Thursday, January 27, 2011

It was 40 years ago


I was writing this at 3 PM on January 26, 2011 EST and this was right around the time I woke up in recovery after my surgery completed me physically. I woke up and I was finally a physically complete 25 year old girl or as close as medicine could make one in 1971.
My surgery started at 8 AM on that Tuesday morning and around 7:45 AM Granato and his two consulting surgeons arrived.  I had only met Granato twice before entering the hospital.  The first was for his approval for surgery because in those dark days the surgeon truly had the final say about access to surgery regardless of what even Harry Benjamin said.  I knew I had to pass the “eye” test as we called it.  It is like taking a class in College today “pass” or “fail” to avoid having to work too hard for a good grade but still get credit for the course. I wish they had them in Buckeye country but I got a “pass” and the next time we met was for the orchiectomy which was done under a local in his office on a very cold and rainy Friday evening in late November of 1970.
The two surgeons helping Granato were a Plastic Surgeon and a Board Certified Urologist which begs to tell another story but I am not going there. I was already prepped and Granato remarked, “Most are quite nervous over surgery but you seem unusually calm”, as he looked at the monitors and remarked to one of other surgeons “she will be fine” and we talked for a minute or so and  the world faded to black.
All I remember from Recovery is Granato said it went well and fade to black again before finally coming out of the fog in my room around 6 PM to the gentle stroking my hand by Dr. Benjamin. We talked a bit but I was in and out of the fog of some serious pain medication.
I woke up on Wednesday and Lena showed up as my roomy and then flowers started arriving from Oscar, Andy, and Lana. Lena and I were talking and this huge flower arrangement arrives with a card and Lena grabs the card for me and goes, “holy crap is this who I think it is?”, and I grab the card and that guitar player had sent me this flower arrangement from halfway around the world and the dumb shit put his full name on card or some fool did. It was quite touching what he said. He was and is a really nice guy.
Then I started sneezing because there were too many roses and I was still allergic in those days so the flowers had to go because if there is one thing one does not want to do after that surgery it is sneeze hard and damn did it hurt.
Afternoon visiting hours started at 2PM and my younger brother Steve and my mom show up and poor Steve is looking at Lena in disbelief because that girl was seriously beautiful and I had to laugh.  I think I commented there really is more than one like me and he sort of nodded.
My older brother Ray arrived around 2:15 PM from California and we had a family reunion and mom and Ray finally made up after the many years they had not talked. Ray just leaned in and whispered, “It is finally over sis”, and I was a blubbering mess and crying hurt a little also.
It suddenly hit me that that the worst part was over at last. I knew regardless of what happened in the future I was finally how I should have been born. It was almost like more relief than joy in many ways. It is funny the memories one has from so distant a past. I could never forget what my guitar player said on the card because it was a play on the words of a hit song of his band yet I cannot remember other things.  Old age maybe but that was a very special few days when one truly realizes the nightmare is finally over.
May all of those born transsexual eventually reach that moment in their lives when they realize it is finally over.

7 comments:

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

Liz, I am totally blown away that you can remember so much detail. I cannot not even remember what month I had mine. By best guess is July, 1972. I was 24.

Ariel said...

Just over a year for me, so my memories are pretty clear. I was calm going into surgery. I felt a wonderful sense of relief afterward, just as you did. Relief and joy both.

Glad you have had 40 years of being the real you. Best wishes for many more to come!

Elizabeth said...

Some things I remember and other things I do not but some things are hard to forget.

Anne I remember only because it was the last Tuesday in January of 1971 and I can look up date in calender.

Anne said...

I do remeber that immense sense of relief, gratitude and accomplishment

Traci McCleary said...

I remember no longer being ashamed of my body in front of my boyfriend. The next day or so I went to use the restroom in the hospital room and my garment was open in the front and I had no problem at all with him seeing me naked. It was such an unconscious thing, I wasn't even aware of it until he pointed it out, and I was like, "Wow, yeah, you can see me naked now," whereas before I would totally freak out. In fact I did freak out a few days earlier when my surgeon gave me the examination and I instinctively stopped his hand from lifting the sheet to examine me.

40 years is a great anniversary. Great to be able to just live the rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

It will soon be 37 years for me and I can remember that day as vividly as if it was yesterday .... much of the following decades however is rather a blur LOL!