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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rebuilding

"These things happen," said Beloved. "You'll just have to rebuild."

I snuffled a little on her shoulder, then she was off to work.

Mirror, my enemy, let's get a good look.

Yes ... all the fat pockets the HRT had deposited to give me that nice face on my driver's license have melted -- and big black hairs have sprouted everywhere. The hospital stay has wiped out maybe 4, 5 month's improvement. It's practically square one.

I can't dodge work today, even though the powerful antibiotics have me in blinders, short of breath, evil taste in mouth, and what feels like heart palpitations ... big meeting ...

So I put a face cream all over everything, let it soak in, then unpack a brand new set of Venus blades to shave, practically skinning my upper lip, then cover with the heaviest foundation I've ever put on. Up close, this won't be pretty, but from ten feet away it hides a lot. Mascara, eye shadow, lip liner, lip color, and blush to finish. Brush hair, special attention to bangs. Add a really busty bra underneath the sun dress. Silly, but it helps with the convincing presentation.

Yah, I can go to work, but just barely.

Now if I only weren't full up to here with meds.

The infection is down, but not out -- after 3 weeks of penicillin and other antibiotics round the clock. I think we are entering a new era with strep and staph.

I've been working half days, then hiding in my bed all afternoon and through the night. Don't feel like writing, going out to the garden, cooking, or much of anything. Just lie there in a torpor.

I'm a little upset with the hospital; such wonderful nurses, but the doctors kinda interfered with my med routine when they saw my liver profile. This is the catch-22 for older transitioners. The Benjamin Standards are designed to prevent the Big Mistake (and reduce the chances of doctors being sued), which I suspect is mostly about never being able to have kids again or other relatively "young" issues.

Those of us who show up in a counselor's office at the age of 55 or whatever are already done with most of the life stuff they're thinking of saving us for. We've had the marriage, the kids, got grandkids, had a career, maybe, are heading for retirement and relative freedom. If we were going to make a contribution while masquerading as our birth gender (a full time job in itself) we will have done it by now. And we've had decades in which to sort out for ourselves the things that matter to us. All this should be taken into account because, as old-timers, we shouldn't be doing drugs that can damage our livers. So, for us, the Real Life Test with its year of waiting represents a health danger that could be greatly reduced by having access to an earlier SRS appointment.

Right now I need 5 mg/day of estradiol and 200 mg/day of spironolactone to preserve my presentation and my sanity. After SRS I would only 1 mg of estradiol.

With the number of people in my family that have had heart attacks, and the EKG that I have, with its skips, murmurs and whistles, that's an issue. Not to mention the liver ...

At work, I was just gaga today; you could probably get me to sign a contract for the Brooklyn Bridge. Hope I didn't do too much damage! Most of the patrons want directions to other parts of the library, and that's easy enough; but sitting through a meeting with the sound of the computer projector fan droning in my head was a bit much.

Now, alone in the house, I'm even more dangerous. Everyone here tends to have favorite snacky things, and I have no food-prep energy and a junk-food hunger that has no ethics and to which I have no resistance. I prowl the kitchen and the pantry, seeking what I might devour, carting everything off to my bed to consume while "reading" or "surfing." I awoke once yesterday with a sandwich in my hand, raised half an hour earlier for a bite; thank goodness I didn't manage to!

Yes, time to rebuild, sleep, exercise (some day!), eat sensibly (hah!), finish out the antibiotics, drink lots of water, and try not to run everybody crazy with my whining.

Fortunately, there's lots to do -- PFLAG board retreat -- Equality Network meeting -- Lane Gender Task Force meeting -- Imperial Court of the Emerald Empire meeting --Springfield School Board meeting -- all in the space of three days, with a granddaughter coming to visit.

Nothing like giving yourself an unrealistic schedule and then getting sick.

Oh, ok, I'm whining here too.

So ...

The blackberries are finally ripe, along with the tomatoes.

Geese are honking through.

The corn has tasseled out, and the pumpkins are ripening.

Some good sunsets.

Most of the wood has been put up, and I didn't have to do any of it.

I think I'll go look for a good book.

:::

The phone has jolted me awake all afternoon.

"Mrs. Bear, we know we can count on you for $100 right now ..."

Another time, please. Medical bills first.

"How about $50, Mrs. Bear?"

Do I need to get rude?

"Ok, sorry, Mrs. Bear. Here's our website in case ..."

Oy.

I'm almost asleep when it hits me -- they're reading me right. At least I didn't lose my voice in there.

Pleasant dreams, dears.

-- risa b

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