The Trip To Kaiser
My surgery was in Richmond. Oakland is the main place for trans medical stuff, but they said I could do it in Richmond since it’s a bit closer to home for me. Even still, we went and stayed in a hotel the night before. My check in time was 6 AM. I don’t even want to think about how early we would have had to get up to make it there from home.
My family has been so great about this. My mom and grandma are the ones who came with me to the hotel and then Kaiser. My grandpa and sister came down in the early afternoon as ‘reinforcements’. I don’t really know what they were doing the whole time but some food and such was involved.
I was one of the first surgeries of the day. Got up around 5, got ready, and then we went over to the hospital. The day before, we did a test run and found the parking garage and where to go and everything. Even still, parking and walking in took some time. We got to the registration desk about 10 minutes early or so. The guy behind the counter was really energetic and funny. He’s used to getting up at like 3 in the morning to get to work and get everything ready to check people in. I was barely awake so he had a lot of fun messing with me. I had to fill out this paper thing and then eventually got called back to the prep area.
At first, my mom and gma had to hang back in the waiting room while they got me ready. First was taking off a l l my clothes and getting into a gown. It was really cool, it covered everything really well. It did open in the back, but it didn’t have to be left open. It had extra panels to cover everything in the back and a tie to keep it closed. There was also a bunch of velcro on it to be able to access whatever they needed. The next thing was taking blood pressure, so she just undid some velcro on the sleeve to get to my upper arm.
Here comes the fun part. The nurse stuck the IV in my hand. I looked away for most of it, but I couldn’t help it. I saw a great big lump just sitting there in my hand as she was pushing it in. Before she hooked me up to the IV, she had to draw some blood through the thing she just stuck in my hand. I regret looking at that too. Then she hooked me up to the IV. She said it was sterile water and some electrolytes, like Gatorade without the flavor. Then my mom and gma could come wait with me. I think it was about 6:30-7 at that point. They said I’d be heading back to the operating room around 8.
All sorts of people came in to talk to me. Consent forms, assistants, the same questions over and over again, and my surgeons came to say hello. Two surgeries means two consent forms. In the file thing they had for me, they only had one consent and it was in the wrong name. I guess they printed it before I changed things with them. The nurse was a bit confused at first, then asked if it was my birth name. She started ~saying~ it. It’s pretty hard to pronounce from just reading it so she wasn’t saying it very quickly or confidently. I cut her off before she finished saying it. Today was not a day I needed to hear that. Other than that, it went pretty smoothly. People kept asking if I was excited. I said yes, but really I was more anxious than anything. Having family there helped though. My mom definitely did ask if I was actually excited or just saying I was. She knows me too well…
It was time to say goodbye. I hugged my mom and my grandma and followed the nurse. She was holding my IV bag and leading me over. All the people I had met in prep were in the room. They undid the gown a bit so the back was open so I wouldn’t be laying on it. I got up onto the table thing and they hung my IV bag near it. They covered me with a bunch of blankets. I guess it was cold in there. I didn’t notice. A couple people put some stockings on my legs to help with blood flow during the long procedure since I wouldn’t be moving at all.One of them said they were giving me something to help me relax. I guess I’m pretty good at faking being calm cause she also said, “not that you need it, you’re pretty calm.” I was not calm. And then I woke up in the recovery room.
I hate anesthesia. You don’t even know time has passed. It was about 6 hours total. 2 hours were just prep for each surgery though. I was done with surgery around 1:45 and woke up the first time maybe an hour later. I was really confused, but I figured out where I was and calmed down a bit and fell back asleep. The next time I woke up I was a bit more aware. I had another IV type thing stuck in my other hand. Apparently it’s bigger, so they put it in after you’re already out. When I was awake enough, they took my blood pressure and offered me water or juice and probably did something other stuff. Mostly, I was emotional from the anesthesia. I was crying and started shaking. It’s just too overwhelming waking up from that. Eventually, they let my mom come back to see me. She helped me calm down after one of the nurses came and explained some medication stuff.
Mom told me the surgeons said it went really well. She texted family to let them know everything’s good. I think my uncle was about as worried as I was. I’m glad everything turned out okay.
Once my head was a little clearer, they said I could put my clothes back on. Mom helped me.They had given me a pad for the blood, but it looked like more of it got on the gurney than the pad. I’m gonna have to wear a pad for a while, and look out for bleeding for up to 8 weeks. But then I’m done with wearing pads for FOREVER. I don’t have anything in there to do periods any more.
After clothes is the bathroom. At this point I wanna say it was around or after 3. They can’t discharge you until you pee. They don’t want to leave the urine in your bladder that’s been sitting in there during surgery. I was drinking water and tea, and I had the IV giving me water. So I tried going to the bathroom. Nothing. I was still pretty dizzy and a little nauseated, so the nurse got me a wheelchair to wheel me down the hall. She grabbed a a big plastic thing to pee into so they’d know I peed and how much. She didn’t realize I was trans, so I got the plastic thing that’s easy for people with a penis to pee into. When my mom went to see if we could get a different one, the nurse felt the need to complimwnt me on passing so well. Yeah, thanks lady. Learn some trans etiquette.
After a while another nurse came and did an ultrasound to check my bladder. Yup, there’s stuff in there, gotta go pee or we’re gonna have to do a catheter. I tried walking around for about ten minutes. Then walked to the bathroom. Still nothing, It was 5:30. Catheter time. That was the most awful thing I have ever experienced. I get that she needed to clean the area but… Jesus Christ I just had surgery.. I just had my fucking uterus and ovaries and Fallopian tubes pulled out down there. Calm down please. Then actually putting it in was painful too. She kept trying to get it in and that hurt like hell. Then she got it and pushed it in and that was absolutely awful. It was just super horrible. I wish I could have just peed. At least then I was allowed to leave.
I was pretty hungry, for obvious reasons. We found a grocery store and Mom brought me some applesauce. I slept most of the way home after eating that. Now I’m laid up in bed with a bunch of pillows propping me up. I managed to pee here. I turned on Hamilton started writing. I think I’m heading to sleep now.