"The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."
~Gears Of War
I only have 15 minutes to write before lunch, but I thought I would start, and I can finish up later this afternoon, even though I won’t get a ton of time, since Ugu is coming for a visit!
Oooooh, and Wang found Season One of Sons of Butcher for me and is downloading it right this second! I can’t wait, I cannot fucking WAIT to get my hands on the episodes that I have never seen!
So, yeah. Today’s going well so far, even though my sleep last night was absolute SHIRT. As usual, I was strapped up to the EKG machine overnight, so they could monitor my heart. I don’t know what happened, but for some reason I had a very hard time falling asleep last night, and just lay in my bed vibrating for hours on end. And when I finally did manage to pass out? In came the nurses, from 5 am on, freaking out about the results of my EKG.
Jane, the sweet Asian nurse, kept shaking me awake. “Kagie? How you feel? You having any chest pain?”
“Not since you asked me five seconds ago, Jane,” I would groan, and roll over to try to go back to sleep.
But no love! Jane just wouldn’t leave, and all of a sudden another EKG machine was brought in, and then they wanted blood, too. It was so frustrating, I had barely slept and I wanted them to leave me be, but Jane was in a flap about my heart rate.
And so, today I am once again on “modified bed rest” - I am not allowed to walk outside (we covered this, the wheelchair), I am not even allowed to help move the chairs and tables around for group. Which is nice in a lazy way, but also a bit boring.
Anyway. Grave told me yesterday that under no circumstances would I be getting one box of Rice Krispies and one box of All Bran so I could mix them, the way I like - no mixing! It's disordered eating! I sighed and rolled my eyes, then changed my menu to two boxes of Rice Krispies, as per her request.
But guess what was waiting for me at the breakfast table this morning?
That’s right! I got both! And I mixed them! And it was fucking GOOD! Rahahahahahahaha!
And, since Grave had told me that I was only supposed to be eating cereal in the morning, when I finished my two boxes of cereal, I had two more bowls of Crunchy Os and granola, then a cup of tea.
Quite a lot of food, but I always like to eat in the morning, and instead of obsessing about it after, I just came back to bed and caught an extra hour of sleep, before I had to get up again for Morning Snack.
Morning Snack was interesting today.
Legs McGee was getting her food out of the fridge when she noticed her cheese was cheddar, not gouda, and complained.
“There is no more gouda,” the nurse apologized to her.
“Ok, then can I have - “ she started, but Boy Ana swiftly cut her off.
“No substitutes!” he said smugly.
“Would you please fuck off?” Legs McGee snapped back. “I fucking hate you.”
I looked up to see what Sweet Aussie Sue thought about that little exchange. She did not look very happy.
But she let it slide, and eventually we all got sorted and seated, and snack time began.
I was still a little full for Morning Snack, but I ate my assigned food anyway, which this morning was a banana and a Nutrigrain bar. Then I had what has now become my customary cup of tea.
Boy Ana and Legs McGee sat as far away from each other as possible - not an easy feat in a room of six people.
Then it was time for Group, and just as pretty much every Group has been since I got here, it was all about Boy Ana and Legs McGee. Lovely Aussie Sue had called Legs out for the ‘I hate you’ remark during Morning Snack.
What followed isn’t even worth repeating here, cuz it has been the same since the first day I got here - Legs told Boy Ana that she can’t stand him, he passed gas and said he didn’t care. Same as always.
Oh, did I never mention that? It is horrible - all through our meals, Boy Ana just passes wind whenever it comes upon him. He'll actually lean over to one side, screw up his face, and blow out however much gas he needs to. It was disgusting, and it makes the rest of us fight over who has to sit next to him.
After about twenty minutes of arguing, Legs McGee suddenly stood up and stormed out of the room, muttering something under her breath about Boy Ana being a fucking dick. Sweet Aussie Sue made a quick phone call, then tried to get everyone settled back into the Group meeting.
“What do you think about all of this, Kage?” she asked me, and I snorted.
“I think we’ve wasted more than enough time discussing this clash of personalities,” I replied honestly. “This isn’t what I’m here for, I want to talk about my eating disorder and how to get better. I’m actually a little frustrated that this is what every single group has been about since I got here four days ago.”
“I agree,” Sweetface piped up.
Even FuBu, who actively participated in the Boy Ana trashing the previous three days in a row, admitted that it was getting old.
And so we moved on, and it was such a relief. Finally, I thought. Let’s get this shit started!
The rest of the time in Group was spent discussing different aspects of our eating disorders, and it was a good meeting. The release of tension (and, unfortunately, Boy Ana’s trapped gas) could be felt throughout the room.
When Group was finished, we had half an hour before lunch, and I came into the dorm room and called Crazy Ol’ Blue Eyes mobile number. I was curious to see if he had been released from the klink yet, and where he had ended up.
He was surprised to hear from me.
“Where are you, Kage?” he cried when I identified myself.
“Blah Blah Hospital,” I replied. “Where are you?”
“Small Southern City,” he replied excitedly, “but I was just in Blah Blah too!”
“What? No way! When?”
“Just a few days ago.”
“Where you here on Monday?” I asked.
“Shut up! So was I! Rahahahahahahaha!” I laughed. “We were in the same booby hatch!”
“Yup,” he chuckled. “Same nut house, different floors.”
“So what are you doing down there in Southern City? Did you find a program?” I asked him.
“Of course not,” he sighed. “Nobody will take me.”
“So what are you gonna do?”
“Just stay clean and go to meetings, go back to work, and see my psychiatrist and psychologist once a week, as an outpatient,” he said.
“Well, that sounds pretty good,” I said encouragingly. “Good for you.”
He also mentioned something about an article to raise awareness for his plight, which is something he had mentioned in the klink. I offered my services as a writer, though I can’t imagine anything quite so fruitless.
Ha ha! There was no mention of trashy Old Cici, though! Bwahahahahahahaha! He prolly ditched her the moment they were out the door, and I say good for him. The last thing a man like Blue Eyes needs is a clinging barnacle like Old Cici, just begging to be abused.
It was almost lunch time, so I told Ol' Blue Eyes that I had to go. He asked me to stay in touch, and I agreed that I would, before I hung up and ran to the group room for lunch.
My mobile number comes up as private, see. So Crazy Ol' Blue doesn't have my number, I only have his. Because I’m not a complete fucking moron. You know?
My lunch today was bigger than usual - they were just starting to add vegetables to my lunch and dinner menus. I was given green beans, that veggie-mush with tofu ground round (I figured out that’s what it is, I think), and a whole wheat bun with one pat of butter.
Once all my menu food was consumed, I sat and thought for a moment. I was full, that was more food than they usually gave me, and I was still going to have a cup of tea. Now would be the time to stop.
But I didn’t, or maybe couldn't. As I waited for my tea to steep, I reached up into the cupboard and grabbed a Nutrigrain bar.
I should have just left it alone, but I wanted something sweet for dessert. I ended up being okay with the amount of food I had in my tummy, but it kind of set the tone for overeating for the next two meals, Afternoon Snack and Dinner.
Wait, I gotta go to my AA meeting right now. I’ll be back in a bit...
I’m just after the Evening Snack, which was just after a desperate trip to the bathroom, which was just after a really good AA meeting, where I drank THREEEEEEEE CUPS OF COFFEEEEEEEEEE!
Hence the desperate bathroom visit. There was no bathroom at the meeting, so after I’d gone ape shit on the coffee, I had to sit there and hold it. That, coupled with the other tummy troubles I am having today, made for a very antsy final fifteen minutes of the meeting.
Anyway, back to this afternoon. We had Group directly after lunch, and this time both Legs McGee AND Boy Ana were missing - and we ended up having a really good meeting because of it. I discovered that today is actually Legs McGee’s last day here, and that was why she had walked out of Group this morning - she was worried that she might physically harm Boy Ana, since it was her last day and she couldn’t get kicked out.
Rahahahahaha! Ahhhhhhhhhhh. God but we’re sick. But what a show that would have been!
So afternoon group consisted only of Sweetface, Day Program, FuBu and myself. I honestly think it was the removal of Boy Ana from the room that made it such a good meeting, that made it okay to want to get better and to admit it to the others. It was the best Group in the four days that I have been here.
And guess what we discovered after our fabulous Group? Boy Ana has decided that he would prefer to seek treatment in his hometown of Crap City, Crap Province. That’s right! He’s gone!!!!!
Ha ha! Bye, fucker! Go refuse to eat and fart up some other treatment centre!
Now, the important thing is that Boy Ana was an extra in the program, so no one would be replacing him. But Legs McGee - she was vacating a bed in the girls’ dorm room, which could only mean one thing. One scary, scary thing.
We were getting a new girl. In a couple of hours. A NEW GIRL.
I could see the other girls getting edgier and edgier as the time drew-eth nearer. Personally, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Yes, I was nervous about having a new anorexic around who might be triggering, but I knew that I would be okay. I had passed a bend in the road that I could not return to - I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted to be thin. I could feel it in my stomach that, no matter how thin this girl might be, it wasn’t going to affect my treatment. I would continue on as planned, I would not alter my course. My recovery would still be number one, and I would do whatever I had to do to protect it. I didn't give two shits about this chick.
We were released from our Afternoon Group, to have an hour of free time before we would meet again for our Afternoon Snack. As I left the Group room and headed down the hall, the full effect of not-getting-any-sleep-because my-stupid-fucking-heart-was-beating-too-fast caught up with me. I felt the weight of exhaustion descend upon my shoulders.
No, please, I pleaded with my body. Ugu is here. I don’t want to let him down. Snap out of it!
Ha ha! I didn’t have anything to worry about, it turns out. When I rounded the corner and saw Ugu’s tall, thin form wandering aimlessly in a circle, my Freaky Adrenaline Thing kicked in again. I screamed and ran towards him, losing my slippers as I propelled myself right off the floor and into his arms.
Good thing Ugu is so freakishly strong. I'm certain I would have knocked down a mere mortal.
“I’ve already been in your room,” he grinned, after we had exchanged pleasantries.
“Really,” I grinned back.
“Yes, I did some redecorating for you,” he announced, and swung open the dorm room door.
I looked across the room, and on the window sill beside my bed was a half dozen...um...ah, FUCK! He told me the name of those flowers, what was it? Fuck! Ummmm.....Scheize!
I might have gotten mad at him when he asked, would I remember the name of the flowers?
“Of course I’ll remember the name, Ugu,” I rolled my eyes. “Stop fucking quizzing me.”
So anyway, there were six beautiful white flowers sitting on my window sill. As I leaned in to smell them, Ugu reached behind his back and pulled out a bag.
I could see wrapping paper within, and just thought, Oh, thank God. Thank God, he got it.
Don't worry. It wasn't drugs. It wasn't booze. It wasn't junk food.
I had shamelessly begged him to find me Flight of the Conchords on DVD, to add to my Arsenal of Comedy, which I am using daily to keep my spirits up while I am incarcerated in hospital. But as he pulled the wrapped package out of the bag, it looked awfully thick.
I accepted it from him politely, then hungrily tore open the paper and screamed.
“You got BOTH fucking seasons? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I threw my arms around him in an excited hug. “Thank-you so much, Ugu!”
FuBu was just walking by us on her way to her own bed, and actually smiled at the scene before her.
“Oh, that’s so nice, seeing someone in here so happy,” she said, a bit sadly.
Poor FuBu. I’m gonna share my Flight of the Conchords DVDs with her, if she wants. Oh, and I offered the same thing to Sweetface too, when she was crying earlier.
Flight of the Conchords heals all wounds! Didn’t you know?
I decided to take Ugu out of the dorm room so the girls could have some privacy. We wandered down the hall, both chattering away excitedly. I led him to the chairs just outside the Group Room, and we sat down and chatted for a good forty-five minutes. At one point, he just pulled me to him, and I rested my head on his shoulder and just breathed, and felt good. Someone still loves me, and loves me so fucking much, I thought. Krazy fucking Kraut.
The visit was over too soon. I started to feel guilty, that Ugu had driven three hours here and would be driving three hours home, just to spend one hour with me, but I stopped myself. In the hour we spent together, I knew that I had made him feel the way that I feel - that I am finally on my way, that I am taking treatment seriously and am doing whatever they tell me, whatever it takes; that I am going to get better, or fucking die trying.
I could see that he felt it, too.
It felt so good to be the one to make him feel happy for once, instead of always being the cause of his stress and anxiety.
Huh. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
We ended the visit with five minutes to spare, so that I could hit the bathroom before Afternoon Snack.
Check this out - I was so happy and excited, giggling over my new DVDs, that I didn’t notice, I didn’t even notice, the new girl in the room. I just floated in giggling, and floated back out again, too happy to look around for what could be a serious threat to my recovery.
Off to Afternoon Snack I waltzed, where I was given an orange and a Nutrigrain bar again (good thing I like fecking Nutrigrain bars so much, hey?), but I still wanted more food. I helped myself to cereal once again, despite Grace’s warning not to, that eating cereal any time other than breakfast was disordered eating. But Fubu was doing it too, so who cared?
After our snack was over, we all retreated to our dorm room again, and that’s where I saw The New Girl for the first time.
As I reached the door to the girls’ dorm, an older, tanned-looking couple were just walking out.
“Hello,” we greeted each other politely, and I slipped into the room behind them.
I had just jumped onto my bed and was grabbing my computer when I looked up and saw her.
Jesus FUCK! I screamed to myself. Omigod, omigod, omigaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahd.
The poor thing. She was a hot fucking mess. Tall, with long blond hair pulled back in a braid, the girl was so skeletal, she made Auschwitz survivors look like fat pigs.
Good Christ, I thought as I watched her out of my peripheral vision (didn’t want to stare). How can she be so happy and smiling and chatty to everyone? That girl is going to die here tonight. I'm fucking sure of it.
I looked at the other girls, to see how they were taking it. Most of us were en route to getting better, and we looked it, even me - we were all eating enough to put on weight, no matter how minimal. And now this Lifer(will be in and out of hospital for the rest of her life) had been thrown into our midst, and I could see the other girls getting more and more anxious. I’m so fat! was written across their still-thin faces, with an undercurrent of panic just visible beneath the surface.
Even I started to go there, in my mind. YOU’RE FUCKING HUGE NEXT TO HER! my Eating Disorder screamed at me, but I immediately gave the thought a kick in the fucking balls.
FUCK YOU! I screamed back. That girl is going to fucking die! I don’t want to be like that anymore.
I checked in with myself, to see if that’s really how I felt about the tiny little Auschwitz Lifer, folded onto her bed in the corner of the room. I clocked her thin little thighs, that were each maybe five inches in diameter, and her knees that stuck out two or three inches further; I took in her emaciated face, and how her lips that had receded into her gums and left her teeth exposed, with nothing to protect them - they looked too big for her head, so that even when she wasn't smiling, she looked like a grinning skeleton; I looked at this poor girl, completely consumed by and willing to die for this wretched disease, and I said, No.
Sorry, but no. Not anymore, I give up. She wins.
The Thinner Is The Winner, right? The anorexic creed?
Well, in this case the Winner will be DEAD, and I don’t want to play this fucking game anymore. There’s more to life than this, and I WANT some of it. I want my identity to come from the things I am good at, like my writing, or my love of music, or how much I love my dogs, or that I am kind to people, or how great my tits are. Heh heh. I am no longer interested in basing my identity on how much I weigh, on how I look (besides my fabulous tits). I no longer want to be respected and admired for my slim figure.
After all, look where it all fucking got me! Hello? I live in a FUCKING HOSPITAL.
And so, though I was worried about the other girls regressing from the inclusion of Auschwitz-The-Anorexic-Lifer in our daily lives, I had to turn away, let it go, and concentrate on my own recovery.
Easier said than done, though. Of course.
I had to sit beside her at dinner. My dinner was bigger than the day before, but still not very big; veggie-tofu-ground-round mush, mixed veggies, whole wheat bun with one pat of butter. But sitting next to Auschwitz the Anorexic Lifer was really hard. I couldn’t help but watch her out the corner of my eye, as I knew we all were, and take note of the small piece of lasagna that was taking her forever to saw through, just to take a tiny little bite. I looked down at myself, shoveling my food into my mouth as quickly as I could so that I would still have time to eat an Extra before the time was up, and immediately felt like a fat pig.
I managed to kick that thought right in the balls, too, though barely. BARELY.
You are not a pig, you are not a pig, you are not a pig! I reminded myself. You are eating food so you can get better and get the fuck up outta here! Stay focused!
It was a struggle, there’s no doubt about that. Especially considering that my tummy has really been acting up today - lots of squidging and squelching, painful, gassy cramps, and random diarrhea. Add a stomach full of food to the above scenario, and you have a very painfully bloated, pissed off bitch of an anorexic.
Of course, we weren’t allowed to use the bathrooms for an hour, though. So I had to hold all of that horribleness inside my stomach when, directly after dinner, LynnLynn the counselor walked FuBu, Sweetface, Day Program and myself out of the hospital and into the sunshine, then down the hill to the benches.
Suddenly, my bowels cramped up and yelled, Now! Lemme out! I doubled over from the pain, and knew I had to speak up.
“LynnLynn,” I called our counselor over, still bent at the waist and clutching my tummy. “Please, I know we can’t go to the bathroom for an hour, but I have diarrhea and it hurts so bad and I’ve been trying to hold it but I just can’t hold it anymore and could you please please please help me?!”
She took pity on me, thank Christ. She asked the other girls to sit down on the benches and wait, then walked me back up the hill and into an entirely unknown part of the building.
“Let’s see, where’s the bathroom?” she mused, as I limped along beside her, holding my stomach in. “There’s the mens...oh, there it is, there’s the ladies.”
“Oh, thank God,” I whimpered, and broke into a weak run.
When I got to the bathroom, I couldn’t help but notice that LynnLynn didn’t follow me in, like she was supposed to.
Huh, I thought. Is she giving my privacy for the torrent of ugliness I am about to unleash upon this bathroom?
I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I selected the farthest stall, and slammed the door shut. She didn’t follow me into the bathroom, five minutes after we had finished a meal. A meal that I felt I had overeaten at, and was incredibly anxious about having in my body.
I could do it, I realized. I could purge. I was alone in a bathroom for the first time in five days, and I had so much food in my belly that I was in physical pain. The pins were set up for me - all I had to do was throw the ball, and knock 'em down.
I sat down heavily on the toilet, taking care of first things first. As I sat there groaning, my bowels raging into the water below, I heard a voice break into my thoughts.
Is that a step towards recovery, ass-face? the voice said to me. Or a step away?
Hmmm? I played dumb. What you mean?
Oh, fuck off, the voice replied. You know what I mean. If you purge right now, is that a step towards getting better, or a step towards staying in this goddamn hospital?
How the fuck would I know? I thought mutinously. I’m not a fucking psychic.
Don’t play stupid! the voice berated me. Answer me! Do you want to get better or don’t you?
“Want to," I muttered sulkily to myself.
“Want to!” I said aloud to the tiled walls. “I want to get better.”
There you fecking go, said the voice, and it was quiet again.
I finished up and slammed out of the stall, washing my hands as quickly as I could before I ran out of the bathroom like my ass was on fire. I kept on running until I was back beside LynnLynn, where I knew I was safe.
“Feel better?” she asked sympathetically, and I stared at her, hard.
Doesn’t she even suspect anything? I wondered, and that’s when I knew that I could have done it, and gotten away with it. I could have done it! God FUCK IT, I could have done it and gotten away with it! All those fucking calories, still swimming around my body.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, HELL no, said the voice. Don’t fucking go there!
I knew what I had to do. Ugh. Fucking honesty blows.
We reached the benches with the other girls, and sat down to do Check Out. When my turn came, I took a deep breath, and turned to LynnLynn.
“I was going to purge just now, when you took me to the bathroom,” I confessed.
Strangely, she seemed surprised. Maybe because she genuinely believed that I had diarrhea (which I genuinely, genuinely did), and hadn’t thought I was at risk. And do you know the only reason I had been at risk?
Because I could.
That’s all. Because I had the opportunity thrust upon me, so why the hell not?
I told LynnLynn and the other girls about the conversation in my head and what the end result had been, then how I had run out of the bathroom like my ass was alight so I couldn’t change my mind.
LynnLynn congratulated me on a job well done, and the other girls cheered and whooped.
Maybe I actually did just win one round?