobby of the motel to the hallway I was crying, I looked terrible and every one in the lobby was looking at me like “That poor girl”. I made it to my room and bed and lay back and cried but I already started to feel better. I had some pain pills from Dr. Reed but I needed some I had of my own. They did not take away all the pain but they did make me sleep and that is what I wanted. The rest of the night I watched Fox News coverage of Iraq and was in and out of sleep.
April 3rd I was starting to feel some what better. I was eating now but still had a heck of a time trying to set up or walk. I felt as if I were a stuffed turkey. When I would set up, I could feel the packing pushing up and into me. It hurt something fierce. I was also starting to get gas. I found if I could move around some I could get relief. I would try to roll onto my side and place a pillow between my knees to help the gas get out. This would work but it hurt to do it. When it did come out, it was one of the best feelings in my small world at that time.
By now you may be thinking this was a horrible and painful experience. In hindsight it was not that bad considering what it was for and what had been done to me. I just don’t take pain well. Things that others seem to shrug off make me cry. Don’t sneeze cough or clear your throat, they all hurt pretty bad to do. I sent Mom to the Burger King up by the Wallgreens to get me some junk food for lunch. I now think about it, this may be where all my gas came from. Then something interesting started happening that third day, there were shocks of nerves connecting I think. These pains would some times make you laugh, jump or yipe! Angie had a blast making fun of me over this. I would be eating or watching TV and I would just jump and yipe! She would just laugh her butt off at me. She said the looks I would get on my face were hilarious. The day was pretty much watching Fox News and checking AMC and Turner Movie Classics for a good John Wane “Big Leggy” movie. This would be about the existent of the day.
April 4th I decided I was going to walk today come hell or high water. I had started to worry about DVT. I don’t think I was in any danger but it was motivation.. Dr Reed told me to go on and try to walk some, just don’t over do it or try to run.” Yea right, Run?”.
I did not want to carry my pee bag down to the lobby and on the porch. The porch of the Inn is right on the street and is the valet reception area for the Palm Restaurant. This restaurant is a very high class place. I saw several stars going in during my stay. I also saw a lot of rich drunks fall down the steps right in front of a cop. If it had been Alabama they would have been in jail before they could stand up. I guess money has it’s perks but I guess I’m jealous. They would dust off, stick there nose in the air and get in there car and weave off. I never did eat at the Palm, it was way out of my price range for what I had for the trip..
Any way, back to my trip down stairs. I lay in bed and looking at the catheter tube trying to understand how it disconnected from the catheter bag line. After about a minute I decided the tube was just slipped over the plastic tip of the catheter line and it would disconnect. I rolled the rubber line back from the plastic tip and it came loose leaving the catheter it’s self in me. I though for a moment about how to plug the line and took a plastic top from one of my eye liner pencils and pushed it in to the rubber catheter line where it connects to the bag’s line and was able to plug it. Be careful if you do this, you create a small amount of pressure as you push the cap in the line and it feels like a lot of pressure because you are so sensitive to the catheter. I tried to get up but it hurt to use my tummy mussels to set up. You push out on the packing when you use your tummy mussels. I stood up and after almost passing out from being on my back for 4 days I got my balance and made a crack to Angie that after all this I still have something hanging between my legs, the catheter line. We made our way to the room door where I promptly had pain in my genitals and shortness of breath. I stopped for a moment and said “I can’t do this”. I went and lay back down and took 4 Tylenol and 2 pain pills. I was going to walk today. After about a hour I was sure the pills had kicked in I wiggled my butt out of bed and stood up again. I almost blacked out again when I stood up. I leaned against the wall and waited for my vision to come back from the grey checkers. I told Angie “lets do this”! This time I made it to the door and down the hall we went. I was waddling like a broke leg duck. I got to the lobby and carefully walked down the flight of steps and we went onto the porch. It was good to get outside. I leaned against the railing trying to breath. for some reason I just could not get air. We stood out there for about 1 or 2 minuets but it seamed like 5 hr’s. I told Angie that I had to get back and lye down. The air was hot and humid as one would expect in Miami and this may have been part of my breathing problem. I never have had a problem before or since so I attribute it to the surgery some how. It only lasted a day or so. I slowly worked my way back to the room and lay down.
We ordered Chinese that night and I got what I thought was Szechwan hot and spicy shredded pork. It’s a favorite of mine. I ended up getting something like it, but I did not care for it. We had ordered without a menu being our first time. I tried to explain what I wanted and they got it close but the sauce was wrong. Once we got our food we got a menu with it. I was able to get exactly what I wanted the next time we ordered from them.
I wanted to wash my hair so bad.
I told mom and Angie that I just felt ikkey, I felt if I could wash my hair I would feel better. O’ was this ever going to be a event. I asked mom to warm up the water in the shower. I could not get in because of the bandage so I would lean over the side. The shower had a hose where you could remove the head. I told Mom to see if she could pull the door off the shower. The shower was a standard tub but had built-in sliding bi-directional doors rather than a shower curtain. She and Angie rattled and banged on the doors but could not get the doors to come off. The opening on the end where the hose would reach was right against the toilet so I could not get into there. If the door were open on the far end of the tub, the hose of the shower would not reach. I needed to take both doors off and be in the center for the hose of the shower to reach. I know this sounds like it was not worth it but to me it was. I lifted the doors off there tracks. This was not what I should have been doing. The doors were about 25 BLS each. I was only four days out of surgery. However, the moving of the glass shower doors was no worse pain wise than just standing was with no weight. I leaned over the side of the tub and Mom and Angie washed my hair. Oh, this felt so good. I keep reading accounts of other peoples SRS and I kept seeing this need to wash ones hair. It’s strange. This is something you feel you must do and it’s as strong as the need for a salmon to swim up stream. After that, my energy level went up about 75%. WOW did I ever feel better. I put the doors back on and got out of bed several times that night to walk down the hall I felt so good.
I watched Fox News for the rest of the night. I never did get a full night sleep during my entire stay. I would cat nap for a hour or so then I would get into the news or a old movie and cat nap on and off.
April 5thI felt great today. I got up, went outside and stood for about ten minutes. I started to hurt again and began walking back to the door of the Inn. I released something, I did not hurt as bad as long as I was moving. I told Angie that I wanted to try to walk around the Inn. We started down the ramp and around the building we went. I did ok. As we stood in front of the Inn I decided I wanted to walk to the top or mid way of the bridge next to the bar. The bridge connects Bal Island to Bay Harbor island. It’s right on the corner by the Inn. It’s a arched bridge with a sidewalk that spans about one hundred yards across a area of water. It’s the water that divides the two islands. We walked to the top and from there I could see the Atlantic way way down at the end of the road. I stood there a moment at the summit of the bridge and watched those pelicans I had seen at breakfast the other day gliding along the water eating fish in front of the restaurant. We turned and went back to the room. I was pretty tired and decided to lay in bed the rest of the day.
It was Saturday and the Talladega Bush race was going to be on soon. I thought it was so ironic, here I lay in Miami Fla. and watching a race that takes place only 30 miles from my home in Alabama. I told Angie to go to Walgreens and get us some beer. It was 5 days since surgery and my instructions said one week before alcohol but it did not say if that was a work week or a seven day week. Who in there right mind can watch a race with no beer. I am not a regular drinker as in every day but I do drink most week ends. Most of the time when it’s race season. I was amazed how cheep beer was there. A six pack of Natural Light in Fla. was $2.89 Here in Alabama it’s $3.98. The race started and I had a beer my Mom and best friend by my side. It was my first race as the new me and it was Talladega, my home town track. Was it a sign? What could be better? It was only a few laps into the race and they had the “BIG ONE!” Talladega is known for the the big one. For all of you who are not Nascar fans, the big one is the wreck that takes out more than half of the field. After that, the race was pretty bland but my man did win, Jr. #8 Woo’rha! After the race and only 2 beers I was set for some sleep. I woke up about 9 pm and watched Fox News the rest of the night sleeping on and off.
April 6th Today was pretty much a mirror image of yesterday other than the long walking. I think I over did it Saturday. Today was the Talladega Cup race again my boy Dale Jr. #8 won it. He’s just to good!
April 7thToday not much went on. Watched TV and went down stairs a few times. One thing that I want to tell you about is pretty funny. Apparently Iguanas live wild down there. Angie and I went down stairs to chill out on the porch for a while. I started around to the ramp that leads off the porch and there sat on the banister rail was what I thought was a toy lizard some one had left there. I thought it was a toy because it was so vibrantly coloured. I had seen Iguanas in the pet shops but they were always a dull green. This one was a bright, almost florescent green. It had incredibly red and yellow markings on it. It was about 16 or so inches long. I was not sure Angie saw it right away. I moved quickly to grab it and I was going to spin around and shake it at Angie to scare her. As I quickly reach for it, it jumped, puffed up and hissed at me. I screamed rather loudly and fell backwards. This thing was alive! I just sat there looking at it stunned! I turned to look for Angie who I saw going into the Inn at a rather high rate of speed. I sat there for a moment as it sleeked into the small grove of trees there at the corner of the Inn. After that, I did not sleep with the windows open in the room any more.
April 8th I was having my dressings taken off today. Dr Reed uses a compression dressing I believe it’s called. He tapes it to you after surgery and is not taken off till 1 week. I was glad to be getting this off and the catheter out. I had begun to feel as if I were wearing a iron diaper It was starting to chafe my labia. Anne had told me to be there about 8:30. I went to try to have a bow movement before I left. I pushed hard to try to get some relief from the gas. When I did I passed urine past the catheter line. Now I had a slightly wet iron diaper. I had some coffee and a yogurt then I walked over to his office and the door was locked. I think Anne had forgot to tell Dr Reed I was to be there that early. I stood there for a moment and tried to decide if I misunderstood her and should I walk back, or knock. I decided to knock. I knew Dr Reed was up. He has a apartment at / In his office. I am told he spends more time there than at his home. I knocked a few times and I herd Dr Reed say “Who is it?” I said it’s Lela. He let me in and asked why I was here so early. I told him Anne had told me to be here at 8:30. He did not sound to sure about this but told me to have a seat. I sat in his waiting room for about 30 Min then Anne came in and said good morning. I asked if I had understood her right about the time, she said yes it was right. I then told her Dr Reed was not so sure. She just smiled and said he does not read the appointment book. Anne and I really hit it off well. We had a good repore and I think our attitudes were a lot alike.
She held open the door to the back and I was instructed to go into the examination room, undress and hop up on the table I lay there and she began to peal the tape that held the dressing on. She said it may hurt when she took it off but it didn’t. I was used to duct tape Tucking, this was no where near as bad. After she took off the dressing, I was then told the packing was coming out. I have read many accounts of this and was very interested in how it was going to feel. I had always been told it was like a paper towel being unrolled inside you. I would say this was very close to what it felt like. It was amusing, I could feel it coming out of me but I was apparently numb inside my vagina. I could tell it was coming out but it also had a feeling I could best describe as that numb feeling you get when you hit your funny bone. That kind of vibrating but numb feeling. I did indeed feel it uncoiling from inside of me but my feeling of it was not coming from my vaginal walls. I was more feeling it by some nerves in the abdominal area I think. After that came out Anne asked me if I was set for the catheter to come out. I told her yes and that she could just set that bag out by the pecan tree when she was done. It’s a red neck term; To set out by the pecan tree is to get rid of something that’s junk or trash that has been giving you a fit. It’s used here were I live. In rural areas, things were most often placed by a pecan tree prier to burning or burying.
She then took a syringe and drew the water from the balloon that inflates the catheter. I felt better as soon as she did that. All that pressure that made me feel like I had to pee just went away. She then started to slide it out. It was not as bad as I had thought, just a slight dragging tug. After that was out I was douched with a antiseptic, then peroxide, then I think water. That was a very strange feeling. I could not help but smile because I had a hard hitting realization that every thing was now different down there. Having water injected into my vagina was just not a thought that had had never been uttered in my mind. Shoot, the term my vagina just sounded strange knowing I had one.
Dr Reed came in and asked if I had seen my vulva yet. I said no. He got me a mirror so I could take a look. It looked so strange because I was still swollen. I was assured that it was a beautiful result for the first stage. I thought every thing was a bit to high or more around to the front than I had expected. I think it was because of swelling. He brought in some dilators, I think it was 3 sizes. One was huge! I was going to run if he tried to stick that in me. The other two were what I would call normal size on the large to small ends of that scale.
As I understand, this in fact has now changed and he requests you purchase your own dilators before surgery. Updated 12-15-03 , If you use Dr Reed, unless he changes something, get your own dilators before you go. He uses penis style dildos and they have veins. The veins in them are uncomfortable. They are made of a soft latex and feel good over all except for the raised veins. It’s not the best for being just post op, but It worked till I got home and to something I had of my own. Now that I am healed, I play with the one he gave me and it’s no problem. But being still sore so soon after surgery, I think a smooth latex would be better. Also, the head of the penis hurts going past the PC muscle, it catches. Any way, that’s up to you. After using KY he began to insert it. It hurt but went in half way, or about 2.5 inches. I was not sure about this but then he used a thin rod of some kind and was able to insert it about five inches. I was still swollen and I think that is why it did not go in all the way.
I told you in the start of this story something good was going to happen when he gave me the initial prognoses about my depth probably being only three inches?. I had a lot of excess skin from tucking. Tucking is where you take the penis and bend it under using tight clothes or tape. Dr, Reed did not say this, but I am sure I stretched the skin down from my pubic area from years of tucking and this made more skin to pull down and in.
Next he had me put on a glove and insert my finger into my vagina to get a idea where it was and what it felt like. I was amazed how much it felt like the real thing on the inside. I could not wipe the smile off my face. I don’t know what they though about me grinning like the cheesier cat during all that. Any way, after a brief dilation and some instructions and another douche I was told to come in the next morning to have my sutures removed.
Angie and I walked back to the Inn and I was feeling much better now that the catheter was out. I could walk and not look like a duck, quack quack. About 3/4 of the way back I felt something running down my legs. I got worried at first because I thought I may be bleeding. I discreetly lifted my dress to have a look only to notice it was water draining out of me from the douche. When I got back to the room and Mom asked how I was now and I told her fine. I was very very curious to see what it was like to pee.
I drank a few beers to see if I could get the bladder going. I had not used my new equipment to go yet and was interested to see how this worked. I finely felt I had to go pee so I went into the bathroom and sat down. I thought ok, here we go. Nothing! Humm, I was not sure how to make it come out. It was as if all the old nerves that told me it was coming were not there any more. I sat there for about 2 min trying different things. Finally I felt it coming and before I knew it, I was spraying urine right over the seat and onto the floor. Ok I thought, lean forward some and try again. I did and I hit the bowl this time. Being swollen my stream was high and was a spray more than any thing. Once you start to feel it coming out, it’s already out, there’s no more long urethra to travel down. It’s was just boom and it was coming out. I leaned forward to get it to go in the bowl a tad better. The stream stopped being a strait stream and began spraying left, then right then dribbling down all along my labia and then dripping off my underside. It was a very wet first go my friends. I cleaned my self with a lot of toilet paper then cleaned the floor. I then thought to my self, I am going to be buying much more toilet paper from now on I guess.
The rest of the day It took me some time to go each time. I still didn’t’ have the hang of it yet. Also, it was still messy. I took a shower and went again in the shower. It was much much easier that time! With the warm water hitting me I just relaxed and down my legs it ran. If you can’t go the first time I would say to try the shower thing.
I wanted to see the Atlantic so Angie and I decided to find the beach. I had a beer in my sippy cup and we took off to find the Atlantic. After getting lost and making a lot of illegal U-turns we found it. The parking lot was on the left and the beach was on the right. We did not understand this concept. We stopped at a public parking area and it was on a bay or lagoon to the left. We looked at the water for a while and decided to try to find the beach again. I should have known better than to trust Angie. She would not ask directions like I wanted her to. I finally got her to stop and ask a phone company man who was working on the lines. He told us where to go and it was that same damn parking lot we had been in. Turns out, you must go into a tunnel that comes out on the other side of the road. We parked and there was the tunnel. I walked out and gazed on the Atlantic and though Gezzz, there”s nothing between me and Africa. I stood in the water for a moment and wished I could get in. After about 30 Min I decided I had seen enough and we went back to the van. On the way back we noticed a sign in the tunnel that said “Clothing Optional Beaches To The North”.
Did you know they have public nude beaches in Miami? We never did go but we thought about it. We went back to the Inn and for the rest of the night, yep, you guessed it, back and forth Fox news and AMC.
April 9th and 10th
I went to get my sutures out, this hurt! I guess the skin had started to heal over the knots. After all that was done, I gave Anne a big hug and spoke with Dr Reed to see in case I had any questions and answer any. I went back to the room and we packed to come back home to Alabama. I watched Seinfeld it was the one where George though his statue of the woman in blue was stolen. I was waiting for 8:00 PM We wanted to leave when traffic was thin. I would say Miami is much like LA. the traffic just crawls all day long on the Interstate. We started home and I was in the back of the van. I thought if I could lie down it would be more comfortable. It was not long I got into the front seat and reclined the back and put my feet on the dash and found some relief. I felt like I had to go pee every ten minutes. I felt like this for about a week or two really. I think it was the after effects of the catheters expansion of my bladder. It was dark and raining all the way. The sun started to come up around Plains Georgia and the trip was 13 Hr’s 07 Min and 16 Sec. I stayed awake for the full trip and decided not to go to sleep when I got home. I stayed up till 8: pm. Up for 36 Hr’s Then I went to bed.
I was home.
I made it alive.
Thank you God for blessing me with the Finances, Health and a safe trip.
Thank you Dr. Harold Reed for your mastery of the medical arts.Now, lets talk about that one man space craft I always wanted to build ” WINK”
3 Months Post op
All is well and all the pain, worries and uncomfortableness has turned to nostalgia. I am going to be vacationing on Bay Harbor Island for some time to come I think. I absolutely fell in love with the place. As for my current condition, I am doing well and have a depth of 6 inches from diligent dilation. I still don’t have much clitoral sensation but this is normal this early I understand. It is coming, In the first month after surgery I was numb as could be. Now, I can tell the sensitivity is returning. Vaginal sensation is very good. Playing with a vibrator is relaxing if that is any indication. I have had several opportunity for sex and turned them down gently. I want to wait till I am pretty sure every thing is working at 100% and it’s the right man. I shall make updates for any significant mile stones and I will make a post Labia Plasty report when that happens next year. Till then, take your time and do your research. If you don’t, and go on a whim you may live to regret it. Preparation is the insurance of a job well done.
6 Months Post op.
Hello again my friends It’s 6 months now. I have decided to put a counter on the page. There has been evidence of a huge number hits per month. It’s looking to be true, Wow, Thanks folks. I had no idea so many people were reading my story. I am flattered. I think and also bet I need to thank DR. Anne Lawrence’s link to this page for this. Well, I wish I had some wild new news to report but I don’t. My health is fine. No problems at all. I guess that is how it should be isn’t it? The updates are some what anticlimactic to say the least compared to the story it’s self.
I hope sure hope this has helped. I don’t think I will update the next quarter because I just can’t think of any reason to.
I will however be updating around April. The update will be the road trip, Labia Plasty results and some photos from Bay Harbor.
Photos were the one thing I forgot to do when I was there for SRS. Call me preoccupied. I did get a few shots the day we left but none
I wanted to get in the office, OR, Dr Reed and Anne and such.
God Bless you all.
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