ďNow that you have confirmed your decision, here is what we are going to do,Ē Dr. Hamilton said.
Iím sitting in Dr. Nancy Hamiltonís exam room, after many visits and discussions with her and Dr. Jan Cook a psychiatrist. They are part of a clinic that handles multiple specialties, some well-known and some that are handled very quietly. One of the ones that are handled quietly is treatment for people with ďBody Integrity Identity DisorderĒ or BIID, of which I suffer. They have been granted permission to treat people with BIID, including surgery if necessary as part of a study of BIID which has been approved by the proper authorities. For me, I was a paraplegic walking around in a perfectly healthy body and had the need to be paralyzed to be able to be comfortable within my own skin. After six months of sessions with Dr. Cook there was no question that my need was genuine, so she referred me to Dr. Hamilton last summer to begin the process of moving forward toward my needed physical treatment to make me an honest to goodness paraplegic. One of the requirements has been for me to live in a wheelchair for a year; I have attended university for the last year as a disabled student in a wheelchair. To prevent any cheating, I had to wear a pump that is similar to an insulin pump worn by diabetics; it dispensed small doses of an anesthesia type of medication which paralyzed my lower body from the waist down so I really needed the wheelchair since I couldnít use my legs at all. My parents reluctantly purchased a nice wheelchair for me in a very girly hot pink color. The cover story for anyone that inquired was that I had picked up some type of virus that settled in my spinal column blocking the spinal cord functions there and rendering me a paraplegic. The story was that the paralysis might be permanent but that I could possibly recover some or all use of my lower body.
Iím not the first person that Dr. Hamilton has done this procedure on; Dr. Cook has that honor having been paralyzed over 2 years ago. Since then, the clinic has treated several other patients with BIID, some have been paralyzed and some have had amputations, Dr. Hamilton was the first to receive an amputation having had her right leg amputated high on her thigh leaving her with the very short stump that she always needed. She tells me that she has a prosthetic leg but seldom wears it because it is not very comfortable for more than 3 or 4 hours so she is almost always on crutches, which is what her view of herself had always been. Dr. Cookís husband, an orthopedic surgeon, performed her amputation.
It was because of their desires that Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Cook along with their husbands, Dr. Hamilton and her husband are both Neurosurgeons, which is why she is treating me (she handles the female patients and her husband the male patients). There are some other doctors in the clinic as well. The Cooks and Hamiltonís were the ones that got this started when Dr. Nancy and Dr. Jan became aware of each otherís desires. They began researching how to pull this clinic together and get appropriate approvals for the research they wanted to perform. After quite some time they were able to pull it together and now, almost 3 years later Iím sitting in Dr. Hamiltonís office getting briefed on just what will happen tomorrow as I move toward the completion of my treatment through a surgical procedure.
Before I continue with my conversation with Dr. Hamilton, I should probably tell you a little about myself. My name is Regina Norton, Gina for short; Iím 22 years old and have just received my bachelorís degree. My plan is to have the procedure done and then go for my masterís and doctorate degrees in the fall. Dr. Hamilton told me that since I went through their crash rehab program last summer and have been living as a paraplegic for a year, I wonít need the full rehab program following the surgery. She said that I could participate in an outpatient program to be sure that I was fully prepared for my new life. Iíll be going to a back to the university I was at last year for graduate school so I wonít need to do any explaining since they know me as a paraplegic (which after tomorrow I will permanently be). Iím 5í 11Ē tall, have a slender curvy figure, dirty blond hair and blue very nearsighted eyes. I have found that there are often 2 different types of men that are attracted to me, those that talk to my breasts (I have fairly large ones) and those that stare at my very thick and strong glasses. I guess Iím lucky that I really like wearing strong glasses because I canít wear contacts due to the prism correction that I require. Prism correction canít be put in contacts and even if I had some type of vision correction surgery I would still need glasses with the prism correction because that canít be surgically corrected in my case, so I wear my glasses all of the time. I do like to show off my attributes which I do by wearing modestly short skirts, heels and modestly revealing tops, but I am careful not to go overboard.
Iím engaged to be married to Rob Green; he is fully aware of what I am doing and supports it. When I first saw him I think I fell in love with him before we actually met; he is a gorgeous hunk, 6í 4Ē tall and very lanky. He was wearing a pair of very strong glasses, not quite as strong as mine, when I saw him and that certainly added to his good looks in my book. He later told me that he usually wears contacts but normally doesnít wear them on weekends unless he is going out, I told him that as far as I was concerned he could ditch the contacts because I think he looks much better in glasses. He seldom wears his contacts now opting to wear his glasses for me. Rob is a devotee, I met him when I was rolling through a mall early in my last school year, after we had dated a few times, I realized that I was falling for him and I thought he was falling for me to so I decided I needed to tell him the truth about me before we went too far in case he couldnít deal with my plans. I was actually living as a paraplegic but I felt he needed to know the whole truth. He asked me to marry him last Christmas and I accepted with one stipulation, that being that we would not be married until after my treatment was complete. The wedding will be in mid-July, after I have completely recovered from the surgery and will be able to go on a honeymoon.
My parents you say? Do they know what Iím doing and if so do they support my plans? Well, yes they do know and they do support what I am doing; however, that support only came after they too had many sessions with Dr. Cook, some with me present and some without. They were finally able to tell me that they reluctantly supported what I was planning on doing; I think that since then they have gotten more comfortable with the idea as they have seen me living in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down and being the happiest they have ever seen me.
So what led me to believe that I needed to be a paraplegic? When I was very young there was a girl my age living next door to us, she and her family were involved in a very serious car wreck which was caused by someone running a red light and broadsiding them. They were all injured in the accident, Annís back was broken and her spinal cord severed leaving her a complete paraplegic at the age of 8. We were best friends before and after the accident, I spent a lot of time at her house where I would use her spare wheelchair; the doctors had told her parents that it was important for her to have a spare because if her chair was in need of repair she would be stranded without a chair to use, most of the time that I was there. I found that when I was in her chair I had a feeling that all was right with me; I was very relaxed and comfortable. When not in her chair I had feelings that something was not right about me, at that age I had no idea what all of this meant. Our friendship and my using of her spare chair continued until her family moved away right after we graduated from high school. Ann and I discussed my feelings many times, she didnít understand my desires but accepted them and was supportive of them.
No longer having a chair to use became a real issue for me and I came to realize that my feelings revolved around not being in a chair. This is when I began doing research on the Internet and began to discover that there were others like me and that we had a disease called BIID. Finding that I was not alone in my feelings was some relief; however, it didnít solve the problem. Further research finally led me to the clinic where I discovered that there was in fact a solution.
Now, let me get back to my conversation with Dr. Hamilton about the specifics of what will happen tomorrow in surgery and my recovery period following the surgery.
Dr. Hamilton continued, ďYou need to be at the clinic at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning, you will be admitted and prepped for surgery which will be at 7:30 AM. You should have a light dinner and nothing by mouth after midnight. You should notice later today and tonight that you are getting feeling back in your lower half, since we have removed the pump the medication will be wearing off; however, donít try to use your legs as they will be like jelly since they have not been used for such a long time. You will probably still have to move them with your hands since the muscles will probably be too weak to be of much use.
As to the surgery, I will go in and sever your spinal cord at the T6/T7 level as you have requested. When you wake up, and try to move be careful because this is a bit higher than you have been experiencing; as I think you are aware you will have little or no control of your torso and will fall over if you arenít holding on to something when you bend over. As you are also aware, you will be a complete paraplegic and as such will have no feeling or control of anything below your injury point. Your experience with handling your bodily functions over the last few months will pay off now. Weíll probably keep you here for 2 days unless there are any complications; after you go home you will need to be careful not to fall or do anything which might cause you to hit your back in the area of the incision for a few more days until it heals completely. Weíll make an appointment for the middle of next week to check you over and possibly remove the stitches, there should only be 2 or 3 required if any at all. In about 2 weeks you should be able to return to normal levels of activity and should be ready for the wedding and honeymoon. Iíd suggest that you visit the rehab center before you leave the hospital, they will design a plan for you and setup appointments for you to come in for therapy, you can begin working out by the end of next week, Iíll confirm that when I see you earlier in the week. You can start to transfer yourself as soon as you are released, but I would suggest that you have someone right next to you for the first few days in case you need some help. You can also begin lifting some hand weights while sitting in your chair so your arms donít lose any strength, I would suggest that you also lift your bottom off the chair several times every hour or so for the same reason. Just be careful when doing these things. Believe me that I know how you feel right now; I can clearly remember how I felt the day before my surgery, it was a combination of apprehension and elation and when I woke up after the surgery it was the most wonderful feeling of being just who and what I was supposed to be, I wouldnít take it back for anything in the world. Now, do you have any questions that I have not answered for you?Ē
After thinking about it for a moment I responded, ďI just have one question, how are you going to do surgery standing on one leg?Ē
Dr. Hamilton broke out laughing and said, ďWell that is a really good question and you are right if you are thinking that it would be awfully hard to do surgery on crutches and standing there the whole time on one leg would not work too well either. In point of fact, I have a pegleg that I wear for surgery. It is very light and comfortable even with my short stump; it has a locking knee joint so that I can bend it when I sit. In fact, my husband likes it so much that I got one for use at home and I wear it often because it leaves my hands free for doing stuff around the house and even more importantly it turns my husband on like you wouldnít believe so I often wear it for him, or maybe thatís for meÖ I get pampered whenever I wear it with a nice short skirt, sexy top and a high heeled shoe which I really enjoy and I really appreciate the pampering. If you donít have any other questions, I think everything is ready to go. You have signed all of the releases and disclaimers necessary for participation in our research program and I know you fully understand what you are getting yourself into. Iíll give you the necessary paperwork when you are released from the clinic for your permanent disabled plates for your car and hang tags for when you are not in your own car. After the wedding Iíll give you paperwork for Robís car so he can get plates for his car as well. You might want to add hand controls to his car so you can have it as a backup or be able to use it whenever you need to.Ē
With that said she gave me a hug and I headed out to my car to return home. When I got there, my parents again asked me if I was sure that I was doing the right thing, they explained that they would support whatever answer I gave them but just wanted to verify one more time for their own peace of mind. I told them that I was absolutely sure I was doing the right thing and gave both of them a hug and thanked them for caring so much and for supporting me in my journey to become what I knew I needed to be for my own peace of mind. I rolled back to my room and began packing a bag to take to the hospital with me, I chose the outfit I wanted to wear when I was released to come back home, a pretty bra and panty set (Iím pretty well endowed so although my breasts are nice and firm, holding themselves up very well, they do tend to bounce a bit when I move so I feel a good bra is essential), a light blue mini-skirt and a white frilly top, black thong sandals with 4Ē stiletto heels, my blue rectangular framed glasses, a pretty anklet, earrings and bracelets. Because I wear glasses full time and Iím so blind without correction I have several pairs of glasses in different designs and colors that I can coordinate with my outfits, I view my glasses as part of my outfit kind of like my jewelry; so Iím very careful to be sure that everything is coordinated. You might wonder about the 4Ē stiletto heels, as I mentioned earlier I love high heels and wear them almost all the time. I have been lucky that my ankles donít often flop over when wearing heels; however, I must tell you that when it does happen Robís temperature goes through the roof, hee hee. He has told me that when something like that happens that highlights the uselessness of my legs it really affects him and turns him on, Iím currently in training for after the wedding when Iíll get some of the pampering that Dr. Hamilton mentioned when I send Robís temp skyrocketingÖ
I finished packing my clothes and toiletries that I would need for my stay, I included a couple of nightgowns so that I would not have to wear those wonderful designer open-backed gowns that hospitals supply and a couple of pairs of shots, tops and flip-flops. That done I changed my clothes and got ready to go out with Rob, heís taking me to dinner and then weíll just hang out for a little while with a couple of my girlfriends before he brings me home early so I can get a good nightís sleep.
My girlfriends Kathy and Angel, like Ann, have known about my desires for many years because we grew up together; as a matter of fact, Angel is seriously considering trying to get into the program because she feels she needs to be like Dr. Hamilton. She has had a couple of sessions with Dr. Cook and is in the process of deciding if she will move forward; if you ask me, she will do it. She has been talking about this since we were teenagers and has done a lot of pretending by putting a support stocking over her folded leg and wearing a girdle to hide her foot, she is able to pull it off very well because her legs are quite slim although very shapely and she has a small foot. She has done ballet and gymnastics since she was a little girl so she is very flexible which helps a lot. She would have pursued a career in dance if she werenít so busty and if she, like me, didnít have to wear strong glasses. She too is unable to wear contacts so she wears glasses full time, hers are almost as strong as mine are. The fact that we both wore strong glasses had a lot to do with our becoming so close as kids, we were the only two girls that wore glasses when we first started school and because of that gravitated to spending time together and became best friends. Ann of course because she lived next door to me was always included with Angel and me. Kathy is nearly completely deaf; she has an implant called a Baha on her right side because that ear is completely deaf and wears a powerful hearing aid on her left side. With her aids she hears fairly well; however, without them she hears practically nothing. She has some kind of malformations related to her ears that cause her deafness; this is a congenital problem so there is no real explanation as to why it happened. She also wears glasses but not very strong and sometimes wears contacts. She gravitated to Angel, Ann and I soon after moving into our area, Ann was already in a wheelchair by this time. Kathy says she felt a kinship with us because of Angel and my strong glasses and Annís wheelchair that set us apart from other kids in school. Kathy often doesnít wear her aids because under certain circumstances they can be very annoying and without them she only hears very loud noises, so Angel, Ann and I have learned sign language with which we can communicate with her very well.
Rob picked me up right on time and took me to dinner at an oriental restaurant that we both like. As recommended by Dr. Hamilton I had a light dinner and then we went to a local coffee shop where we like to hang out. Kathy and Angel arrived shortly after we did; we sat around and talked for about an hour or so. The topic of conversation was my surgery, of course. The girls asked me again if I was absolutely sure about what I was doing, Iím getting tired of being asked that question; however, I know that they both love me and are genuinely concerned about my wellbeing. If most anyone else was to ask me that at this point it would have annoyed me big time!
As we got ready to leave they each gave me a big hug and told me that they would see me at the clinic after my surgery. Rob took me home, we spent a few minutes in his car for a little private time after which he got my chair out of the back seat; I transferred to it and headed into the house to get some rest. What I didnít tell any of them was that I had noticed a bit of feeling beginning to come back, I had no voluntary movement at all, just the slight feeling. I wondered if I would have some movement when I awoke in the morning.
When I got into the house I spent a little time with my parents, they of course asked me ďThe QuestionĒ again and after reassuring them that I was absolutely sure that I was doing the right thing for me they said that they were sure I was too but just needed to ask again. I was surprised that they had come so far in accepting what I am doing and after hugging each of them I rolled off to my room. Going into my bathroom I undressed, slid into my shower chair to take a shower. I switched my glasses for the old pair that I use as shower glasses and rolled into the shower. My parents had my shower stall modified for me so that I would be able to use the shower chair without having to transfer across a threshold into the shower chair and take a chance on falling in the process. Shower done, I dried off, blow dried my hair and then it was off to bed. I was surprised that I was transferring into bed just before 10:30.
Go to the next part: Day 0