The adventure started on Thursday afternoon, the 23rd of October whilst walking Cookie. It was a chest pain that made me stop for a rest. Finally it went and I could continue to Home. Nothing more until Friday Morning when another pain that was a little worse than the first one. I then went to my GP’s , where I was given an ECG followed by blood tests. The results of both showed negative, so it was decided I should arrange a "Stress Test" due to my history of Heart and Angina problems. However, this was my first episode of Chest pain since 1995, which was followed by a single Angioplasty. I had already had a double Angioplasty after my Heart Attack in 1988.
Saturday was pain free until the evening, when I had another chest pain, but I now had a puffer, and after using it, the pain went. I had sprayed under the tongue as instructed. Nothing more until Sunday at 7am. I was up, showered and dressed, had breakfast then got a very bad Chest Pain in the middle of the Chest, which radiated down both arms. I used the puffer and was immediately sick. The pain did not go, so took more of the puffer and was again sick. This was repeated yet again, so I drove myself to the Redland Hospital Emergency Department. I now realise this was wrong and I should have called an Ambulance, but I was extremely worried by this time!
I was taken straight in to Emergency for tests. This incurred another ECG and Blood tests. On arrival my Medicare and Medibank cards were taken to check for previous records. These they found via the Medicare Number and my date of birth. However, they were all in my Male Name. The Staff assured me that there was no problem and changed everything to Kathy Anne Noble. The Staff were excellent and interested in my change. I was even complimented on my hair looking nice. I must say this made me feel really good.
I was eventually stabilised and then transferred to Greenslopes Private Hospital. Another reason to have top cover! There were more details to give as we drove there in the Ambulance, but now the Name and Sex had been changed, so there were no more concerns on that score.
On arrival at Greenslopes, I was met by Barbara who hails from Cape Town, as well as my Daughter Debby, whom I had phoned. Another lady from the office had to take more details on my admission, as this was my first time at Greenslopes. After this, on the way to CCU, with Tom pushing the bed, he asked, "Are you alright sweetie"
In the Unit, Barbara had more forms and questionnaires to fill out this led me to having to tell her that I was previously Male. She understood, as she dealt with People like me in South Africa. She was very interested, and we later talked on several occasions about Transsexualism.
Two Doctors visit me to talk about my previous records and where my last two Angioplastys had been done. I told them that both were done at Prince Charles Hospital, but when they asked for my records to be forwarded it became all very confusing again! My records were still in my Male Name, so a form was put together for me to sign, authorising their transfer. Unfortunately, the Name to be signed was the Male one, and as this was no longer legal, I told them I could not sign. A compromise was arrived at, and the new form was "F E Noble now known as K A Noble. This I could sign, and the records were duly transferred. This then led to the Lady Doctor saying she had no idea, and complimented me on being a Woman!
After all the trouble I went through before and after the operation to get names changed including HIC, I never thought of Hospital records, as I wrongly assumed they were linked to HIC. This is a point worth remembering, and to change them at some time, as you would your GP and Dentist.
All is now OK and tomorrow, Wednesday the 29th of October I go for an angiogram at 10am to determine where and the nature of any blockages that there maybe in my heart arteries. If there are, then this will mean more angioplasty I hope, not open-heart surgery.
I have been looked after very well, the standard of care is excellent and other women have talked to me as a woman. I feel very comfortable with Kathy and womanhood. The acceptance has been nothing short of phenomenal, including female jokes because I had to cancel my Mammogram for Friday. One Lady asked about my Husband, and I changed events round and said "My partner was killed in 2000" not really a lie.
After the 95 Angiogram it was established that I needed one Angioplasty, but there were 4 other areas of minor concern. It maybe that these or the original Angioplastys have become worse. It is reckoned that 5-10 years for an Angioplasty is good. My original ones have been in place for 15 and 8 years without the use of stents. The procedure is as before, but stents will be used this time. I will be awake when the operation is done, so will know when the Surgeon does, what the damage is. I feel calm and unafraid. I have faced the possibility of death before and it holds no fear for me, only sorrow for what others would feel if I was to die. We await the outcome of tomorrows test. May my guardian angels be with me.
Down for the Angiogram at 10am. All done and there appears only one area of concern found. The cardiologist who is to do the Angioplasty will visit me this evening to discuss what is to be done.
Am now moved from CCU to the new wing and ward 25 room 5. This facility was opened by the Prime Minister this year. The whole complex is more like a 5 star hotel with all patients having their own room with all conveniences. I now settle back to await the outcome of to-nights meeting with the Cardiologist. He informs me that I am to have a double Angioplasty, and am first on, on Friday. This will hopefully end my problem and stents will be used. The Surgeon who is to do the procedure did my last one at Prince Charles in 1995. He mentioned that there was quite a difference in me now as then.
A Nurse from Rehab came today Thursday, to talk to me about what has to be followed after the Procedure. I am also joining the Rehab Program of exercise under supervision. This on top of my Jenny Craig program will hopefully see me lose some weight. Again Staff are not aware until there is a question that has to be answered concerning my past. They are all interested and want to learn more. Perhaps this is another area of Professionals that need some education about us.
Preparation for the procedure started just after 6am as I am first on. After showering and putting on "The Gown" I have to wait until I am taken down to theatre. This happened at about 8.30am and then followed the move from bed to table for the procedure. I am given Valium to relax me and then a local as I am to be awake again. The Surgeon then makes the incision in the right groin and inserts the catheter, which is to be guided through the Artery and into the heart. When in place the first stent is put in place followed by the second. There is no pain, and I am able to follow the procedure on the monitor. At just after 10am I am wheeled into the waiting area to wait to go back to CCU. From here on I have to lie flat and still and not move until 8.40pm. This means your bottom and back become very sore and tense but it is a must until the wound in the groin forms a healing scab. There is a sheath inserted to stop bleeding, and this has to be removed at some time. At the appointed time, my Nurse Barbara aided by Melissa has to exert a great deal of pressure on the site in order to stop bleeding and help the healing process, after removing the sheath. This is an Artery, so if it is not done right there could be a lot of blood every where. It took Barbara 20 minutes or so before she was satisfied that all was well. At the end of that she was bathed in perspiration and a little tired, as you can imagine. I found out later she did another soon after. Finally at 7.40pm I was allowed to sit on the edge of the bed and move my legs to get circulation and tired muscles going.
An interesting aside was that the Surgeon whilst in the United States worked with another surgeon who was in the last stages of Transition. He was very interested when I spoke about Sheila Kirk, and the fact that was Dr Kirk’s new identity.
I woke to find a beautiful Bouquet from my Daughter Debby and her work mates Suzannah and Katie. There was a message inviting me to lunch with them all when I am fully fit. I must admit that as I read it I started to have a good old weep.
I await to see if I am allowed to go home. The Doctor finally arrives and says I can go! Both Angioplastys have taken, and the entry point in the groin has healed sufficiently. However, I have to take things easy over the next 2 to 3 weeks, and follow the chart of what you can and can’t do. My ride home arrives and I am off at last after one nurse telling me "You are who you are, not what" Another gave me an intriguing note which said "It’s because you have a little ‘Male’in you that can/will/does make you a very attractive personality to other women" am still trying to understand the implication here.
Home at last, and my other Friends arrive with my dog Cookie so I can now relax. I am feeling tired, which is to be expected, so lay down about 4.30pm. I woke at 8.30pm, went back to bed at 9.30pm after having a drink and some TV. Woke this morning Sunday the 2nd of November at about 6am feeling well rested.
I have showered and dressed in something really girly and pretty, as I feel the need to get back to having Kathy look as good as she can. Toward this end is the reason to enrol in Jenny Craig and the Rehab course in the vain hope of trimming down.
I must conclude by mentioning that all the staff at all levels in both Hospitals were "MAGIC" They accepted me and took every thing in their stride. Thank you all for returning me to health, and I promise to jealously guard what you have given me.
Thank you all, Kathy.
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