One more step. Not a big one in practical terms: but an enormous one, psychologically.
On Friday I spoke with the nurse clinician at one of the UK’s leading facilities for gender re-assignment surgery (grs). No referral yet: I still have some way to go, including another psych evaluation before I am allowed to proceed towards the end game in this process. This was just making contact: starting to understand the details of what I may be about to undergo; familiarising myself, so to speak.
And it’s the mundaneity of it all that both brings it closer and makes it so much more real, so much scarier.
I suspect I will stay in the UK for my surgery. Loads of people have told me of good experiences in Thailand, but I am a risk averse sort of girl: if it goes wrong, if there are complications, I really don’t want to be getting on a plane, flying half way round the world to deal with them.
So much better to be going to London or Brighton and…well, it’s the same issue I have with overseas call-centres…the same reason why, when I’ve done translation work, I am never allowed to translate OUT of english: only inwards.
That is, however well someone speaks another language, they almost never speak it the way a native speaker does. They get the grammar, the use – but not the nuance, not the cultural stuff. So if I am going to be operated on, in pain, fearful, I want to be dealing with a team that is largely UK in origin: a team that shares common cultural assumptions about how to transmit information and bad news.
So. The cost is pretty much as I expected (just over the £10k mark). The surgeon offers “package deals”: at the same time as I get my grs I could put in for “tracheal shaving” and a boob job. I probably won’t. The first is to reduce a prominent adam’s apple: I don’t have one of them, so I can do without.
The second is to enhance a less-than-prominent chest. In time, perhaps, I might consider such a thing: but I’d far rather not and the middle of next year really isn’t the time to be doing it.
The nurse sounds sympathetic, professional, “right”. The procedure has a few tweaks and twirls to it I wasn’t aware of – all that dilating, for one! – and I am likely to be in hospital for eight days: one night pre-op; four days of bed recuperation; three days of check-up and learning some of the essentials.
And it is terrifying!
Not quite real yet…but the day when I go and meet the surgical team is getting closer. Check one. Then there’ll be the time when the op is no longer some theoretical future, but a real date in the calendar. Check two. And finally….