I had a phone call from a close friend early yesterday morning. She was going into Charing Cross Hospital for her surgery (gender reassignment, or whatever you want to call it) and was wanting company on her way there. Staring bleary-eyed at Monday morning's emails I decided that a trip to hospital was preferable than dealing with certain clients.
So I met her at Hammersmith, which is altogether a more salubrious place than it was when I was a youngster in the '70s and '80s when it hosted regular pitched battles between punks and skinheads, nobody worked as they were either unemployed or on strike, streakers ran amok and schoolkids needed to watch out for perverts (two have recently been convicted for crimes there in that era). Comics Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson captured the squalor there nicely in Bottom. Now it's more cafe culture and arts theatres than safety pins through the nose at the dole office. Sorry, I'm digressing. Hammersmith is the location for Charing Cross Hospital which hosts the gender clinic and I've accompanied friends there many times, as much as anything to see how I feel about attending the clinic for myself.
I found the staff kind and willing to answer all my friend's questions and reassure her over her worries. They put her on E Bay, which makes it sound like she's in an online auction (they probably all say that). The amenities seem a bit basic, though, and the view from the window is less than inspiring, especially as the tubs of what were flowers and grasses have died in the recent heat. I shall donate a watering can to the hospital! My friend was given a green pattered hospital robe and green surgical peep-toe stockings. Very chic. Very sexy. Green is evidently the new black! There were hardly any patients and the only other person who'd had the surgery was being discharged the next day so it was a bit quiet and lonely. I had planned just to see her there and make sure she'd settled in but basically she had a 6 hour wait before surgery and I did stay in the end till mid-afternoon as letting people feed off their own thoughts is not good when they're already a bit nervous, although she was cracking plenty of jokes (not all of them repeatable here). Sadly, I just couldn't stay to see her into theatre but we had a phone chat shortly before. Frankly, as well as having had work to do, hospitals make me feel ill!
I imagine she's resting today. I will try to visit her later in the week and I know other friends of hers are going as well. I think she's in good hands. Although it leaves me with mixed emotions as I don't feel, after considerable thought and research over many years, that a medical route to being trans is going to help me.
The hospital doesn't let you take cut flowers to patients and more, only pot plants. So all her friends have decided that what a girl with a new vagina would appreciate most is a nice cactus! Aren't we cruel! But that's her kind of humour!
Get well soon, honey.