This is my Dilating Routine now that I'm home. (By the way, the central heating's been fixed, and there's now no problem with cold conditions!)
# I go to the toilet first of all. Let's make some space inside!
# I then wash my genital area and hands in the shower.
# If not already there, I put a big cotton towel onto the bed to lie on while dilating, broadside to my torso, so that it dangles over the right side of the bed, where I'll be getting on and off. Over that towel, two inco-pads, or baby-changing pads, in an 'L' formation: one lengthwise to my torso for my pelvic bits to rest on, the other at a right angle, to catch any unwiped gel as I slide off the bed afterwards. As an added refinement, a piece of kitchen roll over the 'pelvic' inco-pad, to catch any gel that drips from the vagina after the dilators go in or come out. (This prolongs the life of the inco-pad, although once it looks in any way mucky the pad must be replaced)
# I put a pre-prepared dilating tray on the left of where my body will lie on the bed. On it are: a tissue on which both dilators rest, both for now still wrapped in kitchen towel from their previous wash; two tubes of KY or equivalent gel (one is a backup); and a kitchen roll, with perhaps six or seven pieces torn off and put into a pile - these are for wiping gel off my hands and the dilators during the process. The gel is runny and sticky but otherwise perfectly pleasant. Only my left hand will touch any; and I rest my left hand on that pile of tissues when not employed. The right hand holds things to read, reaches for phones, and twiddles with radio buttons.
# Next to the tray, and easily reachable, I place: a sealable plastic bag for discarded sanitary towels, gel tubes, pieces of kitchen roll, inco-pads, and anything else for the bin; a hand mirror; a digital radio; and a digital music player (Joanna, my Nokia E71 phone, with hundreds of tracks on it organised into several playlists).
# On (or in) my bedside chest of drawers to the right, and equally reachable, are: a fresh glass of water, a digital clock, one of my landline extensions, and a box of tissues in case I want to sneeze or cry.
# Next I put a fresh maternity pad in my knickers - that's the super-large size - so that I won't have to do it after my dilation session.
# Now I lie down on the bed and start up the music or the radio. I've got my nightdress on, but hoicked up above my waist, and I might be wearing a cardigan over my bare shoulders - if I feel chilly, I'll just tense up, and dilation will be more difficult.
# At this point I nearly always have a five-minute pause, to get really relaxed and mentally ready. I'll also use the mirror to have another look at my new female parts, just to see how they're getting on. At the moment they're swollen, and it feels like this must be putting some strain on the suture lines, which are my main source of discomfort. But you can easily imagine how much better things will look when all this swelling subsides. And besides, the mirror shows how squeaky clean and healthy the parts look, and - lucky me! - there isn't much external bruising. Just a bit of pale yellow skin-discoloration here and there. I certainly don't have the appearance of an accident victim!
# When ready to begin, I raise my knees from the bed and open up my legs a bit. Supposing my head is at North, and my vagina at South, then I point my thighs roughly southwest and southeast, but not quite as wide as this implies. It's more like southwest-by-south or even south-southwest for the left thigh - and correspondingly so for the right.
If a passing old-time white-bearded sea captain tacking his way southbound in his old-time sailing ship hoved into view, I'd certainly cry 'Ahoy there, Cap'n!' and ask his opinion on how close to the wind I should be setting those thighs. These old sea captains know their stuff! (They have to face the Roaring Forties, the fierce winds that tear around Antarctica at 40 degrees South, and make rounding Cape Horn such a thrilling experience)
# I peel off the tissue from Little Joe, the smaller dilator, then squeeze out a small mound of gel into the palm of my upturned left hand. Difficult to describe how much is a 'small mound'. Enough to give Joe a jolly good coating of gel, almost to the point of dripping in places. (Holding Joe vertical prevents any actual dripping)
# Now I make an 'O' shape with my left thumb and forefinger, and holding Joe at his blunt end with my right hand fingers, I put the pointed tip of Joe into the mound of gel, close up my left hand somewhat, and push Joe through the 'O', rotating him as I do so. I stop an inch and a half before the blunt end, leaving that much for a good dry finger-grip. Then I open up my hand and stroke Joe once or twice against the gel still adhering to my left palm, to get most of it onto the dilator. (But this is really not something to fuss over!)
# Now, having located the vaginal opening with the forefinger of my left hand - and slipped it in to make quite sure it's the right orifice - I bring Joe's pointed tip up beside the finger and push him in. There's a trick with this. He goes in slowly, in one sustained steady inward push, without rotation, and at a slant, beginning almost vertical, then quickly leaning away to around 45 degrees from horizontal. After an inch or two has disappeared inside, and there's still plenty left to go in, I'll feel resistance. That means I must now flatten the push-in angle even more. So I make Joe much more horizontal with the bed, and as more of him slowly goes in, I'll start to bring my knees down, ending up with both legs flat on the bed and spread comfortably apart. Some deepish breathing can help here, or just a pause. Then I can push Joe in with my fingertips a little bit more. I stop pushing when there's too much resistance. This is long before it would become in any way painful to push.
# Basically he's now found his proper place in a newly-created vagina that lies between pads of pelvic muscle. Fingertip pressure will keep him there. He is not going to burst through the upper closed-off end of the new vagina. He's going nowhere. He's my little perspex friend who is going to help 'train' my vagina. He stays in there for twenty minutes - time it to the very minute - and then out he comes.
# Getting Joe out is much less of a mission. But it must be done just so. First, I bring up my knees again to that 'Roaring Forties' position. Holding Joe with the fingers of my right hand, I slowly draw him out, bringing up the angle of exit as I do so. He starts horizontal, but quickly changes angle to something more upright, and comes clear of me pretty well vertical to the bed.
# At this point, I inspect Joe for whatever blood and gunge he has disinterred from the surgical site. To begin with, there was a slight but obvious smear of red blood, plus some other brownish discoloration. Now there's practically nothing at all to sully the clear gel on this handsome perspex instrument. All very encouraging!
# I wipe the gel off Joe with one of the pieces of kitchen roll, and put him back on the tray. Another opportunity to pause or rest or whatever.
# Then it's on with Big Jim. Exactly the same technique for getting him inside. Although he's bigger than Joe, I don't squeeze out any greater amount of gel into my hand this time, because there's still a lot left in the vagina. It's the same knee and thigh position, same slanting approach to entry which you then flatten out. If anything it's easier with Jim, because the gelled-up vagina opening is now a doddle to locate, and, despite his greater girth, Jim slides in smoothly. It's all pre-lubed for him. But as he's bigger, I may find that he's only two-thirds into me by the time I've lowered my legs onto the bed. But after a short while, it's easy to push him further inside. I imagine Jim is even better at making that skin-and-muscle bond, and for training that vagina up. So I want him in there to do his stuff. Jim gets twenty minutes too. Then out he comes, in exactly the same way that Joe did. Same inspection, same wipe-off.
# Well, that's almost it. I wrap the two dilators in the piece of kitchen roll they were resting on, then slide off the bed. I take Joe and Jim to the bowl in the bathroom, and wash them using warm tap water in the special scrub supplied by the hospital (or just plain unperfumed Carex). I then roll each dilator up in a pristine piece of kitchen towel and pop them back on the tray for next time. I leave the water in the bowl - I'm now going to douche, and the douching bottle and spout can be cleaned in the same water.
# Next I prepare the douche bottle: half a capful of the special disinfectant supplied by the hospital, diluted with decently warm water from the tap. I place the filled bottle where I can reach it easily, once seated and reclined in the shower.
# Now I step into the bath/shower. Mine's a modern 'old folks' home' design, installed by Dad when he was alive: he suffered from bad arthritis. And it does very well for my own special needs. Bless you Dad! The bath has a side door - you practically walk in - and a wide seat on which you can splay your legs and recline. You can shower or bath, sitting or standing in either case. There's a grab handle to aid reclining and sitting back up again. Showering obviously saves on water charges, and avoids excessive condensation and associated mould on the ceiling. The temperature is highly controllable, and there are three intensities of jet. 'Low' is gentle enough for delicate sprinkling; I use 'Medium' for everything else, including washing my hair. 'High' presumably blasts body parts off. First, while standing, I shower my nether regions. Then I sit down and recline, ready for douching.
# There's no great trick with douching. I have that pre-prepared squeezable plastic bottle containing warm diluted special disinfectant nice and handy. It has a long screw-on nozzle with perforations from which, once inside my body, the disinfectant will whoosh against the inside of the vagina, vigorously flushing it out. I insert the douching bottle simply by finding the vaginal opening, and, holding the bottle with both hands, I push in the nozzle with while keeping it horizontal. It's a lot thinner than either of the dilators, and it will go in without encountering resistance, right up to the base of the nozzle. Then I squeeze the bottle with both hands - a single, long, strong, sustained squeeze. The fluid inside rapidly drains out. I keep squeezing right to the end, and then, with the bottle still fully squeezed, withdraw it from my vagina. The reason for keeping the bottle squeezed is that if you slacken off, there will be suction - rather uncomfortable! Once extracted, any residue still in the bottle can be squirted over the general genital area.
# Now another very quick shower, taking care not to direct water into the vagina.
# I unscrew the nozzle from the douche bottle and wash both in the bowl. Then rinse them, and leave them to dry on the side.
# Back in the bedroom, I take away the plastic bag full of kitchen roll pieces and other stuff, and bin it. I put out a new bag for next time. If needed, I see to it that there's more kitchen roll or gel for next time also. A quick tidy of the bed and that's it. Time for a nice cup of tea!
Now I ask you, does any of this this sound hard to do? Mind you, the entire dilating procedure presently takes me more than an hour - in truth, an hour and a half if I really take my time. So you must be prepared to devote mid-mornings, mid-afternoons and mid-evenings to this fascinating new hobby! But each dilation can be a serene period of contemplation in sublime comfort, if you make it so.
And think what it means to be dilating!