This hospital stay is a lot like any other hospital stay. Days run together and there’s really not much to tell or to reflect upon. Thus, I’ll dispatch the rest of the hospital stay in the following essay.

July 10th. Surgery +1 — I had a pretty crappy day, but did get to eat solid food finally. Confined to bed, there wasn’t much to do except to feel the discomfort at not being able to roll over, to listen to the leg-squeezers keeping clots from forming in my legs, and to await the nurse visits for to check my J-Drain, empty my catheter, and take my vital signs. Operative concept today: hard to find comfort. I did enjoy getting to talk with my roommate, Justine, from the East Coast, a woman who was 2 days ahead of me and who was able to let me know what to expect along the way.

July 11th. Surgery +2 — Finally allowed out of bed, with IV and leg-squeezers removed. I took 3 walks, shuffling around the wing with my catheter bag handsomely carried in one hand. Resumed reading James Joyce’s Ulysses to Mary Jo, something we had begun doing upon arriving in Trinidad. I have read this novel 20 times, but have never read it aloud, and am enjoying it immensely.

July 12th. Surgery +3 — Justine was released in the morning, and I was moved over to my friend Mary Rae’s room. I walked 5 times, and Mary Rae timed my best circuit around the ward at a blistering 2:35, a time I was not able to break. They came to take out my “J-Drain, a tube with a suction bulb that helps drain the surgical area of blood, and this sucker hurt like a hot poker when it came out — to her credit the nurse told me as much, even going so far as to explain that “this hose is only the outer portion, but the inner one is much larger and it has to come out through this hole.” Odd to say, but it was the sharpest pain of the visit to Trinidad.

I took a shower, which was pretty sobering, getting to look at the whole new me in one panoramic vision, but it also felt wonderful. Mary Rae and I had a visitor, CC from a few hours away — CC brought flowers to Mary Rae and a yellow rose to me with a card saying, “It’s a Girl,” which is oddly appropriate and hilarious at the same time when you think of it. CC left after a couple of hours, and Mary Jo and I continued to read Ulysses aloud. It was a full and exhausting day, and even though Mary Rae and I watched a ballgame together (Cards v Cubs), I only managed to open my eyes when there was a roar of the crowd on television. I got a very long, good night of rest for the first time in several days.

July 13th. Surgery +4 (Monday): Unless you’ve got problems, you leave the hospital on this day. You’ve been active, had a bowel movement (if you’re lucky — ahh, the simple pleasures of life), and there’s nothing more the hospital can do for you. This happy condition was how I found myself as I packed and, with Mary Jo’s help, left the hospital around noon, next destination the Morning After House, where we had started a few days earlier, and where Mary Jo had stayed while I was in the hospital.

Trinidad clearly has a great asset in its midst in the Bowers-Hospital connection — While the hospital is clearly not just a “Tranny Hospital,” and serves the community in a number of important ways, it’s equally clear from speaking to the nurses and their assistants that they see the transgender population as a special learning and caring opportunity, one that’s impossible for nurses and nursing students in larger cities like Denver or Albuquerque. These professionals “get it,” and should be properly seen as a major part of why Trinidad is such a good place to come for GRS.