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.


Emily said...

Damn. I don't miss the days of weight gain rations when I was in the hospital many, many times and when I was at Rogers Memorial EDC. I drank so much Boost and Ensure Plus that at times I thought I was going to die. It hurt SO BADLY. I could never finish my food, so I always got supplemented. I remember laying in my bed in utter anguish, totally miserable, knowing that if I threw up by accident from all the food/supplements they gave me, I'd be accused of purging. No, I don't miss those days at all.

JustinandNichole said...

I love it. I look forward to hearing more! I remember those Boost arguments with such fondness (not really. I always felt so bad about how much food the weight gainers had to eat. I remember that I got into trouble one day because I started laughing at how much coffee cake one girl had to eat- not at her, just the absurdity of it. I know it would have made me sick. I am so glad you stuck with it and are the audacious and amazing lady you are now!

KC Elaine said...

ugh I hated how arguments were never won. dr. berrett did postpone my phase drop so I could go on a trip once because I was yelling and crying about it, so I guess I half won.

Paige said...

Will you write a book about your time at the CFC, which they will later make into an award-winning movie? You're such a good writer. Please include me as one of the characters; I want to be played by Scarlet Johanson ;-) You can include the part about how that jerk Chris Carter never wrote us back!

Laurie and Corey Kunz said...

Thanks Brie! I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.
You crack me up and you are an amazing writer.
This is just too good.

Devon said...

Um yeah...so definitely spent that entire length of time...laughing...hard!

Just remembering all that crazy stuff...wow - it's nice that we can laugh about it now...because it sure as hell wasn't funny then.

Love you my dear and thanks for making my day. Hope we can have our date tomorrow!

Stacy said...

not fond memories. I think the tried to put a tube up my nose so I ended up with boost YUCK!

but I was there back in the day when there were only 16 beds and we were in the initial building before they added on the 2 story building you guys were in.

looking forward to more nostalgia.

Jinii said...

Brie! Long time. Loni K and I went to high school together. How is everything going for you and your family. We need to drag all our families together from the 8th ward and have a little get together. It would be fun to see everyone now!

Jinii said...

Sure you can add me. Yeah good old Craig. I am sure if he saw you he would still call you Brie Burger!

sav said...

oh my gosh...this is quite hilarious. i know that i never won an argument...i mean come on..I went there more than once! :)

keep 'em comin'!!

♥ Jen ♥ said...

so I'm pretty sure that I, myself alone, would go through at least a half a box of Gas-X a day haha sooo true!

NoSurfGirl said...

lol! Tears of laughter.

but only because I'm now 3 years removed from my own tech-hood....
Gosh, that place. Gosh. That Place. I wish I could say stronger words.... pieces of it I loved, pieces of it were completely hell... yes, even for us techs.