Saturday, 20 May 2006

The most important day

Sunday 20 May 2007

In spite of the sedative I swallowed, I opened my eyes very early on Wednesday morning. I don’t know the exact time but it was still dark outside.

My eyes open in the dark, I tried to work out the time I would go into the operating theatre. A nurse I had asked told me that they wouldn’t know till the next morning, that Dr Foldès started operating at 9:30 and that he had lots of patients.

I told myself that, having arrived the night before, I would no doubt be amongst the first, or at least before the ones arriving in the morning.

I was delighted when around 8 o’clock, a nurse came to tell me to go and take my shower. She brought me a little tumbler on which my name was written in ink., followed by “8:30”. In the tumbler there was a tablet like the one I had taken the night before and also a large effervescent tablet. She told me I had to take them, with a very small amount of water, when I returned from the shower, “even if I didn’t need a sedative” according to her.

It was with a big smile and very happy that I left the room, at the same time as my neighbour arrived. I was no doubt going to be operated on soon. If not the effect of the sedative would no doubt end up wearing off.

Returning from the shower, I dressed again in the dark blue garment which had been given to me the night before. (a sort of shirt to put on “backwards”, with your buttocks in the breeze) then I took the medications then I lay down on my bed and didn’t get up again, following the nurses instructions. She had explained that I would feel light-headed a little after taking the pills and I mustn’t take the risk of falling.

The minutes passed and my impatience grew. Impatience is really the word which characterised the morning of 16 May.

My room mate, in a blue shirt too, a tumbler on which was written “9:30” in front of her, smiled at me hesitantly. Then she asked me if I too were going to be operated on “down there”. When I agreed, she started to explain to me that she had never had any pleasure. Not an ounce. I didn’t know what to reply. I believe in fact that I didn’t want to reply. I was impatient for someone to come and fetch me. She asked where I came from, I asked her her first name, we smiled, then we were exhausted.

Around 10 o’clock a young man in blue pyjamas and a shower cap on his head came to fetch me. I left my bed to get on the stretcher he had brought. He covered me in a blue sheet then took me away. He was funny, he made jokes in the metal left which we took to the unit, two floors down.

I waited some minutes in a sort of antechamber, under a sort of survival blanket, with a shower cap on my head. It was cold. And my joy gently descended. I was almost there. I felt I was floating a bit.

Arriving in Unit 2, I was put on a funny table like the ones for gynaecological examinations, with stirrups at the end. Here the stirrups were made for your feet but also to support your calves. Correctly placed, I had my back on the table, my buttocks in the open, my legs slightly bent and my arms crossed, laid on some sort of armrests.

A nurse arrived to fix a machine to take my blood pressure on my right arm. Covering me, (it was really cold) she looked at me and then asked if I were worried. With a tiny little voice I said “Yes” before correcting “actually I’m upset I think”. “Everything will be all right” she replied rapidly before leaving the room.

I wasn’t sad but I wanted to cry. Minutes passed on the big white clock which I could see in the corridor. I asked myself vaguely whether, in the end, Dr Foldès hadn’t had an accident while coming in that morning.

Then, at about 10:15, Dr Iceberg arrived to give me the anaesthetic. “We’ve met before,” he said. “Yes I remember you,” I replied. He put a drip in my left arm, a sophisticated thing with two entry points, surrounded by an enormous sticking plaster. He then left to confer with other people in the corridor.

During this time, tears were welling in my eyes, overflowed, and started to run down my cheeks.

The arrival of Dr Foldès in the unit around 10:30 made my heart leap. He was there, alive, smiling, he was going to operate on me. THE moment which I had been waiting for for so long had arrived. It was like a miracle. I could no longer hold back my tears.

“Ah Miss XXX! So we are going to repair your clitoris and also…” He didn’t finish his sentence as if to verify what we had agreed. “We are repairing the labia minora too,” I hurried to say. “Yes, I’m going to find the product” he declared, leaving the room.

As soon as he left, Dr Icefield started to inject the colourless contents of a syringe into my drip. He also injected the milky contents of two other syringes, then put a mask on my face, asking me to breathe in it. “You’re going to sleep,” he told me.

I remember having a strange feeling in my head. Like tickling. Then I was suddenly asleep.

(to be continued. The story being quite long, I’ve divided it into several parts. The next tomorrow. Promise)

[Original in French]

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  1. The hardest is when you are in the unit, immobilised on a table, left there like a parcel! All around everyone has something to do and we, we have to wait! It brings back memories from two years ago!

    I hope your pain has worn off! And you've stopped work for a few days?

    Wishing you a very good Sunday


  2. Ah yes, I agree Lalita. It's a terrible moment I find.
    I'm clearly in less pain today. In fact each passing day I have less pain. And I'm off work until Friday next.
    I wish you a good Sunday too.

  3. It's very moving to read your tale, like a lovely adventure where you know the ending is happy :-)

  4. Papillon, It's wonderful to read you again and I hope that everything continues to go well.

  5. It's very moving Papillon, I've just read several posts in one go because it's been a while since I came to your blog. It's great that you have had your operation! That's the way! :-) I hope you're not in too much pain today...


  6. It's great to read you and see that you're doing well!
    Thanks again for giving us all these explanations, they're precious for those who are going to follow the path of reconstruction after you!
    For several years I worked with people who had suffered incest during their childhood, and I find similarities between what you write and what they expressed, especially about the relationship difficulties with their families... it's perhaps because circumcision is tied to sexuality.
    Good luck for the emotional reconstruction which accompanies this new stage!

    Take good care of yourself ;-) all my love.

  7. There is no smiley to represent the sort of feeling I'd like ... a shoulder against a shoulder? a squeeze of an arm? something to show sympathy, the wish to pull the line which leads to a new life with you? the feeling of a victory in life? something of that type anyway.

  8. Oh I reeeaaally want to read the next part! I sincerely hope that it went well!


  9. I too am relieved that all went well; I was waiting for your news impatiently!
    See you soon, little butterfly!

  10. Hello Papillon
    I am delighted this morning to discover that everything went well, that you are there and obviously well.

    Thank you again for your invaluable account!
    For those who haven't suffered this mutilation (of whom I'm one) I find that it allows you also to learn about oneself, about the pride you can have being a woman, of the importance of conducting certain battles.

    Hugs, I'm looking forward to the next part.

  11. Thank you Papillon for sharing all that with us. Your writing hasn't changed and is always beautiful and modest. Have a good day, and be back soon!

  12. It's true I'm telling a tale, Nounsse, a lovely story in which I am delighted to be the main character. I hope plenty of others will take the plunge themselves live a in a pretty story of this type.

    Everything is continuing well A. The pain is moving away by a great step each day that passes and my smile is fixed on my lips :)

    Today Shiloune, the pain isn't too bad, just a gnawing on the left. I'm even walking almost normally ...

    Cornélie, it's interesting, the parallel you make between circumcision and incest. In both cases there is interference fom adults in the sexuality of children, and in both cases the parents are implicated ...

    Anita, for me I've wanted a smiley which dances, I ought to find a host elsewhere ...:) While waiting, my thoughts are with you!

    Meri, what do you make of the suspense then? I'm joking, everything went well!

    StephHassan, is so kind for you to be anxious for me...

    Moïra, I'm frankly in great form ..[lit. in the potato, peach, chip whizz...]

    That's it Hélène, I'm going to hum with pleasure, that makes me hum when someone compliments my writing. As you say so well, thank you very much!


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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