Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Some Thoughts That Were On My Mind

Here is the gift given to us by Jen, your friend and ours. She presented it to us after getting up and reading a letter she wrote at your memorial. She is a talented artist and sweet friend. (sorry I couldn't take the pic w/o the glare). You met Jen in rehab and you were so happy to hear years later that she overcame her illness and ended up working at the same hospital you had met. You see, there are some good endings!

In 2000 when Grandma was sick I had an encounter with her physician who would be the one doctor that would break my spirit. I used to have such a high regard for doctors, I used to think that they were so much above the ordinary civilian. I was truly intimidated by them, generally speaking.

After getting devastating news about Grandma having a life threatening diagnosis and after having spent several weeks in the hospital, the family was unsure whether to call Uncle Erick, who lived in Seattle, to come and see her before it would be too late. I remember calling the doctor in the evening after getting her home phone number from her office, which I had originally called. She was making dinner and after I profusely apologized for interrupting her at home, she began ranting and raving at me. All we wanted was her advice as to whether she thought it was serious enough to have Erick come out to see her. She said, "I don't have a crystal ball......etc. etc. etc. and yelled at me as though I was a terrible person for calling her after hours." I hung up the phone in awe, I couldn't believe what had just happened. When I arrived at the hospital, Aunt Roni, told me that the doctor had called her to apologize to me for her behavior. I never forgot how she made me feel and those words...I don't have a crystal ball.....rang in my mind for years.  It may not have been so harsh for someone else, but in my frail state of mind knowing that my mother was possibly going to die any day, it wasn't at all what I needed at the time. She made a horrible situation just that much worse. I feel that is when I realized that doctors, although very smart and have a lot more knowledge than I'll ever have, are still just people like you and me.....

I know this was an isolated case and I realize that most doctors are wonderful and caring and good, but there were some other unacceptable things we endured at that particular hospital which could have been avoided if the staff had been a bit more professional. The one thing  I do remember that one of the last things Grandma said to you before she passed away was......."and now all we have to do is get Monica to eat".......I was on one side of the bed and you were on the other, I distinctly remember thinking that this has to have an impact on you, after all this is your grandmother, who you loved more than anyone, you would surely listen to what she had to say!  I'm afraid that it only made you feel more guilty that you were unable to make changes....anorexia was way too powerful, once again.

There were so many times over the years when we would have to find doctors or programs or someone from the health community to help us. There were more professionals that we came in contact with than I could have ever imagined. We are talking about 14 long, difficult and many time disturbing years of searching for doctors, hospitals, nutritionists, eating disorder specialists, cardiologists, orthopaedic surgeons.....etc. most were very professional and helpful, I will say.

I would like to share one of the funniest reactions we ever got was from a local doctor who we found in the neighborhood. You didn't have an intern to consult with at the time and you needed one for medications etc. I had called his office prior to making the appointment and asked if he had experience with patients with eating disorders and they assured me that he had. While waiting in the examination room for the doctor      he came into the room and saw you on the table,  he looked right at you and said, "Oh My.....Oh My.....Oh My"....I thought he wouldn't stop!  You and I were laughing when he left the room, it was almost comical. This was actually one of your last doctors, so it was pretty close to the time you had your emergency surgery around 2008. You had been having stomach pains so bad that you insisted on going to the emergency room. It turned out that you had been taking so many aspirin, thinking that it would help your heart, that the result was it destroyed your stomach and produced a hole in the lining. You had to have surgery that same night and in your condition it was touch and go for a while. We didn't know if you were strong enough to handle it, but you came through okay, considering. That is when the hospital psychiatric doctor wouldn't let you leave the hospital until you agreed to go to an inpatient program.  This doctor, who looked like he had just eaten and spilled food on his shirt....his stomach resembling a pregnant woman. (silly how that image sticks out in my memory). He took me in a special room and had the talk with me, he told me that if we didn't take you to court and get your medical rights taken away from you, so we could then make decisions for you,  that you would die.  Over many years this was probably the 9th or 10th doctor that said those words to me in some form or another.  You finally agreed...you didn't have much choice. Your options for recovery or help were always crappy. There is no one answer to say, yep that should do it, lets try that and you should be okay.....no...options are all bad, unfortunately in your case at that point in time.

 When I picked you up from the hospital that time, the nurse had you in a wheel chair. I had pulled up to the door and the nurse got you right up to the door of the car, you stood up and before we could take the foot pedals and turn them out of your way she backed up the chair tripping you and  essentially flipping you forward into the front of the car. I remember you had a Styrofoam cup filled with vegetable soup which was thrown all over the front seat of my car as you fell onto the sidewalk and half in my car.  There was cauliflower and broccoli all over the floor and air conditioning fans.  The very sweet nurse was horrified at what she had done and ran to help you.....I think I said some rather choice words I regretted later, but came out of my mouth unexpectedly.  After you stopped crying from the shear pain of falling down, we laughed on the way home. You always had such a good outlook on life and situations that happened. Always found humor in all of the crazy things that occurred in your crazy life!

Another time I was waiting in the office of the director of an eating disorder program, who had known you for several years. I was waiting to see one of his therapists in his practice. He asked me how you were doing.  I answered him truthfully at the time and his reply was..."well, at least she's still alive". 
I will never forget those words either.....it seemed like a strange response to say to a mother.

As those of us who have experience waiting in emergency rooms for ourselves or family members, we know how physically and emotionally exhausting it is. There was a night I can remember that Dad, you and I were waiting for one of the health staff to come in to bring the paperwork for entering the eating disorder program....

Anyways, the emergency room had all  of the people in it hustling and bustling...it was very busy that night and I was walking with you to the restroom while dad waited in the room. We had been there for several hours and as I was waiting for you to come out of the restroom a nurse walked by that I had seen earlier but had been tending to other patients, not us. We passed each other and as I walked by she patted me on the back...and with that pat on the back it spoke volumes. She said more to me with that pat and never having to say a word......it was so comforting to me and I never ever forgot that and I don't think I ever will. 
I guess that people might have to understand that being in your presence during those days where you looked sooooo scary and sick. You couldn't hide what was going on........you always used to say that other people who had different types of eating disorders could hide it so much better, but you really couldn't hide it at all, especially close to the end of your journey. Few people really had the pleasure of spending time with you....I was one of the lucky ones.

Our butterfly bush out back in my garden.

Aunt Roni painted this for us, it is in our garden in the front of the house.

miss you tons.......m

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Ramblings....I'm Just In One Of Those Moods

Did you ever know someone who happened to be going through some horrible trauma or drama in life that you couldn't imagine going through. I'm sure you have listened and been a good sympathetic friend or relative...but haven't you in the back of your mind or even in the front of your mind thought to yourself, ''Man, I feel sorry for this person, but I am soooo glad that I am not in their shoes....glad that's not me having to endure what she is going through".
Well...... I'M THAT PERSON.........I'm the one who nobody wants to be..almost like it's contagious and maybe if we don't talk about it, it will go away. 

I'm the one people say things like,"you are so strong" or " I don't know how you cope or deal with losing a child".  The fact of the matter is, that we do what we have to do in life....things are dealt to us much the same as a hand in a poker game and we do what we have to in order to survive. We can choose to not get out of bed and cover our faces with the bedsheets and go back to sleep forever....actually sometimes sounds rather appealing....but I feel that I just keep pushing forward day in and day out...waiting...waiting, but not sure what I am waiting for.    

Each day I miss you more and more, there is not a day that goes by that you are not on my mind and when I drive down the street I think if you and your apartment up the street where you used to live. It is summer now, which was your favorite time of year. The warmth of the sun would keep you from being cold...how you loved to lay out in the sun, not to mention the tanning booths all year round.

I would say that the last few years you were here....were the most difficult for everyone involved...especially you, of course. I want to talk a little about how some things effected me. Our relationship was so close even though it was so stressful trying to get you some help in your late stages of your illness. It was so difficult not to lose hope......you always worried about being a burden. You constantly were more concerned about my life and schedule than your own.

When we would go places together you were always in your own little world and focused on what you were doing. For example, I remember the day we went to the farmers market in Barrington. We got out of the car and walked down the street to the market. It didn't matter where we would go people would always take a double take as you walked by...you being so extremely thin, I don't think people were used to seeing any human being in the condition you were in. I know that it was easier for you to go places with me where there were strangers rather than people you knew and were emotionally connected with. You never really seemed to notice people staring at you or looking at you as you walked by. On the other hand I saw it all! I could see people's reactions where you were always in your own world, especially at a farmers market. This was one place where you were always over stimulated....food....veggies....honeys....spices...fruits......homemade goodies you would try and duplicate, never eat.....you were just in la la land when you were at a place like that or a grocery store would give you the same thrill.
So this particular day, which was a Thursday, we are walking up the street in Barrington towards the farmer's market and I spot a woman as we are approaching and getting closer to her, I see you looking around at the various table of items and fruits and vegetables. So we get close and closer and she is fixated on you and in turn I am fixated on her staring at you. As we pass by she quickly turns her head still staring intensely to catch you as you pass...I could not help myself by saying, " Could you stare any harder"!   After saying it I realized that my comment didn't make much sense, but I was so irritated, that it was the only thing I could think of to say. I never was real clever in coming up with good come backs or good comments.

All I know is that when I see a person, no matter who it is, that has something wrong with them or something abnormal or different about them, I make sure I treat them as normal as possible and not make them feel uncomfortable. So After I made my comment to her she snapped out of her trance and looked at me with sadness in her face. The funny thing about it is that you could care less, and you never noticed any of it.....I would tell you after the fact, I would say, "did you see that lady staring at you"?..... and you would always say, " really? I didn't even notice".

There really were only 2 times that I can remember that I ever actually said anything to anyone. The other time was the day I dropped you off at the grocery store to pick something quick up. I went to park the car and came in a few minutes later...you had turned the corner by the vegetables and I saw a girl come running from the next aisle who saw you come in the store and turn left, she was motioning to her boyfriend to come and see this girl (which was you) and she was commenting how unbelievable and how he had to see it.  She was reacting like this right in front of me as I walked in not knowing I was the mother of the unbelievable attraction and had just dropped you off, so I said very sarcastically, ''yeah, you better go check it out, it's amazing"!  Oohh it made me angry and sad at the same time.  When I told you about it you laughed and said, "Go...mom".         I loved your reaction....

Don't get me wrong, I have lots of tolerance for most people, but when it comes to someone I love so dearly, I feel a certain sense of protection towards one. I do understand that people are curious, but after so many years of the same type of reactions from people it just used to get on my nerves and made it difficult to deal with.  In my next post I am planning on sharing some positive experiences that have touched me tremendously over the years.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

School Notes From Friends & Random Photos

So here is the canister that houses tons of notes from 5th grade on through Jr. High, all written from your friends at school. I wonder how many people actually save stuff like this......well, I actually am one of those people too! I thought I would post just a few of them, they are funny. (don't forget you can double click on pages and it will enlarge.)

In the canister I also found a note that you never sent to one of your best friends from high school. There are others too that I found which never were sent. I'm not sure why...... but "better late than never".......
After reading this note, it makes it so evident how one of Anorexia's devastating symptoms isolates one from their friends and life in general. It becomes an obsession where it's difficult to have relationships with people when the eating disorder takes over.
Let me assure you that you were a wonderful friend! Your friends seemed to understand, but really didn't know what to do...there is no blame to put on anyone. Bad things happen to good people...all the time!

I came across some photos and decided to add them to this post.....they are random and I will explain each one....

You and I in the pool at the apartments in Des Plaines..just after the post partum blues went away. I couldn't have been happier.....

These were taken right after we returned from Florida, after visiting you during your grooming job. The trainer you went with begged us to take you home and get you to a doctor a.s.a.p. since she thought you had an eating disorder. It was the very beginning of the nightmare.

This picture was taken on your way to Florida at that same trip. You were so exited and when you got there absolutely hated it! You were supposed to stay for 6 weeks and came home with us after just 3 weeks.
 This is one of my favorite photos of you....this is at one of the year end horse show banquets with some of your friend you rode with...can't remember which banquet though....definitely during happy years!
 You guys went to Cancun for your high school graduation....you had a blast, I can't believe I allowed you to go....also where you got your tattoo....can't believe I let you do that too. You were 18 so I guess I didn't have a choice, but I do remember you asking me if I wouldn't mind and you called me to ask me if it would be okay. I never could say no to you!

 This photo was taken in front of Aunt Sue & Uncle Jim's house in Frederick, Md. during one of our family vacations. We have so many fond memories of those days.
We are standing in front of the entrance way of my cousin Debbie's house. She had a BBQ and the entire family got together. (I think the reflection is kind of interesting...you get different views of our faces.)
 Also one of my favorite photos...Kix (Kid Tested Mother Approved), in his prime...during a horse show. You absolutely loved Chelsey's horse, Kix and this photo says it all!
I'm pretty sure this is Chelsey..........

I'm pretty sure this is you........(with a nylon stocking on your head. It used to make the dogs go crazy).

When we were crazy enough to have 4 dogs at once...it was a zoo at our house for a while. I think this is the only pic we have where they are all in one photo. (my arm too)
Here is another rare photo to include all of us on horses at the same time.

(Hey I warned you these were random)......I love this one of Chel dressed as Lady Godiva in one of the Halloween shows at Canterbury Farm.
 Here we all were taking one of the few professional family photos that exist. I remember wanting one for the longest time and waiting until you got better, so we could all look our best. I waited for years and years and you kept getting worse not better. I finally decided to do it anyways and for my birthday we went and had it done. Peanut kept trying to escape the studio, it was pretty comical.
We are at Erick (my brothers') wedding in Seattle. You were not a happy little girl that day, I recall. You looked cute anyways, both of you with your perms......(oh me too..it was the 80's)

Here is our house in Arlington Heights, where we lived for 20 years. Our first house...lots of memories happened in this house which I will cherish forever.

Your baby sis.........

We miss you so much.......m