Friday, September 10, 2010

Wretched Cow

“You extend your hand to those who suffer
To those who know what it really feels like

Doesn’t that taste
Like it means something?

And oh so sick I am
Maybe I don't have a choice
Or maybe that is all I have
And maybe this is a cry for help.”


2 pm

Phew! This is the first chance I have had to write all day. Oh, and don't let the severity of the quote mislead you, I'm absolutely grand today. So let’s jump right into it.

I haven’t yelled or sworn at anyone today (yet), but it was an eventful morning. Grave, the nutritionist, actually sat with us for breakfast this morning, which sucks, cuz she is the most strict, the most watchful.

Like, remember when she said I wasn’t allowed to mix Rice Krispies with All Bran? Well, when I got to my place at the table this morning, there was just one box of Rice Krispies waiting for me, but two soy milks.

“Ummmmmmmm?” said I, to the room in general.

A moment later, there was a knock at the door. Crispina the NA appeared, bearing gifts.

“Who’s missing a cereal?” she asked us, and I raised my hand.

And even though my Rice Krispies were sitting right there in plain sight, Crispina handed me a box of All Bran. I stole a glance at Grave to see if she was watching me, but she was still busy at the counter.

I smirked to myself, then quickly dumped both cereals into my bowl, before Grave could interfere and try to stop me.

Yummy! I tucked happily into my delicious breakfast, and watched out of the corner of my eye as Grave sat down beside me. She said nothing, but I knew Grave. She’d bring it up later, the wretched cow.

I decided that, since it may be the last time I get to mix my cereals, I should slow down and enjoy it. So I stirred them together thoroughly, then ate the mix as slowly as I could.

When I was finished, I looked up at the clock.


Only three minutes had passed.

Okay, I’ll have a cup of tea, I thought, and got up to make it.

As I sat at the table, sipping my tea, I made sure to put on a big show for Grave (wretched cow) about how hot it was! and how much it was burning my mouth!, because I was bored. And maybe a little bitter.

When the tea was done, I sat back and contemplated. How do I feel?

Still hungry, my own voice replied calmly.

Yes, I conquer, I replied. I mean, concur. And I hopped out of my chair again.

Crispina had brought us extra cereal boxes, which is fucking awesome, cuz granola is super high in fat, and I’d much rather eat cereal. So I took down another single-serving box of All Bran, and tossed the flakes into my small plastic bowl (which actually looks more like the lid of a thick thermos than a proper cereal bowl). Then I grabbed the new bag of granola and shook some onto my cereal, till my bowl was full.

MMMMMMM! And half the fat of eating just granola! Twas perfection personified!

I used the rest of my alloted soy milk to drench my yummy cereal, and once again tried to eat slowly and thoughtfully, until Grave (wretched cow) told us we only had one minute left. Then I crammed it all in my mouth as fast as I could, like I was eating for Canada, before dropping my spoon dramatically into my cup in just the nick of time.

"Ahhhhh!" I exhaled happily, like people do after their first sip of coffee in those crappy Taster's Choice commercials.

Oh God. Coffee...I miss you so much...

Until 8 o'clock tonight, that is, at the AA meeting! Tee hee!

(After the meeting on Monday night - and the four cups of coffee that were subsequently ingested - I had lain awake for hours, well into the wee morn, just vibrating and thinking, "It was fecking worth it.")

When Breakfast was done, I did my usual morning routine of marching purposefully down the hallway and back into the dorm room, before back climbing into bed and passing out again.

I knew that Grave (wretched cow) would be coming round to talk to each of us individually, to let us know if we were on track with our weight gain and, more importantly, whether or not we would be unleashed upon the world for an eight hour pass this Sunday. I figured the best way to wait something like this out was to just snore it out.

Grave (wretched cow) woke me around ten to ten, twenty minutes before Morning Snack.

“Hi Kage, we just need to review your menus, you missed a few things,” she said, sitting on the side of my bed and pulling out my menu. I had missed an extra margarine here, put a Snack One there when it should have been Snack Two, blah blah blah.

Then we got down to business.

“As for how you are doing,” Grave (wretched cow) said, and I sat up straighter in my bed. “You are progressing well with your Restoration Plan.”

And she got up to leave.

“Whoa, wait! That’s it?” I cried.

“What else did you want to know?” Grave (wretched cow) asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. I really wasn’t sure what I was after, but this just...wasn’t...enough. “I’d like to know my weight, please.”

“Kage, I’m going to encourage you to really try and think beyond the number on the scale-" Grave (wretched cow started, but I quickly cut her off.

“You said that I could find out my weight, that it was my body,” I reminded her tartly.

“Yes...but I’m worried that knowing your weight could be triggering for you.”

“Well, I’m out on Sunday, and I can find out then. Wouldn’t it be better to do it here, while I have the support of the staff?”

Beat that one, Gravey. I thought to myself. Ha ha! Gravey.

Oh my God! It worked! Rahahahaha!

Well, sort of.

“Okay, I will confirm the number and tell you this afternoon,” she said reluctantly.

Yeah! I win!

“But may I share an observation with you, that I came away from Breakfast with this morning?"

I’d rather you didn’t, I thought, but I had just won the tell-me-my-weight battle, and could afford to be kind.

“Of course you can, Grave,” I said magnanimously.

“I noticed that you eat exceptionally fast,” she started, and I squeaked in protest.

“No, I don’t!” I exclaimed. “I mean, yes I do, normally, but I was actually really trying to eat slowly this morning.”

The look on Grave (wretched cow)'s face said aplenty - I’m pretty sure if she could have snorted with derision, she would have.

Okay, then, I thought. Perhaps it wasn’t the raging success I thought it was.

She finally let me be and trotted off to harass someone else, and I was free to go to Morning Snack.

Where I wolfed down my Rice Krispie square and banana in less than two minutes.

7 pm

I have an hour till my coffee date with myself, downstairs at the AA meeting.

So. Something needed to be done, in regards to the inhaling of my food. When Lunch time came around, I decided I was going to try something new.

Remember when I wondered if Boy Ana actually counted his chews before he swallowed? Well, Lola was doing that in that Marian Keyes book a couple of weeks ago (you know, the book they almost took away from me at detox? Cuz I was getting so hysterical?), so I decided that it couldn’t be all that disordered, and I was gonna try it.

Holy crap. Holy, holy CRAP.

It. Worked.

I was in the Group room at exactly 12 for lunch. I heated my potato/chicken mush-goo, with green beans and mushrooms, then sat down with a glass of water, and began to eat.

For each bite, I made myself chew between 20-30 times, depending on how big the bite was. I did it with every single bite, chewing my food right down to a paste before I would swallow it.

Halfway through eating my lunch, I turned around and looked up at the clock.

It was 12:15!

Holy FUCK!

Usually by 12:15, I was inhaling my second/third bowl of granola. Now, I wasn’t even finished my lunch! But I didn’t feel deprived, I was actually really enjoying it. When I was finished, I had my cup of tea to wait out the last few minutes, and that was it. Lunch was over.

And I didn’t eat an Extra! Not only that, but I was pleasantly full, and had actually tasted my food.

How exciting! thought I, and as soon as Afternoon snack came around, I tried it again.

This time, I had a cup of fresh, crunchy grapes, and a strawberry yogurt. I ate them the same way, chewing each bite 20-30 times before I would swallow it. When I was finally done, I was almost too late to have a cup of tea.

This is unreal! I thought with a grin. I’ll try it again at dinner.

We had to stay in the same room after snack, for our Afternoon group. Twas a good one again today. Auschwitz-the-Lifer said she was thinking of going home, cuz after being here for a week, she was pretty sure she had her eating disorder sussed. She was confident that she could go home and keep eating, and stay away from exercising, and get back to health on her own.

As everyone hummed and haaed and tiptoed around what to say to her, I blew the air out of my mouth in frustration. Why won’t anybody say anything?!?! I wondered.

Sweet Aussie Sue caught me out. “Kage? You look like you have something you need to share.”

“Nope,” I said. “I am not participating in this.”

She shifted around, so that she faced me directly. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing," I said.

"Kage," she said, and cocked her head towards me. "Share with us."

I sighed. "It’s” I opened and closed my mouth, trying to think of a nice way to say it. “It's just...there’s just an enormous elephant in the room, I guess. And everyone's tiptoeing around it, and I don’t know if that’s right, if it should be left alone or not.”

Sweet Aussie Sue cocked her head to the other side. “Is there an elephant in the room, girls?”

Sweetface and Day Program looked around uncertainly, then slowly nodded their heads.

“Well then, I think it needs to be said,” Sweet Aussie Sue exclaimed. “And I encourage you to do that, Kage. Right now.”

I hesitated again.

“Oh, just say it,” FuBu snapped. "I don't want to sit here for an hour and a half while Sue coaxes it out of you. Just do it."

“Fine.” I snapped, and turned to Auschwitz-the-Lifer. “Auschwitz, no one else seems to be willing to say it, and I'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, hun. But if you leave right now, if you go home to do it your own way, you aren’t going to make it. You’ll be dead before the end of the year.”

She just stared back at me, and suddenly my own eyes filled with tears. Ugh. Gross!

“You just have no idea how sick you are,” I choked out. “Every morning when I see you, I can't believe that you lived through the night, because I really didn’t think that you would.”

Sweetface and Day Program murmured their agreement. Sweet Aussie Sue and FuBu just sat and watched, silently.

“It took me eight years to accept that I was sick, that I was going to die this way,” I continued. “You haven’t got eight years to clue in, Auschwitz. I don’t think you have even 8 months. You're dying.”

There were nods all around the room. Auschwitz just stared back at me, and suddenly I knew that I had been right earlier, when I wondered if she even has the energy to think.

She hasn't, I realized. That’s why she just smiles and says nothing, or stares and says nothing, or speaks so slowly it's almost nothing, or takes so long to respond to stimuli.

It's because her brain is dying. Her body has shut down all extraneous functions, such as thinking, in an effort to keep her heart beating and her blood flowing, for just a few more desperate minutes. And then she sneaks outside to fucking RUN? Why has she not be strapped down to her fucking bed?

I couldn't take it anymore, this pussy-footing around the truth about Auschwitz-the-Lifer, pretending she's okay.

“Auschwitz. You. Are. Dying.” I repeated to her gaping skull. "If you leave, and go back to the way things were, your heart will give out. You will fucking die."  And I got up and slammed open the door, walking out of the room and leaving her staring after me.

I didn't want her to waste any precious remaining brain matter, trying to think of a reply.

11:15 pm

Got a little carried away editing the blog after Snack tonight. Hence not having written anything more until 11 o’clock at night.

Dinner went okay, though there was definitely a lesson to be learned, if only I might be arsed to learn it. I counted my chews and was doing really well, but then I realized hey, this is dinner. The longest wait for food begins as soon as this meal is done. I have to eat an Extra.

So I made myself a bowl of granola and All Bran, just like this morning, and sat down to eat it mindfully.

I was even okay with the fact that I got up for a (small) second helping of granola, to use up the soy milk in my bowl.

And when I finished my cup of tea, I felt absolutely perfect. Pleasantly full, satiated, but not too full, not too anxious.

And that’s where I should have stopped. DUH.

Instead, I had a second cup of tea after dinner, even though I was very full. I just really wanted something more to put in my mouth - oral fixation.

With the second tea ingested, I went from being pleasantly full, to be being painfully full.

You just don’t learn anything, do you, shit head?

Oh, goody! Ed was back.

‘Sup, Dick Nuts, I greeted him. How the fuck are ya?

Oh fine, fine, he said, just our tummy is swollen and painfully distended, because you couldn’t just leave well enough alone, and now we have to purge to make the pain go away.

God, but you’re a whiny little bitch, aren’t you? I thought, and followed the other girls out of the Group room, to walk around the hospital again.

We started up the good fight up again. Things were said that I don’t regret, items (like my trust in Ed?) were broken in the carnage that ensued. But I have gone through this every day that I have been here, and I was sure I would come out on top.

He got me when we were doing vitals.

I had already been poked and prodded lying down, so Deena told me to get up, so we could do them standing up. As she was wrapping the cuff around my arm, I looked up and saw a fat girl in the mirror before me.

Gross, I thought dismissively, then looked again.

It was me.

No! I thought desperately. No. That cannot be me.

The girl in the mirror had a fat, swollen tummy, that stuck out further than her breasts.

Had I been in charge of the thinking at the time, rather than Ed, I would have reminded that girl that she had drank way too many cups of tea with dinner, and was now way too full, and painfully bloated.

But I wasn’t in charge of the thinking at that moment. I had let my guard down, and Ed had snuck in. The little fucker.

GROSS! he screamed, as I continued to stare in shock at my reflection. Look what you’ve done! LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE!

“No,” I whispered weakly.

“What’s that?” Deena asked, unwrapping the blood pressure cuff from around my arm.

“Nothing,” I muttered. And when my vitals were done, I climbed back into bed in the fetal position, and cried into my mattress.

Just wait till Baby Momma sees you, Ed gloated. Just wait.

Fucking fuckity fuck! thought I. What do I do?

Purge! Ed screamed.

Ummmmmm...thought I.

Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!


No, I thought sadly, and cried so hard, I could barely breathe. I just can’t. Sorry, Dick Nuts. You lose.

Fuck you, Fatty, he snapped back. I’m not gonna stop.

I know, Dick Nuts.

I know.
Ha ha! Dick Nuts. I thought, momentarily distracted. What does that even mean?

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