|This picture will make A LOT more sense when you read the blog entry.|
"All dogs go to heaven? Sorry, kids. It's only the dogs who've accepted Christ."
~ Stephen Colbert
Ugh. Another day in treatment.
It didn’t start out too badly. Turns out, Wednesdays we have two two-hour breaks as well - and today my parents decided that they would rather just pay for a parking pass than cart my sorry ass back and forth to hop-sital three times a day. Which is fucking AWESOME, cuz now I can come and go as I please. Hooray!
Breakfast was fine, lunch was fine, then things started to turn to shit in the afternoon, round about Snack time.
The patient that I shall call Manic Butterfly (because her moods are all over the goddamn place) was feeling particularly cheerful at that exact point in time, or on a manic high, as she liked to term it. All seven patients were sitting around the Dining Room table, (reluctantly) eating our snacks, under the watchful eye of Aryan Nation Tiana (formerly Blonde Nutritionist). As Manic Butterfly was the first to finish her snack, she got up and went into the kitchen to make a pot of tea for the group.
When she came back out again, she was giggling. “Shhhh,” she stage-whispered to the group as she distributed teacups and spoons. “I swear I didn’t accidentally put in three tea bags, instead of two!”
There were a few ‘hoorays’ and ‘right ons’ from around the table, as Manic Butterfly poured everyone’s tea.
“Yup, total accident,” she giggled. “I don’t know how it happened.”
When she was finishing serving the girls, she came back to her spot at the table, and started to pour her own tea.
“Besides,” she went on. “It doesn’t say anywhere in the rule book that you’re only allowed to use two tea bags, not three.” She laughed gaily.
“That’s true,” Cute Cate agreed from across the table, and that’s when Aryan Nation Tiana stepped in.
“Alright, that’s enough,” she said. “If there’s something that needs to be addressed at the next community meeting, then we will address in then. But this is not an appropriate time to discuss it.”
We all stared up at her, dumbfounded.
Bitch, are you for real? I thought. They were just goofing around.
“Well, thanks, there goes my manic high,” Butterfly said, and, true to her word, slipped into one of her black moods again.
Strike two, Blonde Nutritionist, thought I.
We were just finishing up from snack when Kiki, my case manager, showed up, looking for me.
“Kage! Can I steal you for half an hour?” she poked her head into the kitchen.
“Um? No,” I said, with a polite smile. “It’s break time. Me mum’s downstairs.”
“Oh,” she said, and pouted. “Well, how bout for twenty minutes, then?”
“What? No,” I said. “I just said me mum's down-”
“Can you call your mum, and ask her to wait?” she asked, in a voice that clearly implied that actually, I didn’t have any choice.
I sighed. How hard would it have been to tell me this fifteen minutes ago, before me mum left the house to pick me up? I know Kiki was here then, I saw her arsing around in the halls.
So I called me mum, but turns out that she had sent Dad over to hop-sital to pick me up. Even worse! Dad’s time is like gold dust right now, sparse, valuable, and impossible to get your hands on. I reluctantly asked Mum to tell Dad I would be twenty minutes late. Ugh.
I was a wee bit cranky as I followed Kiki into her office for my mini Check-In session.
She started to ask the standard questions, how was I fitting in, how was I finding the first few days, etc, etc, but I cut her off at the pass.
“So, here’s what I was thinking,” I said, looking pointedly at my wrist, pretending I had a watch. “I’d like to be considered for the Weight Maintenance Program, instead of Weight Restoration. When I weighed in on Monday, I was only five pounds below my goal weight. And with all the crap you guys are feeding me, I bet you anything that if you were to weigh me tomorrow, I would already be 130 lbs. So, since I’m only a couple of days behind schedule, I think I should only have to do the eight week program in hop-sital, instead of the twelve.”
Kiki opened her mouth, and closed it again. “Oh,” she said after a moment.
“Yeah,” I cocked my head to the side in commiseration.
We quibbled. We quabbled. We bantered back and forth. But of course, despite the incredibly cogent, eloquent, fully fact-supported argument I presented, her answer was a big fat NO.
She thought I was still trying to get out of gaining the weight.
“What?” I said, confused. “I’m prolly already at 130. I don’t have to gain anymore now, anyway.”
“What do you mean, you don’t have to gain anymore now?” she asked.
“Uh, cuz that’s my goal weight?” I said, slowly articulating each word. “So I don’t have to gain anymore weight?”
“Who told you that?” she asked. “Did Tiana tell you that?”
“Damn right she did,” I said hotly. “Head Nurse told me my goal weight, and Asian Persuasion Tiana said that once I reach it, I am only required to maintain it; I am not required to gain any more weight to stay in the program.”
At that point, I actually thought I might have had her swayed. She suddenly stopped talking and just sat and stared at the wall for, like, two whole minutes, I swear. Then she looked up at me and said sharply, “Do you menstruate?”
“No, I have an IUD,” I shrugged innocently. Can’t gage my healthy weight that way, ha ha! I thought.
She looked all pensive and thinky again.
“Does that mean you’re reconsidering switching me to the eight week program?” I asked hopefully.
She looked up at me, considering me for a moment. “No.”
My shoulders drooped. God fuck it! Nazi.
“Well, then,” I said, and checked my imaginary watch again. “I think I’ll go and meet my Dad now.”
Argh, the worst of today's events is still to come, but I really need to get to some sleep, and recover from tonight. Suffice it to say, what happened this evening almost made me puke in front of a facilitator, had Dr.Cram-It-In called to do a suicide check on me, and almost had me walking out of hop-sital for good.
Okay, so of course I can’t fecking sleep. God. I am just not winning today. But I guess you are, cuz I'll just keep writing, and finish the fecking story. Hooray! (for you. I'm going nuts.)
So. Tonight was Pizza Night in the Eating Disorders Program. As you may recall, already a major source of stress for me. I didn’t want to eat pizza, with all the cheese and grease and delicious-but-completely-useless fat and calories. I love the taste of pizza, but I hate it’s nutritional value. Pizza is about as useful to me as a condom machine is in the office of the Vatican.
I walked into the Kitchen and peeked under my blue plate cover, and was surprised to discover that it wasn’t slices of pizza from some local slinger, like I had expected. Rather, it was those little personal sized cheese pizzas. There was a pie and a half waiting under my plate cover for me. I quickly replaced the lid, and took a deep breath. Okay. It was better than slices from a local joint. I could do this.
I carried my plates into the Dining Room and sat down at the table, and slowly ate my salad, ambivalent about starting my cheese pizza. Part of me couldn’t wait to taste that delicious greasy cheese; the other part did NOT want that SHIT it my body.
I finished my salad, and finally reached out and removed the plastic plate cover, but the pizzas had grown cold.
“Can I warm these up?” I asked Preity, the facilitator that was sitting beside me.
“Sure, yes,” she said, in her light Hindi accent.
I got up and went into the Kitchen and zapped my plate, then returned to my place at the table, and slowly began to eat.
I tackled the half-pizza first. I cut it into small squares, and carefully chewed each piece before I swallowed it, noticing that while it was definitely delicious, it wasn’t all that delicious.
It wasn’t until I was taking my last few bites of the half-pizza that I stopped and pulled something out of my mouth.
“Oh my God,” I said, examining what was in my fingers. “That’s not meat, is it?” I held up my hand for Preity to see.
“I don’t know,” she said, and looked at me hand. “It looks like it.”
Physio, sitting to my right, looked up from her pizza. “Yeah, it is,” she said. “It’s pepperoni.”
I froze, with a mouthful of DEAD FUCKING PIG still in my mouth. Then I scraped back my chair and ran out of the Dining Room, and into the Kitchen.
“Kage, no!” Preity called after me.
I ran up to the garbage can, and spat out the mouthful of pizza, then slammed the door open and walked out. I didn’t know where to go or what I wanted to do, but I headed towards the bathroom.
I was crying by the time I got there. I just ate a fucking pig, I thought, as the tears streamed down my face. I just ate Omar. I just ate one of my pets. It’s in my stomach right now.
“Kage,” Preity rushed into the bathroom after me. “Don’t do it. Don’t purge.”
“Preity! How can you ask me that?” I cried. “There’s a fucking PIG in my body!” I backed up against the tiled wall, and sank down onto the floor.
I dropped my head onto my knees and bawled. I could hear Preity, calling down the hallway, trying to get help but refusing to leave me in the bathroom alone.
Eventually she recruited one of the nutritionists that I like, Shannon, who went into the dining room to get my plate and check my pizza. She brought it back to the hallway outside the bathroom and confirmed that there was indeed pepperoni on my pizza.
“I want it out of me,” I groaned. “This is not fucking fair! I did not sign up for this! These are NOT the conditions under which I agreed to stop purging.”
“I understand that, Kage,” Shannon said soothingly from outside the bathroom door. “But there is never an acceptable reason to purge here in Program. If you do it, you’ll be asked to leave.”
“But it’s your fault!” I screamed at them, pounding my fist into my thigh. “It’s your fault that it’s in my body, and I want it out!”
They looked at each other, then back at me, saying nothing. I curled back into myself on the floor and sobbed.
Eventually, Shannon spoke again.
“Kage, you have to eat something for dinner,” she said awkwardly, and I snorted with derision through my runny snot. “Would you like a cheese pizza?”
Gee! Let me think.
“Or a sandwich? Or the vegetarian lasagna from yesterday?”
“I’m not really hungry right now,” I muttered from under my crossed arms.
I could almost sense the exchanged look between them.
“If you don’t eat something for dinner, Kage, you’ll have to Ensure!,” Shannon said uncomfortably.
My head snapped up. “What?” I said. “WHAT?”
“It’s the rules of the Program,” she said apologetically. “You have to eat something for dinner. It’s either food, or it’s Ensure!.”
“Jesus Christ,” I moaned, and dropped my head back down on my knees.
They stood there and let me cry for a few more minutes, then Preity came into the bathroom, and gently took me by the arm.
“Come on, Kagie,” she said, and pulled me up off the bathroom floor. “Let’s go sit down in the Group room for a few minutes. It’s better than sitting in here, isn’t it?”
I let her lead me down the hall, and into the Group room.
“Now, Kagie,” she said in her Hindi accent. “I’m sorry to have to push you like this, but you do have to make a choice. Are you going to eat some food, or are you going to Ensure!?”
I sighed, trying to think of what to do. I didn't want to fecking Ensure!, I had promised myself I would not Ensure! while in the Program, especially not on pizza night. “I’ll eat something. Something vegetarian.”
“Good for you,” Preity said, and patted my arm. “Now, are you alright to stay here on your own for a moment, while I go to the kitchen and get them to prepare you some food?”
“Yes,” I mumbled, the tears still slipping down my cheeks.
“Okay. I’ll be right back,” she said, and got up to leave the room. She closed the door gently behind her, and I was left alone to sob out my misery once again.
I wanted to purge so badly. It had never felt more justified to do so, ever. EVER. But I didn’t want to get kicked out of Program. I really wanted, and really needed, their help, or I was never going to get better. I would just keep going the way I had been going, until all of my teeth fell out and my esophagus was completely burned away, and I just shot myself in the face.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t purge. Not right there, in hop-sital with the facilitators around, and not at home, either, even though the rules didn’t apply once I left hop-sital grounds.
Because even if the hop-sital's No Purging rule didn't apply when we were at home, Celia’s Rules of Recovery did. If I purged, even for something as fucking justified as this, I would lose her as my sponsor.
And I couldn’t allow that to happen. I had to sit there, and leave A Dead Pet Pig in my stomach.
The door to the Group room opened again, and Preity came back in.
“Okay, Kage,” she said, and something in her demeanor made my hackles rise. I knew immediately that once again, something was rotten in Denmark. “I just talked to Jennifer, and she said that because there is only five minutes left until Group therapy, you don’t have time to eat any dinner. You’ll have to drink the Ensure!.”
“What?” I cried. “Are you serious? That’s not fair, it’s not my fault that I wasn’t able to eat my dinner with everyone else!”
“I’m sorry, Kagie, but that is what Jennifer said are the Program rules,” Preity said, wringing her hands anxiously.
Poor Preity, I thought suddenly, and felt a pang of guilt. She was so lovely, and none of this was her fault. I shouldn’t be such a douchebag towards her.
Jennifer, on the other fucking hand...but I would deal with her in a minute.
“Preity,” I said hoarsely, “It's okay. I'll go with you, I'll drink the Ensure! for you. I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’m sorry I got mad at you, I was just so upset about the pig-”
“It’s okay, Kagie,” she said, shushing me and taking me arm to guide me out of the Group room. “I’m so proud of you for not purging. I could see how hard you were fighting it.”
I was amazed to see her well up, and brush away a few tears.
Wow, I thought, and stared at her. Is it cuz she’s Hindu or something? Are they prone to misguidedly giving a shit about their fellow man? Why is she getting so emotional? She barely even knows me.
Preity brought me back to the dining room, where I was actually handed back to Shannon again, not Jennifer (you’re lucky, Jennifer). Sitting on the dining room table beside Shannon were two glasses of Ensure!.
“Two glasses?” I asked wearily, as I sat down.
“It’s one full bottle,” she explained gently.
I could hear Jennifer bossing the girls about in the kitchen, and suddenly I decided that I had put up with enough shit for one day. This was getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous.
“Okay! That’s it, I am not drinking the Ensure!. I didn’t screw up the meal, you guys did. I kept up my end of the bargain by not throwing up the dead animal carcass that I unknowingly consumed after 19 years of abstinence, but this is too much. It was your mistake! I will not drink the fecking Ensure! when I haven’t done anything wrong! Even after what happened, I was willing to eat food. I think it’s professionally remiss of Jennifer to take that away from me and force me to Ensure! when I am willing to eat FOOD, after everything that's happened. I promised myself I would never Ensure! while I was in hop-sital, and I'm not gonna break that promise for her. I'm sorry, Shannon, but I won’t do it.”
“Okay, Kagie,” Shannon shushed me. “Okay. Calm down, honey. Let me see what I can do, okay? Just stay here.”
She got up and left the dining room, closing the double doors to the kitchen behind her. I let my head fall onto the table in front of me with a loud thunk.
Kill me. Kill me. Kill me. Kill me? I pleaded with the universe.
The kitchen doors opened again a few minutes later, and Shannon reappeared - bearing an egg salad sandwich on brown bread.
“Oh, God, thank-you,” I whimpered. “Thank-you, Shannon.”
“You’re welcome, Kage,” Sharon smiled, and sat down beside me to watch me eat.
I couldn't help but smirk at the irony of my own drama, as Shannon must have seen it - Kage wouldn't eat a pig, but she had no problem consuming hard-boiled chicken ovulations? - but I shut my mouth (or opened it, I guess) and started forcing the sandwich down.
I had only taken a few bites when the door to the Dining Room opened behind me, and I looked up to see the rare form of a man in our estrogen-soaked midst!
“Dr. Cram-It-In,” I said, wiping my mouth with my fingers. “What might you be doing here?”
“Maybe he heard that something was going on,” Shannon suggested brightly.
“Well, of course he did," I rolled my eyes. "Why else would he be here?"
Dr. Cram-It-In came and sat down beside me. “So, Kage. Tell me what happened.”
I smirked. “Like you don’t already know?”
He smiled. “I’d like to hear it from you.”
I put my sandwich down, and quickly reviewed the Sequence of Events, According to Kage (ie: full of swear words).
When I was done, he made no move to get up. My eyes narrowed, and I looked him up and down.
“Why exactly are you here?” I asked him suspiciously.
“Well, I get called in when we need to ensure (haha! ensure) someone’s safety,” he said calmly.
“Safety,” I echoed with another smirk. “And does ‘safety’ mean ‘throwing up my food’? Or by ‘safety’ do you mean ‘shooting myself in the face’?”
“Well, I hope you don’t shoot yourself in the face!” he said cheerfully, and he and Shannon laughed gaily.
“Mmmm, yes, hilarious,” I muttered. “What I'm asking is, are you...are you here to make sure I’m not...suicidal?”
He paused. “That is generally what I get called in for, yes,” he said.
“Oh my God,” I groaned. “I am not suicidal! I’m angry that you guys made me eat a fucking pig! But I’m not going to shoot myself in the face over it, for smeg’s sake.”
“Okay, well, that’s good, that’s all I needed to hear,” he said, and he stood up to leave - fait accompli, my job is done. This girl is healed!
“Lovely to see you again, Doc,” I called over my shoulder, and turned back to my sandwich. Good job.
When I finished my substitute meal, I thought they were going to make me go to the Therapy Group that was already well under way, but I was wrong. As a consolation prize, I got to skip Evening Group! Instead, I got to call my Dad, and go home a whole twenty minutes early.
Which made it all kinda worth it, really.