Skip

"They’re just things and you do them"
May 18, 2014 4:32 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I didn’t have a honeymoon. The closest we got was a trip to the southwest, ten months after our wedding, to a rented condo and a private hospital where he would have his second round of female-to-male surgery: hysterectomy, oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, and primary urethral lengthening. The upshot is that at the end of this he would be rid of reproductive organs and naturally-produced hormones, and, we hoped, be able to pee standing up.
Kate Good talks about her husband's surgery for The Toast's series about trans* matters (Trans 101.)
posted by MartinWisse (31 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
"I looked for Gatorade because the next day he would be on a clear liquid diet. Whole Foods did not carry Gatorade. I got something with jackfruit in it. I hoped it had electrolytes. I went to sleep violently wishing we weren’t there."
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:52 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


That was a great read. Thank you.
posted by biscotti at 4:59 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I'm very glad that someone in the comments pointed out just how much of a numpty he was for not taking the pain meds. Stoicism is physiologically bad for you - unrelieved pain will delay wound healing and generally slow up your recovery.

I note that the author contradicts herself by initially saying that he was only taking "a few tylenol", then later in the article that he was taking enough pain meds that she needed to keep a time chart of when he was taking them - I hope that the latter is closer to the truth.
posted by Vortisaur at 5:00 AM on May 18


I hope I find love like that. Thanks.
posted by greasy_skillet at 5:00 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


They’re just things and you do them.

This.
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


I found the worst part of this to be his refusal to take pain meds as well. That can actually slow down healing, and it's almost like you're punishing yourself for needing the surgical procedures by gritting your teeth through the post-op pain.

I'm glad they love one another. I hope I can find someone in my life that accepts me and loves me even half as much as Mark did. Kate sounds like a lovely wife. They'll be excellent parents.
posted by sockermom at 5:55 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


What it means to be transgender varies dramatically from person to person. I couldn’t learn what I needed to know without talking to him.
[...]
There’s no such thing as gender reassignment surgery, despite what various government and news agencies seem to think.

i want to fist pump both of these parts so hard.
posted by nadawi at 6:48 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Terriifc article, thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 7:20 AM on May 18


Deep down I don’t understand what it is to be transgender. I can sympathize but can’t empathize. I have the average amount of (on a good day) discomfort with and (on a bad day) hatred of my body, but I know this doesn’t matter. My inability to put myself in his shoes has no meaning for the reality of his, or anyone else’s, identity and experience. I believe him. I trust him. I love him. I don’t have to completely understand.

At this point I know a few people who are trans (and I am sure I know others who are as well, but who aren't open to me about their status) and have read all or almost all of the trans discussions here. That paragraph summarizes my thoughts exactly: its not something that makes sense to me in a general way, but that doesn't matter because my understanding is irrelevant, I just need to accept and make a human connection with that specific person.

I really appreciated this article. It's a hard subject for me to wrap my head around, and her matter of fact depiction was riveting. Her description of how her attraction to her then-future partner grew as he went through the transitioning process caught me -- the couples I know best had already formed before the person began their transition process, which brings up a different set of issues.

Regarding the pain control issue, I know so many people who resist taking pain medications after surgery. It's incredibly common, and from what I've watched usually a mistake.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:29 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


Beautifully written. You'll do anything for those you love. I wish them and their family a lifetime of love together.
posted by arcticseal at 7:30 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I am a male who just read this while peeing sitting down. Never underestimate the power of laziness.
posted by item at 7:36 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


I note that the author contradicts herself by initially saying that he was only taking "a few tylenol", then later in the article that he was taking enough pain meds that she needed to keep a time chart of when he was taking them - I hope that the latter is closer to the truth.

No contradiction that I can see. What she says later in the article is that, as soon as they got back from the hospital, she drew up a schedule of what would need to be taken when. "Pain medication was as needed, so I made a column to keep track of when he took it." Based on what came earlier, it would appear that this bit of anticipation went for naught.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:40 AM on May 18


I can't believe a doctor prescribed Tylenol on an "as needed for pain" basis. Tylenol should never be taken by anybody without a schedule and definite limits, because unlike most other OTC meds it doesn't take much more than the recommended therapeutic dose to make you seriously ill or even kill you.
posted by localroger at 7:43 AM on May 18


I can't believe a doctor prescribed Tylenol on an "as needed for pain" basis.

"once we left the hospital he never took any of the prescribed narcotics, only a few Tylenol."

There's no indication that the Tylenol were prescribed; they were what the husband took instead of the prescribed meds.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:50 AM on May 18


I am a male who just read this while peeing sitting down. Never underestimate the power of laziness.

Here's statistical evidence about peeing standing up. Many mefites aim for the for the porcelain on the far side. Do not do this. Perpendicular impact on a hard surface will make splatter go everywhere (10" vertically, 30" longitudinally and 40-50" laterally). Better technique can greatly reduce the mess but nothing can truly eliminate it.

Laziness is peeing standing up and not being the one to mop the floor.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:57 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I really liked this linked article -- I assume part of the same series -- about having to come out as transgender to the TSA.
posted by eugenen at 8:35 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Interesting story, I guess. I find it fascinating that she considers herself straight and yet her partner is still trying to figure out how he sees his gender before he transitioned.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:43 AM on May 18


This also illustrates why it's imperative that insurance companies start covering gender affirming surgeries. While it's commendable that this woman spent her inheritance on her husband's surgeries, it's despicable that we let this happen.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:48 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


i don't really see the contradiction in her husband still figuring out how to classify his pre-transition self, and her considering herself straight while married to his post-transition self.

as to the drugs thing - there might have been an actual reason he wasn't taking the narcotics that she didn't want to get in to in the post. i've also had lots of doctors tell me to take otc pain killers as needed without exceeding xyz amount per day - and she was keeping a spreadsheet just in case he hit against the limit, so i don't think the husband, wife, or doctor were suggesting just gulping down tylenol.
posted by nadawi at 9:16 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


i don't really see the contradiction in her husband still figuring out how to classify his pre-transition self, and her considering herself straight while married to his post-transition self.


I'm not saying it is a contradiction. I just think it's interesting and complicated to think about.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:19 AM on May 18


I sort of understand the desire to not take narcotic pain meds, because they make me (and maybe him) feel pretty fuzzy and unpleasantly out of it, and depending on what they are they can upset your stomach and/or constipate you, which if you've got incisions down in that area just can't be any fun (not at it ever is). Still, I agree that healing goes faster when you're not fighting pain.

I liked this pice a lot. Thank you for posting it.
posted by rtha at 9:37 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I am one of those lucky people: opiates make me vomit and do not greatly affect my pain. I could imagine that vomiting after the surgery he had would be pretty miserable.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:39 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


What a loving relationship.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:23 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I thought this was a beautiful piece, thank you for the post.
This is not the way I anticipated my life going, but I’m hardly alone in that...Things happen. I got married with my eyes open, a privilege a lot of people don’t have. I wish we didn’t have to deal with these things. But I’d still take him, hospital stays, medical bills, questionable legal status and all, over anyone else, any day. I married a good man. I hope my children are as lucky.
While there were a lot of interesting points raised in the article, this was the main feeling I was left with: here is a person who truly loves another person and would do anything for them. Gender is irrelevant; would that everyone was so lucky.
posted by billiebee at 1:45 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


His physical transition gave me a lot more respect for testosterone, whose powers I had always dismissed as some boys-will-be-boys excuse for bad behavior. Being with him has made my thoughts about gender more complicated, but in some ways my relationship with gender roles easier. I like to sew, knit, bake, watch Colin Firth dive into the pond at Pemberley. He likes playing rough sports, boxing and hockey, woodworking in the basement, swinging kettlebells while watching football, grilling steaks with a beer in his hand. I always felt uncomfortable fitting into these gender roles, but with him it was easier. I knew he had spent plenty of time, more than I ever had, thinking about gender. I didn’t have to assure him that just because my only trophies are for sportsmanship means I think that’s how women should be. He knows. I can knit without guilt.
Wow. That's very interesting. To just be who you are, un-defensively. I am more who I am now but I can so relate to this from my younger years.
posted by amanda at 2:03 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Barbaric, the refusal of pain meds. What's the point?
posted by ReeMonster at 2:14 PM on May 18


Excellent article, insightful and very simply describes healthy perceptions of gender identity. Much appreciated OP.

Also what's up with this pain medicine red herring?
posted by sibboleth at 7:47 PM on May 18 [5 favorites]


What's up with the tags on this post? Are they able to be set by commentators? "Tuna Melts are Gross" seems like a complete nonsequitur, unless I'm missing something.
posted by corb at 11:06 PM on May 18


"Tuna Melts Are Gross" is a tag on the article.

Tags: electrolytes, gender roles, kate good, knitting without guilt, lgbt, marriage, relationships, the trans* series, tuna melts are gross, whole foods does not have gatorade in case you were wondering
posted by concrete at 12:32 AM on May 19


The Toast uses tags for additional commentary, just like you'll see on many Metafilter posts, on Twitter in the form of hashtags and on Tumblr. People use them like mefites sometimes use smalltext, some authors use footnotes or webcomic artists use alt/title text: as something sort of in between a Shakespearian aside and being out of the text completely.

She eats a tuna melt in the article, but putting her opinion of tuna melts directly into the text of the article would've interrupted the piece and changed the tone. So it went in the tags.

I also think The Toast puts hilarious tags on its pieces so I will click on them and be disappointed that there aren't a bunch of posts tagged with, for example, "squinting and lens flares and unisex leggings that’s what the future holds" or "no i will not come by your office i will blow myself up with a grenade".

See what I did there, with the small text? That was a similar kind of humorous aside.

posted by NoraReed at 2:53 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


I really liked this linked article -- I assume part of the same series -- about having to come out as transgender to the TSA.
For someone who detests being judged, the writer of this piece was awfully judgmental himself...cheap knock-off eyeglasses, made sure to mention anyone who was overweight or "bloated" (nothing politically incorrect about mocking and disdaining fat people, obviously) cop was obviously not the sharpest crayon in the box since he had to work on New Year's Day... Just seems like if one is trying to preach acceptance, one should start at home.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:26 AM on May 19


« Older Sunday Times Rich List 'wealthier than ever'   |   Winter on Georgian Bay Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post