Although written to be mildly humorous, this entry describes a medical procedure that is the centerpiece of recovery for anyone who has undergone gender confirmation surgery (GCS). Those not wishing to read about such personal medical procedures are advised to look elsewhere and catch up with this journal at another time. Meanwhile, OD and I are rather busy, as you will discover below.
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I first heard the Russian expression водка без пива, это деньги на ветер (vodka without beer is throwing money to the wind) from my Petersburg friends Zh and V in 2005. I'm sure the expression has been around forever, but like anyone who attempts to master a foreign language as an adult, I am continually picking up new expressions that were not in textbooks and dictionaries when I was a university student in the pre-Internet days of the 1970s.
One might debate the wisdom of the aforementioned Russian expression, but OD and I have our own variation that applies as one of the certainties of life for anyone walking our path: GCS without dilation is throwing money to the wind.
For those who have walked this path already, I apologize for a digression into known territory where OD and I are still beginners. For those who have no clue as to where I am leading, I will attempt to enlighten.
You see, what Dr. Sanguan has done for us is to create neo-vaginas. Two weeks post-surgery, I look in the mirror and marvel at how normal I appear even this soon. To our bodies, however, our neo-vaginas are wounds that should be closed up and healed over. To prevent this, to adapt our bodies to the new normal, we must dilate. For the first three months, we most do so three times per day, morning, noon, and night. Dilation is, in fact, the centerpiece around which we must arrange our days.
Dr. Sanguan visits his patients the day after the second surgery in his 2-step GCS procedure. He comes bearing gifts in the form of six plexiglass stents that bear a somewhat clinical resemblance to a particular part of the male anatomy. Whereas a woman might see a man for the first time and wonder about the size of this anatomical feature hidden inside slacks or shorts, OD and I were left in no doubt about our new friends. Lengths are clearly marked, ruler-fashion, in inches, and diameters are recorded to the nearest 1/16 of an inch. Our reaction to Dr. Sanguan's gift would be familiar to any teenage girl, a combination of fear, anticipation, and an urge to exclaim, "You must be kidding; you want me to put that . . . in here?!"
|Our Insatiable Gentlemen|
The stents are marked clearly as Nos. 1 through 6, but OD and I decided to personify them with human names. This being a bilingual pilgrimage to Thailand, we have, of course, chosen appropriately from both English and Russian.
No. 1 is Lyolik – nice, gentle Lyolik. He is small and shy and slow to take advantage of the situation. He must be coaxed inside and coaxed further still to go the distance.
No. 2 is Johny Angel, who is nice and gentle but without the shyness of Lyolik. Just think of OD and me as Shelley Fabares wannabes.
Johny is followed by Dimchik and then Good Neighbor Sam, that family man from 1960s suburbia who steps in to assist his neighbor in a time of need. Vasya then marks a transition to a qualitatively and quantitatively different dimension.
Finally we come to No. 6. Here OD and I come to a certain parting of the ways. For OD, No. 6 comes from deep in Russian history with a name that inspires a certain degree of dread. I, on the other hand, felt I needed to end on an American note. I have chosen from U.S. political history a figure whose title implies the respect with which I approach No. 6. With this mixture of dread and respect, OD and I hold our last gentleman inside for somewhere between five and ten minutes.
So that, dear readers, is how we spend much of our day while in recovery at the Aspasia Resort in Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand. Between preparation and cleanup, each daily session with our gentlemen friends takes on the order of 45 minutes. We can already see that our days for the next three months will center around these thrice daily trysts. Neither of us is looking forward to our first session after our return to Romania and Moldova. For nearly 24 hours of travel time, we do not expect to be able to arrange even a furtive meeting.
Speaking of our return to Europe, we fly home from Phuket in two days. If there has been a casualty in our journey to Thailand, it has been my writing. Forgive me for my conceit of believing I would be able to write frequently, giving near daily updates on our status. In this I was sadly mistaken. Recovery from GCS, in my case combined with facial feminization surgery (FFS) and breast augmentation (BA), takes time, strength, and patience. I will fill in the blanks retrospectively from my home in Bucharest.
Meanwhile, our six insatiable and implacable gentlemen are calling. Our day is planned. We are working hard to prevent our money from blowing away in the wind.
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