‘Girl’ was a novel written by David Thomas in the mid-
Without giving away too much of a spoiler, it concerns Bradley, a male chauvinist pig, who goes into hospital for an operation to remove his wisdom teeth but wakes up to find Charmaine, a trans woman with a swollen face yelling ‘You’ve got my tits!’
Their operations had been switched and he now has to face the prospect of being a girl.
If you haven’t read it, beg, borrow or even buy a copy (they do, occasionally, come up second hand on Amazon and elsewhere).
No, you can’t borrow my copy.
This is MY version of the story.
It was originally published in Cross Talk under the name Helen Williamson:
“You’ve got my bloody tits!”
The screaming broke through the remains of my anaesthetic and I opened my eyes. They gradually focused on a face just inches from my own. A face grotesquely distorted by a combination of hatred and swollen cheeks.
“What …. Who …. Where am I?” I mumbled. Then I remembered, I’d been down to theatre for an operation to extract my wisdom teeth. So why did they still hurt? And why were my chest and lower torso bandaged?
A nurse had been attracted by the disruption and led my assailant away. She then returned and smiled at me.
“How do you feel, Charmaine?”
‘Charmaine. Who the hell is Charmaine?’ I wondered.
“I feel bloody rough,” I told her. “My teeth still hurt and I seem to be bandaged top and bottom. What the hell is going on?”
“Your teeth hurt?” she asked, “I’ll get some painkillers for you if you like and the doctor can have a look at them when he comes round.”
“What do you mean you’ll get me some painkillers? I thought the pain would go when they were removed. Still, I suppose the gums are bound to ached for a while.” I replied.
“I’m not sure what you mean about your teeth being extracted,” said the nurse with a look of horror on her face.
“That’s what I’m in for. To have my wisdom teeth removed. That IS what they’ve done isn’t it? I mean, that book about a mix up couldn’t really happen could it?”
A look of relief came over her face.
“You really had me going there!” she said. “You were just winding me up weren’t you?”
“Now hold on. Who’s winding who up? Just what op have I had?” I demanded.
The relief on her face had disappeared. “I think I’d better get the doctor,” she said. As she went out, she closed the curtains around my bed.
I lay back on the bed. This couldn’t be happening. I mean, surely hospitals have procedures that stopped patients from having the wrong ops.
Ten minutes later, the doctor arrived.
He opened the curtains and looked in — then withdrew his head. I heard murmurings from outside. Then the sound of footsteps as one of the nurses walked quickly to the other end of the ward. I heard her making a phone call asking Mr Jameison to come to the ward.
Another ten minutes passed, then I heard the unmistakable sound of a man’s footsteps walking into the ward. Further muted murmurings reached me from outside the curtain.
Finally, two men came in and stood next to the foot of my bed. They introduced themselves as Mr Jameison — Hospital Manager and Mr Harris — the consultant handling my case.
I’d already felt in my mouth and discovered that my wisdom teeth were still in place.
“So, what’s happened?” I demanded. “There’s been an almighty cock-
They looked at each other.
Jameison cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t put it quite that way . . . . .”
“So come on then. How would you put it?”
“Err. Well…. Not to put too fine a point on it, you’ve identified the nature of the problem yourself. It would appear that due to circumstances not yet clarified, you have undergone gender reassignment procedures.”
“You mean you’ve given me a sex change?”
“And, I suppose it’s irreversible?” I’d read that in the book.
“Almost certainly. That is, the risks involved in reversal are significant and the prospects for success less than we would wish.” I wondered when Harris would stop acting like a stuffed dummy and say something.
“So where do we go from here?”
“Obviously there will be compensation — the amount of which could be significantly enhanced if this matter could be dealt with in a confidential manner.”
“You mean if I let you brush the matter under the carpet, you’ll cough up more?”
Jameison was obviously discomforted by my attitude. “There is no question of sweeping the matter under the carpet. There will be a full internal inquiry and appropriate steps will be taken to prevent recurrences of this unfortunate incident.”
“And if I don’t go to the newspapers, your compensation offer will be increased?”
“I’m quite certain that neither of us would really like the notoriety that publicity would produce and it is, therefore, in our mutual interest to avoid it.”
“Providing the offer you make compensates me for the potential income that would accrue from such publicity.” (I could bullshit as well as Jameison).
“I think, perhaps, we understand each other.” Jameison added, his face reflecting a minimal reduction in the concern that he’d been displaying earlier.
“Perhaps we do. But before I do anything else, I think I’d better consult my solicitor,” I concluded.
The next day, my solicitor, and long standing best mate, Paul arrived. I outlined the situation and told him that it looked as though the hospital was anxious to avoid publicity.
“I’m not surprised,” he said, “this hospital is a jewel in the government’s crown. A shining example of how local management of resources works and both Jameison and Harris are up for gongs in the next honours list. The last thing they want in publicity tarnishing that image. You’re on a winner here my son .. errr girl.”
“Right let’s go for a full million and let them knock us down a little. Add on all the extras covered in that book ‘Girl’ — plastic surgery, training, etc, new wardrobe, loss of earnings for a year or two.”
“OK — you’ve got it.”
True to his word, Paul carried out the negotiations and managed to get the hospital and its insurance company to cough up £681,293 and to provide a bankers draft before I was discharged.
We met in Jameison’s office and I passed the draft to a representative from my own bank. (It’s amazing what they’ll do when a large sum is involved.)
“This seems to be in order,” he said, “and you can consider it credited to your account as of this moment.”
“It’s absolutely irrevocable?”
“Certainly, but why do you ask?”
I turned to Mr Harris. “What happened about Charmaine? Presumably she’s got to wait her turn again for her op?”
“Unfortunately, that’s correct. Schedules are planned months ahead and it will be next year before she can be slotted in.”
“No chance of a cancellation. I suppose?”
“Not really, patients have to cease medication some time before the operation so unless there is a cancellation within the next few days before Charmaine starts again, I’m afraid the prospects aren’t good.”
“Actually, I believe there is a space in your schedule next Friday,” I said.
“What makes you think that?” he asked.
“Because that’s when you were scheduled to operate on me.”
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