Borg George and Other Milo
Killing time post-surgery
London, UK—January 2020
Last week I had long-awaited hip replacement surgery to sort out a genetic issue which caused my hip to prematurely wear out, which was causing me severe pain and limiting my ability to carry on with day-to-day life.
My recovery has been going very well but it will be 8–12 weeks before I’m all healed up from the procedure and back to peak form.
On Christmas Eve, my beloved 10-year-old bengal cat Milo had to have an emergency perineal urethrostomy—a major procedure and last-ditch attempt to resolve his urinary blockage issues which have been plaguing him for the last 6 months. It was either that or euthanasia and, given his otherwise good health and mischievious zest for life, I couldn’t even contemplate the latter.
The procedure, in simplistic terms, involves removing his boy parts where the urinary blockages occur and reconnecting his ‘plumbing’ directly. It is considered highly successful and nearly all cats who undergo the procedure will never have another urinary block. It is not far off gender reassignment surgery in concept.
With only 10 days between our procedures, we had the delightful opportunity to keep each other company during our respective convalescences. I don’t often have much time to play around with illustration and so—between physiotherapy sessions, opiate-induced sleeps, a lack of quality daytime television and hobbling around within the range of movement I’m allowed at this stage—when I found myself with only me and my thoughts, I decided to memorialise our experience through illustration. Me with my new Swiss-made biomechanical implant and Milo with his new ‘other’ status—although I have it on good authority that he has chosen to continue the usage of he/his/him pronouns.
Writing and illustrations by George Vasilopoulos