Tina's Diary (4)
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Once again, Tina
resorts to her
diary to put her thoughts
in order in her far-fromuneventful
Transsexuals spend much of their life in a
quandary. Prior to transitioning they secretly
pray that they will be spotted, have their
femininity brought out, and for their tortured
soul to receive help. During and after their
transition they desperately hope that they
will not be 'read', that they will pass as real
women and that their former gender will be
consigned to the annals of history. To this
end, every detail of the transition is often
kept to monitor the slow passage towards
This month I have found in my old
diaries a few episodes where these
sentiments were never truer.
September 2005 Nantwich/Stoke
So v. v. v. tired, felt dizzy. Ended up in bed
with Helen, but not as expected. Gallons of
blood after 'Dr Death's visit. Nearly caused
riot in hospital. Need to sleep.
'Awww, my fave shortie satin nightie'
I was enjoying a relaxing weekend with
Helen after taking a break from my teaching
placement in Barrow. As usual, she was
concerned at how much the short hundredmile
journey had taken out of me - a
situation not improved when she realised
that I was perilously close to running out of
some tablets used to 'control' my diabetes.
'I'm sure that I will be able to get some
Metformin somewhere,' I reassured her.
However, two hours later, and the best that I
could find was a supermarket willing to
provide me with three days' supply for £5.
Helen decided to take me to one of those
marvellous 'walk-in' clinics - but they could
only advise that we go to the local hospital
and get the medicine from A&E.
The waiting-room at that muchmaligned
hospital appeared to resemble the
set of an action film, with an amazing
Saturday night array of drunks, drug-addicts
and, on this particular evening, even the
remains of a police chase where they had
mislaid an injured suspect!
It was not long before I was called to
see the triage nurse and I duly presented
myself, ready to apologise for wasting their
time when all I needed was a supply of my
'And how do you feel in yourself,
yourself?' the nurse asked in a broad Irish
brogue, 'because,' she continued without
waiting for an answer, 'you look like shit.'
Tell it me straight...
I had never actually heard a nurse swear in a
hospital before and, in a state of shock and
without further ado, I climbed aboard a
trolley while the nurse sent somebody to
collect Helen, muttering under her breath
'better have the next of kin'. Several duty
doctors later I was wheeled into a cubicle
where a tired-looking doctor decided to
take some blood.
Plunging what, to me, felt like an
extremely blunt needle into my arm, he then
began to attach the canula. Oddly, I had
always thought that it was the patient who
looked away or closed their eyes when such
a procedure was taking place, but obviously I
was wrong. The next moment there was a
pop and a clunk as the stopper fell on the
floor, followed by a geyser of blood from my
arm, which sprayed the ceiling, curtain and a
shrieking Helen. The doctor groped around on
the floor, trying to find his lost item while
Helen slowly began to freak out - and I
rapidly began to pass out.
I have to assume that 'Dr Death' resolved his
dilemma, because 3 am found me, still on
the trolley, in a holding area. By this time we
were both extremely tired and while I was
worried about the lapsed car-park ticket,
Helen was worried about the clothes that I
had been wearing (were they too feminine?)
and the prospect of teaching at school the
following day.With Helen half on the trolley
trying to catch forty winks, I was eventually
admitted to a ward and hooked up to three
drips and an insulin pump.
'Very close to coma and death,' was the
verdict delivered later that day, when Helen
finally returned with some essentials that
would be required for my stay.
I peered into the proffered carrier bag...
toothbrush, hairbrush, something to read, my
favourite leopard print satin negligee. I burst
into tears, not for the last time during my
stay, as the horror of being in a male ward
sank in. Indeed, my stay caused the nurses so
much of a quandary, with a 'Tina' name
board above my bed, that they forgot to affix
a 'D' for diabetic, leaving me to enjoy extra
biscuits at tea-time and even a donner
kebab, once I was on the mend. I remain ever
thankful to the nurses on that ward who, on
many occasions, had to administer
'emotional support' with the assurance that
I'd 'make my mother a wonderful daughter'.
So it was that I had my own 'mini-transition'
while in hospital, being treated as female in a
But life, no matter how heart-breaking,
was not always so clear-cut. Indeed, I
empathise with Neil Warnock when he
stated, on Match of the Day, that 'he often
had that 'nut-wrenching' feeling'.
There are occasions, however, when I
have been left in the dark as to whether I
had been 'read' or not - whether I was seen
as male or female - and if harsh reality
proved all of my carefully taken measures to
have been in vain.
A previous August Borough Street Market,London
OMG! What a job, what a year. Met HG,
dunno why they call him Huge Rant - he was
lovely - I really confused him! Did he suss
me? Got mobbed by security, but the shoot
itself went OK.
One moment I feel on top of the world,
next moment my body stabs me in the back
and reality kicks in.
'I say, are you sure that we haven't
worked together before?'
The tousle-haired young man moodily
stirred his instant coffee, the chink of the
spoon on his cup lost in the hurly-burly
atmosphere of the Greek cafe. Outside the
wind picked up a sheet of discarded
newspaper and tossed it in the air before
depositing it in the gutter with the rest of
'God, this is ridiculous!' he swore under
his breath, and then looked across the table
at me and muttered an apology. 'You want to
try the mock-cream pastry,' I joked, in an
attempt to lighten the atmosphere and
excuse his behaviour. I had no idea who he
was, but could clearly see that he was upset
I am usually happy to chat with
anybody and he didn't look like a total nutter
- although I could have been wrong. It was
early evening and I was on location at
London's Borough Market on the set of
Bridget Jones' Diary. I had joined the rest of
the background artistes and extras, to 'clock
in', and then been promptly excused for at
least an hour. Taking refuge in a local cafe, I
had grabbed the only visible vacant seat and
ordered coffee and a pastry. To be honest, I
was more worried at spraying agonisingly hot
coffee over my table companion and, when I
saw that he was studying me intently,
became totally convinced that either I had
showered him with pastry crumbs or that I
had shown some transsexual mannerism.
'I say, are you sure that we haven't
worked together before?' he asked, smiling at
me. I racked my brain to think of the various
people I had befriended on set over the
previous month but, although faintly familiar,
I wasn't sure that I knew him.
On most shoots people would often
come up to me and ask if they knew me or
had worked with me. That's what comes
from having such a common face.
Eager not to upset him, I replied that it
was quite possible that we had worked
together on some previous project.
Charming Mr Grant
'Have you travelled far to get here?' I asked,
thinking of my own uncomfortable commute
earlier that evening. 'From America,' he
replied with a laugh that shed years from his
features. 'But obviously not far enough,' he
added, with a deflated shrug of his shoulders.
He stared out through the window of
the cafe to where several film security guards
were firmly escorting away what appeared to
be a reporter. Strangely, it seemed that this
particular shoot had almost as many security
people on location as there were actors.
'Please keep in touch', he said 'I hope
that we work together again soon.'
With a scraping sound that silenced the cafe,
he pushed back his chair and made his way
down the street, pausing only to talk briefly
to a man I knew to be the unit director.
'You shouldn't be too friendly with the
stars,' I was admonished later, and it was
only then that I became aware that I had
taken tea with Hugh Grant, recently returned
from America and criminal proceedings,
where it would appear that much of the
evidence had been swallowed.
Me and Ms Jones
Actually, knowing that the film was coming
up, I had been avidly re-reading Bridget Jones'
Diary and sharing in the heroine's careful
documentation of her measurements and her
inability to lose both weight and inches from
various parts of her body.
Ever since I first started taking
hormones, ill-advisedly sourced through the
internet, I have noted each minute change to
my body. Every month for the past three or
four years, I have committed to history every
ounce in weight gained or lost, every
centimetre's movement on my tape measure.
One way that I have kept records of
these changes has been through the use of
'Translog' - part of 'Transgender Care', a free
computer programme devised by Carl
Bushong PhD and Richard Martin MD of the
Tampa Stress Centre, two leading American
Inspection of my personal 'Translog' shows
that unfortunately, my own thighs make
Bridget Jones' seem positively svelte and,
whereas hers may alter by the odd inch or
two, mine seem to resemble a giant sequoia or Californian redwood
every time I feel depressed.
Of course, a lot depends upon where the measurement is taken from
- where exactly is the thigh? Mine seems to have moved from just above
the kneecap to just below the groin - depending on how small I wish
the measurement to appear.
And don't even mention the waist; I think that, according to
Translog, the tape measure is meant to run across the bellybutton,
but nobody I talk to seems to know for sure exactly
where the waist is.
You may laugh... but look at Simon Cowell.
Hence, my waist measurement has been taken
variously from just below my bust to an area just an inch
or so above where I measure my hips.
I do try not to dwell on my hips - in my early days
of transitioning I used to do everything in my power to
get away from the lack of definition caused by my
masculine frame... now I have to do exercises to bring
my hips under control!
My upper measurements have also been a cause
of much hilarity and not a little distress. I have to
measure the chest (just below the armpit), the
breast (across the nipple) and the ribs. I think that
eventually I will be able to work out my cup-size
- probably by taking the first number, halving it,
adding the time and then converting the
resulting figure into inches!
It must be noted that originally the
Transgender Care site, as well as providing
the 'Translog', also featured various medical
feminising programmes, details on hormones
and other transsexual-related issues.
Recently, the site has been expanded by
Kimberley Westwood CPE, resident
electrolysis expert and a lady with personal
experience of TS problems and opportunities.
Rather disconcertingly, this expansion has
included the introduction of a store selling
cookery books - mind that blender!
If, with all of this kerfuffle, I appear a rather
sad creature, then forgive me. My male skeleton
was developed through playing badminton for my
county and swimming with Team England so, not
surprisingly, neither activity was conducive to a 38-
24-36 figure. At this stage I should add, under Helen's
prompting, that a good diet with five portions of fruit
and veg a day, together with suitable exercise, would
benefit any figure far more than wishful thinking, and
that it is probably excessive amounts of extremely hot
curry and pillau rice that has spoilt my figure.
Oh well, there goes any
chance of being given the
opportunity to sample a cutprice
curry in order to offer
an honest, but glowing,
critique... Unless anybody