From my hospital room they wheeled me down to the waiting van carrying all my supplies and luggage, Lisa holding my hand on the way. Now remember, it was only the day before that I was allowed up out of bed. Sitting on anything – using the special seat cushion – was a new experience and not exactly a good one. Trying to find a comfortable position was difficult. Then shifting from the wheelchair into the van was another experience in patience and ‘logistics’. Normally the trip between the hospital and the hotel was about 20 mins or so. However, this time there was a lot of traffic and it took perhaps twice as long. It was difficult just sitting, but then bouncing along on those not so good roads in heavy traffic, stopping and starting, bumps etc. – well, let’s just say I stayed in bed most of the rest of that day letting my new bottom recover!
We got settled back into our hotel room, put everything away and ordered some food in. Later one of the clinic staff came in to help me get organized for and do my first dilation (see part 3 about dilation). Everything had a place and everything was handy for doing my dilations. Even still, I would forget something and had to ask Lisa to bring it to me (once I’m in position, it is hard to get up until I’m finished). There were a number of ‘special’ features in these rooms that made it quite nice for trans* people recovering. I have a feeling, since almost the entire 3rd and 7th floors are for us, that Dr. Suporn had a hand in specifying these. For example, there was a fresh water (tap water was not drinkable) spray hose for rinsing our selves off after using the toilet. It was important that it was ‘clean’ water and of course not cold! All these little features really made my stay there comfortable and convenient.
This is also where we had breakfast with all the other transwomen each morning. This was one of the most important parts of being here in Thailand at Dr. Suporn’s clinic – to be able to meet and becomes friends with so many others like myself. All different, yet so much in common. They came from all over the globe. We formed a sisterhood that has kept going long after we left Thailand. There is lots of support and shared knowledge between us. We can ask advice and others will respond with how they handled the same issues. When one of us is in pain or depressed or having a hard time – we all respond. This is so awesome – what a community – what a sisterhood!
This is the main lobby of the hotel where we would wait for the clinic van to take pick us up. A lot of times the ‘sisters’ would meet down here too and just have fun. In the far corner was an ice cream vendor, plus wine and cakes. I made use of that a few times. Nothing like ice cream to ease recovery a bit!
Off to the other side was a door that led out to a small garden nestled between parts of the hotel. Lisa and would take walks out there during the times I wore the catheter and could not leave the hotel. This gave me a little exercise without over doing it.
On our floor (7th floor – the top floor) we had a wonderful little waiting area that had current magazines (mostly in Thai however), but also books (in English) and videos that we could borrow. The window looked out over the bay and the ocean. Lisa and I watched a few storms pass by from this window. For those sisters staying on this floor, this was a nice place to meet, chat and just relax. Since just about everyone on this floor was a patient – this sort of was our private little area. The third floor also was for Dr. Suporn’s patients. They had a similar area there too, but there was a patio outside they could go on. Many of us would get something to eat or drink and bring it out there – pending on the heat and humidity and occasional thunderstorms.
We seldom have thunderstorms in Hawaii (almost never) so those were exciting. Lisa and I would leave the curtains open at night during a storm just to watch and enjoy the storm. Most days it was partly cloudy to overcast and hot and humid. This was after the monsoon season so we only got an occasional storm.
This is the view out our window. We were facing east and had the morning sun. For me that felt great as Lisa liked to have our room cold – the sun streaming in warmed up that area of the room and I made use of that. I would sit in the chair under the window, legs up on the bed, seat cushion under my and plenty of pillows around me. I had either my computer or my tablet and would spend the time reading e-books or on-line. Almost all of the sisters were on FB and we kept in touch that way, including making plans for diner or if someone could not get up – we would get them what they needed.
In this view you can see a giant Buddha over on the hill side and just below to the right is a huge Chinese temple complex, you can see the one large building with the orange double roof. One day we say a powered hang glider flying around by the Bhudda!
The farthest away we got was to a 7/11 about 3 blocks down from us. It was interesting trying to find what we needed as everything was in Thai. Finally Lisa had to point to her bottom to ask where the liners and pads where! Because of my complications I was not able to do much more than this. Lisa however, was able to cross the main street and explore the mall on the other side. There was a great pizza place over there and an ice cream place too. I wish I could have gone!
One thing Lisa and I did do towards the end of our stay was to use the hotel’s car and driver and to the Central Plaza – which is a HUGE mall they have there. We arranged for them to pick us back up 1 hour later. This place was really huge. We wanted to buy some Thai souvenirs – but this mall was for them, not tourists – as a result everything in there was ‘western’ stuff – no traditional Thai nick knacks! I was really sore after that trip.
The next post will cover the complications I suffered and at the time I’m writing this – I’m still not recovered from them.