Life Story: Chapter Forty Three

Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…

Previously on Life Story… I got sick while I was in the hospital. Ironic, right? Due to that physical ailment, I lost a completed meal. Therefore, all that hard work and hard eating I’d done in the previous weeks was negated.

It gets worse…

My doctors and counselors, well, they stopped trusting me. They believed that I was forcing myself to be sick so I could stop gaining weight. But, as I’ve explained before, that’s not how this thing worked for me. See, they had a textbook definition of what an eating disorder was supposed to look like, and that’s just not where I fit. They didn’t know how to truly deal with me because I didn’t fit into the box they had set aside for kids with anorexia. I guess they did the best they could. But they weren’t trying to treat me. They were trying to treat the disease they believed I had.

With the evidence they saw, they felt the need to assign me to “one-on-one,” meaning that someone had to watch me 24/7. They also installed a feeding tube. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of having one of these things shoved into your body, count your blessings. It was the most unpleasant experience of my young life. And if you’re squeamish, you may want to skip ahead a bit. What they do is they shove this long plastic tube down your esophagus by going through the nose. It’s not fun. I wouldn’t suggest trying it at home.

But through this feeding tube, I was constantly fed a liquid diet of a substance called Sustacal. They gave me an option of which flavor I wanted: vanilla or chocolate. Not that it really mattered. It’s not like I was actually tasting it as it slid down the plastic tube in my throat. I could smell it though. I guarantee I’ll never drink the stuff voluntarily. Nor will I drink its more popular counterpart: Ensure. They smell the same.

So I’m on this “one-on-one” thing. One day I was carted up to our eating disorder group therapy session. I listened to the same things over and over again. I never thought of myself as better than any of the other people in the group. But I couldn’t help but be confused by the constant rehashing of the same issues. I knew I had problems, and I knew that these people were trying to help me in the best way that their so-called “educated” minds could come up with, but this group was not the way.

But that’s not the point of today’s story. At some point during our session, I had to go to the bathroom. That urge just hit. And it shouldn’t have been a big deal. It was just number one. I’d be in and out, no problem. But the counselors were all women. So they wouldn’t be allowed to follow me to the bathroom to make sure I wasn’t going in there to make myself vomit. Problem was, Kevin, my one-on-one assignee for the day had stepped out, thinking I’d be watched just fine while in group counseling.

So they refused to let me go to the bathroom. Did you catch that? REFUSED! I was a 14 year old kid with, what they considered to be, a severe eating disorder. For days they had been pumping me full of liquid sustenance nonstop. Something had to give. So I lost control of my bladder right there on their nice, clean sofa. I don’t think I had ever been more humiliated in my life.

A lot of extremes happened in that hospital. I feel like these are the most uncomfortable and humiliating moments and they’re all showing up in one chapter.

Anyway, a few days later, I returned to that wonderful group again to face all those wonderful people who, in essence, forced me to wet my pants. Do you know what my counselor had the nerve to do? She turned the incident around on me, making it into a nice psychological topic of conversation. She told me that I was pissed off about my situation Oh, gee, ya think?! Of course I was pissed off! Pretty sure if my folks had been aware of our little lack of a bathroom break, they’d have jerked me out of the hospital right then and there. They didn’t find out for about a week. But by then, it was time for me to go home anyway. Don’t worry, I’m getting there.

4 thoughts on “Life Story: Chapter Forty Three

  1. I struggled with physiatrists too in the 90s, a lot of areas back then were one size fits all which actually did more to hurt young patients such as you and myself. Fast forward to now it took them 2 and a half years to nail down a diagnoses and a real plan for my recovery and it took me going out on my own and getting a full phyc eval done outside of the team that was working with me and bring it back to them. It did wonders for my therapy and me understanding what exactly is going on. Mental and emotional Illness treatment has changed so much in the last 15-20 years and we keep learning more about it


  2. Please forgive me, I know this situation is not at all funny, but I’m weird and awkward. You were literally “pissed”. I hate to admit I laughed for a split second when that registered, then I went back to wanting to fight for you.


  3. Pingback: Life Story: Chapter Forty Four – The Confusing Middle

  4. Pingback: Life Story: Chapter Forty Five – The Confusing Middle

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