Specialist Eating Disorder Inpatient Stay

Well this is going to be a lengthy post..partially because i have a lot to say..but mainly because im currently travelling backwards on a train so keep having to stop out of fear of throwing up..then starting again with the frustration of getting bored…not that any of that matters to you lot because it will take you just as long to read my drabble but there you go.

Today I want to touch on eating disorder units, and my experience in them specifically. Im concentrating mainly on my most recent stay in an inpatient unit (district hospital and adolescent inpatient stays will come at a later date) which was at Rharian Fields Specialist Eating Disorders Unit in Grimsby.

So the first thing that may jump out to many of you is the same thing that jumped out at me when I was given the news..’why on gods earth did you go all the way to grimsby?!’ Although part of me hoped it was due to Grimsby being some magical land that cures eating disorders as soon as you enter its domain..the sad truth was that this was actually the closest location to us (in lil old Harrogate) with an available bed. This highlights two important points. The first being how common eating disorders actually are and how many people are suffering, seeing as only the most severe are admitted into hospital, and all these places are full. The second is how limited resources are to treat this high demand of patients..there are actually specialist eating disorder units in Leeds, York, Manchester and Sheffield..none of which had a single bed to offer what at the time was an emergency admission leaving so many people helpless and under the radar.

Now that little side note is out the way..lets get back to Grimsby. In short I hated every waking moment I spent in that place..an opinion I didn’t hide very well I might add. I cried for a good half to three quarters of the day, every day, from admission onwards. This was not due to the place itself being a hell hole or anything of the sort, in fact I do look back on few moments with fondness and I do miss a lot of the staff. 4 members of staff I miss in particular and will always have a special place in my thoughts (and heart…nawwww). Laura, Jennie, Alison and Natalie. Although all of the staff were absolutely wonderful and I could write an essay on each and every one of them, these four pulled me through the most testing times, kept me strong, kept me sane and actually made me smile. They made the place almost feel like a home away from home when I missed it so much. Laura was my named nurse, we got along so well, I could be completely honest with her, we used to gossip about nonsense, she took me to yoga classes, and I was her pain in her ass but thats what made her a bit like a big sister to me because she put up with me regardless. Jennie used to always take me for coffee, we always joked around..calling each other names..having random jokes no one else understood..and loved to wind each other up, even if this involved her coming into my room at 6am waking me up with a sunshine alarm song on her phone (dont even ask) it certainly kept my spirits up. Ali and nat were always there for me to talk to, again they were hilarious and I always looked forward to them coming on shift. They really knew what they were talking about and I trusted and respected their opinions. All four of these lovely women were there for me to give me a hug when I needed it and above all they were always honest. They put me in my place when I was being ridiculous and pulled me through what was the most difficult time of my life, not forgetting actually saving it when physically I was so so weak and actually not far from death having come straight from the harrogate district hospital, their care kept me safe and alive and for that I am forever grateful.

Now i’ve sung their praises, I can return to my hatred of the whole scenario with a little less guilt haaa. Home sickness was the main hurdle I had to tackle, it was utterly horrendous to be put in such a vulnerable position, so far from home but the worst aspect was not knowing how long I was going to be there. So a general day looked a bit like this..

On a monday, we would wake up at about 6:30 as everyone had to be weighed first thing before breakfast…breakfast was every day at 7:30, you had 30mins to complete main meals and if you didn’t manage to finish you were offered the rest as a nutritional shake or if necessary through a naso-gastric tube. Whilst my BMI was under 14, this meant ‘room rest’ so the entirety of the day was pretty much spent in the lounge, and a wheelchair would have to be used to access other rooms. So many films were watched, many puzzles were puzzled and many scarves were knitted.

On a monday, there were team reviews where all decisions regarding your care were made including changes to your diet plan and any time you may be allowed off the unit (including home leave) so the atmosphere on the ward could be quite tense.

10:30 was morning snack..followed by some more sitting..then lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and supper. Throughout the week there were also some ‘group sessions’ which I must admit I never found very beneficial..they mainly involved some form of drawing or cutting and sticking which I could never see the relevance of but there you go it passed the time. We also received 1-1 sessions with a member of staff each day to talk about any difficulties we were having and work on certain aspects of our eating disorder such as perfectionism or body image. Unfortunately they don’t deem you capable of retaining any information until your BMI is 16 so I never really received this either..

This post is dragging out an awful lot but that’s a rough idea of how the days panned out…next time ill focus more on district hospital stays as these were quite different!

As always message me with any questions you may have…

Emma xo

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