Yesterday we had our first appointment with the specialist team who will help L to recover. (I hope). In the morning I was worried that they would not see how serious it was, that L, with her lovely way with people, would nod and smile and promise to do better and they would tell me that she’d probably be fine, she just needed to eat more.
L worried they’d be cross with her and tell her off. Both of us were wrong.
Of course, they were lovely. They asked lots of questions, I stopped myself for answering for L, I told her before the things I would say to them, I told her that she needed to be really honest with them and if she wanted me out of the room, just to say and that I wouldn’t be upset.
They weighed her, and measured her. They sat with their charts and made marks where her weight and her height were. And then they told us that L would be an outpatient for 3 or 4 weeks and if she didn’t gain weight or lost more, she would be admitted to a specialist unit as an inpatient. They said that if she saw that unit today, they would probably admit her now. They said that she was too weak to exercise and all her activities, that she loves, should stop. They told us that the vomiting would rot her teeth, but that she could get false ones, however, it could induce a heart attack at any time.
Food lists were discussed, the need to eat full fat, high sugar, bigger meals and I looked at L in panic, thinking will she still trust me, will she just become more secretive. At the moment, we’re still close, but if I make her eat, refuse to compromise, will she withdraw from me, become worse?
Since I realised that L was as ill as she is, I’ve wanted more information, to know exactly how bad things are, whether I’m just over anxious or whether L is really at risk. And now I know. My instincts were right. But how did I let this go so far? How did I not see it.
So today the battle to save L from hospital, to get her life back for her begins for real. No compromise over smaller portions, no thinking “well she hasn’t eaten much but at least it’s something.” She will become hostile and I have to ignore it and not react. I have to be the same loving and supportive mum no matter how much she provokes or manipulates. An illness has taken over Ls mind and I know that when she lashes out, it is the illness doing that. She is anorexic today, and has been for some time. But one day she will recover. It is just going to take time