% My experience with gender reassignment surgery, and my trip to Thailand, part 2 % Leah Rowe % 2018-10-11
Warning: I am quite sober while I write this. I usually blog whilst sober, and today is no different from most other days.
I mean... all I've had today is coffee.
This is a continuation of my last post. The fear of not being permitted to have surgery was extremely apparent (to say the very least) because up until this point, I had only ever dreamed of having a vagina. The fact that I was physically in Thailand, about to have actual surgery, was still a concept at this point. A simple fact. One that I had not yet internalized.
As I entered the clinic on that Tuesday afternoon, on 30th July 2018, I was immediately greeted by several friendly supported staff. At this time of day, there are many patients at the clinic waiting on post-surgery assessments, which they clinic arranges for patients every 2 working days while they stay in the country.
I was given a box containing 4 dilators: 1 small (26mm diamater), 2 medium (32mm) and 1 large (34mm). Each dilator allows up to 8 inches in depth (most patients never exceed 8 inches. The average is about 6-7 inches at this clinic).
It was on this day that I first met Dr. Suporn himself. Firstly, I was hungry so I went to a nearby 7-11 to grab some food, then I came back to the clinic immediately. I had a pre-surgery appointment with Dr. Suporn, so that he could assess my genitalia. To my delight, he told me that my penis was perfect for the surgery: I still had foreskin, and the elasticity of my skin was high.
I did get the opportunity to meet a few of the other patients there at the clinic, but I was exhausted so I wasn't really in the mood to talk to anyone. One of them hugged me and wished me well for my surgery. The whole room was a hugbox since it was full of surgery clinic patients, most of whom were post-op.
The appointment was only brief, and then I was taken to a nearby hotel to stay in over night. My trip to the hospital for my surgery took place the following day.
The hotel was not much to write home about. Just a standard international hotel, which happened to be nearby. Suporn sends all of his patients there, so that they're all in one place. I checked in for the night. I chose the cheapest room available, since (unlike most of the patients there) I'm not actually rich :P
The surgery took place at Samitivej Hospital, Chon Buri, which is a minute drive away from the Suporn Clinic. This is where Dr. Suporn operates. He also has a surgery room at the clinic, for minor surgeries (corrections, cosmetic improvements and so on), but the major surgery is performed at the hospital.
I was picked up early in the morning and I checked out from the hotel.
The Suporn Clinic had their own dedicated driver who drove patients around in a mini van. I was taken to the hospital along with another patient who was also going there for their operation: a very cute Japanese trans woman. I don't speak much Japanese and her English was terrible, so we couldn't talk much, but I enjoyed her company. Interestingly, I mentioned in a previous article that I had cancelled my ex-girlfriend's surgery (on which I paid the deposit); this Japanese trans woman was the one who took her place. I knew that because she was having her surgery done the day after mine, and my ex was going to have it on that date.
The driver who took us there carried my suitcase and belongings to my room where I was staying. At that hospital, the rooms they give to patients are very much like hotel rooms, with everything provided. They really look after patients. It was a brand new hospital, only recently built, so everything in there was modern. High tech.
In the waiting area, I remember feeling anxious at the time. This the day before my operation, 31st July 2018. Surgery was on August 1st 2018.
At the hospital, I was taken into a room for blood tests. They also measured my heart rate (at rest), blood pressure and a bunch of other things. My read outs were all perfect: heart rate 50 beats per minute at rest (reference rate is 60, whereas most people are about 70. athlete is 40), perfect blood pressure, clotting factor all normal (various blood tests to check how much my blood clots), cholesterol perfect... no diseases at all. I was in perfect health! Hell, one of the nurses asked me if I work out a lot (I did, so I said yes. I was indeed highly athletic just prior to surgery. I had lost about 20kg in weight during the 6 months prior to my surgery, so that I'd be at a healthy weight for my surgery).
Next, I was taken to my room, where I stayed for the rest of the day. I was instructed not to eat anything after 10PM, and that I was only allowed to drink water after 10PM: after midnight, I was not to drink anything at all. Late in the night, a nurse came with a rectal enema to clear my bowels with. It took 5 attempts, each time shooting 1 litre of liquid up my rectal cavity. Most patients don't get to 1 litre, but I'm a bit of a mascochist so I took it. Each time, I'd go to the toilet to poo, and was told not to flush so that the nurse could assess whether my bowels were empty yet.
It felt like I was peeing out of my ass. Brown pee. It was awesome. The feeling of having liquid squirted into me like that felt really nice.
Most patients take about 10-15 goes, because they can't take the full 1 litre. Several times, the nurse asked me if I wanted to stop, but I said keep going.
That night, before going to bed, Dr. Bank came into my room to introduce himself. This is Suporn's apprentice surgeon, who is replacing him when he retires in 2019. He informed me that he would be the one to inject me with the general aneasthetic the next morning, which would knock me out for my surgery.
After that, I was restless. I was excited about my surgery. I couldn't get to sleep. I finally managed to get about 4 hours of sleep, before I was woken up by nurses who entered the room to make sure I showered. I also had to shave my entire genital area. Afterwards, the nurses also shaved my genitals in the places I couldn't see easily. I then waited.
An hour later, 4 big strong men came into the room to wheel me (on my bed) into the operation room. At this point, I was ecstatic, and had to control myself. I was very happy.
The Japanese woman who was having her surgery the day after mine happened to be in the room next to mine, and she had left her room to walk down the hallway. She saw me being wheeled into the operation room, and she smiled at me.
I will never forget her smile. She was very beautiful, and her smile made me feel warmth inside. At that point, I felt the most relaxed I'd ever been until that point.
In the operating room, I remember it being very bright. High intensity lighting. Lots of lights. I knew I was in a room where surgeries are performed. I remember seeing a large tower with lots of electrical sockets above me, for the various equipment used by the hospital staff.
The room was full of Suporn clinic staff, and of course Dr. Suporn himself, and his apprentice Dr. Bank. One of the (female) nurses sat by my side and held me hand, smiling and assuring me that everything would be OK. I felt relaxed.
I was on the verge of crying (happy crying). To finally be in that operating room was the happiest moment of my life.
Next thing I know, Dr. Bank holds a big-ass needle in my line of sight and says "sharp scratch".
10 seconds later, I was knocked out cold. Unconscious.
I was in that operating room for 8 hours, but it felt like 8 seconds because all I remember afterwards, doped up on morphine and barely able to speak (except in a whisper), slowly waking up and being told by Dr. Bank:
"The operation was a success, and there are no complications. We're now taking you to your room to recover"
The rest of this story will be covered at a later date.
Tune in next week :)