Friday, February 29, 2008

In Which We Meet Maura

Her lip ring was distracting, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It held her dry, cracked lips in a vice that really, if I’m being honest, was unattractive and looked grossly painful. The ring itself seemed to say “Back the Hell off” and “I have seen pain and ugly and abandonment.”
But she herself says none of these things. Instead, she says, “Daffodils are my favorite. Flowers I mean.”

And I am surprised. This girl with purpled, pixie cut hair, ripped tights, and combat boots likes daffodils? This girl, wish so much anger and hatred inside her has the capability – but more importantly, the willingness – to see the beauty and miracles in life, or at least in daffodils?

People never cease to surprise me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part IX, On Dinner and Goal Setting

Walking into dinner and claiming my meal tray, I look around me and try to sit at the table (there are two) with all the “cool people,” meaning people who can actually stand me. I avoid, if possible, sitting next to a nitpicky care tech that will phase drop me for playing some ridiculous food game, like looking at my beef steak menacingly or accidentally having my roll crumble in my hands or otherwise something stupidly silly. Food games are punishable by death. And if not by death, then a care tech will take away your tray, and you will be Boosted for the calories you didn’t finish. This might not be so horrible, except for the fact your dietician and therapist will find out, which will turn into this giant suck-fest, because they’ll be accusing you of not wanting to recover, etc, and all you can think about is tying them up and forcing them to consume as many calories as you are forced to in one day, so they can friggin’ know how it feels. In your mind, you watch them double over in pain, begging you to please stop; we can’t eat anymore, please!
And then you laugh.
And then you stuff another pastry in their mouth.
And laugh some more, this time with some diabolical glee. (Sometimes daydreams were a necessity to get through the lectures. I was pretty swell at dissociating and just thinking about doing evil things to them.)

I’d always jealously look around me at the girls who had been in treatment longer than me, because they had a privilege called Intuitive Eating at meals. Intuitive, as we called it, meant that you could dish up your own meal, and choose your portion size, then eat as much or as little as you liked – it wasn’t a requirement to finish everything on your tray, like my unfortunate (but bad-ass) self. The idea was to be intuitive about your hunger and fullness, and to listen to your body and other such nonsense. I am not an ideal candidate for Intuitive Eating, and I’ll tell you why: I’m pretty sure that intuitively, my body just likes no food. Brie’s Intuition is just like, “Hey, yeah! I need nothing to live. Food is gross. I’m intuitively sensing that eating blows hardcore! Now who wants some saltines and some exercise?!”

So every time my dietician begrudgingly graduated me to eating intuitively, which was always months after my admittance because it took so long to gain weight, I inevitably was whisked right back onto “100%” (eating everything on your tray given to you) because I somehow justified to myself that eating an apple and four M&M’s in one day was all my body wanted and needed. Intuitive is hard, man. Even now, though I eat on a regular basis, I don’t consider myself an intuitive eater. I know that when it’s lunch time, it’s time to eat lunch – even if I don’t feel in the least bit hungry, which is quite often. If I allowed myself to be intuitive about it, I don't think I'd ever eat. I'd just wither away. So I don’t know. I mean, I’m confused about it all. Is becoming an intuitive eater like this place that you someday reach like retirement or Nirvana? I have a hard time believing in it, though the idea is really sweet. Are there any for realsies intuitive eaters out there? Do you even exist, or are you kind of like Men in Black?

So once again, after I have consumed (or made a valiant effort) my entire tray of food, which was gluttonous, we head back to the unit for goal setting. Goal setting was pretty much just a time filler between dinner and our first evening group. CFC was not keen on letting us prisoners have much free time, so instead of allowing us to pinch our fatty stomachs and wallow in our self-hatred, they insisted we set daily goals. There was always an eager beaver girl (sorry if one of you are reading this) who would write on the goal board, and we’d have to call out goals that we would like to have achieved by the same time the following evening, and she’d write them down so we wouldn’t forget. My goals usually included something like having a runaway plan set in stone, or finding a new way to find out my weight, or to somehow find patience to not bust the girl’s nose next to me who is annoying the sweet milk outta me, etc. Occasionally I’d set a goal like “talk in therapy, “ or “don’t focus so much on my disgusting, fat body,” but mostly I steered clear, because I knew that nothing would make me feel worse than I already did about myself than not achieving a goal. I mean, who are these people? Why would they make us do something like that? I'm convinced they were only setting us up for relapse.

And finally, after goals are over, we all squeal in delight because it's MAIL TIME!!! Hells yeah!

And thus concludes part IX.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Freaky Fetish

There is a really nerdy, really creepy side of me that comes out of hibernation every once in awhile. I actually think it’s in accordance with the cycle of the moon. I may have to look into that. But once it’s out, it’s out. I mean, I get all freaky and weird. Freaky and weird in what way, you ask? Okay, I’ll tell you. I’m an X-Files Whore. Slut, perhaps. Whatever. I try to quell this obsession of mine, but I fear it’s ingrained in my DNA just as my sausage fingers and winning personality are.

So maybe you’re thinking, big deal. So she likes a television show. Who doesn’t? And it may be a valid argument. But none of you know, except for two of my blog readers, Paige and Emily, who are perhaps as obsessed as I am with this series, how fanatical I am.
For example:
I can turn to a re-run playing late at night on TNT, and just by looking at Agent Scully’s hairstyle, tell you what season of the nine the episode was filmed in. I can tell you every name of every episode, just by watching it in less than thirty seconds. “Oh, I know this one! It’s Beyond the Sea!” Or, “I love Amor Fati and Pusher. Those are my favorite episodes of all time!”

I also have the action figures from the movie, and I treasure my X-Files Barbie dolls. I remember when I bought them, at fourteen years old. I had to save up my babysitting money, and they cost me $60. That’s a lot when you make approximately $3.13 an hour. Suck. I was ripped off, wasn’t I? Who settles for three bucks an hour? But I digress.

I saw the movie nine times in the theater, and would have gone more, but by that time, no one would go with me anymore. I also freaking drive the X-Files car from the movie. Yes, it’s true. In the flick they drive a 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue in silver. What do I drive, you ask? Oh. Just that exact same car. Exact. I even have a license plate frame that says, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. Because it is. And I desperately awaited it to be found every Sunday at 8:00 when a new episode was on. Agent Mulder (my car, not the actual character) is on his deathbed. He grunts and groans a lot when I try to drive him, but he’s been a good little soldier and I will sorely miss him when he dies, which I fear is very, very soon.

Oh how I thought David Duchovny was HOOOOOT. Oh how I loved Agent Scully, because she was a strong, independent, intelligent woman, and I wanted to be just like her. Except, really, I’d like to not get beat up as much as she did, or shot at, for that matter. But she was kick-ass, and was my role model growing up.

So what has spurred this blog post? Well, because of how horribly my day went yesterday, as I’m sure you all know by my previous blog, I was in the mood to spend some money. So I went to and bought the entire series of The X-Files. Now, maybe this wouldn’t be such a big deal, except for the fact that I already own the entire series on DVD. So why did I buy the boxed set collectors’ edition? Because it came with action figures, man! And a movie poster. And trading cards. And some more action figures. And it comes in a really cool box. The box! It’s soooooo cool. I had to have it. So I indulged.
So, does anyone want to buy some X-Files DVD’s? They’re used, but in great condition, I swear. No biters? Whateva. I’ll go to a store today and sell them used, and make back all the money I spent. Hopefully. Gah, maybe I suck? Why am I such a freak? Who buys two X-Files series? Who?!

Maybe I should become a Trekkie next. This embarrassing fate may await me. I’ll keep you posted.

PS I’ll finish my From Behind Bars series soon. I’m a little raw lately, and really just can’t get to it. But I will. Soon. I think. I hope?
So, time to go. But remember:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh How I Hate That Word

We think we know you.
We judge you prematurely.
For you are Brie, the Brie we have known for almost six years. Forever thin, forever starving yourself. In our minds, you will never be any different. But I protest, my voice shaking with emotion that I am eating, that I am recovering. “I find that hard to believe,” you state, “at your weight. I don’t believe you.”

And I weep. And weep some more. I cry because I can never get away from who I was, from the hollow, broken down shell of a person that I used to be. I cry because I want to be different, I yearn to be human and flawed and beautiful and honest, but instead you condemn me in your minds as the forever liar, the forever anorectic.

I’m crying now, crying so hard that it hurts in my stomach and in my ribs and in my lungs. I cannot talk and I cannot breathe. “Please hold on,” I try to say, but you only hear sobs and gulps for air. “Please, please give me a second chance. I need help. I want to gain weight. Please, I need help.”

“We can’t help you. You’ve used your chances.”

I desire nothing more than to defend myself, to enlighten you to the fierce, brave, and unique spirit that I am now. But you give me no chance for a reply, for in your mind, they are excuses, nothing more.
Because I will always be nothing but an eating disorder. Anorexic.

Oh how I hate that word.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mesquite, Baaaaaaaaaaaby

Here’s some pictures from the best night of my life, yo.

Here, we took a shot after we’ve all nobly lost at BINGO. I am at peace with it, as you can tell, but Rachel and Steve are really morose, and Whit’s just plain ‘ol high.

Chillin’ at the penny slots. I gambled a dollar. Yes, one US dollar. I lost it all. I was devastated.

Here is Whit in the car on the way back from our magical night. If I recall correctly, she was trying to talk to her mom, though I’m pretty sure she was in a light coma.
Here I am, post I’m-so-car-sick-and-am-going-to-puke-all-over-the-window. I’m a little worn, as you can see. Car sickness and losing at Bingo and drinking my body weight in energy drinks and a reaaaaaaally late night will do that to you.
And Rachel, driving us home, was begging me not to take a picture when I did, in fact, take a picture.

BINGO Shenanigans

For those of you who think the party is in Vegas, you morons are totally wrong. Mesquite is what it's all about, fo shizzle.
On Saturday night we had the time of our freaking lives playing BINGO with a bunch of senior citizens and native americans. We totally lost, to the aformentioned seasoned BINGOees, but still left in high spirits, because it is universally impossible to be angry when playing BINGO. I know because I learned this invaluable lesson firsthand.
The last time I played BINGO, I was in the 5th grade and marked my score card with beans. But in the gambling world, this game is hard-core, no kidding. I was keeping track of nine score boards, yes, nine! Whitney was across from me, having a difficult time understanding the ages 8 & up game because she was high on pain pills from post-op surgery, while Steve next to me was pissed because he was having the worst luck ever. Or something. It was rather hard to hear his bitter complaints (or maybe they were voodoo death curses to everyone that was winning?) he was mumbling under his breath because of the lady with the infomercial voice that was pleasantly but quite loudly announcing "G 63." Poor Anna couldn't follow the numbers fast enough and probably missed out on several won BINGOs because she was approximately 4857473 numbers behind the rest of us, and Rachel was secretly hoping to not win so that she wouldn't have to traumatize herself by calling out BINGO in a room full of strangers and therefore actually acknowledge her rockin' existence. She's had trouble with calling BINGO before, and the native americans did not take kindly to her. You can even read about it here on her super cool blog.
Here is a really crappy shot of us in the casino taken from my cell phone. I have some pictures I'd like to post, but it's all Rachel's fault I don't have them, so blame her. I certainly do. But I will post them as soon as I get them. Hope ya'll had as great a weekend as I did, though I find it ludicrous that any of you could even compete with mine, so you should probably not even try.

Friday, February 22, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part VIII, On Art Therapy

Art Therapy. It was odd. Cute, interesting, but odd.

Let me just throw something out there: I am not, not a creative person. I try, yes. Do I yearn to be artsy? Indubitably. But do I have actual talent? Hell no.

So we’d walk into the art room, amid squeals of delight by the talented “Art Folk,” (I, obviously, was not one of them) and the smell of paint and glue. We’d retrieve the projects we’d been working on, which for me were sadly Kindergarten-esque.

Thus began a long hour-and-a-half of raw consternation. I was trying to be creative. I was trying to draw something other than a stick figure and a bird that looked like an M in the sky. I’d inevitably give up, though, halfway through class, and grab a big ‘ol bucket of black paint and slap it around on some construction paper and call it Fine Art. Skill. Abstract art, if you will.

Looking around me, I could see hard-core art projects going on around me. Creative Tycoon to my left was making a life-size chair out of puzzle pieces. Puzzle pieces! Art Freak to my right was getting in touch with her pain and other such junk with a gargantuan painting the size of Europe. Or whatever. I glumly look at my black swirls. Suck. God gave me no talents, apparently. This was never clearer to me than in Art Therapy, and nothing is more therapeutic than realizing you have nothing in life but the clothes on your back and hard work. Or something. No talents, none. Zip. Just my sad, anorexic, miserable little self. How cheerful.

As soon as the group was nearing its end, Art Therapist would go around the room and have us talk about our work, how it made us feel, what we were trying to depict, etc. After I have been enthralled listening to others epic woes and deep anguish, (and this black swirl represents the cellulite on my left thigh. And this ripped out heart represents, well, my ripped out heart) we come to me. Kindergarten Finger Paint Girl.

Me: Um. Black. The color just spoke to me today. You know.
Art Therapist: Ooooh. I can see your fear! Look at those rough and jagged strokes across the page. But you’ve left so many white spaces on your paper. This is depicting the emptiness you have in your life. Maybe you can have less white next time? Fill your life with color! This is moving, Brie. Wow. I’m impressed. Good work today.
Me: Didn’t I simply throw some paint around so I would have something completed? I’m deep now? Wow. Thanks. That’s exactly what I was thinking!

After Art Therapy, we await dinner. I always looked forward to evenings, because they were (usually) much quieter. Withstanding a few breakdowns and/or flashbacks from neighboring prisoners, it was usually easier to relax. I didn’t have to worry about therapy, for I’d already had it for the day. I’d already (somehow) survived Open Group and Study Hall, so all the tough and excruciatingly boring stuff was out of the way. Post-dinner was much looked forward to because we could receive letters from family and friends, (phase permitting) or even call them if we had an order from our therapist.

I tried to remain hopeful during this time, coaching myself, reminding myself that I only had one meal left to stuff in my fat emerging, evolving body. It was almost time to sleep, to get away from the crazy girls and the cool girls and the care techs. I just needed some freaking alone time, which I never got, ever.

But first, I had to climb the proverbial Mount Everest: dinner.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Humorless Today

I can’t write another chapter today. I feel too mentally exhausted. I just completed a short vignette that was so un-everything I’ve been writing about in my blog for the past week or so. It is serious, and painful, and heartbreaking. I cannot revert to my old friend Humor today. I cannot. It would be a disservice to the memory.

I’ll be par-taying in St George, perhaps Vegas, and the Vegas Wannabe (Mesquite) this weekend with Racher and Whitney and Alana. I’m bringing my laptop (of course I am!) so I’ll try to complete another chapter then, or maybe I will tomorrow morning before I leave.

I’m sure my sarcastic, funny-ass self will be back soon.

And…Ania? I’m glad you like my blog. Is there any way I can get in touch with you? I love getting to know new readers to my blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part VII, On Study Hall and Afternoon Snack

Study Hall was the lamest part of the day. For adolescents who were still in school, it was a much needed time for them to catch up on homework so that they wouldn’t lose school credit while getting cured from the pesky eating disorder. For adults, though, who had no school work, it was like the Longest. Hour. Ever. What did we have to study? Sure, we had our “therapeutic homework,” but I had decided to quit finishing those little jewels when my therapist had gotten mad at me for an assignment I had prepared. She had asked me to write a letter of gratitude to my body, and it began as such:

Dear Body,

You rock my world. Can I get your digits? You are sooooo-oooo hot. When I pass my reflection in the mirror, I think, “Who is that sexy human being with grace and cat-like instincts?” Oh, it’s me. You are one beautiful piece of work, I’ll tell you what. How lucky I am to have

And yes, that’s a direct quote. I’ve memorized it. You have to commit to memory a treasure like that, do you not?

Well. Anyway. After Therapist read that, she made me re-write it to something like,

Dear Body,

Thanks for sticking around all these years while I treated you like shit. Even though I think you’re ugly and worthless, I guess other people think you’re pretty sweet, so yeah. Thank you from the bottom of my half-starved heart.

But I digress.

So Study Hall. I tried to sleep. I had perfected the art of propping up a book near my face so that it covered my ZZZ’s. I had to sit at just the right angle from the care tech so that she didn’t suspect my little ruse. And it worked. Genius Me, I know.

After Study Hall it was time for afternoon snack. Gah! It seems that all we did was eat…
OH WAIT. That is all we did.

Afternoon Snack

By now I’m way beyond hoping for anything remotely healthy. I’d been beaten into submission with enough desserts to ever hope for a vegetable. In fact, I was beginning to forget what they looked like.

So I walk into a heap of mini éclairs. Éclairs are good, aren’t they? But they’re
not so good when you’ve got a pyramid of them on your plate. For real. My own personal little Taj Mahal to wolf down. I actually remember this snack, and the utter horror and revulsion I felt when I saw my plate (nay, platter) of them. The tears began before I even sat down, and I think I recall correctly that I prayed to have a heart attack right there and then. I wanted to survive, of course, but something as serious as a heart attack surely would get you out of eating your snack, correct? But I wasn’t so blessed.

After I get back to the unit and ask for “…a Reglin, NOW!! My stomach is about to rip into several jagged pieces!” (Reglin was a prescription medication that helped your stomach not hurt so much when on weight gain.) And after I finished frantically chewing my anti-acids and Gas X, we waited for our afternoon group, which, for today, was Art Therapy.

The day is just getting grander and grander.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part VI, On Individual Therapy

On the inpatient unit at CFC, we had four individual therapy sessions a week. This was supposed to be where the real nitty gritty work was done. We had an hour a day
of one-on-one time with our therapist to really dig and discover where, when, and why the atomic Eating Disorder Bomb obliterated our life. Finding ground zero was necessary. We needed to explore why we insisted on killing ourselves with food (or lack thereof) so that we could turn around and begin changing and rebuilding our life.

My experience with individual therapy vastly varied depending on who had been assigned the task of wrangling me in and humanizing me into an un-anorexic girl. This wasn’t easy, and I’m sure none of the therapists volunteered for the job. For realsies. I would’ve avoided me like the plague.

My experience with different psychologists varied from a therapist who babied me and held me the entire hour of therapy while I sobbed my eyes out, to a woman who mentally beat my ass to the ground and didn’t stop there. She kept crushing and kicking…karate chops, round-house kicks to the ovaries, you name it. Her goal was to give me a nervous breakdown and she very literally succeeded. But that might be another blog for another day. Or not. It’s kind of tender to talk about. Who likes expound on their own nervous breakdown? That’s a wound that wants to stay closed, thank you very much.

But a therapy session (sans total and complete breakdown) might go something like this:

My therapist will come and find me. I may be in another group, I may be in study hall, or I may be engrossed in another really inappropriate conversation with a fellow prisoner on the unit. Once she comes to claim me, we have the really long walk from the unit to her office. This was usually in a completely different building, and because the walk lasted more than a few minutes, moronic small talk was usually required that was cruelly awkward.

Therapist: “Hi, Brie. How are you today?”
Me: I’m locked up in a crazy loony bin, you dummy. Why would I be anything but supremely bored and pissed? “I’m fine. Thanks.”
Awkward silence
Therapist: “The weather sure is nice out today.”
Awkward silence
Me: I wouldn’t know, would I? I’m behind locked doors. “Oh yeah. It looks nice. I guess.”
Awkward silence
Shuffling along
Looking at her shoes (props to her, by the way, she’s got some smokin’ boots on. If only her people skills were as practiced as her fashion sense)

And finally, after the trek across CFC campus, we arrive in her office. I am out of breath from walking up the stairs, because my sad little self is still too weedy to have much energy. I try to hide this. Being normal is usually a must if you want your therapist to let you out of prison. You can’t go acting all weak and winded. So I look as strong and, you know, healthy as possible, and sit in the corner of the couch and curl my legs under me, where I without fail always sit. My eyes automatically rove the room for a pillow to plop on my lap to cover the quickly growing surface area of my stomach and thighs. She knows this trick and tells me she took all the pillows out of her office so that I wouldn’t have anything to hide behind. Thanks a million, Freud.

So.” She looks at her watch. I look at the clock. Fifty minutes left. “What do you want to talk about today?”

I shrug my shoulders. She knows what she wants to talk about, and I wait for her to bring it up. She doesn’t disappoint.

Thus begins the airing out of my issues. We pull them out, string them like popcorn on a Christmas tree, but only she admires our handy work. I think it looks hideous. I begin to feel exhausted. She looks hopeful, like maybe she’s actually helping me. I know, right? Weird.

On boundaries:
I know, I need to set them. I suppose I don’t adore being someone else’s door mat.

On being congruent with my emotions:
Yes, I know it’s okay to be serious and stop cracking jokes. But will I? No.
(Cue argument)

On my body:
Brie, you’re not fat.
Yes I am.
No you’re not.
Yes I am.
I’m not going to keep arguing with you.
Whatever. But I am. Fat.
No you’re not.
Yes I am.
I’m ending this conversation.
She turns her head and takes a deep breath when the vein in her forehead starts bulging. Making her mad was fun.

Sometimes I cried, but not usually.
A lot of the time I begged her to let me leave.
Sometimes my thoughts wandered to yearnings for me to birth my food baby.
A lot of the time I was scared. I didn’t like feeling vulnerable. I didn’t like her reading me as if I were an open book for anyone in the library to open and peruse. What if she read me wrong? What if she skipped the ending because she assumed she knew it…that I would not recover?

Once upon a time there was a girl named Brie, and she suffered from anorexia. And she was sick. And she never got better. The end.

That wasn’t how I wanted my story to end, so, despite my fears, I talked.
And talked. And talked some more. I wanted a happy ending.

And I got it, right? I’m happy. And I’m recovered. Mostly. And that, right there, is beating the odds.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Brie Cheese

I swear on my left ovary and all my vital organs that I won't change my blog name again.
I'm ridiculous.
But this is good, finally. It's generic, just me. I was concerned my blog title was representing only a small portion of the blogs I wrote. So, I went with what I was named after. I likes it! After all, who doesn't crave on a daily basis really expensive french cheese?
Who doesn't crave my blog on a daily basis? Hmmm?
See, it fits!

From Behind Bars, Part V, On Lunch

Thanks to all for your delicious morsels of feedback on my previous post. You were all very right: girls with eating disorders are indeed people pleasers, and if I’m having fun, and if most of you are enjoying the posts, then who cares? I should do
what I want for me and not for anyone else. I, for one, am tickled with my posts, so I’m going to keep doing them. Besides, if Shannon, who used to be a Rec Therapist at CFC, can laugh at my little roast, then no one else has any place to be upset about it – you don’t see me poking fun at your profession, do you?!

So without further ado, I give you lunch time:

Once a week we had to tolerate a lunch that was called a “Mindful Meal.”
It was really awkward.
For the first ten minutes of the meal, we were not allowed to talk to each other. We were supposed to meditate about our food. I think. I never quite grasped the concept. A dietician would be in the dining room with us, intoning something like,

Feel your hunger. Embrace your hunger. Feel your boobies. Hell, embrace them, if you’d like. This is just a quiet ten minutes to relax, and to have food be your ally, not your enemy.”

After we listened to the appallingly weird meditation-gone-wrong thingy, we were supposed to talk to the dietician about how good we felt, and how much we suddenly and surprisingly loved and wanted to make love to food. Or whatever. This was usually a great time for me to stifle giggles and mouth dirty words to someone across the table from me to see how long I could get away with rule-breaking before a tech gave me the stink eye. I think I once clocked an almost perfect ten minutes of non-meditating during Mindful Meal. Go me.

An average lunch for me on weight gain might consist of something like

- 2 beef burritos the size of my femurs with beans, rice, and cheese in them (yes, TWO!)
- A bowl of raw veggies with a giant swimming pool of Ranch to dip them in that must, of course, be consumed totally
- A side of rice that was T-Rex turd size. Why is this? I’ve already got the equivalent of my body weight of rice in the burritos. Never figured that one out.
- A 12 oz glass of red Koolaid that was so thickly concentrated, it was like drinking sand - yummy
- Two chocolate chip cookies. These were usually both roughly stuffed in my mouth in unison if I was trying particularly hard that meal to avoid getting Boosted and vying to make my thirty minute time limit

And I’d like to say that I made it through the meal with eating every delicious atom on my plate. Sadly, this was usually not the case. I tried. Really, I did. But when you’ve already consumed more calories than Andre the Giant would in an entire day, all by breakfast time, it’s incredibly difficult. Seriously people. I can laugh about all this now, but going though it, wow. Talk about a nightmare. Much crying and bloating and being doubled over in pain was involved. Weight gain’s a bitch, fo sho.

So I’d sit and wait for my Boost. Most of my time would be spent praying my tech was really bad at math and would miraculously miscalculate the amount of Boost I was supposed to be given, and only give me a glass or two as opposed to, oh I don’t know, seventy-seven. I dreamed big while in CFC.

After said Boost is dolefully slurped up, I head back to the Unit to await my doom, for it is time for individual therapy. Doom indeed.

But first I argue with the nurse for awhile because I’m in the mood to be naughty and don’t want to take my afternoon meds, or maybe I curl up and cry because my tummy hurts so much, and I’m frantic about the food baby I’m carrying, but most likely I just try to laugh it off and forget about it. I wasn’t one to mope. I usually reserved that for after therapy.

Doom doom doom.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It’s Just Satire

I’m not sure if I’m going to continue chronicling a day in the life of an inpatient eating disordered girl. It’s sort of turning into this monstrous epic. Originally it began as a few pages, and it’s now turned into a mammoth novel that is probably turning lackluster. Maybe I just have an immoral sense of humor or something, I don’t know. I thought it was funny. But I’m not so sure some of my other readers feel the same way.

For the record, the Center for Change has in many ways saved my life, and I mean that in the very literal sense of the word. I am very grateful to them for their inspired program that helps so many.

I am one who finds it necessary to discover the humor in life to get by, to live, to thrive. Anorexia is such a somber subject, and rightly so. But I believe there is no harm in finding any way to find humor in a life that can be so cruel. It’s how I survive.

Satire, humor. I loves it. It is as necessary to me as oxygen.
But I’m not sure if I should continue, because I have no desire to offend other people who maybe do not have the same viewpoint as me. I’ll sleep on it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Secret Ambition: to Have a Secret Ambition

Because Ed and I have been joined at the hip for the last, oh, seven years, he has sufficiently robbed me of all my silly, spectacular, and sometimes, perhaps, even possible dreams of grandeur.
No, that’s not right. Grandeur is a dramatic word.
I don’t even dare dream small.
I dream not at all.

It’d be nice to dare to dream again. We all need a break from the monotonous reality of life, do we not?

I could be Something. And it wouldn’t even have to be Something Great. Even Something Small would be lovely. At least. I just need to be Someone, Something.

Friday, February 15, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part IV, On Rec Therapy and Runaways

Once morning snack is over, a group like Recreational Therapy would begin. Rec Therapy was always quite remarkable, really, because it was nice to be able to do some sort of activity that involved something other than us sitting on our rapidly growing butts, doing nothing but talking talking talking about our feelings and emotions. We got to, you know, actually laugh on occasion, or maybe even burn thirteen calories moving around a bit. So, you know. They had us on quite the long leash, as you can tell.

The catch with Rec Therapy, was that the “life lesson” learned at the end of every session was always the same: use teamwork to get over your eating disorder. I could sleep through the entire thing, wake up at the end, and know that the moral of that day’s lesson was that working together brings better results in life and in recovery than going at it alone. And really, it’s a nice message. It was just hammered into our brain waaaay too much, and it got kind of monotonous. It was a nice way to numb your brain, though, if needed.

Some activities would include

A group of a few girls
Two paper cups
Some string

And that, somehow, equaled teamwork and recovery.

Or maybe a particular day there would be

A rope
Holding hands
Your momma

And that, somehow, equaled teamwork and recovery.

It was fascinating. I mean, WOW. We learned so much in treatment!

After Rec Therapy, there was usually a half hour or so to chillax before lunch. That time for me was spent (using the bathroom, of course) and praying that my goliath amounts of food would somehow digest and miraculously disappear from my stomach so that there would be room for the mammoth amounts yet to come.

I’d also like to take the time to get a little shut-eye, but that was usually impossible for one of a few possibilities:

1) A girl was having a temper tantrum. The tell-tale signs included screaming and a lamp being thrown against the wall. Cue therapist running for their life. Enter hysterical girl, chanting something like, “I hate you I hate you! You’re all trying to make me fat!” And you’ve got yourself one little gem of a tantrum.
2) An attempted runaway. These were rarely successful, but when they were, oh yeeeeah. It fueled our conversations for the next several hours. We’d hear the revealing sound of the alarm, meaning a door somewhere has been open. We’d all run for the nearest window, craning our necks and pushing each other out of the way to see who’s made a go of braving Scary Evil World. We’d see her: running for her life, wearing slippers, then we’d watch a line of sprinting therapists and/or care techs trying desperately to catch up to her, wondering how in hell a malnourished girl can outrun them all. “Go So-and-So!” I’d always cheer for them, knowing that they’d inevitably get dragged back, but still. It was nice to see someone fight against The System.
3) A nurse would pull me aside for the daily How Are You Meeting. I hated this, especially because I secretly deduced that the nurse didn’t even want to be talking to us, but had to. Insurance companies now made it requisite that they fill out a form on us everyday, to see how our moods and behaviors and feelings toward our bodies were progressing. I’d enthusiastically do my best to escape as quickly as possible, but this could be tricky. There was inevitably always a nurse or two that loved to chit-chat. I mean, c’mon! Get paid to do some real work! Go draw blood or phase drop someone, or something. Go tattle to a therapist, whatever. Just fill out your form about me, informing my insurance that I am still highly depressed and anorexic and will never get better, or whatever you say, and let me sleep. I never said this vicious rhetoric out loud, but I did with my eyes. Oh. I did with my eyes.
And then its



Thursday, February 14, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part III, On Inappropriate Convos and Morning Snack

The interim between Open Group and morning snack is usually pretty laid back. A few girls will try to sleep or read a therapeutic book, which is usually so dreadfully boring, one can’t get through it. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Great book, (I guess) but the title says it all. Why read one-hundred-odd pages of “Even if you think you’ll be fat if you recover, who cares? Feel the fear and do it anyway!” or “You might have been horribly traumatized as a child, and therefore; need your eating disorder to cope. But who cares? Feel the fear and do it anyway!” Or “Why did the chicken cross the road? Who cares? Feel the fear and do it anyway!”

And then there were a couple girls who could complete a 1,000 piece puzzle in approximately 7.983 minutes. Because I cannot complete a four piece puzzle in 7.983 minutes, I usually steered clear. A few of us would sit in a circle and chat a bit, and of course, without fail, the topic would always go to our bodies and how much we were or were not eating. The staff at CFC naturally tried to discourage that kind of tête-à-tête, because discussing numbers (i.e. what we weigh currently, or what we used to weigh, or what our lowest weight ever was, or how many calories we did or did not used to eat, etc) could be triggering and could ignite competition in us to see who used to be the “Best Anorexic” or the “Best Over-Exerciser” or the “Best Purger,” etc. I was naturally the “Best at Going Back to Treatment Several Times,” but I don’t like to brag, so we’ll move on.

A conversation could go something like this:

Bulimic Girl Who Is Also a Binge Drinker: Oh, man. I could realllllllly go for a drink right now. You know, I used to put vodka in a water bottle and take it with me to school. It was awesome, man! I was wasted by the end of 1st period, and no one ever even knew!”
Me: That is the coolest thing I have ever heard. You must tell me more.
Bulimic Girl Who Is Also a Binge Drinker: Well, this one time – I got so smashed, and it was awesome! I almost cut off my finger and laughed the whole time. I also may or may not have lost my virginity that same night, but whateva.
Me: (Grossly enthralled) Woah! So –
Tech Who Had Slyly Been Listening to the Entire Conversation: You can’t talk about stuff like that, girls! Let’s steer the conversation to rainbows and butterflies and cakes. Wait. Not cake. No food talk allowed. But, hey. How ‘bout those rainbows, eh?

Or maybe it would be rather along the lines of this:

Girl Who Has a Massive Amount of Weight to Gain: (In a whisper) Brie, I know we’re not supposed to talk about this, but am I like, sooooo fat? I feel huge!
Me: No, NO. Of course not. You’re, like, severely underweight. You actually look like a twelve year old boy who has cancer and may or may not die at any moment.
Girl Who Has a Massive Amount of Weight to Gain: Really?! You’re not just saying that? That is the most marvelous compliment anyone has ever given me! Oh Brie, thank you so much! You just made my day! It’s just that (lowers voice) I used to weigh about the same as my pet frog, and now, it’s just so hard. I hate gaining weight.
Me: (Sympathetically) Well, don’t worry. You may not weight what Kermit weighs, but I’d say you’re about Pug size. Yeah, you’re quite Pug-ish. And that’s still teeny! Pugs are very small dogs, you know!

And after those extremely deep and uplifting conversations, it’s time for snack. Before we head for the dining room, though, there is yet another round of every girl and their grandomother peeing roughly three gallons of water and/or Boost. I’ll, of course, always end up standing in line behind the one girl who has to take a massive dump, so I get the extreme pleasure of walking into a reeking bathroom with skid marks in the toilet. After I do my biz-nass, the tech comes in to flush the toilet. She doesn’t say anything, but I know she’s grateful she only had to look at urine and not a huge, you know, bowel movement.

And it’s snack time. Because it takes the average human stomach about four days to digest what I have eaten only at breakfast, I do not in the slightest feel hungry. I drag my feet to the dining room and pray it’s not some fatty dessert concoction. “Please, no. My stomach can’t handle it. C’mon, Cooks! Do me a solid,” I’m thinking, “Please, pleaaaaase have it be apples or veggies or something.”


It’s a fatty dessert concoction.

And I have quite the heap of it on my plate. Weight gain is gravely offensive to me.

I sigh and unwillingly take my mountain of evil fat and calories with my chocolate milk and find a seat. Of course, every girl’s eyes are roving the others’ plates, gauging if they have more or less than the others. My and my fellow weight-gainers sigh and pick up our forks. We only have fifteen minutes to consume this monster, and we need every minute.

Six minutes later

I’m starting to feel sick, and I’m only 1/3 of the way through my mound of fat and calories.

Two minutes later

I start burping and praying that nothing will come up, please, oh please…keep it down…

Three minutes later

I catch the eye of Whit, who was in CFC many-a-time with me. C’mon, Brie, her eyes tell me, you can do it, and I watch her eat her giant pile of dessert as well, and am reminded that if she can do it, I certainly can, too.
Four minutes left. Half of this fiend is left to consume. I begin taking massive mouthfuls, gagging and swallowing, gagging and swallowing. I wash it down with chocolate milk. I scrape my plate; because anything left on it – even a crumb – means getting Boosted. I’m finished.

TIME’S UP, they call.

I did it.

And then I cry, and simultaneously gain roughly two pounds.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part II, On Open Group

As I recall, breakfast has just concluded, yes?

So, once back on the unit, all the girls wait impatiently for “The 30” to be up, which will be a loooong thirty minutes we must endure before being able to use the ladies’ facilities. Because it’s easier to, you know, get rid of your food when it has most recently been eaten, we all hop around and cross our legs trying to hold in our pee until our tummies have sufficiently digested our unholy amounts of food, which, by the way, would feed a small family of three hundred for the day.

So. We’ve all peed. It’s time for Open Group! Are you excited? No?
Neither of us ever was, either.
Open Group would predictably begin the same way every single session. The therapist would ask us to go around the room and tell everyone our names, how long we’ve been in treatment, where we’re from, and then have us answer some ridiculous question that would be something like “If you were a mythical creature, which would you pick?” or “On a scale of 1 to 10, how angry/happy/fat/ugly are you right now?” or “How are you doing today, but please refrain from using weather words – go into detail, girls!” (For some reason they really discouraged adjectives like fine, good, cold, cloudy, hurricane-ish, etc. Why the hell would we tell everyone we were felling “snowy” that day, anyway?) This was for the benefit of the new girls who had just been admitted and didn’t know anyone yet. You could always pick them out, because they were usually the ones sitting in the corner, tapping their foot a million miles a minute, looking like a deranged, rabid animal, frightened out of their starved little minds.

I’m Brie.” I’d glance dully around the room quickly, and then revert my eyes back to my rapidly growing thighs. “I’ve been in CFC for ­­­_____ days/weeks/months/years. I’m from SLC, and if I were a mythical creature, I’d be a hobbit. Or something.”

Once everyone has had their turn introducing themselves, and after we all learn that there are an extraordinary amount of girls who would like to be either fairies and/or unicorns, Group finally begins. The therapist leading the particular group will open the floor to anyone who has anything they want to talk about. Thus begins the most awkward time of group, for we all look at each other, willing the other to speak, so that we, in turn, won’t have to. As expected, the same one or two girls will fall asleep, despite the care techs continually asking them to wake up.

After a good ten minutes of unbearable, disconcerting silence, the therapist will groan and pick a victim to speak. The rest of us sigh in relief as it wasn’t us, and we cheerfully listen to Victim Girl begrudgingly share her pain/worries/fat fears, etc. We all know she took one for the team, was a casualty in our I Don’t Wanna Talk In Group War. We all try extra hard to support her and give her remarkable amounts of feedback that she will, of course, immediately disregard. But still. She did us a solid, and we don’t forget that.

Group is over. Most of us are relieved, if only for the fact that we’ve been dying to pee like Seabiscut and couldn’t hold it a second longer. Most of us believe we are in a Nazi concentration camp, one reason being no bathroom breaks are allowed during groups, unless it’s an emergency. An emergency consists of either a

Time of the month issue or a
#2 or #3 thing

Because many of us don’t have “time of the month issues” because we still don’t menstruate due to our famished little bodies unable to produce the extra, I dunno, eggs or whatever, that option was usually out. So having a number twosie was usually the “emergency” we would have to revert to. So if I’m in Group, and I reaaaaaaaally have to pee, I’ll tell the tech that it’s
“…an emergency! For real! I can’t hold it!”
She’ll begrudgingly take me to the bathroom where I will blissfully pee (Should I mention how hydrated they insist on keeping you?). Then I sweetly would tell her that
“I had to go poop soooooo bad, but I’m just constipated and couldn’t get anything out!
Oh. Darn!”
And voila. That’s how you do it girls. Many a bladder infection has been avoided by my fool-proof plan to make sure my miniscule bladder pees all it wishes.

And thus concludes Part II.

[Disclaimer: This is a bit, you know, sarcastic. CFC actually rocks my socks.]

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part I, On Getting Weighed and Breakfast

I’ve had a couple of requests to write a blog about a day in the life of an inpatient eating disordered junkie.
I know, I know. Really, it’s quite fascinating. But fascinating in a creepy, horrifying way.
Or something.
It’s kind of like watching a car wreck. You know how you want to pull your eyes away, but they irrevocably, irrefutably, refuse to move? That’s what this post will be like: riveting in its humor and simultaneous revulsion.

I’ll be writing it in several installments. You breathlessly await, I’m sure. So here goes:

6 am
This is the blasphemous hour in which the care techs (i.e. fellow girls who were apparently “normal” because they didn’t have an eating disorder, which somehow made them qualified to flush our feces and boss us around) would wake us up. We had an hour to shower and get ready for the day, before meeting in the living room at 7 am. Being even one minute late meant all sorts of horrible punishments that included, but were not limited to, Chinese Water Torture, Hail Mary’s, and whippings.
Upon waking up, before we were allowed to relieve our distended bladders of Boost and urine so hydrated it wasn’t even yellow; we had to don a very becoming hospital gown to get weighed. We even had to take off our underwear, and trust me, they checked for those lines! Apparently underwear weighs approximately .036 pounds and could therefore drastically throw off our accurate weight. Naturally, we anorexics loved taking off our underwear, so that we could in any way lessen our weight. We were made to stand on the scale backward, and trust me – no peeking was allowed. I tried on many (nay, scores) of occasions, all without luck at seeing that evil number.

After that humiliating task was over, and after we had gotten ready, we waited for breakfast. This was an interesting time of day, because it was the time in which we had all gone the longest without eating anything, (approximately ten hours, yes, ten!) and most of us tried to talk loudly over the gurgling demands of our stomachs to be fed so that others might not hear our embarrassing need for food. For those of us who were used to going days without a decent meal, this was horrifying. To think that our bodies actually needed, even wanted food? Humiliating! But we couldn’t help it. We were eating so much, and our metabolisms were revving up. We were hungry, though most of us hated to admit it.

7:15 am – Breakfast
This was by far the easiest meal to eat because my stomach was not yet full from a day’s worth of weight-gain food portions. Now, this is my perspective, and since the majority of my (coughthreeinpatientstayscough) at the Center For Change were spent on weight gain, I will describe to you what an average meal for someone who had a great deal of weight to gain was like. It was gluttonous, really. I’d walk into the dining room and claim my tray that comprised something like
-1 large bowl of cereal with 1% milk
-1 container of yogurt
-1 large bowl of fruit
-2 pieces of toast with butter and jelly
-1 large glass of juice
-your firstborn

So, as you can tell, it’s a lot. And that, by comparison of what’s to come, was easy! Seriously, my gag reflex is acting up just thinking about everything I had to eat. Eating as much as I had to was not easy, physically or emotionally. It was incredibly painful. Tums and Gas X were taken in voracious abundance.

After exactly thirty minutes to consume our entire tray of food, we were able to go back to the unit - that is if we had actually, in fact, eaten everything on our plate(s) and did not need to wait around to argue with a tech about how much Boost she was substituting for the calories we hadn’t eaten:
Me: No, I had half of that toast! You’re giving me more Boost than that. It was just half. Half!
Tech: You’re not supposed to argue with me. Just drink the Boost I gave you.
Me: Noooo! There’s, like, fifteen more calories in there than there should be. This isn’t fair. You’re trying to make me fat!

Once said argument is over, and I have lost, (You always lose, by the way. Never has an argument, especially about food, been won at Center For Change. It’s maddening.) You get prepared for the morning group, which was either 12 Step (EDA) or Open Group.

We’ll get to that little gem in the next installment.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Book Thief


When I talk about something I am passionate about, I transform from this really, you know, cool person, into a banal, corny, and clichéd-out nerd.

And I am passionate about books. Really, I’m surprised at myself. How have I never blogged on the subject before? Reading is my life, my passion. When others like to socialize, I love nothing more than curling up at home with my kitties and a good book. I’m an avid reader – by the time I was in the 9th grade, I had read more American Classics (and then some) than any above-average adult. Literature, writing…it speaks to me. When others see beauty in paintings or in music, I see humanity and brutality and reality and fantasy in words on a page.

I have many favorite books. Far too many to list here. What I will list are the three books that have not only made a huge impact on the world, but on me. They’ve changed me, rearranged my insides so that I will irrevocably never be the same person again.

The List:
The Grapes Of Wrath
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Book Thief

The latter was the book I finished late last night. It is the novel I spoke of in my previous post, when I said I had just had a life-changing experience. This book was It. If you want to read a book so full of beauty and depth and pain, please pick it up. It’s a young adult book, written by a man who is no more than a young adult himself, at only twenty years of age; I can’t fathom how he had the profundity and life experience to churn out such beautiful words.

The Book Thief takes place in Nazi Germany, and our protagonists are a little ten year old girl - a German girl, and the little street of eclectic neighbors she lives with in a small town in Germany. The narrator of this novel is Death himself, and you will never read a book about WWII like this. By the end of the novel, you will not only be more exposed to the horrors of life and of what another human being will do to another, but you will witness beauty and wonder even amidst the most devastating horrors of life.

That’s all.
Weird, nerdy girl, be gone!

Okay, whew. I think I’m back.

New Title

Yes, again.
I just need to make this right.
It's the middle of the night, and I've just had one of those rare experiences in life that change you forever. I can't stop crying. All I can think about is changing the damn name of my blog.
But it needs to mean something, you know? And I think this does.
I know this is hard to follow and a bit random. I will write more tomorrow (er, actually later today, I guess). I promise.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Tonight, I look impeccable. Sylish. A black high-waisted skirt with stiletto ankle boots make me look slim and classy. My hair is sleek and shine-a-wow, and my makeup is simple and clean.

But I sit here, and I feel small, and ugly, and inferior. I shift uncomfortably in my chair and try to slow the anxious tapping of my foot.
My mind wanders.
I squint my eyes in an effort to augment my vision to see more clearly, for I neglected to wear my glasses tonight (I didn’t want them to cause discord with my outfit).

And then I think: "If I can’t see them, perhaps they can’t see me." What a hopeful thought, though my adult mind is far too seasoned to fall for such childish niceties that shield the human mind from pain. No, they can see me. But no one really knows, really sees, do they? We never really can accurately probe the psyche of another. Our private pain, insecurities, and oddities remain hidden. Everyone masks them differently. In my case, I choose to veil my ugliness with beauty. With fashionable clothing. With expertly applied makeup.
With nothing that is real.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Tantrum of Monstrous Proportions, and a Mommy with a Lot of Tenacity

That’s what it took to get my Cadester home from the hospital last night. His pediatrician had said that he probably wouldn’t be able to come home until Saturday, but by yesterday, he was so, so angry at being in the hospital. He wouldn’t stop crying (okay, let’s be honest: it was really more like screaming). He kept pointing to the door, crying, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” He wouldn’t be consoled with any of his toys or his bottle - nothing, absolutely nada we did could soothe him.

I took it as a good sign that he was so adamant about going home; it meant he was feeling well enough to be aware of his environment and know he wasn’t at home with his toys and in comfortable surroundings. So after hours and hours of my mom and Brandon and I juggling him and his screams, after we were all lullabied and nursery-rhymed out, after we all agreed that we could not survive another minute like this, I got online and looked up my pediatrician’s home phone number. Now, before you all start feeling horrifyingly embarrassed on my behalf, that I’d actually have the tenacity to call my son’s doctor from home, late at night, you all must realize that Dr Cramer is a good friend of our family’s; we lived in the same neighborhood for years. I went to high school with his kids, and quite frankly, he was devastated when he found out I was getting married to someone other than his son. He’s the kindest man in the world, and he told me that if I needed anything, I could call him, day or night. So after a few minutes of debating with myself, I decided to take him up on that offer and finally called his home. I told him that I knew, as a mother, what my son needed, and that I really thought he could do more healing and recuperating at this point at home. He had been breathing for a few hours on his own without oxygen,and I made sure to update Doc Cramer on all these positive points. He then talked to the nurse and told her we were discharging Cade, and she really didn’t believe him – I’m pretty sure no child has ever been released from the hospital at 11:30 at night! But we were able to go home, and Cade was so happy at last (and finally stopped screeching and driving us all batshit).

He’s still under the weather, but after this fatty week from hell, I can survive a sick weekend with my child – as long as we’re both at home, we can get through anything, no kidding.

So, yeah. Cheers for the worst week as a mother that I’ve ever endured finally being over. Cheers I survived it, but more importantly, cheers Cade survived it! I was able to get through the week by more or less taking care of myself (basically, you all should know that means that I actually ate. Yay for me for not restricting when conflict and such broke out. What a giant step for me. )

Last Week's Leftovers

So, obviously, the title of my blog has changed. When I originally began blogging four months ago, the view for what I intended my blog to be has morphed into something else entirely.
Something waaaaaay cooler.
For so long, I've hidden behind...well, behind me. A fake me, I guess, which was why the title "No Tale Tells All" was so appealing to me. But as time passes, none of that really matters to me so much anymore. I just want to be me on this blog, whether that day it be happy or grumpy or funny or devastating. Hence the term "Last Week's Leftovers." This blog is just going to be a big, sloppy conglomeration of my thoughts and the goings-on in my life, and every day, it'll be something different. If I am on your blog roll, please change the title. If I'm not on your blog roll, then you're an idiot. :)

More to come later today on how Cade is doing. (It's excellent, by the way!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

From the Hospital #2

Day three of Cade in the hospital is almost over (Oh, thank you, thank you). I sit here typing, listening to his labored breathing while he's curled up in the crib, and I remind myself to focus on the positives - that he is improving (however minimally). I think back on today, and smile as I remember that he had 1/3 of a popsicle today and ten M&M's, the most food he's had in four days. I smile when I think that he grabbed the remote from me today and was entralled watching the TV turn on and off, or when he almost smiled when Alana and I made a tower for him out of blocks and he knocked them over and watched them tumble to the ground. I think back and realize he was actually awake for an hour or two today, and that he spoke a little, asking for both his mama and his dada. All of these are drastic improvements over this past week, and I work very hard to remain positive and faithful that his little body will heal and that he will soon regain his strength and health. For such a vital, active little boy, seeing him so weak and sick has been heart-wrenching, and I cannot wait for the return of my old and familiar baby boy.

Cade has officially been diagnosed with an extreme case of RSV. After a chest X-ray done this morning, it has also been found that he has contracted Pneumonia from a viral infection. He is being treated with antibiotics for the Pneumonia, and is otherwise being fed a couple of different kinds of fluids through his IV, because he is extremely dehydrated. He still cannot breathe on his own without the oxygen tubes in his nose, but the pediatrician has been able to slow the amount of oxygen being given him, so he is able to get by with just a little less, which is hopeful. We are hoping for a discharge day of either Saturday or Sunday. Our doctor told us to not get our hopes up that he could leave by Friday, but they are anyway. He is improving a little everyday, so I am praying like crazy that by Friday or Saturday he'll be able to come back home, where I feel confident that he can recover more quickly in an environment that is both familiar and comfortable to him.

I want to thank you all for your love and support and prayers. I have had so many calls and visits and to know you are thinking of our little family at this time and are keeping us in your prayers truly brings tears to my eyes (I can't help it, I'm such a hot mess right now). I have never had to deal with anything like this, especially as a mother, and I have to tell you that it might be the scariest, most emotionally and physically taxing thing I've ever had to go through. It has just made me rediscover how grateful I am for Cade, and what a joy and blessing he is in my life. Again, thank you all.

Here are a few pictures I thought you might like to see.

This was taken last night, we were both sooooo sleepy.

Playing blocks with Daddy.

Yay for popsicles! Fashion and makeup are not priorities here, people, so do not judge my appearance. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

From the Hospital

Cade was brought to Primary Childrens' Medical Center via ambulance early yesterday afternoon. It is still unknown how long he will be inpatient, as he cannot get adequate oxygen without the help of tubes in his nose. Please keep your thoughts and prayers directed his way.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Superbowl Suckday

Who played again? The Cowboys and the Giants? I really don't understand why football is considered a great American pasttime. Who wants to watch a bunch of steroid-driven men with sweaty balls tackling each other? Not moi. The commercials weren't that great this year, (from the...I don't know, two or three I watched) and...Tom Petty for the half-time show? I mean, I'm happy that this year there were no wardrobe malfunctions and nasty nipple shows, but still. Tom Petty?

Cade has also been really sick. He finally caught the flu/cold thing that I had last week. Brandon and I unintentionally each gave him some Motrin about an hour apart, so we had to call the Poison Control Center to make sure it was okay for his little system, but meanwhile he's delirious and loopy from the accidental over-medication. He won't stop moaning, and Brandon and I have had a really long day and will have an even longer night ahead of us.

There's also nothing on TV.

It's also snowing.

Suckday, indeed.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

When Brie Was In the Center...

Tonight was my mom's birthday, (I'll abstain from telling you how old she turned because she'd never forgive me) and during the party, everyone had a ridiculously delightful time at my expense. We were all reminiscing about our favorite memories about Mom, and everyone seemed to have a memory that was prefaced with, "Okay, so this one time...let's see...when was it? Oh yeah, I think it's when Brie was in the Center..." (For those of you unacquainted with the treatment facility I've been in *coughquiteafewtimescough,* "the Center" stands for the Center For Change.) So it just became this (apparently) hugely hilarious joke. I mean, really, I've been in treatment so often that it just ended up being quite a helpful timeline for people to judge their memories by. Then my dad decided it would be funny to cheerfully interject with some sly comments, too. My sister began by saying, "Okay, this was when-" and my dad yells, "...when Brie was in the Center?!" And everyone would roar.

It was hilarious. Really. I’m serious. What? It was!

I'm far past the stage about being sensitive about my obvious need in the past for treatment for that pesky little thing called anorexia (Have you heard of it?). I figure, when you get to a place in your life when you're so out of control you need people to flush your feces for you, it's time to give up your dignity and move on. I mean, you win some, you lose some, you know? In fact, I got so into it, that by the end, when my mom was opening her last gift, she received a painting that she herself had painted when she was ten years old. Her sister had found it in storage or something and thought my mom would like to have it. So my mom exclaims something like, "Wow! I haven't seen this in years! I painted this in the 50's!" To which I so unimaginatively exclaimed, "The 50's? Wow! I was in the Center!"

So yeah. Good night. Great Mexican meal, pina coladas with toothpick umbrellas, (which make them so much more cool) chocolate cake with mixed berries, and oh - a good roast. Nothing makes a night as great as a hardcore roast - even when a portion of it is at my expense.

Happy Birthday, Ma!
(I’ll post pictures as soon as my sister emails them to me.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sweet Couture 'O Mine

I love Juicy Couture. And I am quite partial to my new charm for my Juicy charm bracelet. It's my Valentine's gift to myself: