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My account of having GRS by Dr. Gunnar Kratz in Linköping, Sweden.

All names have been changed for anonymity purposes.

Sunday May 2nd, Day -1

Started the day by getting up at 08:30. Just managed to get showered and dressed before (my boyfriend) Danny got there. I had mostly finished packing, so I talked a bit to Danny before we went to get (my friend) Amy at about 11, and then straight to the airport. Got the tickets at the travel agent office, checked in, said bye to Danny, and went through the security and to the gate. At Copenhagen we stopped by a few shops, but didn't get anything apart from some lunch. I think my VISA card has gone stale or something, cause it simply didn't work at all at the café we ate in, and I had to get cash from an ATM after 20 people has waited behind me for 5 minutes while the cashier tried to get the card to work. Embarrassing.

Linköping is probably the smalles airport I've ever been to. Luckily it was close to town, so after a short taxi ride at SEK 128,- (the VISA didn't work here either, so I had to use the ATM in the lobby) we arrived at the hospital. We took the elevator to the 19th floor (for some reason they started at 9), and found the ward easily.

Met a couple of nice nurses and a few nursery students, and got a single room right across the hall from the nurses' office. Filled out some forms about allergy and such, and got shown around the ward. Amy got a nice little hotel-like room 20 meters down the hall. Amy went to shower while I got comfy in my room, and called everyone at home to give them my phone number, and I got a small cup of laxatives to take. Danny had written me a really sweet letter and put it in the book he gave me before we left home. =) Then we sat down to watch Forrest Gump on my laptop, and the nurses came in with an enema and hair removal cream, and measured my calves for the compression stockings I was supposed to wear for the rest of my stay.

After the movie, Amy went to her room, and I got started with the colon cleansing. It didn't hurt at all, though it was a little disconcerting... Afterwards I went to shower and wash up with disinfectant soap, and remove all my pubic hair. The cream alone didn't do it, so I used the razor I had luckily brought with me, and used the cream for what was left. It stinged. Put on a lot of aloe vera gel afterwards, which helped a bit. Put on clean underwear and a hospital shirt, and got to bed. Wrote a little while listening to Enya. Dad called and asked how I was and such, which was nice. I'm at this point extremely exited about tomorrow.

Monday May 3rd, Day 0

I was supposed to be woken up at 06:30, but I woke on my own before then. Went to wake up Amy, and had a shower. Got the surgery shirt (the kind with the buttons at the back) and an absolutely huge pair of panties. Gunnar Kratz (the surgeon) came by to make sure I knew the surgery was irreversible and such. I told him "Good!". :) They gave me 2 paracetamol and some sedatives so I wouldn't panic or something, and wheeled me down to the surgery ward. Lay a good while in the waiting area, got an IV set, and waited a bit more. Then someone came to tell me a FtM? who was supposed to have his surgery the same afternoon had been bumped up in front of me since the gynecologist who was assisting in that surgery only had time before lunch. Was wheeled back up to the ward, and waited and talked to Amy till about 13. Got given 2 more paracetamols, but no more sedatives. Got wheeled back down, and lay waiting for a good while. Then a couple of anaesthesist nurses came to wheel me into the pre-surgery area. They put in the epidural catheter (which was extremely scary!) and was wheeled further into the operating room. Got an oxygen mask, and they told me they'd set the anaesthesia in my IV.

Nauseous. Threw up a bit in a kidney tray they held to my mouth. Pressure down there. Huge bandage. Good feeling through all the scaryness. Passed a lot of air. Back hurt. Lay half on my side. Hurts too. Sleep a little. Lay there for a long time. Got wheeled back to the ward. Amy helped me call Mom and Dad and Danny and a couple of friends. Jane (my sister) called me right after I hung up with Dad. Everyone were very relieved I was alright, and none of them had got much done that day. Talked to Amy for a while, and we found I could lay comfortably on my side with a pillow or two between my legs. Then I suddenly got very tired, and went to sleep. Slept a couple of hours that night, but were awake a lot too. Turned a lot from side to side; it hurt to lay in the same position for long. Some nurses came to take my blood pressure and some stuff at 4, and I didn't sleep much after that.

Tuesday May 4th, Day 1

I was relatively alert till about noon. Gunnar Kratz came by in the morning, and seemed pleased that I hadn't bled through the bandages. Talked more with Amy, and on the phone with people at home. Started watching Tank Girl, but got tired and slept a little. Had potatoes and some meat that looked like boot soles (food that wouldn't leave any feces, or "slag-free food" as they called it there), and got a stomach pain during the afternoon. Got a lot of intestinal gas which wouldn't come out, and the pressure just built and built. It put a lot of pressure from the inside of the surgery area, which hurt a lot. During the evening it hurt so much I had to use the pain button on the epidural pump a lot. Found a position that wasn't as painful, so I got a little sleep.

Wednesday May 5th, Day 2

At 5 the catheter bag was full to the point of bursting, so I pressed the signal button so they would come and empty it. After that I managed to get some of the gas out, and after a while I got rid of it all. Passing air has never ever felt so good before! ;) The doctors visited as usual to ask if I was in pain and such, which I wasn't. Got a lot of rest during the morning, and finally got down some food. Still "slag-free", but rosehip soup is a lot better than shoe soles. Phoned people at home.

I sent Amy on a shopping trip to Linköping to get some DVDs? Dad had insisted on paying for, snuff (swedish tobacco) for some friends, and coke for me. I could have gotten coke at the hospital, but they only had a kind called Cuba Coke, which wasn't any good at all. For lunch I got a meat casserole which was a big improvement from shoe soles. Read my journal, and wrote down the expressions I didn't understand. The doctor that assisted during the surgery came by later and explained it all in detail. Watched movies the rest of the afternoon and night. A little Princess, a cute movie. Finding Nemo, Monty Python. Got masked potatoes and ham for dinner. Talked to Mom and Dad and Danny and a friend on the phone.

Thursday May 6th, Day 3

Woke up at 6 after sleeping very well most of the night, apart from 2 weird dreams. Got my pills (paracetamol and antibiotics), and after waiting for a while Kratz came in to change the bandage. It was a bit of a job because of the tape, compresses, a couple of sutures, and a huge pack of some kind of foam plastic and some drains in my vagina. It didn't hurt much, and didn't really feel as weird as they claimed it would. A bit unusual that something's inside me where there weren't a cavity before, but not as much as I'd imagined from what they told me.

They put in 2 balls of a softer foam material, and put on a new compress and some thin mesh pants to keep it in place. I can almost sit up! =) I sneaked a peek at what I could see of my new private parts, and it doesn't look bad at all, even though there's a lot of swelling. The only things I noted was that the outer labia don't meet at all in front, so the "slit" is about 2 cm wide. Maybe it'll change when the swelling goes down. My clitoris also looked very big, but that might be swelling too. There's also a bit more hair than I'd hoped, but maybe the skin vill move once the swelling goes down. The entire area is still pretty numb, apart from small "electric stings" when nerves reconnect. That's a good sign. It's a very good feeling to feel and look right down there.

Then: Breakfast! Sandwiches! I had 2 slices of white bread with ham and cheese! No more "slag-free" food! =)

After breakfast they turned off the epidural pump, and removed the epidural catheter a bit later. Then I was allowed out of my bed, helped by two physiotherapists. I got dizzy after about 5 seconds, so I was back in my bed pretty quickly. Talked to Amy a bit, and she called the airline office to reserve a seat for her flight home. It'll be a bit lonely when she's gone, but I understand very well that she wants to go home now. In any case, it's been great having her here. It would have been a lot scarier and lonelier without her. Hopefully I'll be able to do more stuff once I can walk again.

She then went on some business again, and I tried getting up again, this time with a walking frame. I first got up to a sitting position, and sat there for a while to get used to it before putting my legs down. Then I shifted my weight onto my legs, leaning on the walking frame, and stood up slowly. It was really hard to breathe, I got quickly dizzy so I sat down again. I could only sit on the hindmost parts of my bum, to avoid straining the surgery area. After sitting for a while, I got up again and stood for several minutes before having to sit down. I also walked two steps. Progress! :)

Amy comes back with coke and some money, and we chat for a while and listen to music while I'm eating. Some kind of roast with potatoes and grated carrots, and an apple. Quite good. Then it's 15, and Amy has to leave. We hug, and she leaves for the taxi. A bit sad, but I guess I'll be alright. Called Danny. Nice. Dad called and asked how I was. Went for a little walk again. This time I walked with the frame a good way down the hall and up again! One small step for womankind, but a huge leap for woman! ;ž Talked to a friend on the phone. Went to the bathroom to wash up and go to the toilet. Washing was no problem, but while I was sitting on the toilet breathing suddenly got really hard, and I almost passed out before the nurses got me back in my bed. I'm glad I didn't try doing it on my own. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow.

Dad called to tell me Jane will come visit me on monday, and stay till tuesday. That'll be nice. Watched some Monty Python, talked to Jane on the phone, and then went to sleep.

Friday May 7th, Day 4

Slept all night, with almost no pain. Feels great! The outer ball of "filling" had slipped out, so I had to reinsert it. Mom called. I nodded off until about 8, wrote a little, and got my temperature taken. Waiting for breakfast and the doc.

The doc visited, and asked how I was and stuff. Was allowed to wear my own underwear. Got breakfast. Was almost starved. Ate 2 slices of bread, and had tea and orange juice. Watched the rest of the Monty Python DVD I'd started on yesterday. Phoned Granma and Granpa. Called a friend, and spent a long while chatting with her. I'm finally mobile again! I walked what felt like a long trip back and forth in the hall, and back to the bathroom to wash up properly. Lovely. And this afternoon: SHOWER! =)

Showered for a while, and washed my hair and body. The outer vaginal pack fell out again. Felt a bit inwards with my finger. Feels right. Got dizzy when I was on my way back to the room. Got a new pack, put some glide on it and inserted it. Started bleeding, so I got a bit anxious and called for the nurse. She thought it was no more than normal, so I got a new compress. Watched some Monty Python, talked to Danny, watched more Monty Python, got food, watched even more Monty Python. Got painkillers even though I don't have any pain. I think they're the reason I often feel so sleepy. I'll ask next time they give them to me.

Saturday May 8th, Day 5

Slept in today, till 7-8. Had a headache when I woke up. Got my medication and breakfast, but my apetite was down, so I only ate a couple of bites and drank the juice.

Went to the bathroom, and went to sit in the chair on my toiletseat-shaped cushion. Got nauseous and threw up, and started bleeding down there. Got a new compress, and they took my panties and pajama bottoms to have them washed. The doctor stopped by, and said he'd be back when the bleeding had stopped. Talked to Dad. Read a bit.

Watched a movie. Got lunch (fried fish and potatoes and a fruit cocktail). Mom called from a shoe shop in London, and got me a pair of shoes. The doctor came by and checked what things looked like, and seemed pleased. Walked to the kiosk at the ground floor, got postcards and coke. Sent cards to a friend and to Danny. Talked to the guy in the room next to me, and his girlfriend and some of his friends who were visiting. Asked the nurses if it was possible to find a computer with internet access or a network plug somewhere, but according to them it wasn't. Bored.

Had dinner (potatoes and ham). Bored. Watched some extra material from the Finding Nemo DVD. Got my pills and the injection of anti-coagulant. The nurse thought I probably could go home earlier than the planned 2 weeks, since I seemed to be in such great shape. Went down to a pizza place outside the hospital and brought the pizza back. Sat down with the guy next door and his visitors. Went to bed after talking to Mom, Dad and Danny.

Sunday May 9th, Day 6

Woke up a bit after 7. Went to the bathroom, had a shower, got dressed. Got my medication and new vaginal packs. Had the rest of the pizza and some rye crisp for breakfast, and drank apple juice and tea. Went to the toilet. Changed the compress again. The doctor visited, and explained that the little "ears" on the outer sides of my outer labia are just excess skin, which will probably be reabsorbed. They don't remove it because it's hard to judge how much the swelling will go down, and it's easier to remove skin later if there's too much than to add on more if there's too little. I have to keep the catheter until monday or tuesday, and tuesday or wednesday they'll remove the vaginal packs and show me how to dilate. had lunch. A kind of meat casserole with potatoes, and ice cream. Read some. Slept a while.

Bored out of my mind. Cubes of ham and potatoes for dinner. Talked to some friends. Watched Monty Python. Talked to Dad and Danny. Went to sleep.

Monday May 10th, Day 7

Was woken up early by the construction work outside. Took the antibiotic pills, but I didn't feel I needed the paracetamol anymore, so I left them. Went to the bathroom, and got back in bed. Kratz visited with lots of students who wanted to see. Scary! He thought things looked really good. He also told me I'm going home on wednesday! And I'm allowed to start taking estrogen again! I'll finally get rid of the hot flashes! =)

Went to the common room to have breakfast, and read a bit. Started watching the commentary track to Back to The Future. Got a really sweet letter from Granma and Granpa. Went to the bathroom, and peed outside the catheter. Bummer. Kratz was incidentally in the nurses' office when I went there to tell them, and he told me it's because the urethra is bigger than the catheter, and that it's all fine and good. Still terribly embarrassing to wet yourself... Changed the compress and panties. Watched the rest of the commentary track. Had lunch. Watched Making The Matrix, and half the commentary track before Jane got there. Cosy! :D

Talked for a long time, and went to get pizzas after getting some unidentifiable bits of meat and sauce for dinner. Watched Monty Python while we ate, and Sleepy Hollow later. Went to bed.

Tuesday May 11th, Day 8

Woke up at 5, closed the curtains so I could sleep some more, and the window so I wouldn't wake up from the construction noise. Slept till 7, got up at 7:30, and went to wake up Jane. Had breakfast consisting of yoghurt and two bites of a dry sandwich. A doctor came by to tell me Hans Johanson (the assistant surgeon) would visit at 10. Everything's alright, and I'll go home tomorrow! :D

Talked to Jane for a long while, and we went to a little park close to the hospital, before getting pizzas for lunch. Watched more Monty Python while we ate. Talked some more, and had dinner before she had to leave. read Cosmo. Watched the commentary track of Dances With Wolves. Went to sleep.

Wednesday May 12th, Day 9

Woke up around 7, from the construction noise. Went to ask for my medication. Wrote a bit and listened to music. Waited for the doctors to come to remove the catheter. Had müsli with yoghurt for breakfast.

Gunnar Kratz and Hans Johanson and lots of nurses came in to tell me that they would remove the catheter soon, and that I'd have to sit leaned forward and have some toilet paper ready when I first went to the bathroom. And Kratz will visit after lunch to remove the vaginal packs, and talk about dilators and such. Two nurses came to remove the catheter. It didn't hurt much. A bit unconmfortable, but that's to be expected.

Went to have a shower, and then to the bathroom. Tried to pee too, but I obviously didn't have to go. Put in a new vaginal pack since the other one fell out while I showered (as usual). Sat down drinking coke, and waiting for Kratz to return. Started packing my stuff. Went to the bathroom. I had to hold the outer vaginal pack in place while peeing, and I pee all over my thighs. Luckily nothing outside the bowl. Might be because of the pressure from the packs. Went to the toilet again later. Tried to keep the pack in, but it came out pretty quickly all the same, and then I peed in a nice stream. :)

Didn't bother reinserting the pack, since Kratz will be back in a little while to remove it anyway. Went to the bathroom again. Peeing is no problem now. :) Kratz and Johanson came to remove the packs a bit before 13. Got given a silicone dilator (medium size). I'll get a large one in the post, since they didn't have it in stock. Learned how to dilate. It's pretty simple. Just keep the dilator in my vagina for 20 minutes 2 times a day. They also gave me a bottle of glide. The dilator slid in nicely until it bottomed, and I had no "door sill" as they called it, a contraction in the vagina close to the opening. I probably have between 15 and 20 cm depth. I was allowed to start using regular pads instead of the compresses.

Kept the dilator in for about 20 minutes before wiping, went to the bathroom, and had lunch. Was a bit disturbing that the cleaning personnel came in and started cleaning the room while I was dilating, even though I had the covers over me. The stream is even nicer when I pee now, which is a big relief. After lunch I picked up my prescription antibiotics from the hospital pharmacy. Played poker on my laptop and read Cold Mountain for a while, before leaving for home.

Contributed by Anonymous (7/10/2004)

Note: This page was archived and merged from

Metadata -- keep at end of page Summary: My account of having GRS by Dr. Gunnar Kratz in Linköping, Sweden.


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