This week I had my post-op check-up. This should be my last trip to Brighton to see Mr Thomas. Although if any issues do arise then I can return as an outpatient.
With all the issues I’ve had I wasn’t sure what the outcome of the trip would be. Would I need to go back in at some point for further surgery, would Mr Thomas be able to figure out what the “hole” issue was?
Although I’d been hoping to see Mr Yelland as well no appointment had been made and when I rang in the morning none were available. Arrangements had been made for Liz, the specialist nurse, to examine my breasts and report back but when I went in for my appointment she wasn’t around. If I feel I need Mr Yelland to inspect his handiwork then I can make an appointment, I haven’t decide if I will or not yet.
If you want the simpler description of the trip to Brighton jump down the page to the short version.
The Long Version of the Trip There
My appointment was at 7:30 in the evening. Originally we’d planned a few days away staying in Portsmouth as my wife, son and I felt we were due a break. With my son in hospital recovering from surgery I had to cancel our hotel booking and make the trip on my own. It was going to be a long day.
I set off from Brighton just after 3:30pm, with a quick stop to fill up with petrol the SatNav told me that I would arrive at 6:40; plenty of time before my appointment.
Leaving the petrol station I immediately went wrong by getting in the wrong lane and ended up heading off into the depths of Bristol.
Noticing a sign for Bath and Chippenham I decided that I’d head in that direction and get onto the M4 a bit further along the route.
Not being familiar with that route I waited until the SatNav gave up telling me to turn around or head down roads that would take me back the way I’d come. Eventually I decided that it was taking me in the direction I wanted to go and so began following its instructions.
Before long I found myself back at the M32 motorway and about to join the M4 at the point I would have originally joined it.
Finally on the M4 I settled in for the miles and miles of motorway ahead of me.
Over an hour later the SatNav pointed me in the direction of a junction and I wondered which way it was taking me. Quickly I realised it was taking me towards the one place I’d hoped to avoid. London and the M25.
By the time I left the M4 my arrival time was just after 7pm, not a huge issue as it still left me 30 minutes until my appointment; then I hit Bracknell and my journey really began to slow down as I hit roadworks and lane closures and lots of slow moving traffic.
Leaving Bracknell behind I’d not lost a huge amount of time but I began to wonder just how much time I’d have to play with.
The M3 wasn’t really that busy but once again the odd bit of roadworks slowed me down. Eventually I reached that great and wonderful piece of road engineering called the M25 motorway that surrounds London. Heading towards Gatwick and the junction that would take me towards Brighton I soon had the delight of the variable speed limit system. With each mile I travelled my arrival time got later and later. By the time I’d left the M25 and was finally heading towards Brighton I was due to arrive at 7:20, not much time to spare.
The final part of the journey to Brighton went without incident and I finally arrived at the Nuffield with just under 10 minutes to spare. I had to wait while the receptionist dealt with another patient but finally I found myself sitting down to wait for Mr Thomas, who I passed as he collected another patient from the waiting area.
And so to my actual appointment.
The Short Version of the Trip There
Left Bristol just after 3:30pm, arrived Brighton 7:20pm for a 7:30 appointment. Took the scenic route to the M4 motorway, roadworks at Bracknell and on the M3, fun time driving around the M25 and then a much nicer drive from London to Brighton.
I’ve had a couple of examinations over the last few weeks including the one where I inserted a tiny speculum myself. This time all I had to do was lie on the couch with my legs apart and, with a nurse acting as chaperone, let Mr Thomas get on with it.
Glancing over at the metal table to my right I noted a number of sticks with swabs at the end, looking like some form of medical drumstick or medical match stick. I hoped that nobody would be beating a rhythm on me or lighting my fire.
Next to these had been placed a plastic bag which I knew held the speculum. Beside this were a number of tubes of Optilube, ready to make inserting the speculum easier.
I was handed a mirror so that I could see what Mr Thomas was doing. He inspected my neo-vagina and declared that he was happy with what he could see, noting the vaginal entrance and urethra as he had a look.
Then he turned to the table and picked up the speculum and took it out of its packet. I’m sure that I must have gone pale underneath my foundation at the sight of it.
It was ginormous, huge, massive, a skyscraper, the Empire State building. No way was that going to get inside me. I’d be split in two. There would just be a pile of innards sprawled over the couch.
They’d be scooping me up in a bag.
As he reached between my legs I tried to relax while bracing myself for the shock of what was about to happen. Shock it was.
My eyes must have popped out of my head as he inserted the speculum inside me. I gasped at the sensation.
Then I grunted as the speculum went in further and pressure enough to crush the hull of a nuclear submarine was applied to my nether regions.
Words cannot express that moment. No, honestly, I was completely unable to speak. Although I’m not sure what I would have said even if I could.
Eventually the pressure eased. Mr Thomas noted that I had some granulation tissue but other than that everything looked fine.
“We can treat the granulation” he said, before turning to ask the nurse for some silver nitrate sticks. A brief search was required as there were none out at that point.
“This might sting a bit” I was informed before he began to treat the granulation. In fact it didn’t sting, at least not at that point. On the driver home I found myself experiencing a few twinges, which I’ve not had for quite a few weeks now.
Mr Thomas left me to get dressed and I had a brief chat with the nurse before I re-joined him in the other room.
When I’d first gone in to see him Mr Thomas had signed and then handed me the letters and records I would need when sending off for my Gender Recognition Certificate. It’s surprising that something that will make such a big change to your life contains so little detail. Confirmation that you’ve had irrevocable surgery and a hand written record of the procedure that was performed. About half a dozen pieces of paper.
Now as we again sat together he asked me how many times I was dilating and how much depth I was achieving.
In answer to the first question I explained about Rhys being in hospital and that although I’d reduced to twice a day I was sometimes only managing once a day.
“They are only guidelines, don’t get stressed by them” he told me, something that Liz had told me weeks before.
In response to the second question all I could do was give an indication of how much of the dilator I could get in. Mr Thomas proceeded to instruct me on a different way to insert my dilator, enter at a 30 degree angle until I feel resistance and then drop the dilator down and push upwards; tracing a semi-circular path as I put it in.
When creating my neo-vagina Mr Thomas had given me 5 inches of depth. The speculum that he had used had achieved 4 inches and so I should be able to get deeper than that with the stents I was informed. Hmm, only time will tell, and on my first attempt after getting home I measure that the stent had gone in about 4 inches.
The Journey Home
With my appointment at an end I made my way back to my car and with my stomach rumbling I started the journey home to Yeovil where I was going to stop overnight and check for post and that there were no problems with the house.
The journey back was a lot simpler as there was a lot less traffic. At Fleet motorway services on the M3 I stopped in order to get something to eat. Sat in the car with my goodies I enjoyed a portion of Harry Ramsden’s fishbites and chips. A welcome treat.
Around 11:30 I finally got home and after chilling out briefly with a drink I made my way to bed to end a tiring, but long awaited day.