What if…

It was 3 days after my 15th birthday. My friends and I were walking around the neighborhood like we did every day after dinner. It was a hot July evening, and as usual we ended up at the little park in our neighborhood. It had a baseball field, basketball courts, and a large swing set. Getting onto those swings was a good way to cool off.

Well on this particular night we decided to play a little game. The swing set was made of metal and had a short “fence” made of the same metal material bordering three of the sides. We wanted to see who could walk on the metal bar from one side all the way to the other. It went around the swing set like a horseshoe. Several of us were on the bar at a time and one by one we tried to make our way around. As people lost their balance, they would either jump off or just let each foot land on either side of the bar. That worked just fine for everyone…well anyone that was taller than 5 foot. As I was making my way around, a guy behind me got impatient and gave me a shove. It took me completely off guard and I fell…on the bar…between my legs. My legs were too short to have each foot land on each side of the pole.

I swung my leg over the bar and limped over to one of the swings and sat down. My best friend came over and told me that she had fallen on her bike bar before and that yeah it hurts, but it eventually the pain goes away. Well I too had fallen on my bike before and this was NOTHING like what that felt like. I sat there for a few minutes and realized that I needed to go home.

Since I had walked to the park, I had to walk home. My friend joined me to make sure I made it home ok. I had to walk a couple of blocks and by the time I got to my house I was walking as if I had been riding a horse for about a week. My parents were sitting on the front porch as I approached and my poor mother was so scared she barely let me get out what had actually happened. She thought something horrific had happened…well more horrific then what actually happened. We went in the house and I described the incident. She knew I was a bit embarrassed, but she told me she had to take a look to see what was going on. She took one look and said we needed to go to the ER.

We drove to Saint Agnes Hospital and by this time I was not feeling so well. The nurse at the entrance put me in a wheelchair. She then proceeded to wheel me down a cobblestone hallway while eating a tuna sandwich (not my favorite smell at that moment). The wheelchair wobbled and shook as I tried not to scream from the pain it was inflicting. I was also trying not to toss my cookies from the sandwich she kept waving in my face as she maneuvered me down the hallway.

They got me into a room and I explained what happened. The doctor took a peek and didn’t know what to do so they called the GYN that was on duty at the time. They had mentioned doing an internal exam which at the time I had no idea what that was…thank goodness because there was NO WAY they would have been able to do that. My poor mom did not like hospitals and she was getting woozy so they had to get her smelling salts and a chair. As we were waiting for the GYN, my mom would take a smell of the salts to get her grounding and then explain what we were going to do.

“Lesa” sniff…”If I tell you to get dressed and that we are leaving, just do it even if the doctor doesn’t want you to”…sniff…”I’m not sure what they are going to want to do, but they aren’t doing an internal exam”…sniff. She was trying real hard not to pass out.

The GYN came in and examined me and agreed that an internal could not be done. By this time, my private part was swollen halfway to my knees. She told my mom to take me home and make an appointment with my mom’s GYN in a week. I was given a list of things to do like soak in a tub with Epsom salt, and the doctor specifically told me not to look at my injury. And I didn’t. I know what it felt like…I didn’t want to see what it looked like.

So I spent a week in bed waiting for my appointment. The time came and I got dressed as best I could. I couldn’t pull my shorts up to my waist because of the swelling so they just kind of hung there. I still couldn’t walk right either. They called my name and I went back while my mom waited for me. I had never been to see a GYN before so I had no idea what to expect. The nurse told me what to do and I laid on the table with a sheet covering my lower half. The doctor came in and introduced himself. He asked me what had happened and lifted the sheet to examine me. He looked, put the sheet down, and told me I was going to the hospital to have an operation. I got dressed as he went out to talk to my mom. When I got out to the waiting area, my mom was crying. I told her it was fine and that I would be ok. The doctor put me in HIS car and DROVE me to the hospital HIMSELF. My mom followed us and before I knew it I was prepped for surgery.

The GYN who had seen me the night of the accident was there and she told me not to worry. She held my hand and said she wouldn’t let them do anything to me that she wouldn’t let them do to her. Unbeknownst to me and the reason my mom was crying was because the doctor told her that I may be deformed for the rest of my life. He didn’t know what he was going to find when operating. He said they should have never sent me home that night.

Well I had surgery and it was successful. I had basically developed a large blood clot, but no internal damage had been done. They put a drain in me that stayed in for two weeks and then I was good to go. I was very popular at the hospital. I had to spend the night and had all kinds of doctors coming in to see me as they had never seen anything like my kind of injury before. What a way to end summer vacation!

I share this story with you to ask you this question…

What if…

What if they weren’t able to fix me? What if everything wasn’t ok and I did end up deformed or without my female parts?

Would I still be a girl?

I can hear you saying, “Well of course you would still be a girl!” But is that what society would consider me to be? It seems that society focuses on what private parts we have to determine whether or not we are male or female. I of course would have still been a girl because my brain is what determines that I am a girl.

There are many complexities that go into what determines our sexuality and our gender. And sometimes our brains and our bodies don’t match up. There is tons of research about this and lots of resources out there to explain how this can happen. It saddens me that people are discriminated against simply because of how they were born. Not by something they caused or choose. I have transgender friends who have been disowned by their families, and in some cases they are just tolerated. My situation was of course completely different because it was an injury. I am in no way comparing what I went through to what my friends go through. Some transgender people find it necessary for their well-being to have surgery so that their bodies match their brains while others are ok with their bodies. Each individual is different and quite frankly…it is none of our business!

I share this story with you just as food for thought. I hope that before anyone would judge someone they would take some time to research and learn. And more importantly I hope that when someone shares with you who they are….

You believe them and show them love.

Because love matters…






3 thoughts on “What if…

  1. Lesa – I am so sorry you went through this. But as always you took a horrific event and shared it in a loving, thought provoking way.

  2. I missed this back in January, but oh my goodness, what a traumatic childhood event. But, thankfully, you are well! And as always you find a way to use your life stories to illustrate important life lessons. Thank you for cleverly enlightening and educating those who don’t understand transgender people. Thank you for using so much love to do it. Hugs.

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