Monday, April 18, 2016

Post Op Day 6

Last night, I set my phone to wake me up just before the sunrise this morning.  Arizona doesn’t switch over to Day Light Savings time, so they are the eastern edge of the Pacific timezone.  That makes the sunrise fairly early.

Just over eleven years ago, I stared out the second floor balcony and caught the sunrise on my last day at Greenbaum.  Today, I did the same.  The sun is further north in April than it is in February, so instead of the sun coming up next to the hospital, it came up over the parking garage.  I guess that’s fitting.

I ordered breakfast by asking the person on the other end of the phone if I could just say, “same as yesterday?”  That seemed to work well.  I went back to sleep for another hour and a half before getting up to do some work and pick the place up.  My nurse came in, took vitals, and gave me my meds.  She said that Michelle would be in soon to remove the sutures and catheter, and then go over the dilation instructions.  My nurse asked if I would like anything for the visit…hinting that something to calm and help with pain would be nice.

“Sounds good,” I said, “except I’ll just take the ibuprofen instead of the hard stuff.”

“Michelle usually calls about 30-45 minutes before she comes in, so I’ll bring the meds by when I hear from her.”

“Awesome!”  The nurses here seriously rock.

I ate my breakfast and then my nurse was in with the meds.  I worked for a while; reading emails and responding when necessary.

Soon, Michelle was there with the suture removal kits, the catheter removal kit, and the set of straight dilators.

Since you have to open the package before you can see what is inside, the labial sutures had to be removed first.  It almost seems like cutting 50-pound wire holding up an 85-pound fish that you just caught.  Once those sutures are cut, you can feel the tension in the labia disappear.  Of course, the sutures still need to be pulled out of the labia, but that’s minor.

After that came probably the most difficult part of the morning: removing the packing.  It feels very uncomfortable having the gauze-like stuff slowly pulled from the vaginal cavity.  It’s kinda hard to describe, but it would sorta be like pulling gauze out of your stomach through your mouth.  It’s not painful, per se, but it’s definitely uncomfortable.

Next up, Michelle removed the catheter by connecting to the valve next to the outlet port and deflating the balloon in my bladder.  Boom…it was out faster than she could say it was out.

Finally, time for the dilators.  You could almost hear music from The Good, The Bad, and The ugly in the background.

She said that Dr. Meltzer was switching me to the straight dilators.  Maybe that will make it easier to hit the hole.

My board.
She lubed up dilator #1 for me and then I inserted it like the good ol’ days.  It slid in almost 4.5 inches before it bottomed out.  Michelle confirmed that we were all the way in.  I kept that in for about 20 minutes before pulling it out and cleaning up.  Michelle wrote my dilation schedule for the next few days on the patient board for the room.  Tonight, I have the dreaded 2am dilation.  I thought I’d never have to do that again.

As the day goes on, patients are starting to flow into the recovery rooms here at Greenbaum.  They said that Dr. Meltzer would likely be up mid-afternoon between cases, and sure enough, he showed up around 3pm with Dr. Tal in tow.  He took a look at the exterior and said things looked good, except for the blisters from the tape.  It will probably and hopefully be the last time I see Dr. Meltzer.  He’s helped me out big on two occasions…SRS and resolving this vaginal cyst discharge issue…and helped change my life for the better in more ways than most people can imagine.

My room from the hallway.
After I filled out the discharge paperwork and we headed to the elevator, I started to cry a little.  My wife saw and kinda laughed.

“You want to leave, don’t you?”

“Of course, but there is something special here that makes saying good-bye very difficult.”

She thought I was joking.  My wife is not trans, so I cannot expect her or any other cisgender people to grasp the vastness of these life changing surgeries and the loving care these nurses provide to us in recovery.

I turned my head from my wife as we drove to the hotel, mainly because I didn’t want to see her laugh or smile as I cried.  After I reached a point where I could talk, I tried conversing more with her on the topic.

My bed for nearly a week.
After we made it back to the hotel, we went back to the restaurant we went to the night before my surgery.  This time, I was able to eat.  I probably ate too much.

Tonight will be my first night not in a hospital bed.  I’ve piled up 3 large pillows so that I don’t have to lay flat and can take pressure off my stomach incision.  I’m planning to take half a pain pill around 11pm, get up at 2am to dilate, and then take a full pain pill to get back to sleep.


Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Dee and found you blog from the TSRoad map site which features Dr. Meltzer. It has been an excellent description of your time with Dr. Meltzer and your experiences at the Greenbaum site. I too am a former patient and your blog has brought back a lot of memories of my experience at the Greenbaum Center. In fact, I just saw Dr. Meltzer a few days ago when he conducted a presentation here in NYC. I hope that you have recovered from your surgery last year.
Be well!

Rupunzell said...

Good to hear the problem that has caused so much grief has been resolved. Mutual friend who recently had the "Vag" done mentioned that you had a surgery trip back to Dr. Meltzer. Out of curiosity, had to find out what happened.

After sharing much of my experience with Dr. Meltzer with out mutual friend and reading your return op trip back for surgery with Dr. Meltzer and the stay at Greenbaum Hotel it brought back memories of my own Journey with Dr. Meltzer and those days at the Greembaum Hotel.

It is difficult for those who have not had this unique experience to full understand how life changing Dr. Meltzer, Linda and staff has on our life. While it has been over a decade, reading and seeing these images of Greembaum serves as a reminder of how lucky we are to have such a gifted Surgeon, wonderfully compassionate member of the human family care for us.

All the best and much love.