Hi everyone! Wow! I’m home! Whew! What a day! Sorry I was “absent” for a few days. It couldn’t be helped. That was something beyond my control. They asked me not to blog…so I didn’t blog.
I can only speculate on this and I won’t do so at the moment but I will get back to this issue on “blogging while inpatient” eventually…it is not what I want to focus on right now.
These were the highlights of my hospitalization….
First of all, I got there. Well, no, let me back up.
First of all, I lived long enough to make it there on Wednesday. I wasn’t sure that this would happen, and I’m damn lucky that it did. When I walked into the Admissions Office, carrying a knapsack and a canvas shopping bag I could sort of keep my balance and sort of stand up. What I thought in my head…let me say I wasn’t really thinking. Thoughts happened and they were in my head but you couldn’t really call that thinking. I guess in two weeks I’d “eaten” once and that had been a week previously. Since then, no calories. I overheard people saying I was “confused and disoriented” but this didn’t register with me. My voice was hoarse for a few days and I only spoke in my normal voice (the one I usually have) for a few seconds following a glass of water, then I returned to a hoarse voice again. But my dry, dry lips improved rapidly after only 24 hours.
In the first couple of days, it was animal instinct that drove me. A few bites at each meal and that was it. Not hunger really. Just animal instinct for survival. I drank sips of juice and ate bites as my body could absorb teensy crumbs of this and that. This was Wednesday that I came to the Admissions Office. By Saturday, I was able to eat the full tray, slowly, but it would make me extremely uncomfortable, and my body was not okay with doing this meal after meal every few hours and also doing snacks, too, as you can imagine.
To reverse the body’s tendency to lose weight or maintain a very low weight, some people have to eat a very, very large amount of food. Some people. Not others. It varies tremendously. I learned quickly that it was to a patient’s peril to look on another’s tray and “compare” amounts and types of food and “calories.” Some people’s trays were so loaded with food that you’d think it was enough to feed a family. Other people were fed three or four items and that was it. It was just plain dumb to try to analyze it or say that such and such person’s metabolism blah blah blah…everyone’s body is different and it’s all science and none of my business what happened in everyone else’s past experience with their body and how much they weigh and need to gain or not gain or how much they are eating off their tray (or doing whatever with afterward, though staff are rather mindful of this kind of “behavior” nowadays).
They have this “percent” thing. The goal is to eat “one hundred percent” of your tray. If you do this for twenty-four hours, you get some privilege. I think this is that you get to go on fresh air break. It’s incentive. I think you have to do 100% for three days straight to get a Green Band, which is this huge deal reward because then they don’t go peek at your piss after you go to the bathroom every time you go. The bathrooms are kept locked anyway, but they won’t peek if you have a Green Band.
I never got fresh air privileges and I never got a Green Band. I never really wanted either enough to find it worth it to stuff myself to that extent. I don’t like to go outdoors while I’m inpatient. Never have. To me, it’s fake freedom. Supervised. Like I’m in kindergarten or something. Kid on a playground that has to be monitored. It royally sucks, actually. I’d rather wait, and I did, and today when I got out I knew it was totally worth the wait.
As for the Green Band, hey, piss is yellow. Piss is piss and shit is shit. There are variations here and there but those nurses and counselors have seen it all. Mine is not going to surprise them in the least and they will not post on Facebook what mine looks like or talk about it on their dinner breaks. I’m sure they hated looking at piss and shit as much as we hated their looking at ours.
I’m going to do a lot of talking about what it means to tell it like it is in the coming week while talking about my experience at Alcott, by the way. It is very important to see this illness for what it is and not beat around the bush and avoid talking about the fact that people die from it for fear of “triggering” people. Everyone should read the statistics. You deserve to know the facts about this illness. No one should hide facts from you to keep you from getting “upset” because knowledge is actually power. Knowing these facts is very often a very important catalyst. If someone is withholding knowledge from you (about medical facts or facts about medications or medical procedures, etc) then you are suffering under oppression. I am quite serious about this. Learn about your illness. Do it on your own. Read greedily and hungrily. And encourage others to do so as well, including your family and friends.
Okay, I have rambled. Back to 100%. I generally didn’t eat everything on my tray. There is a lot to be said about the concept of “100%” and what it means and why people do it. I wrote a lot on this. One of the things that I said (I will probably go look it up and find the exact quote at some point) is that first of all while I was there I made a point of focusing on my own tray and no one else’s. I was fastidious about this. I think this was one of the most positive choices I made while there, to focus on my own actual food that I had in front of me. One thing I didn’t write about but had in my head was that the tray itself had a physical boundary. It was rectangular and was kind of a boundary of me and separated me safely from the others at my table. I generally kept all the dishes inside the rectangle to keep them “safe.”
I have just looked at the time and it’s late. You know, before when I used to blog, I would go on and on and on, and insist on getting to some sort of “conclusion” to my article and it would get ridiculously late in the night.
Let me contest this, because first of all, I have barely begun to get going with all this talk about my treatment here and could go on and on for hours tonight with you all! I am so happy to be back here! I could sit here and write forever and ever! But listen: I need sleep. That was one thing I didn’t get while I was there. Not one night of decent sleep. I’m talking bad, bad, bad sleep night after night, not because of anxiety or anything wrong with me per se, but because of practicalities…bad luck mostly. I expect to sleep tonight.