I don't want to put anyone off, but you really endure more discomfort once home than you ever did in hospital. I'm talking about the surgical site.
Remarkably, you never seem to feel anything connected with the vagina itself. I honestly don't know why. The poor thing has been cannibalised out of the former penis, and you'd think it would be a mass of stitches and whatnot, and the epicentre of all pain, but not so!
The immediate pain, such as it is, which isn't much all told, lies with the visible suture lines on the right and left sides of the groin. They feel tender, and as they heal they tighten up and that tenderness seems to increase. And if - like me- you've suffered from a lot of swelling of the fleshy parts, then those suture lines can seem fit to burst sometimes. Of course, it's not going to happen, just like the closed-off inner end of the vagina isn't going to give way when you ease a dilator in. But it definitely gets worse before it eases off.
And the healing process is fraught with more little twinges than you'd credit.
It's as if Bill, the senior technician at the Control Centre in my brain, has just radioed Harry, the engineer who is testing neural connections way down in Section 14, an inch or two left of my vagina.
Bill: How are you getting on, Harry? Over.
Harry: Just finished rewiring the connections in this Section, Bill. I think we can test a few over the next hour or so. Then I'll move on to Section 9. Over.
Bill: Right you are, Harry. Throw the switches when you're ready. Over.
Harry (after a few minutes): Switching on now, Bill. Two or three at a time. Over.
Bill: That seemed fine, Harry. Now the next lot. Over.
Bill: Looks pretty good up here, Harry. When do you think you'll have done Section 9? Over.
Harry: Sometime after tea, I reckon, Bill. Stand by. Over.
And so at very irregular intervals I get a twinge as Harry and Bill test out another batch of nerve connections. Clearly, it's quite a long job. Got to be done though!
So what's it like? Mostly like a mild pinprick. Occasionally like a mild sting. Now and then like an electric current. None of these sensations actually 'hurt' - well, I know what I mean when something hurts, but your notion of what's painful may differ from mine. But by golly, they come out of the blue, and can sometimes provoke an expletive! All part of the process, though.
And I suppose you could say: no pain, no later gorgeous sensation when you start to experiment with that vagina. So what's it to be?