Today we had our appointment with the specialist inpatient unit where L will be treated. For a long time it has been ‘hospital’ in our heads, but actually it is a small modern building, surrounded by trees, on a shared HE/NHS campus. There are no ambulances, no uniforms and inside it looks more like a study centre than a hospital. The staff are kind and welcoming, they listen to L and to me. At no time do either of us feel scrutinised or judged. They weigh L, without her clothes and her BMI is 14.9. Any lower and she would be too ill for this place. We walk around and see the bedrooms, the quiet room, the lounge, the group room. It is all bright and comfortable and a million miles from a hospital. L can bring her own bedding, posters, her music and photos and we can see her every day. She sees someone she knows. A person she likes and she says to me she never thought he would have issues, I remind her that the most normal of us have issues and need help.
We are told L needs to be here, but that is still our decision. We are left with L to think about it. We agree she will go on tomorrow. She seems pleased, almost, perhaps not pleased, but ready. She is up for it. There are support groups throughout the day, the walls are covered with strong supportive affirmations. I almost wish it was me going there.
Before, inpatient treatment felt like failure. Now, it feels like welcoming others to Team Recovery for L. I feel included and supported and I feel more confident about the future.
In my quest to find out about anorexia and how to help, I have heard so many horror stories. From judgemental attitudes which exclude loved ones, poorly trained GPs, to inadequate services or funding cuts and today I realise how lucky we are. In four months from our first GP visit, L has intensive support, after weeks of commumity treatment. This should be the norm and I am angry that it is not.