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Emergency Roomby: Debbie Cybill
Thanks t my wonderful wife Jeannine I spend most of my life en femme, except when I am at work, when I have to wear pants. Jeannine is all that any cross-dresser like me could want in a wife. Apart from all her other qualities, which any man would want in a wife, Jeannine is not just supportive of my xdressing, but positively encourages it, even enthuses over it. I am simply not allowed to dress as a man around Jeannine, not that I would ever want to. Both our families have seen me in dress, and all our close friends too. Jeannine and I met In England when we were both grad students. I come from Manchester in northern England, but Jeannine is French Canadian with a touch of Canadian Indian blood in her ancestry and we now live in Quebec.
I have no trouble in going out dressed, even in daylight; and I do much of the grocery shopping. I pass quite well and I don't really care if anyone reads me. What if they do? Only a group of children will make any remark, though they can be tiresome. But I still have two hang-ups, one minor and one major. When we go shopping for clothes I still have butterflies about trying on dresses in the stores, even with Jeannine along as "protection"; and I have always felt nervous about the possibility of being involved in a car accident and being taken to hospital while dressed.
Jeannine and I are both Pisces - a couple of wet fish, if you like - so when we heard that she must attend a business conference in Manchester at the beginning of March we decided that we would make this a joint birthday holiday and visit my brother in Chorley, near Manchester, at the same time.
Out of deference to the "M" on my passport I had to wear pants for the flight and for going through Customs and Immigration, but that did not mean I should do without my lingerie. I prepared for the flight as for any other trip outdoors by putting on my bra and panties, a pale beige set. The bra was slightly padded, for although I already had breasts, they were barely 36A, not the 36B they have since become. I added a camisole and tights, opaque black. I put on a white polo shirt which buttoned on the "wrong" side for a man (the right side for me) and pulled on a pair of charcoal grey stirrup pants. Even if I had to wear a jacket and pants there was no need for them to be men's pants and even my blazer buttoned on the feminine side. I felt naked without my makeup and wig. Jeannine wore a smart wool tweed suit in a mix of ivory, teal and old rose. I had a matching suit but it was packed in my luggage.
We took a limo to Montreal Airport. Neither of us felt like driving with the possibility of a blizzard in the offing. Thanks to the limo we did not need our heavy winter coats and snow boots, so we both wore running shoes, Reeboks with pink trim, more comfortable for a long flight than leather shoes. As ususal the overnight transatlantic flight seemed interminable and we landed at Ringway airport at six o'clock in the morning. There were no problems at Immigration and we chose the green lane for Customs, since we had nothing to declare.
Despite the early hour Jimmy and Sue, my brother and sister-in-law, were at Ringway to meet us.
"Well, it's a long time since I saw you in pants, brother!"
Jimmy is captain of one of Manchester Liners container ships, plying between Manchester and Montreal. About six times a year Jeannine and I drive to Montreal and take Jimmy out for the evening and then sleep on board his ship before returning home the next day. On those few occasions when he has more than 36 hours in port we have taken him home with us. And of course Jimmy and Sue have visited us at home from time to time.
After we had all hugged each other we piled our luggage into Jimmys green beemer; Sue and Jeannine climbed into the back, I sat beside my brother, swinging my legs into the car in a ladylike manner, despite the pants, and he drove off. Jeannine pulled out her compact and applied a little lipstick when we stopped at traffic lights. I thought of doing the same, but without my wig I thought better of it; lipstick does not got well with a receding hair-line. We chatted gaily and discussed plans for what we should do during our visit. On this day in late February the roads were treacherous and my old fears about being caught in a car accident were uppermost in my mind, not so much the chance of injury but of what would happen if I were taken to hospital.
And then it happened. We hit a patch of ice and the car spun out of control. We were not the only ones; two other cars were spinning round and we caromed off one to end up wound around a light standard.
This was in the days before cars had seat-belts. Jimmy, behind the wheel escaped serious injury, and the ladies in the back suffered no more than a severe jolting. But I was in the "suicide seat", the front passenger seat, with no seat-belt. I was thrown head-first through the wind-screen. The Manchester police were quickly on the scene ("Arent our police wonderful?") soon followed by a whole fleet of ambulances.
I came round in the ER room of Prestwich hospital. What would the nurses think of me, dressed like this? Then I heard a gentle voice, "Can you manage to get your tights off by yourself, dear, or do you need my help?" I felt gentle hands easing them off. "I think Ill drop these in the waste bin. Youll never be able to wear them again. Whats your name, dear, mines Francesca."
"My wife calls me Debbie, but at work I am known as Derek."
"Just let me ease your knickers off, Debbie, then we can start on your shirt."
Once more a gentle touch. "Now dont sit up, Debbie; you may have neck injuries. I shall have to cut this shirt off. We cant take it over your head."
My shirt and camisole were slit up the sides and the pieces consigned to the waste bin, then I felt Francesca unlatching my bra. "I think Ill slip this and your knickers into a plastic bag and then no-one else need see them. Oh, you really do have breasts, Debbie. I thought it was all padding. Do you take hormones?"
"No, Francesca. I caught a rather nasty fever in Africa a few years ago, and these are one of the side effects."
Francesca helped me into a hospital gown and nothing more was said. I was trundled off to x-ray, and after an endless series of x-rays and a brain scan we had the diagnosis. Nothing was broken except my face. I had a smashed nose, both cheekbones were fractured and my face was pitted with scraps of broken glass, many of which had embedded themselves in the bones.
The first job for the Resident was removal of as many pieces of glass as possible. Francesca held my hand through much of this, comforting me and assuaging the pain when she was not assisting the Resident. Then I was admitted to the hospital and sent off to the surgical ward. The next day
the plastic surgeon, Mr. Nanjit Singh, visited me and we discussed what he would be doing. First my nose - what shape did I want? My first thought was that it should be restored to its original bulbous shape, but Jeannine vetoed that, picking out a more delicate feminine nose for me. Then the muscle band underneath the right eye needed repair and the left eyelid would need surgery too to make it match. The question of the brow ridges came next. They were badly pitted by the glass fragments. Should he try to build them up again with bone implants taken from my hip?
"No need for that," said Jeannine and I agreed - why go for extra surgery on another part of my body. Besides, my brow ridges were a bit of an embarrassment when I was xdressed. I asked Mr. Singh (British surgeons are addressed as mister, not doctor) to shave down my brow ridges to a reasonably level surface, taking bone away instead of adding more.
That just left the question of the cheek bones. They were pushed well back into my face. Once again there was the question of the shape they should take when they were reconstructed. Jeannine picked out a style with high well-emphasized cheekbones.
"Dont you think you might look rather feminine, Mr. Carruthers?"
It was not hard to hide my grin; I was in enough pain to make grinning not just difficult but agonising.
Over the next week, while Jeannine was attending her conference, Singh worked his miracles in reconstructing my face. Jimmy and Sue were regular visitors, but one unexpected visitor was Nurse Francesca, who came up from the Emergency Room to see me. She looked around to see if anyone was within earshot. "I took your underwear home and laundered it for you, Debbie."
"You are too kind, Francesca. You should not have bothered."
"It was no trouble. And, they are so pretty and delicate. It was well to wash them as soon as possible. I am sorry I had to destroy the matching camisole." She bent over and hugged me - very tenderly, thank goodness; I was too sore for a strong hug.
Thus the insurance paid for much of the feminization of my face. I should never have had that surgery just as an elective, even if I had felt willing to pay for it, but once it had happened to me I was happy to accept it. All my dread at being taken to hospital after a car accident was dispelled thanks to Francesca. I knew if it ever happened again there would be no Francesca but other nurses might still treat me kindly and not worry about how I was dressed.
Finally I was to be discharged from the hospital. Jeannine brought fresh underwear for me, an ivory silk blouse and my suit that matched the one she had worn for the flight. I dressed and climbed into a wheel-chair with a blanket over my lap to conceal my skirt for a moment. Sue and Jeannine took turns pushing the wheel-chair. I insisted on detouring through the ER. I wanted to say goodbye to Francesca and to thank her. Once there I discarded the blanket. I stood, thanked Francesca and hugged her. She had the last word. After looking me up and down she said, "This will all make you a better woman, Debbie." I took Francescas hand in one of mine and Jeannines in the other and squeezed both of them.
Now all I needed was for my breasts to grow to match my face.
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