Have you ever wished you had a magic wand to fix something? I sure have, a lot. Being transgender sometimes feels impossible. So many many things don’t fit, and fixing them always seems to take forever. I have cried so hard about this so many times. Such an immense feeling of dispair, will I ever get there.
But I don’t want a magic wand anymore. No, I have not found the end to my transgender journey; I don’t know if that will ever happen. Nor have I lost my intense need to be me, or the pain of not fitting in. I always wanted a magic wand before because everything, every little step toward becoming me was a long, often a very long, process. I would cry “Why?”, “Why does it have to take so long?”
I finally got an answer to that painful cry when I recently went to the University of Utah Hospital for gender affirmation surgery. I knew this was going to be one more lengthy process. Hours of surgery followed by, days in the hospital, followed by weeks and months of slow healing. But there is no other way to fix that problem. There is no pill I can swallow. There is no magic wand.
I spent months preparing, trying to lose some weight, and get in better general health. I had appointment after appointment before the surgery, each one a step closer. And now that the surgery is over I have a long list of post-op appointments. Will it ever end, NO.
And I don’t want it to. You see I learned something that has so changed my perspective, if not something deeper. I had not been overnight in a hospital before, other than a few hours a long time ago. I have absolutely no memory of the surgery, my anesthesiologist did a great job. But I do have many beautiful intense memories of my stay in the hospital.
Before my surgery I hadn’t thought much about what it would be like being in the hospital for several days, I was far too busy getting ready. When I woke up in the recovery room there were several nurses looking over me. I don’t remember much of what they said other than that I was “drunk texting” my wife after they gave me my cell phone. They were busy taking care of me.
A few minutes later I am being moved to my hospital room. They were right about the “drunk texting” the whole way to the room is very foggy I think I was only about half there. But after a few hours, I slowly woke up. I woke up to something I never expected.
I knew there would be medical people, doctors, nurses, etc. checking on me, giving me medicine and all that. But I didn’t expect the treatment I got. Nearly everyone who came through my door did everything they did with such loving care. They constantly sought to see how they could help me more.
It seemed never more than two or three hours at best between door swings. I constantly had people looking after me. Not just taking care of my medical needs but going so beyond that. During many of these visits, I was awake and we would chat. I got to share my story with many of them and they shared some of themselves with me.
Toward the end of my stay in the hospital I realized their sharing and loving care, did as much to heal me as all of the medicine and equipment. And somewhere in that moment I realized why there isn’t a magic wand. If there was we would go to the wizard, they would say their incantation wave the wand and that would be it. That would be the end of the relationship. There would be no talking, no caring, no giving.
There is no magic wand, and I am now glad of that. It is a process, often very long. Yet as much as it hurts sometimes I am glad of that too. We were not put on this planet to be instantly zapped into perfection, we were put here to live, to be part of each other’s lives. Those days in the hospital showed me that doesn’t require knowing someone well, or for a long time. It just requires a deep desire to give, to be part of humanity.
I don’t remember most of their names, but I will never forget them. They took care of my body and helped me recover, but they also touched my heart and showed me that it is a process so that we can touch others. For that little bit of wisdom, I will ever be ever grateful.