Sunday, September 30, 2012

You Could Have Had A Career in Writing.......

 I was searching in your "box" and came across this paper you had written. I am not sure exactly when, but one clue in the story leads me to believe it was when you owned your silver VW Beatle. You were late teens at the time. (I copied it precisely how it was written).
I wish we could find out how the story more ways than one.

By Monica Fowler

Yelling and laughing children scurry past us while I uncertainly track the progress of the next line of victims clicking their way up the steep incline, definitely I'm sure, towards certain death. My mind is temporarily taken off their perilous situation as I wonder out loud to my best friend Trey, "Where are these kids parents? It's a good thing I'm not a serial killer or some creepy kidnapper with a fetish for loud smelly kids or anything, because if I was this is where I would hang out." He giggled under his breath as another one of the sticky handed ones in question bounced off of his calf and almost knocked him down. "Hey get a job!" Trey called at him as the little boy ran off with his cotton candy and without an apology to Trey. "Or tell your mom to do hers..." I mumbled as my attention drifted back to the object of my extreme terror. Funny how I can give great advice on things I know nothing about first hand, like say, raising a child but I can't seem to take my own advice about there being nothing about a stupid roller coaster that should provoke such intense fear. (Still, I don't think I would let my 5 year old run free in an amusement park but hey, who's an enormous baby like myself one to judge?) Trey's interest in the pin balling little boy has waned, and he's now back to grinning like the Cheshire cat at me and looking very much like a five year old himself. Actually, in the state that I'm in, his expression makes him look incredibly evil, not cute and mischievous which is what I'm sure he's going for. "Come on baby......I'll hold your hand." He drags out the word hand as if his is something I really want to touch right now. "Your hand is the last thing that I want to hold at this moment, I'm much more comfortable holding on to this fence" I tell him matter of factly. I glanced at the wrought iron bars under my sweaty palms, safely holding me, (may I add, where I belong) firmly on the ground. "Jacks, you promised, this is the whole reason we came!" His five year old persona was really showing its pouty face at the moment and I decided that I like Trey's 29 year old self much better. "That was before I realized that I really don't like roller coasters. Now I know, and we can have a funnel cake and go home." "No way, no way, no way," he sing-songed shaking his head back and forth before I had even finished my sentence. There's that five year old rearing it's ugly head again. I guess I had to give him just a little wiggle room since we were at an amusement park and that does sort of give everyone permission to act as if we're under ten. Well fine, if he wanted to act like a kid than I would just act like your mom. "Don't interrupt me, you weren't even listening," I scolded, "I said I don't like roller coasters." Shaking his head and repeating his "No way" mantra, Trey proceeded to grab both my arms and wrench me away from the relative safety of the entry way gate. Trey who was almost a foot taller than me, and could possibly bench press my Volkswagen. I was apparently not going to be lingering at the entryway any longer according to this overgrown child. With his arm firmly around my shoulders, Trey marched me very obviously reluctant, to the end of the line. I scanned the winding line of brave people who were anxiously (but make sure I clarify, willingly) waiting to ride this death train as the procession disappeared around a corner. Who are these people? I thought to myself, why in the world would they put themselves through this torture?  I looked at my captor who was now almost trembling from excitement (or maybe just shaking from the reverberation of me trembling with fear) and remembered. They're people like Trey, people who skydive, bungee jump and like to watch extreme fighting when they go home to their parents house that's equipped with cable. Are they nuts, suicidal? I don't get it. Why did I let myself even get talked into coming here? Okay, can't change the past, deep breaths an deal with the situation, our wait in line was definitely long enough for me to talk my way back to my nice safe fence again. Maybe I'll try the mom approach again...."How about I watch you from down here and when you go down that first pitching nose-dive, without of course coming off the track and crashing to a fiery death, you can wave at me?" His chant, the only thing I'd heard from him in the past five minutes which I might add I was very sick of, cut off the end of my sentence and began again. Rationally speaking to this sorry excuse of a best friend of mine was clearly out of the picture. I decided to try to work on his selfish instinct and told him in  a sly voice, "Hey if you're alone some hottie might sit next to you and then she'll grab your big, sexy man muscles in terror and you can get her number and have someone to go out with this Valentine's Day!" My sly voice had sort of turned into a hysterical rant of panic since this line we were in seemed to be moving much more quickly than I had anticipated. "Never, it would be a huge fat man who hasn't showered in a week." Was promptly inserted between  "no ways". His Cheshire cat grin that I did not like at all was back on his face and I decided our relationship was definitely toxic.

These were pictures you made in rehab where you open the page and theres another creation inside. You had made 2 of them. (Kinda random, but I thought I would throw these in with this post.)

miss you, always......m
 * To the readers of this blog...please feel free to leave me comments, I would love to know how you feel about this blog.  Thanks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fancy..Expensive Rehab Does Not Necessarily Mean "Good Rehab"..Part 2

We would talk almost every day and I remember being so proud of you for sticking it out. You were restricted to a wheelchair so you wouldn't burn any unnecessary calories. I would get daily updates on your progress which after about 4 weeks started to sound familiar. You used to say to me that when you started to feel better it really made you feel much worse. So in other words when you would start to gain weight that is when your body would start to physically feel better, but emotionally was another story. That is when you would feel like crawling out of your skin and Anorexia would rear it's ugly head and then things came to a sudden halt.

I received calls from the staff that things didn't look good and you were misbehaving. You didn't get along with the one person who you should have gotten along with and that was the chef. He had little patience with you and unfortunately he was the son of the owner of the program.

They gave you contracts and ultimatums. They pleaded with you, tried to scare you into complying with the program..I believe they tried everything including the all too familiar, "If you keep on the path you are going, you will die".

Dad and I finally had to fly out to CA to come and get you and to have a family meeting to see what we could do to help the situation. When we arrived they treated us like royalty and cooked us meals so we could have dinner with you, we had meetings with the entire staff, but to no avail. You were stuck again and asked to leave the program. During our stay you called me one evening crying and hurt. You told me that you were coming down the hall in your wheelchair pushing it instead of sitting in it, you claimed you were going to get into it in a minute but was pushing it to the middle of the hall when the owner caught you. He grabbed your arm and asked you to get into the chair...when you tried to explain he said under his breath, "You Disgust Me"!   I remember how upset you were, I called the clinical director on that weekend but couldn't get a hold of him. We let it go, but it would come back up for discussion several months later when we did obtain a lawyer to try and collect the remainder of our money which they refused to return to us. In the end we did settle out of court for some of the money they tried to keep.

They couldn't just throw you out without a referral for a different program to go to. On the other hand if you left on your own without having a place to go they threatened you with a 51/50. In California it is where you are held for 72 hours against your will and are forced to have a psychiatric evaluation, if they think you are a threat to yourself or others.  So those were your choices.....not great since we came out on a Wednesday and by Friday they had found you a place in which they recommended to you as a residential facility which provided a higher level of care. It belonged to a friend of the owner and he assured us that insurance would cover it. It was located in Missouri, but we would have to wait until Monday to leave SD and would arrive later in the afternoon. We hung out all weekend together in their beautiful gardens, then we collected you early Monday morning to begin the journey to Missouri.
Things did not go smoothly and one of our flights was detained so we missed entering you on that Monday so we had to wait until Tuesday. By this time you had dropped even more weight due to the stress and travel plans.  First thing Tuesday morning a car was sent for us from Castlewood, which was one of the most beautiful residential facilities I had ever seen. It was set on several acres of gorgeous woods and the building was placed on a cliff with a view which was breathtaking.

We met several staff and we were very hopeful that this would be a good place for you to try and recover. I got an unusual feeling every time we met a new staff member, they were acting rather strangely, kind of talking behind closed doors whispering around us etc. By the afternoon my worse nightmare had come true.  They kindly informed us that they had no clue that you were as compromised and underweight as you were and this was not the place for you by a long shot! So here we were after traveling across the country with our critically ill daughter to find out that we had been steered in the wrong direction by our trusty fancy shmancy treatment center. So now what do we do?? We hadn't a clue....Castlewood was wonderful and did the best they could to find us a place to go in a short amount of time...they even delivered us back to the hotel at their expense. I know they felt terribly sorry for the 3 of us.

I tried to speak to the place in SD but got nowhere, they didn't want to take responsibility for their referral mistake. They even instructed your therapist not to speak to us. Ooooooh I have never felt such stress and anger all at one time in my life. I felt terrible for you too! 
We ended up going back to Chicago and admitted you to the hospital there for a short visit. We were back to square one...I know that you felt like a failure, but I always looked at it as a wonderful attempt and happy that you tried your hardest to take the steps to beat the uncrushable...the relentless....the insidious disease known as Anorexia.

Here is a poem which was given to you by one of the staff at SD, he was a maintenance man who really cared about the patients and I know you liked him very much.

Miss you more than ever......m

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fancy..Expensive Rehab Does Not Necessarily Mean "Good Rehab" Part 1


While recently going through your "box" of things I came across a cellophane bag with all of these loose clippings from magazines. I remembered that you were in the process of making a collage while you were at your stay at the very fancy, very expensive, very posh, and I might add very exclusive inpatient program in beautiful San Diego, CA. It was December of 2007, you had been searching for a place who would agree to accept you in the critical condition you were in, since most places you called wanted no part of the liability and strongly suggested a hospital-based program.
Using your charm and positive attitude at the time and also of course your promises, they agreed to allow you to come.
Dad and I were ecstatic and immediately made arrangements to have money wired to CA out of our retirement funds to the tune of $60,000 for a 2 month stay. An exorbitant amount of money, but well worth the assurance that this could help our beautiful, wonderful, much loved daughter to get better. We would have done whatever it might have taken.
I want to start by saying that this particular program had many wonderful components to it. Most of the staff was fantastic, caring, accommodating and basically wonderful. However, the man who owned the program, we would eventually find out.... was a greedy, arrogant man who originally owned and ran an exclusive nursing home at the same location, but found that there was much more money to be made from changing it to an eating disorder program. The experience we would have at the end of your stay there would be the most stressful, horrible couple of days that I can ever remember having.

The journey began fine and we all had so much hope for what this program would give you. You and I flew to SD, which itself was a difficult feat. The fact that you were so terrified to fly and also because you were totally taken out of your regular schedule of eating. Although, disordered it was, it was at least eating regularly. Traveling presents all sorts of problems when it comes to food and what to eat. You couldn't possibly lose even an ounce or you would be even more compromised.

We were amazed at how gorgeous the facility was when we arrived. The circular driveway which led to the locked filigree double door entry looked like something comparable to a Four Seasons Resort. When we entered they had beautiful fresh flowers on many of the tables and the bedrooms had fancy bedding on those huge over sized mattresses. Something out of an exclusive Interior Designer magazine. You were in such a good frame of mind, yet very scared to be so far from home and also the thought of any kind of change or giving up even a small amount of control was very scary for you. 

I will never forget the analogy one doctor once explained to me. She said that to a person with an eating disorder, it would be like asking them to jump out of an airplane without a parachute and asking them to trust you that it will be okay. That would be as terrifing as giving up their eating disorder. I never forgot that.

I remember that at the facility they were so afraid to admit you until they were sure you were medically stable, which meant you had to spend lots of time in the nearby hospital before admission.  I remember you needed a few blood transfusions also while in sunny CA. Once I knew you were situated I left to go home and wait.....wait for the magic to happen. All was good for a while, you hung in there for as long as you could...then it started to go downhill after about 4 weeks. It was difficult not to have you over the holidays, but Anorexia doesn't care one way or another...holidays don't mean anything to an eating disorder!

To be Continued Very Soon.............