Friday, 11 September 2009

A room with a view

On Sunday I took my dear Mum to visit to the Nuffield hospital Brighton where I hope to be having my gender realignment surgery in November. I had arranged the visit with Liz Hills the lead clinical nurse to try to help allay my Mums worries & ease her anxiety about the care I would be receiving.

Sometimes with a bit of imagination there seems some parallels between the EM Forster novel “Room with a view” & my life. Lucy the lead character lived in Victorian times & seemed destined to follow a path of what was expected of her, hiding her emotions, something I am thankfully now almost completely incapable of doing. I certainly never dared dream, I would one day be in “the room with a view” I shared with my Mum last Sunday.

This visit was going to be an immensely difficult day for my Mum. My heart is still laden with the guilt of needing to take my beloved elderly parents through a period of huge change at their time in life. I am very conscious of just how blessed I am to still have my beloved parents with me.

It was an incredibly emotional day. Mums courage, her unconditional love knows no bounds. Liz was so kind, so understanding, simply 110% perfect. Mum was very impressed by the whole experience. The hospital, the staff & its location all met with her approval. They were all way beyond what she had ever expected.

I started the day with an early morning walk with my Dad. Each walk we share is absolutely priceless. This memorable morning we were greeted by the poignant sight of the young signets flexing their wings nearly ready for their maiden flight.

I worry so much about my beloved parents & how they will cope in the coming months. It would be perfectly understandable if they are still mourning what feels like the death of their son. To them my GRS date may fseem like their son’s funeral. It is not how I feel & after this visit I truly belive they can see my GRs as something more positive. It seems much harder for my Dad, bless him. He has had to come much further than Mum or I in a comparatively short space of time. From being in denial only two years ago, he has shown tremendous courage & kindness in accepting my need to transition. He is now incredibly protective of his daughter but coming along on this visit was just too much for him to cope with. Dad agreed to stay at home to look after our dog while Mum & I went off on our journey.

We played the songs from “Mama Mia” by Abba all the way there, stopping off in Arundel on route. I knew Liz was such an Angel & having spoken to her several times since my first visit in September last year, I had great faith in her. I did wonder perhaps if I may have been on an emotional hi during my first visit & got a bit carried away about just how good the hospital & its staff were. Seeing it for the second time & seeing my dear Mums face light up with a big smile of approval was one of the most happy & emotional days of my life.

I have so much to write about the experience, so much to remember. There are a few unexpected changes for me to come to terms with. I am going to have to curtail my hospital voluntary work a lot earlier than I had originally planned because of the risk of MRSA, cdif etc & will have to stop once I have had a swab test 4 weeks before surgery. Afterwards I have been advised that I should not risk going back for 12 weeks. I will also be staying in the hospital for seven days after my GRS, which is slightly longer than I appreciated. Mum & I struggle being apart for so long but thanks to this visit Mum is as impressed by the Nuffield as I was the first time & her anxiety may not be as bad as we feared. Her positive reaction to this visit lifted both our spirits & suddenly there was no limit to just how far our hearts could see.

I was also told by Liz there would be no need for me to travel to Brighton for a pre op appointment after all. She will be able to ask lots of questions over the phone which together with the results from the blood tests she has asked my GP to provide will give them all the information they require.

Unexpectedly we were invited to visit a patient from Edinburgh. We were introduced to a young lady of 26 who had her surgery 3 days previous. She looked amazing & had such a happy radiant smile. Her Dad was proudly by her side. They too had initially been afraid how their daughter would cope & had not wanted her to transition. She had felt very little pain & only experienced slight discomfort. Her only concern had been feeling rather sick due to all the medication still in her body from the anesthetic It was so sweet of them to allow us to visit them. There were so many intense emotions like this during the visit.

Afterwards we sat in the car talking & Mum revealed a secret to me that was to melt my heart completely. For years my dear Mum has struggled to deal with the loss of her family particularly her sister & Mum. She had never found closure in over thirty years. Each tragic anniversary her mood would dip dramatically, it was so difficult for all of us. In recent years she had hidden her grief from me.

Sundays visit had been a random date that was convenient for Liz & for me. Unbeknown to me until my Mum told me after our visit, September 6th was the anniversary of her dear Mums passing. She had courageously not said a word about it because she knew I would never ask her to go through such an emotional visit to Brighton on such a day had I remembered the significance of the date.

She told me it had felt right to go with her daughter on such a day. She told me that a date that had always until Sunday been a sad day on her calendar will now be remembered for a happy occasion. The courage, grace, dignity & unconditional love, as well as the total acceptance she had a daughter she knew needed this surgery, will be embellished in my mind for eternity.

We were still sat in the empty car park talking as the lovely Liz drove by cheerily waving at us as she finally went home exhausted & late to see her family. Liz had been at a TG conference in Norwich with the surgeon Mr Thomas for several days & only driven back on Saturday. Then on Sunday she came into the hospital to catch up with her work & freely gave up her afternoon for as long as we needed, never once making it seem like we were wasting her valuable time. It was such a heartwarming privilege to see these two wonderful Mums bond together as only Mums can. My beloved Mum got so much out of this special visit but she also gave something beyond her daughters most optimistic of dreams.

After I had hugged & kissed my dear Mum for all she had done for me, all the love we shared, we finally set off for home. Mama Mia was playing softly. The first track that played was by chance, supposedly random just like the date of our visit but in keeping with the spiritual aspects of the day it proved to be so memorable:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Gdyuz57M0

"I have a dream"!
I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I cross the stream - I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I cross the stream - I have a dream
I cross the stream - I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I cross the stream - I have a dream
I cross the stream - I have a dream


Last Sunday the tears just rolled down my cheeks at the joy & emotions of the most magical day of my life. I certainly believe in Angels!

The picture above is of of my Mum in one of the rooms I am likely to be staying in at the hospital, looking at the view, contemplating the future of her only child. We are so fortunate to still be together & have a future to share, each day of which I cherish. There are so many less fortunate.


My thoughts turn to those who have lost their loved ones on this the eighth anniversary of the attacks by hijacked planes on America this day. My thoughts & prayers are with the nearly three thousand innocent victims that day & their bereaved families. How did those victims feel looking out of their office windows in the twin towers that day. You can read a very moving account of that day by dear Michelle http://michellesreality.blogspot.com/2009/09/remembering-911.html She was one of the survivors. The scars of all those whose lives were effected by this tragic day may never ever heal. How do all those families who have lost their loved ones that day & those who have continued to lose their precious loved ones in combat as a result, cope with knowing they will never see them come home again? Some of those who witnessed this tragic day unfold on television as children are now risking their lives at war. God bless them all.

Love
Debbie

4 comments:

Anji said...

What a lovely view you will have to contemplate as you recover.

Your mum truly is one in a million. I'm glad she could meet with another parent, it must have been very reassuring for her.

alan said...

And along with what Anji said, I'm very happy you managed to turn a sad anniversary into a happy one for her!

You are a treasure to many!

alan

Lucy Melford said...

Another Lucy! I'd forgotten Lucy Honeychurch in 'A Room With A View'.

Yes, the situation of the Nuffield means panoramic sunny views over to the coast at Ovingdean, and that alone will aid a quick recovery! I'm sure your Mum was both relieved and impressed.

Lucy

GirlWhoShould said...

What a nice view. Your mum is truly fantastic on what must have been a difficult day for anyone in her place. The closeness and love shone through.

Lucy x