Skin and Bones
Author's note: I wrote this mostly as a coping method, and to get it out of my soul. Most people don't know... Show full author's note »
Worry"Okay, Lyd, there's a wheelchair waiting for you inside. Can you walk all right?" Asked my mom. "I don't know..." I slowly got out of the van and tried to walk, succeeding only once my mom took my arm and assisted me. I was hunched over like an old woman, and couldn't move very well. We went through the hospitals automatic doors, and to the left. Near the registration desk, there was a wheelchair. My mom led me over and helped me into it. It seemed that immediately after I sat down, a wave of cold came over me and I started to shiver, my teeth chattering. The woman at registration was kind enough to get me some blankets, straight out of the warmer. They felt delicious. I relaxed, realizing that I hadn't thrown anything up in a while. I closed my eyes and waited for sleep to find me.
Sleep didn't come. When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a cubicle in the Emergency Room. I turned my heavy head from side to side, looking for my mom. No one was there with me. Just then, I heard my mom speaking to someone quietly, just outside my room. She came in a minute later, and seemed happy to see that I was awake. Until I looked around frantically and indicated that I thought I was going to be sick again. She held the bucket for me, and wiped my chin. "I'm thirsty" I said. She got up, and went down the hall to see if she could find someone to get me water. She came back and said that I couldn't have anything. I might need to have an ultrasound done, and had to wait to have any fluids. "Do you want a piece of gum though?" she asked, thinking maybe it would help my mouth be more moist. I nodded. "The plan is that they are going to do an enema, and see if that helps. If it doesn't, the ultrasound needs to be done". She explained what an enema was, and that it would hurt. It did hurt, but you know what felt good? Being able to laugh when the nurse told me I was quite literally full of crap.
Half awake, I could hear myself crying out. This memory is one that is prominent to me, probably because of the abuse that I felt was dealt to me. Through my half opened eyelids, I could see a short, stocky nurse approach me. "Why are you doing that?" she asked annoyedly about the moaning I was making. I closed my eyes and turned my head away, moaning again. "Why are you doing that?" she repeated. I started to cry, and she left.
The three days I spent in the hospital seemed to run together into one big blur, so I couldn't really distinguish one from the other. I got moved into an actual room sometime during the night, after my ultrasound had been done (it turned out that I shouldn't have had any gum, either). A nurse stuck me with an IV, and I was left to wait things out. Back in the Emergency Room, I had been given some medicine to help combat the nausea, so at least I was no longer dry heaving. The second day in the hospital around lunchtime, one of the nurses thought it would be ok to give me some 7UP and see if I could keep it down. I was game, so I took a few sips. It tasted really good to me, but five minutes later, when it came back up? It wasn't tasting so good. And gosh did it burn.
That same day, I was able to walk by myself to the bathroom, and up and down the hallways every now and then. I was feeling much better, except for when a nurse came in to weigh me at three A.M. Or when a machine decided it needed to be checked late at night. On the second night there I was able to get a good sleep in though, and that helped immensely. After the 7UP incident, I waited a while to eat, but in the late afternoon on my second day there I was able to keep some yummy custard down. I was also served some fruity Ensure, which wasn't so yummy. I am more of a real food kind of girl.
After a hearty breakfast of juice, peanut butter toast, milk, and fruit, my doctor gave me the go ahead to be released. Home sounded pretty good by now. My mom packed up all of the stuff that she had ended up bringing during my stay, I got my IV removed, and we headed home.
One of the first things I did when I got home was look for food. There were some slices of pizza on the counter, so I grabbed one and started to eat it cold. In the next few days, I found a new appetite that couldn't be sated. I ate all the time. Obviously this was a good thing since I was at my lowest weight to date: a measly sixty two pounds. Where before I felt like my mom needed to tell me what to eat so I could have "permission", now I ate whatever I wanted. Whatever sounded good. I felt normal again. I wasn't restricting food or calories, I was hungry when I was hungry, and that was that. Something changed in about a month though. I started to be conscious of how much I was eating, and cut back more and more. My mom realized it, and stepped in.
I didn’t mind my mom monitoring what I ate, but I felt like what she made me eat was too much, and in turn, that made me feel guilty. So, even though I had told myself I would never do this, I started to hide my food. A bit of cheese slipped into a napkin here, peanut butter scraped off with a finger there. I felt like I needed to control what I ate. Nothing was going as I had planned. I had also told myself I would never end up in a hospital. I wouldn’t make my family go through that. And yet, where had I ended up just weeks ago? Maybe my food intake was the only thing I could control. When I first saw my psychologist, she had gone down a list of questions, asking me if I did this or that, things that were typical for someone with an eating disorder to do. Most of them I had honestly answered no to, doing some of the things had never even crossed my mind. I was an abnormal anorexic, apparently. Now though, a few months later, I wondered how many of those questions I would be able to answer the same. Over time, I had developed more of the qualities represented. Maybe it was because the idea was put into my head.
Instead of putting on weight, my habits made me either lose, or maintain. Not exactly what my doctors and mom were looking for. I was thrilled though. Weight gain scared me, for no particular reason. That and calories. I knew calories were units of energy, and that my body needed them to function, but I saw them as potential fat on my body. I could try to fill my mind with logical truths, but I would always believe the illogical lies. Despite the fact that I didn’t want to grow up, and have worries, I was worrying more than the average 14 year old. I worried about food, what I would have to eat and had already eaten. I worried about exercise, and if I would get my allotted amount in that day. I worried about things no one should worry about. And it didn’t do any good anyway. But when has worrying ever done anyone any good?