I wrote in my last post about how I was gradually becoming more and more unwell, physically. I worried that my body would eventually shut down and that I would probably starve to death.
Well, I honestly didn’t expect it to ever get this far, but I landed myself in hospital.
The symptoms of starvation had been creeping up on me every day, but I just kept on downing coffee and proudly telling everybody I was ‘super human’ for functioning so well without food.
I had been experiencing double/spinning vision, breathing difficulties, my hair had started falling out, I constantly felt like I was going to faint and I could not stay warm, no matter the weather or how many layers I piled on. I felt incredibly weak and run down. I would have episodes of sheer exhaustion every day but I wouldn’t allow Jules to take me to the hospital because- as I said in my last post-I felt they would not take me seriously and, on top of that, I didn’t really want help.
In the end, primarily out of fear, I went to my GP on Monday. I walked in there, on a hot day in a hot surgery wearing a long, thick jumper and a winter scarf. Just to start with, my GP was concerned by this. My clothes were covered in hairs where I had brushed it and it kept falling out. I was so cold I was shivering. Her answer to this was to order a full blood count and an ECG because eating disorders can eat away at your heart muscles.
And so I went home and got into bed and just spent the entire evening lying there, doing nothing.
The following day (Tuesday), I seemed to be a little better and so my boyfriend and I went out for a coffee and everything was quite normal for some time. But after a couple of hours I started to feel very tired and cold (despite it being a hot day), so we went home and I went to bed. Pretty soon my breathing difficulties returned and soon after that I was literally gasping for breath. I started seeing double which got progressively worse until I literally couldn’t see anything. I was as cold as ice, wrapped up in everything warm I could find and under the covers, shivering. I cannot express how exhausted and weak I became, so quickly so I just lay there like a dead person.
After two whole hours of this, thinking it would clear up as it usually does, I said to Jules that I was willing to go to the hospital. I guess I believed I was going to die this time.
He had to carry me to the taxi, put me inside and do my seat belt. I was getting weaker, and fast, my head dropped to my chest and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. When he wheeled me into minor injuries I may as well have been a corpse sitting in the chair. I didn’t have the strength to speak.
They told us they couldn’t deal with cases like mine in there so we were sent to the emergency department. I was just sitting there, barely alive and so I don’t know how long it was until I was seen.
I saw a doctor who asked too many questions that I couldn’t find the strength to answer and did a fair amount of tests but I couldn’t even look at her, let alone follow a pen. What I do remember is her telling me I had to be admitted.
They put me on a drip straight away, in the waiting area. All I could think about was how much I wanted a cigarette! The first drip took forever to go through, I mean hours and I wasn’t seen after that for a long time. But after about an hour I was just about able to open my eyes and speak, although I still couldn’t walk.
Eventually I was taken to a ward but no one came to see me that night as it was very late, only one nurse to do my general observations.
I couldn’t sleep that night. They only gave me a third of my normal medication (my body can’t handle all the chemicals without food). It was incredibly noisy on the ward, full of dying, demented old people (no disrespect). I had auditory hallucinations in the middle of the night, I thought there was a ghost in my room who was going to hurt me but I became paralyzed from the chest-up. It was incredibly frightening, but of course down to the starvation.
Up until that day I had not even anything (bar half a sandwich) in two and a half weeks, but I really thought I could get through it Scott-free.
Early the next morning, when I finally had the energy to go out and smoke, a consultant came to see me. He told me I had severe malnutrition and dehydration and that I was lucky to get away with just that.
Throughout the day and evening I went on drip after drip, having every type of nutrients and saline pumped directly into my veins. I got better quickly.
I saw the liaison psychiatrist in the afternoon. He was OK, but a typical psychiatrist, always trying to catch you out and treating you as if you’re lying. He diagnosed me (once again) with anorexia nervosa. He spent most of our half an hour conversation watching my hands which I move a lot when I talk, as opposed to looking me in the eye which made me very uncomfortable. Most strangely, he was baffled that I had gone so long without eating anything at all. He’d say, ‘so what do you eat for breakfast?’ ‘Nothing,’ I’d say. ‘And what about lunch?’ ‘Er, nothing!’ Well you MUST eat something for dinner!’ ‘Nope.’ I mean, I have a fucking eating disorder, wake up!
He ordered an ECG and it turned out- much to my surprise- that there was a slight complication with my heart. They reckon this was caused by me taking such heavy sedatives every night without food. And so they have reduced my dose… And so far I have not adhered to that; I just can’t sleep on a smaller dose. I guess I will be in trouble when they repeat the ECG next week and the problem is still there.
And, finally, they sent a dietitian to see me and we both agreed this was a waste of time. Her job is to advise people on how to eat the ‘right’ foods for their health and weight, but how do you tell an anorexic how to eat? It’s a big no from me. What she was able to do was to educate me a little on how my organs will gradually shut down and that it is very dangerous to go without food for such long periods and then eat quite a lot, apparently this can send your body into shock and damage all of your internal organs. Well, I have to say, this is a good motivation never to binge again which is fine by me! She also prescribed me some B vitamin compound to stop my hair from falling out and I guess to generally give me the energy I am so lacking in. The problem with that is, it sort of gives me a reason to carry on as I was, thinking I will be fine because I have all these minerals inside me.
I refused all food while in hospital, no one encouraged me to even try, which I think is pretty bad. I continued to fast until last night when Jules emotionally blackmailed me into eating a small amount of clear soup and some smoothie he made me. I regret it.
I suppose one good thing that came out of such a terrible situation was that the psychiatrist has made a recommendation for me to stay in a ‘facility’ for eating disorders for a while. Although I point blank refuse to gain weight- even if they pin me down- I would genuinely love to get better and stop suffering like this; all the mental torture and physical pain.
I am seeing my GP today for a follow up. I will be honest with him and tell him that even this scare is not enough to stop me.
My boyfriend is leaving me alone for the night (again), and quite honestly I am afraid this will happen again and there will be no one here to help me… And what then?