I can already see the way this is going to be. A roller coaster between despair, worry and brief moments when things feel as if they might get better. Pretty similar to how L must feel.
On Monday morning, I went into battle mode. Full blown ‘Anorexia will not take my daughter from me’ battle mode. Phone calls to the school, to the health service and to every specialist service in town. I made clear my daughter needed help and she needed it now. The GP agreed to refer her. Of course no one could tell me how long it would take.
And for the first time, L and I used the A word. Anorexia. There, see, I’m getting good at it. “Do I really have it?” she asked. “Yes, you do” “Will I have to go to hospital?” “Yes, you might”.
I thought that we could deal with it. It felt like the storm that had battered us had abated. Not stopped. Just calmed to a manageable level.
And then the next day. The realisation that she is still skin and bone. The realisation that she still will not eat enough to maintain her skeletal frame and that yesterday, today and tomorrow and for many days to come, her body will shrink and shrink, her muscles will become wasted and her internal organs be placed under more stress. That every step she takes will burn up calories she doesn’t have. I hug her all the time and feel her skeleton thinly covered in skin. My beautiful girl, my lovely, lovely L. How long can she last? Do I press her to eat or will that make it worse? Do I weigh her? Do I ask her if she’s eaten. It feels as if she in the centre of a tornado, whipping her away from us and I still have her hand, holding on so tight because if I let go I will lose her forever.
I know that the one thing I can do is be strong. I have to be focused on L, not me. But what else do I do. I bought L a book to write her thoughts in. I wrapped it in tissue paper and ribbon so she would feel loved. I wrote her a card telling her we would get through this. It didn’t feel anywhere near enough.
Today she ate some food with us. She drank some milk. It’s not enough, but it’s something. She sat and held me and talked to me. I know that’s good. Tomorrow we will see. Perhaps I’ll try and write down Ls story, from the day she was born. I need to do something to get us through the long wait for help.