Tuesday, November 27, 2007

High School

I saw a man yesterday that I haven't seen since 1998. The last time I saw him was at my 10 year high school reunion. In fact, he's the only one from high school that I have seen since transition. I've communicated with a few, but this was the first visual interaction.

He's building my parents house, so my family sees him quite often. We popped in to see how construction was going yesterday before I flew back from the Thanksgiving vacation.

"It's been a while, Mike."

"Yeah, I guess it has."

Previously, I'd asked my dad if Mike knew. He said that most people seemed to already know...probably from me posting my name on our alumni website.

Anyway, I received a few emails this morning about our upcoming 20 Year High School Reunion. My dad previously asked me if I was going.

"You bet."

We'll see how it goes next summer. I'll have to see if one of my old dates pops in or not. I hope she does.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I'm currently flying back from spending an interesting time with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Mom was still going through her pheresis process, and due to some of the separation results and minor complications, she ended up staying in the treatment area 4 days longer than expected. My dad took the train in for Thanksgiving, so the three of us, along with my aunt, spent Thanksgiving at one of my mom's care facilities...along with about 6 other people and their support crews going through similar stuff. It all actually worked out fairly well, and I ended up teaching my parents how to play Rummy.

It's been two weeks since surgery. Things have gone relatively smooth and the pain hasn't been that bad. Even flying didn't seem to be an issue, as some people seem to have more swelling after a flight.

Most people haven't noticed the minor swelling along my jaw...it's only when I point it out that they can see the swelling. I actually played some minor sports about a week after surgery, but I limited my running, though, in order to keep my heart rate down. I probably shouldn't have played, but I told my teammates that I would not be running.

I'm still taking pain killers at night and trying to sleeping with an incline. I'm taking half a Vicodin and half a Valium just to get to sleep. Actually, last night I stopped the Valium. I hope to stop the Vicodin soon, too, so my digestive system can get back on track. Although I finished the antibiotics a week ago, my system has still been a little screwy, probably since I didn't eat as much yogurt as I should have....but that happens when there is yummy turkey and mashed potatoes on the table.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New ID

My new driver's license ID arrived today. It turned out better than I thought it would, and also arrived in a fairly timely manner. The old one was about a month after FFS, and I was kinda hesitant about showing it to anyone that didn't know my past. I look swollen and I have my hair pulled back in a ponytail. The new one looks really really nice for a driver's license, and I doubt I will have any issues showing it to anyone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The real jaw revision

Pain and pain medicine usually cause me to have a very short attention span. I end up not writing that much, or not wanting to write that much. Thus, this entry is pieced together from notes.

Yesterday, I woke up before my alarm went off. It was set for 5am. It's weird how that works sometimes. I usually get up sometime after 7am, but if I set my alarm earlier, many times I wake up right before my alarm is going to go off.

Anyway, I caught the taxi over to the hospital, took care of admission stuff, and they got the IV going after I told them of the bad times being stuck my last two surgeries. She was good, though, nailing the vein on the first try. After that, I just had to wait. The sun hadn't risen yet, so I stood at the window watching the glow slowly encompass the portion of San Francisco that my hospital room afforded. It's funny, of the handful of times I have seen the sun rise over the past few years, many times I was or had recently had surgery. I guess I'm usually just not up and outside that early. So, I guess it makes those rare occasions feel a little more special.

Trisha stopped by first to wish me well, then Dr. O came in to say hi. He asked me if there were any questions, but I didn't have any. He didn't think I did since this was so minor compared to what had already been done.

OK, I'm gonna be a tard. I picked two names that I thought would be the people that wheeled me around. Brian and Marcus. My first driver: Anna. Well, I though, that's kinda close to Brian...sorta like Brianna. I sat in the prep room for a few minutes, and since they didn't give me any Valium, I stayed awake. The nurses made sure I was warm and the anesthesiologist stopped by to confirm everything. My next driver: Mark. Woot. I hit one almost on the nail. I asked him if his middle name was Brian. He said it was Chester, but that only his mother knew it.

Because I was awake, I was able to scoot myself onto the operating table. I heard them mention that both of Dr. O's main men were in there with him. I guess they must be similar to Michael, Dr. Meltzer's operating assistant. They are often the people that none of us see since they don't go to the office nor do they perform rounds. My anesthesiologist had things hooked up without me even noticing, so the last thing I really remember was correcting Dr. O that it would be my right jaw instead of the left.

I woke up in recovery. It's actually a weird feeling waking up after being under anesthesia. My eyes are usually so heavy that I can't keep them open, and my body feels so limp. What's the first thing I do? I touch my jaw where they cut, knowing that the swelling will soon take over and I'll have no idea how things will look for another few months. What I felt seemed really really good. Gradually, I became alert enough to keep my eyes open, and the swelling started to begin. I was soon able to obtain a Percocet before they returned me to my initial room, and I put my rather comfortable clothes back on. Mira drove me back to the Cocoon house where I climbed into bed and slept. I think.

I stayed awake more than I thought, and I also had a small appetite. I think I ate some applesauce, pudding, and yogurt to go along with the antibiotics I started yesterday afternoon. I popped the Valium and Vicodin before bed and got about 5 hours of sleep before waking up again. I took another Vicodin and got a few more hours of sleep. From what I remember, the second night is the worst, though, because that's when the swelling is likely at it's peak. Fun stuff for tonight.

I had scrambled eggs this morning, and you know, I think I'm already tired of them after eating them only once. I had a pasta frozen dinner for lunch which went down fairly easy. I waited a few hours to be sure I was off the pain killers before driving home. Of course, once I made it home, it was time for another pain killer. They seem to knock me out for at least an hour.

Anyway, the swelling is there...I just have a few months to wait to see how things will look.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why they don't show bad movies on flights

Twas the night before surgery and Kara still hadn't finished the movie United 93. The movie takes place the morning of 9/11, mainly aboard the doomed flight of United 93. It follows the aviation information flow from air traffic controllers noticing hijackings, to the lack of the traceability of planes, and the capabilities to shoot down those planes. It also goes over how the hijackers likely made it into the cockpit.

Watching the movie, I sat there wanting to tell the people to do something...anything. It's the reason we watch movies twice or more, right...we somehow think the ending will change. I don't know how many times I have watched Back to the Future wondering if Marty will indeed make it back to his future.

Anyway, I'll admit, watching the movie definitely put me on edge as I relived some of the events from over 6 years ago....events that likely helped shove this little bird out of the nest.

Unfortunately, watching this movie the afternoon before I am to have surgery was probably not the best thing to do. At least I had a little time to calm down here at Cocoon and settle into place. There are two other women here, one who had surgery well over a week ago and another that had surgery just a few days ago. I was originally only going to be here tonight, but due to cancellations and such, I'll be staying here again tomorrow after surgery. I'll be catching a cab to the hospital bright and early in the morning, then Mira will be dropping me off at Cocoon after I'm out of recovery...assuming Dr. O doesn't put me in the hospital for the night. He seems to think I will be in and out, so that's very promising.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Photo-op and Pre-op

I didn't like my driver's license picture. It was taken about 3 weeks after my FFS in 2004, and every time I have had to show it since then, it makes me feel like I am showing someone my surgery photos. I didn't look horribly disfigured, but I didn't look like me. My hair was pulled back and my jaw was still very swollen.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get a new picture taken before my upcoming jaw revision, which would again leave me with a very swollen jaw. I made the appointment and popped in this afternoon for a quick picture at the DMV, otherwise known as Hell to many. Luckily, I was in and out fairly fast with the scheduled appointment.

The only sticky issue was I had to list any other names I'd used in the past. While my previous first name is quite girlish, my prior middle name is not....which kinda looks weird. Of course, they are the DMV, though, so I'm sure they have seen about everything.

After the picture, I headed to Dr. O's office for my pre-op visit. Dr. O and I briefly went over the portion of jaw to work on, I handed him photos, and we went over post-surgical duties. I was to be on a soft food diet for a while or eat on my left side of my mouth, trying to keep food away from the incision area. He suggested no physical activity for at least 2 weeks, and that I should gradually increase physical activity to see how things went in terms of pain and swelling.

I already had my prescriptions taken care of, so after chatting a little with Mira about life and everything, (and, of course, paying my $1,800 for the hospital and accommodations), I was off to play some sports.

Here are the photos to show exactly what I am having cut out. I have a small indentation on my right jaw which is right next to a bump. If there was only one of the deformities, I probably wouldn't be having this operation, but because they are both right next to one another, it doesn't look that well. In comparison, my left side looks pretty decent...good enough that it doesn't warrant any cutting.

A lot of people say they couldn't see it, but if one ran their finger along the jaw bone, it was definitely noticeable. Even Dr. O agreed that there was something there upon inspection, and thus, agreed to operate.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I wish I had known

When I read the news, my stomach dropped. It's that total feeling of shock. It's not a good feeling. Not a good feeling at all.

I feel like I failed....like I didn't do enough...like I didn't extend my hand far enough.


I blogged about a coworker last year that set off my T-dar. He showed a few indications that, to me, seemed like possible markers that he was transgender. To be honest, I don't know if he was or not. It might have just been things that I saw....things I wanted to see. Most likely, I will never know.

I found out this afternoon that he committed suicide last week. He never showed any signs at work that he had something troubling him so much that he would kill himself.

When I read the news, I went to a cubicle of a nearby programmer. We chatted. He said there must have been something bothering him so much...that he decided to kill himself over it. That was what got to my coworker...that he never showed any indications. I told him that no one ever saw any indication in me, either.

I don't know if I saw anything in him or not, but there's something about some of today's programmers that lends itself to escaping from society...escaping from something. Not all, mind you, but the profession or hobby lends itself to "hiding".

I wish I had chatted with him more. Sure, we conversed about some geeky stuff here and there, and we both shared iTunes music via our internal network, but I never reached out to him like I feel I could have. I won't blame myself, but I wonder...wonder how things would be if I had said hi a little more often.