Bern's second week at Silverberg Gymnasium picked up where week one ended which is neither surprising nor unexpected. Despite the less than amazing ‘date' on Saturday she was still talking to Martin but I guess his only crime is being a bit slow!
“Fraulein Bond, can you please tell us the cause of the Slavic migration in the Mittelalter?”
Huh? Oh bugger. I stopped toying with my hair, I really should have been paying more attention; I scanned the blackboard for clues.
“Anyone?” Herr Ansbacher probed.
“Talk about embarrassing.”
“Well I knew.” Bern pointed out.
“Clever clogs.” I blew a raspberry at her.
It felt a bit like the old days back in Warsop with Bern around, its not that my German friends don't muck around, they do big style sometimes, no it's a sort of spontaneity.
“You're face when he asked you to draw a Slav village.”
“You didn't have to stand in front of the class.” I reminded her.
“Remember you can't eat after tea Drew.”
“Yes Dad.” I sighed.
I am so not looking forward to tomorrow.
“How come you can't eat?” Bernie quizzed me as we watched the evening news.
“They might have to operate tomorrow.”
“You never did say what you are going in for.”
“Well it's a sort of plumbing thing.”
“Louise Walsh had to go in for waterworks treatment last November.”
“I don't think it'd be the same thing I've got trouble with.”
On the other hand it could well be!
“So its not certain they're gonna chop you up?”
“No, they want to stick one of those camera things in to have a look first.
“That'll be weird, seeing your own insides.”
“Not sure I'd want to see it the way you shove stuff in kiddo.” Dad noted.
“You want me to come for support?” Bern offered.
Did I! But that could be a problem because she'd almost certainly find out more than I wanted her to know.
“Nah its okay, thanks for offering though.”
Maybe if I'd thought about Bern rather than my selfish worries I would have spotted the ulterior motive behind the offer.
“See ya later Bern!”
She waved then pedalled off towards the bakery.
“So are you about ready?”
“I guess, my stomachs rumbling big style.”
“And I thought it was a volcano.”
“Before we take you down for pre op there's something we need to talk about.” Doctor Fischer advised us.
“Oh?” Dad queried.
“Well I don't know why its not been picked up before but when we did the last bank of tests we included a genome filter which turned up something very interesting.”
“In simple language?” Dad requested.
“Well, we ran the gene test to look for anomalies, you understand the XX and XY symbols we use?”
“XX is female, XY is male?” I offered
“Indeed, that's the bare bones but as with most things it's not always that simple. Some people have variations on the basic gene description, maybe there is an extra string of either X or Y in their makeup. It is not so unusual and most people would never know this but occasionally the extra chromosomes can manifest themselves in very obvious ways.” He paused.
“So Drew has what? An extra X?”
“Not exactly, it's a bit more complex than that but if we use that allusion for now, the ‘second' X is almost more dominant than the poor old Y, in this instance nature can be very pedantic, some childs will grow up and show no signs of this dominance. Others will show characteristics from an early age, for you Drew it seems to be the onset of puberty that has triggered things.”
“Oh joy.” I noted.
“So is there some treatment to return things to normal?” Dad enquired.
“Not as such, for your sons body this is normal, his genes think he should have breasts and wide hips, even if we loaded him with male hormones these things would not change.”
“So I'm stuck like this?”
“Nothing short of surgery will change things.”
I sighed, deep down I already knew what he was gonna say.
“So what about these other bits?” Dad asked the question I needed answering.
“As I told Frau Bond last time, we recommend removal of such organs to prevent complications, they often become cancerous.”
That word again, ready to strike fear into our household again.
“I see,” Dad started, “we'll take a decision on that after you've had a look.”
“In that case we should get things started, we are due in theatre in forty minutes.”
In case you hadn't noticed my hospital visits are generally unplanned and I tend to not know much about it. Today is therefore a bit of a novelty. I was taken to pre-med where I was instructed to take a bath which was laced with this revolting antiseptic stuff, I mean, I did shower this morning so its not like I was dirty. I then had to put on one of those draughty gown things and lie on a trolley.
A stern looking chap came to where I was waiting.
“Okay, name please.”
“Okay. You have not eaten today?”
“Not since last night.”
He checked more stuff on his list.
“Humph, you should have removed the cosmetics in the bathroom, you will have to return and do so.”
“It's a sort of long story but I'm not wearing makeup, honest!”
“I can see it on your Augenlid .”
“It doesn't come off,” I wiped my eyelid with a finger and showed him, “see? I wish it would come off.”
He raised an eyebrow, “hmm I see.”
Bern nearly turned round before she got to the café but Anna spotted her before she bottled it.
“Heya Bernie, nice morning.”
“Hey its not raining, the sun is shining and we only need one coat!”
“When you put it like that.” Bern admitted parking her steed next to the others.
Whilst she knew the girls and today was just a repeat of the last few days, it felt different today. The girls acted no different but she felt like an outsider, an interloper who shouldn't be here.
“Are you okay Bernie?” Steff asked.
“Fine, just concerned for Drew.”
“Ach! Gab's'll be fine, she is like an ox.” Pia opined,
“A very small ox.” Bridget added.
“Come on, time to go girls!” Frau Thesing mentioned. “No Gaby today?”
“I told you last night Mum, she has gone to the Klinik in Köln today.” Connie told her parent.
“You did, you are right, I thought it was quiet this morning!”
“Bye Mrs Thesing.” Bern waved as she headed out with the others.
Bern was quiet on the ride into Ahrweiler, in truth she was quite worried, worried that she wouldn't be able to cope in class without Drew's support. So okay, she was a big girl and she was quickly picking up the lingo, but like she was miles from Drew's casual flipping between English and German. Jules had given her a Langenscheidt German/English dictionary, which she'd found really useful, but you can hardly use it to answer specific questions your History teacher is throwing out. Be strong Bern, you can do it !
“So Herr Bond, what we have are the ovaries here, fallopian and uterus.” Herr Doctor Fischer pointed out on the screen as the footage of the exploration camera rolled.
“Okay.” Dave agreed, why wasn't Jen here, this is her area of expertise!
“We are currently doing the biopsy on the samples we took, we should have a result in about forty minutes. The organs appear to be healthy but immature.”
“So you are saying he could have children, I mean as a mother?”
“In theory yes, of course he has no vagina so it would be possible only by artificial means, as I say, in theory.”
‘So Drew really is more girl than boy.' Dave mused.
There was a knock on the door and an orderly came in with what was clearly the biopsy report.
“The good news is that there are no signs of cancerous cells.”
Dave let out a breath he didn't realise he was holding.
“But? There is a but isn't there?”
“Although the ovaries, they contain eggs, those eggs do not appear to be viable so there could be no pregnancy, although of course we would need further tests to confirm this.”
‘I'm sure Drew will be glad to hear that.' Dave thought to himself.
“There's no immediate dangers in leaving it all in place?”
“I'd still recommend removal, but no.”
“They stay then, you can monitor this stuff right?”
“Then that's what we'll do for now, lets get my son back up here.”
“Sure, just, well you know.”
“Are you okay with this?”
“I guess, its all a bit surreal really, it's like I'm two different people.”
“Are you going to tell your friends? I'll have to speak to your sister.”
“We've never really asked you before but its very pertinent now, do you think you might want surgery to sort things out?”
I had given it some thought, did he mean become ‘all' girl or try to look more male? And just where does this leave me in following my chosen sport?
Maddy Bell 29.01.09 © 2009