Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Such a kind offer

Dee.  I would be delighted to take you upon your kind offer.  I was going to be very English and say, no, of course I'll be fine.... but the thought of being home at 10pm rather than midnight and withso much less hassle.  My flight from Bangkok is due to arrive at Heathrow at 1910.  Robin

Show methe way to go home

It is nearly 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday 28 November, my last full day in Thailand.
I can’t really say that I have enjoyed the past week or so.  The candida infection at the break of my thighs has been slow to resolve, leaving a sore area which has considerably interfered with sleep, as I tend to turn on my side as I drift off, so bringing the sore areas together and so wake me up.
This has also put paid to my idea to use one of my last days in Phuket to see the sights, tthe Old Town and the Patong clubs.  Can I say that I am very disappointed?  Not really.
I am a little concerned about the travelling tomorrow.  I have a 30 minute taxi ride to the airport, a 2-hour flight to Bangkok, then the 11-hour flight to the UK, a 45 minute coach ride to Woking from Heathrow and then a 2-hour train ride home.  This sounds like a lot of sitting.  Today I managed a 30-minute lunch with one change of cushion, but sitting is still easily painful.  Oh well, at least home is at the end of it all.
Now I just have to hope that I can get all the dilation and other medical paraphernalia into my suitcase.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Saturday, 24 November 2012

An uncomfortable few days

By Thursday last the rash in the angles of my upper thighs hadn’t got any better so I called into the hospital first thing in the morning.  Dr Kunaporn saw me virtually at once and prescribed a zinc oxide cream.  Unfortunately it has gradually got worse over the past few days to the point where I got virtually no sleep last night.  Every time I came close to falling asleep I would turn over on my side and the irritation would be compounded and I would wake up.   I thought I would wait until Monday but wondered if the hospital would be working today, Saturday, so I called into Dr Kunaporn’s clinic at 1.30.
I have to say that the service was astonishing.  When I arrived there was just a receptionist and a nurse on duty at what was the end of the Saturday morning clinic.  Within 50 minutes they had called Dr Kunaporn at home. He arranged that I see the duty dermatologist.  The dermatologist took samples, worked them up for microscope study and identified an opportunist candida infection which he was able to show me on the screen attached to his microscope.  I was then prescribed and dispensed an oral anti-fungal and a topical anti-fungal cream.  I am so glad that I chose to stay close to the hospital.
It is now 10pm on Saturday.  It definitely is no worse, and it might be psychosomatic by I am certainly calmed and reassured and think it is on the mend.
Meanwhile, I am plugging on with dilation and I do seem to be more comfortable sitting down.  This all bodes well for the flight home on Thursday.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A little more progress

It is Wednesday 21 November. I awoke this morning at 6.30 in the middle of a violent thunderstorm with torrential rain.  That in itself was progress as I had fallen asleep about half past midnight and so slept for a whole 6 hours – the first such period for a couple of weeks now. 
Yesterday I obtained some Bepanthen from the local pharmacy to deal with the area of redness along my inner thighs which has persisted since my surgery and isn’t helped by the very itchy regrowing pubic hair.  But what a relief!  Able to lie quietly on my side again and sleep.
Another bit of progress was to be able to sit for my evening meal in a local (Australian?) chain restaurant called ‘Wine Connection’ and enjoy some well done beef.
I still had to shift position half a dozen times during the meal and the cloying constant distracting ache is still ‘down there’.
But a week today I should be packing to come home.
I’ll keep you posted
Robin Moira White

Monday, 19 November 2012

Cleared to fly

This morning I had my post surgery appointment with Dr Kunaporn.
I reported to the Aesthetic Surgery Clinic, which seemed to be highly polulated with thin Australian girls considering breas augmentation.  After taking my blood pressure (what is about that particular fixation?) I was walked down to the operating theatre floor below and helped to change into hospital clothes.  I was then stretched out an operating table with legs akimbo in stirrups attached to the table to await Dr Kunaporn. He was a little delayed but was pleased with his handiwork when he came and took some internal stitches out.  This last process was not without some pain. Dr K then went over the dilation regime for the next six months with me and that was that.  I collected my surgery certificates from the clinic counter and I was free to go!
I do still have 10 days before  I fly back to the UK, which is  probably just as well as at the moment, I can sit comfortably on the front edge or a seat or tolerably on my ‘doughnut’ cushion. Laying down is still quite painfulat times.  I get a little less sore each day and last night even got a tolerable few hours sleep.  The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
I’ll keep you posted
Robin Moira White

Friday, 16 November 2012

Transsexual Oubliette

Medieval torturers worked out that if you imprisoned a person in a 4 feet square cell it was especially cruel as the prisoner could neither stand up nor lie down.  That’s a bit like how I feel now.  Sitting is very uncomfortable as is laying down.  The only really comfortable position is standing up.  Sleeping is  balance between the pain and fatigue.
I can feel the healing going on and there is progress all the time.  Bowel movements were very restricted until early this morning when an hour mostly spent on the ‘throne’ seems to show that the blockage has freed up – another sign of swelling going down.
Sitting is a bit of an issue as there is an 11 hour flight back to be ready for in only 12 days time.  At the moment I would have difficulty sitting down for take off or landing!
It is Saturday morning here and I next have a medical appointmenton Monday at 9.30 with Dr Kunaporn.  I then just have ti grin and bear it and get ready for my flight home.  I can’t say that either the bars and clubs of Patong, the old town of Phuket, or the other Thai attractions hold much attraction for me.  I’d raher be home.  So I’ll just grin, carry on reading my Kindle, and wait for Thursday week.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A change of scene

And so today I was efficiently discharged from hospital in Phuket and moved to the modest ‘Baan Suan Hotel’ a few hundred yards away for the second fortnight of my stay in Thailand.
|Regular readers may remember that my surgery was brought forward by 3 days, so my 10 day stay here will now be a fortnight.  Just as well, perhaps, in case of complications and given that it is an 11 hour flight back to the UK on 29 November and that sitting down is still a little problematical.  I feel absolutely fine standing up but finding a comfortable sitting of laying position has been difficult.  The fact that the thoughtful Dr Kunaporn has provided a ‘doughnut’ cushion for me confirms what I have gleaned from others who have been along the path before.  Sitting can be a bit sore for a while.
The hotel is fine, modern and fully furnished, if a bit Spartan.  But then who’s complaining for £250 for a 2 week stay.The local hypermarket is a couple of hundred yards away and a wander along this afternoon funished me with Alpen for tomorrow’s breakfast, after a KFC lunch and a macaroni and vegetable snack for this evening’s meal.
Then the evening dilation (still only comfortable up to number 3) and then time to update the blog before turning in.  I think I will have a further wander around tomorrow. The streets have a particularly developing world feel, with shanty cafe’s and chaotic power lines on roadside poles.
I’ll keep you posted
Robin Moira White

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Road to Recovery

Wedenesday14 November, 8pm.  Third dilation of the day completed. Phew!
Still pretty swollen ‘down there’.  Urinating still something of an effort but easing each time.
Dilation fine – just methodical.  A matter of having everything laid out ready and working through the process.  Just a bit strange.
Hard to believe that tomorrow it will be a fortnight since I came here and a fortnight before I head back.  I believe tomorrow I should be moving from the hospital to the hotel for my second fortnight but no signs of it being organised today.  We shall see.
Sorry if this is a little short but quite a tiring day.
Robin Moira White

Monday, 12 November 2012

An amazing day

Monday 12 November didn’t start well. As well as the rawness I was suffering from yesterday I didn’t get much sleep last night as my pubic hair, shaved over a week ago now, was now re-growing under the medical tape covering the operation area.  The result was excruciating itchiness which I endured all night long and until the doctor came to see me at 10.30 this morning.
Oh! The relief when the tape and bandaging was peeled back and the catheter, drain and packing were removed.
But, of course, more than that was the first sight of my new genital area.  Swollen for now but worth all the time and trouble.
It was nothing short of amazing to stand in the shower shortly thereafter for my first shower in over a week and to know and feel that I now have the anatomy I have wanted for so long.
The rest of today has been rather restful, reading and watching TV. There is plainly a bit or re-learning to do because the skin that has been re-used still has its nerves attached and I have to relearn the stimulus relative to the new structure.  I suspect that will take a little time. 
There is a little concern that, although I have been drinking steadily during the day, I haven’t yet used my new urinry tract exit.  No panic, at least yet, I think.
Tomorrow is to be the start of learning to dilate, the process which will keep the neo-vagina cavity open and healthy for future use.
I’ll keep you posted.
Robin Moira White

Sunday, 11 November 2012

3 Days in Purgatory

It is six at night on Sunday 11 November and I’m feeling pretty low.  Since the skin graft on Friday I have been confined to bed.  Dr Kunaporn has visited me every morning and the graft seems to be going well.  The packing appears to be holding it properly in place and all is apparently going how he would expect.  That’s what I am trying to hang on to. 
The problems are that the perenerial area is well taped down with the medical equivalent of duct tape and round the edges of that my skin feel pretty raw and sore.  Finding a comfortable position to lie in is difficult.  On my back with legs 30 degrees apart if most comfortable for that area but after an hour of so I get lower back pain.  If I change to the foetal position in which I normally sleep, the pain from the tape increases.
On top of the above, I haven’t had a bowel movement since Thursday evening and although I eat healthily on Friday and Saturday I now have little or no appetite as my digestive system must by now be pretty well backed up.  I ordered a BLT sandwich for lunch today which looked great but I couldn’t face eating it.
And then there is the general frustration of being stuck in a hospital bed unable to do much for yourself.  I haven’t wanted the aircon on as the temperature is warm but fine and I find the noise distracting but every once in a while one of the nurses switches it on and I have to use the call button to get one of them to come to switch it off.  I also dislike bed baths, however competently they are performed but I long to stand under a shower on my own.
Apparently, most of this gets better tomorrow when the neo-vaginal packing is removed.  I do hope so.  Just 12 or so more hours to bear, not so much after 48 years, I suppose.
Robin Moira White

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Skin graft complete - I think?

I was woken at 6.30 this morning, Friday 9 November,  to be got ready for theatre, in particular for a drip line to be put into my right hand and for my temperature, blood pressure and pulse to be checked for the umpteenth time.  I asked for this to be put off until7.30 so I could have a stand-up wash in my little en-suite bathroom –much more refreshing.  There was much concern whether I had done ‘poo-poo’ during the night.  I had not, so I dutifully tried again but with no results.  I had extensively ans expressively opened my bowels the previous evening, so no real surprise there.
Of to theatre at nine, all prepared for the op including face mask blowing oxygen and then ......nothing.  At half past nine the anaesthetist appeared and rather pre-emptorily and uncomfortably pulled off the mask and said ‘we need to wait!’ to the world in general.
I was then on the very flat operating table for the next hour with my legs strapped down but with a rather menacing pair of leg stirrup stands standing waiting either sides of my thighs.  Lower back pain was mounting and fortunately the theatre staff unfastened my legs and allowed me to move to a more comfortable position.  I wonder why I was taken to theatre about an hour earlier than was necessary?
The delay did allow me to notice that theatre lights were not focussed on my nether regions but on a side table where a technician was clearly working on something pinned out in a plastic tray – my skin for grating.  I was reminded of O-level frog dissection.  Whilst the other staff were chattering away in Thai she was clearly very focussed on her work.
At about 10.30 Dr Kumaporn appeared, announced ‘Let’s start!’ and everyone sprang into action.  I have no memory beyond the anaesthetist going into action until I woke up in recovery at 12.30.
Its now 2 and I am back in my room. I have a dull ache in my nether regions but am otherwise fine.  Things are still well bandaged over with a urinary catheter and a drain emerging from the bandaging, so as to the result, I am still not clear.
Back to the TV and my books.

Robin Moira White

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Patience is a virtue

Not much to report today, Wednesday 7 November.   Visited by Dr Kunaporn the morning, who is happy with progress and says we are on course for the skin grafting session on Friday.  This means that tomorrow is likely to be another uneventful day as well.  I am on a gentle mixture of antibiotics and painkillers.  Today they added a laxative, as I haven’t opened my bowels since Saturday, although I have been eating well, is conservatively, since then.  Apparently this is not unusual when ‘down there’ has been affected as much as it has, and nothing to get concerned about.  The result, this evening, was the first ‘movement’ with some difficulty – so that’s OK as well.
On my wander rounds this afternoon (I did about a mile of so along the hospital corridors at a steady pace) I stopped at the nurses station for a chat with the head nurse.  Apparently, quite unusually, I am the only reassignment patient in at the moment.   All others are here for breast augmentations, tummy tucks and the like.  Also unusually, I am the only western patient.  It is apparently unusual not to have some Aussies or New Zealanders if not a Brit of two.  So much for bringing scrabble with me!
I got a bit annoyed this afternoon,  A solicitor from the UK for who I had conducted a procedural hearing in the week before I came away seems to have been given an incomplete report of it by his member of staff who came to the hearing and seems miffed I can’t sort that out from 10,000 km away.  And I had made plain what my timetable was.  That is notable in contrast to the wonderful understanding I have generally had from my professional colleagues.
Ho hum, back to my book.....
Robin Moira White

Monday, 5 November 2012


Tuesday 6 November, midday and just back from theatre after my second general anaesthetic to have the packing inside my new neo-vagina changed.  Presumably it would have been rather traumatic without the anaesthetic.  As before I was on nil-by-mouth after midnight.  At 7.30 the nurse appeared to put a line into my left hand and then at 9 the gang appeared to move be from my bed to one trolley to go down to the first floor which has the operating theratres and transfer to another trolley outside the operating theatre and finally transfer to the table.  Now they spread out both arms and set up blod pressure monitoring on the right arm, a mask over your mouth and nose and then......oblivion.
Next thing I know is waking up in rehab alongside the ICU and then back to my room for a late breakfast at midday, a dip into my new book ‘Winter of the World’ and ‘The talented Mr Ripley’ on HBO movie channel Asia.
If the rest of the month is like this, I am coming out for reassignment every year!
I have an awful feeling that there must be some pain on the way, but I don’t see it yet.
Robin Moira White

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Phase 1 complete

It is now 6pm on Sunday evening in Phuket and I have been in bed all day!
I don’t have much of a memory of yesterday, Saturday, as they came for me at around 9.30 am and then off to the operating theatre. (Look away now if you are squeamish, or male, or both!).  What I am told happened while I was in theatre was the removal of penis and testicles, creation of the new vaginal canal and reservation of the skin for the re-grafting stage, probably to be carried out on Friday next.  There certainly is ‘less’ down below than there was but it is thoroughly bandaged, so nothing to see yet.  I woke up back in my room about 5pm.
I have a urinary catheter and a drain emerging from ‘down below’ and I have been encouraged to keep up my fluid intake.  I have not been moving about much but I haven’t really had any pain, just a bit of discomfort, rather like bruising.
I have been reading the new ‘what if’ historical novel ‘Dominion’ and there are enough English language channels on hospital TV to keep me interested.  A disappointment was that one network was showing the Bond movie ‘Quantum of Solace’ but unfortunately it was dubbed in one Asian language and subtitled in another!
I am told that I will be allowed out of bed for a short walk tomorrow.
Bye for now.
Robin White

Friday, 2 November 2012

An interesting start to November

I left home just after 1pm on Thursday and made my way by train and rail-air coach to Heathrow.  I then proceeded to eat my way to Thailand !  As there were no travel difficulties I was in the departure lounge with a good two hours to spare. I filled this with a French-style evening meal enlivened by the head waiter cannoning into one of the other waiters who was carrying a tray of drinks and showering the lot over a poor couple heading off on holiday.  Then I caught EVA Airways flight BR068 leaving at 21.20 and flying through what would have been my night to Bankok.  Unfortunately, largely due to the passenger I was seated next to’s constant movements, I got little sleep but I did get to watch three films; Amelie, Inception and the Bourne Supremacy, and a National Geographic Channel programme about the American National Security Agency.  Funny how an American-made program about cryptanalysis referred in the historical section to the WW2 breaking of the German Enigma code as an ‘Allied’ success with not a mention of the pioneering work done the Polish Government pre-1939 and the bulk of the work being performed by Bletchley Park in the UK!  I should say that EVA air fed us with a three course evening meal, a 3am snack for those of us awake and a 7am breakfast.
As we were flying over a work turning towards our direction of flight, dawn was at 3am London time and arrival in Bankok at 8.30am London time but 15.30 local time.  The 1730 connecting flight to Phuket was a little late, but not without a three-course airline meal  on a flight of just over and hour !  The taxi driver organised by the hospital was reassuringly waiting for me, and I arrived at the ‘Phuket International Hospital’ at 9pm. 
After some initial confusion as to why I was here, I was soon plugged into the admissions process and have had my blood pressure checked three times; a chest X-ray; had my perenerium (look it up!) expertly shaved with a cut-throat razor and an enema (yuk!); and finally a consultation with Dr Kunaporn in advance of tomorrow’s operation – all between 9 and 10.30 at night. Not bad going.
So the end of 2nd November finds me happily installed in a private room and looking forward to getting my head down in advance of the operation tomorrow, which kick’s off with the pre-med about 9 and should have me back in my room (but bed-ridden by about 5).
Just remember that the time here is 9 hours ahead of the UK.
I’ll keep you posted !
Robin Moira White