Friday, December 9, 2011

Catch Up Part II: The Surgery

I know, I know the work disclosure needs to be posted but this was a quick one I wanted to get out.

Mostly things have gone really well. It was a much easier recovery this time as it wasn't even a full rhinoplasty but two minor corrections.

I am at home recovering and I can tell you 7 days later and I feel really good and I am looking forward to getting the splint off soon.

The interesting part of the story is what happened before surgery. When I say before, I mean right before. As in when I was in pre-op getting changed and what not.

I was sitting there in sweats and old button down shirt and a zippered hoodie. (Really I would not be able to pull anything over my head so I have been keep some of this stuff around as I will need it at least one more time.)

A pre-op nurse was in the process of taking my vitals, heart rate, blood pressure, mini EKG, etc. When I saw one of the OR nurses start to enter the room.

Then stop.

Back up.

Check the name on the wall outside.

Then start back in.

She asked if I was ? I confirmed. She gave me a curious look, introduced herself as Lisa and then started in the pre-op check list. 

That I had not eaten, how had I prepped this morning, asked me what I was having done that morning and started on my medical history.

During this time the pre-op nurse got my wonderful hospital gown, a bag for items, surgical socks laid out on the bed.

While this was going on a second OR nurse came in to the room. Lori. Now I missed her entrance in the room but I did catch an odd exchange with Lisa.

Now I am at the point they need me to change. They arranged the dividers so I would have a little privacy and a changing I went.

As I am changing Lisa and Lori are on the other side of the curtain and we get into the part of my medical history that was covering my daily medications.

Obviously I have to reveal what I am taking and so I do.

Next we get into prior surgeries as I am finishing up and packing the last of my clothes away in the bag.

I explain what I had done before and it all get rather quiet on the other side of the curtain. Only briefly as I then get asked if I am ready.

I indicate that I am and they open the curtain.

(I should note that my mom was not yet in the room with me. She did get to come in a bit while I was waiting but so far I had been on my own.)

So the curtain gets open, they instruct and help me as I get on the bed and situated so I am comfortable and Lori comes around to connect the IV tubes to me and get all that prepped.

At this point Lori looks at me and said:

"Can I ask you a question?"


"Are you transitioning to a girl?"

(Should I be stunned at this point? Probably not and I don't think I was. Though I might be more realistic in saying that I probably feel a state that would be something along the lines of mild concerns. As I don't know what will happen once I confirm it.)

"Yes I am."

All I see are two big smiles appear and the response of:

"Good for you hun...but we had a hunch once you started telling us our medical history."

Now what I find out is that it was the medical history that made them think this.

No it was, as I discovered during the next few minutes, that my appearance was the first thing. Since it seemed both of them were confused as they entered the room expecting to see something that would reflect him. Only to see a girl sitting in the chair near the wall talking with the pre-op nurse.

That is what caused Lisa to back out of the room cause she thought she had walked into the wrong one.

Apparently Lori did the same but my attention was drawn elsewhere at that time so I missed it.

We then got into the conversation of where I was at in the process. They did and didn't seem surprised that I was on the verge of going full time so soon. That I was in getting the correction on my nose since everything else turned out well from the earlier surgery sans my nose. I told them I was waiting on my name change. HR was in the process of alerting the department and various parts of the company.

They also asked how long it had taken me. I explained to them that I started four years ago by finally having the courage to sit down with a therapist and talk about what was going on with me. Through all that was removing facial hair, losing extra weight, starting hormones once my therapist offered them and I felt I was ready for such a big step. That I had been on them for 2.5 years. All of that.

They both smiled and Lori said this as she was standing next to my arm arranging tubes and starting the drip.

"Hun you look great. This is going to be easy for you really. You look better than a lot of women I know." All said with a big smile.

Lisa followed up with: "You do, you really do look amazing. I would never have any reason not to think otherwise if I ever met you in public. I have known of a few who have done what you are doing, but never one like you. You going to do great!"

With that they both realized they had not asked me what my new name was going to be so I told them. The loved it an thought it fit.

Just before anesthesia came in the door to send me off to sleepy time land. The two of them were wrapping my legs with inflatable compression garments to help leg circulation. Almost at the same time said:

"Just remember you are a pretty girl, no one can take that from you. And don't worry we are going to take very good care of you. We wish you the best of luck!!!"

They left after this to prep the room as my mom came in just before anesthesia.

I explained to my mom that the nurses had figured it out and if she said anything nothing would be a big problem.

I will say the level of professionalism they should me was great. I know they were also curious about me since it was apparent that they don't encounter people like me and I was not meeting their impression of what a trans person was supposed to be. I think they were stuck with the mental image of a over the top drag queen or something like that. I know I thoroughly impressed them and they were genuinely happy for me.

I'll go even further, post-op. All the nursing staff helping me as I woke up and readied to go home all referred to me as her, she, etc. I don't think they ever looked once at the chart they were just doing all they could to get me safely out the door. They even gave me a different under the nose band to help save my skin from tape as what I had was just going to be awful if I wore it for a few day.

My favorite part was the nurse wheeling me out. Telling everyone she was leaving for a bit with me.

"I'll be gone for a bit as I am taking her out to wait for her mom to bring the car around."


I have learned a lot about myself over the last several months. I have learned even more about the world around me. One of the biggest reasons I finally came out to work was the face that I was no longer able to present the general public with a boy. It had become impossible. It was then that I realized I needed to finish this and start the new part of my life.

There will be some ups and downs mostly those will come from those around me who knew him.

Because honestly if I had my name legally changed I don't think those two OR nurses would have suspected anything at all.


Cynthia Jane said...

Hi Kelli,

I have been praying for you and for the surgery to go well, and for a speedy recovery.

Sounds like you are stuck with being a girl from now on. LOL. What a truely wonderful gender to be.

Merry Christmas and remember, Jesus is the true reason for the season.

Hugs and Prayers,

Cynthia XX

Kelly said...

That is some *rockin'* post-surgery lipstick, girl!

And speaking of rocking, how about those nurses? Nice to see they know how to treat a gal right! :c)

Becca said...

There may well be some ups and downs but life has moved on for you and if people can't see that then they get left behind?

It seems that someone messed up in the late 20th Century ( :-) )and the first of many documents were issued incorrectly. From your blog posts the only thing I suspect is that there is a great life out there to be lived.

It's not luck, you have made you own. You have just put something right that was once wrong.
Lives like yours give us all the courage to make the steps that we want to make.