Monday, 17 April 2006

Some words on another path: Fafa

Tuesday 17 April 2007

Fafa, aged 19, had her operation on Friday 13 April. She described her day at the clinic in a comment. In order to make it more visible and with her consent, I am giving her account here.

I entered the clinic the same day as my operation. I was quite anxious, I was afraid that it would go badly and that I would have to tell my parents (they know nothing but my mother strongly suspects). I arrived at 8:30 am, there already was a patient in the room with her husband. They were watching a cooking programme, my stomach was empty and seeing grilled meat made me suffer too much. I had to take a shower with a red substance. Then I was given some medicine to make me rest.

The medical staff were superb, they spoilt us, without asking any questions, without making any reference, explicit or implicit, to the circumcision. In their eyes, their words, their actions, I felt I was a patient like the others.

And it’s that which is magical, the people don’t judge us, neither us nor our detractors. I would have been able for “poor thing” or “it’s terrible what they have done to you”… But the result of having remarks of this sort would no doubt have confirmed me in a position of victim and never would I have been able to say to myself “I am definitely a victim of circumcision but I am past that now, and I no longer want to be reminded of it. I have not been branded by the circumcision, I never thought it, now it’s no longer the shame of my life, it’s a bad nightmare which lasted 19 years.”

I was the first patient to be operated on. Arriving at the clinic I said to myself that, since I was arriving on the same day, I would no doubt be the last. I know there was a cancellation, a patient who called that morning and who said she couldn’t come. I remember the day of my consultation, when Dr Fold├Ęs said to me not to pretend to have a class in order not to turn up on the day of the operation, and it had seemed to me an unlikely thing to do, now I understand why he said it.

I have no recollection of the operation. I saw the anaesthetist with her made-up eyelashes who said to me “good night, sweet dreams”, and then injected me and then nothing else, a strong desire to sleep, I looked at the clock opposite in a superhuman effort, it was 10:30 am.

I woke up an hour later, the patient who was in the same room was just arriving. But I was really too tired, I preferred to go back to sleep. And afterwards the nurses had undressed me and put on my housecoat.

Truly no pain at all ….


[original in French]

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