Walden Stay 1 part 7

I awoke in the morning, covered in sweat, and feeling very light-headed. The starvation better be working, I would get weighed this morning, and I hadn’t put anything into my mouth.  I know it sounds inane to starve yourself when you already have a major problem. What is hard to understand, is that was my only form of control at that time, and I wasn’t the least bit ready for a trip to Walden.  I was given no preparation.  I hadn’t been in an eating hospital before, and this was just way out of my league.

Soon enough I heard the guy come, with his blood pressure cart.  I sat up and didn’t say a word, he was quiet and I appreciated that. My mind was consumed with what the scale would say, I was good to drop 3 pounds in a day.  Two days of that puts me 6 pounds less, and I know I am riding out on the pony express back to my house where I eat and weigh myself just as I want to…..I hurried up and put on a johnnie, and I tried to pee as much as I could.  Most people cheat and they water load before weigh so they weigh more. I had to take a much more drastic strategy so this was it for me.

I meandered down the hallway there were only a couple of patients around. “Corey you’re up next.” I hopped on the scale and turned my back too it.  I could by the look on the nurse’s face, it wasn’t good for them, but was good for me. I could just tell from my body it was wasting away, my hips and my ribs were all jutting out. I was so twisted I felt happy and thoughts of going home to my life danced in my head.  I would most definitely be home for Thanksgiving.

I had an extra hop in my step as I got ready for the day, I knew the scale was going to be way, way down. Something that couldn’t just ignore. I laid low all morning until breakfast was called. I said hi to a few of the patients. We went into the dining room, I took my seat and stared at my plate. A half bagel with peanut butter, looked so good I almost ate it.  Soon, this hunger would pass all together, but it was still hanging on. I drank a sip of my coffee, if that is what they called it. Never tasted anything so bad in my life. I pushed the cup away and sat real still.  The table was not talkative which was not good. All it did was give me more time in my head to think of my two impending bolus protocols.  “Corey, how you doing with your breakfast?”  “Oh I am really full, this feeding tube is magic it takes all my hunger away.” “Corey that is inappropriate language in the dining hall. Are you finished, because if so Jane wants to see you in her office right away.” “OK I am going to see Jane, my friend.”

I walked down the hall and was half happy with my weight, but miserable when I  thought of those bolus protocols.  “Good morning Corey, how are you today.?” “I am fine any word on my three day?” “Oh no that is still deep in review, we need to discuss something a lot more serious. We don’t talk weight here at Walden at all with the patients, but Corey you have lost 7 pounds. Yes , I thought to myself this is going to work. “Really, wow that is a lot for being in an eating disorders hospital.  Seems to me like this is failing miserably, and when my primary care finds out, she will want me home where at least I wont starve.”

“Are you ready for your bolus?” “Yep, bring them on I don’t even mind them.” I lied and I willed it not to kill my like crazy as it always does. The nurse was nice and gentle with me, and it was over and not half bad. “Corey I get and see the game you are playing, except for one small piece you must hear: you are going to die, this isn’t a joke. You are so sick you don’t see or feel it anymore.” “I want to go home and if I have to come back I will. But I was not prepared for this setting and I must be home for Thanksgiving.”

“So you are just going to starve yourself to death right now to get yourself home?” “Yes, I am and it will work. I am not disagreeable to coming back.” “OK Corey I hope you live to come back, I will shred the three day and I have already talked to your family and doctor. They want you home just as soon as possible.”

“Do I get to go home today?” “Yes, Corey your family is on their way.” “Jane I will come back I will succeed at this program, I just need to go home and regroup.” “What are you doing with DHHS?” I said, “Did you fix the problem yet?” “Yes it is fixed and thank you for pointing it out.” “Then I am doing nothing at all.” I got up and went to leave, and I looked Jane right in the eyes: I will be back, I promise you ,and I am going to beat this fucking disease.”

“Good luck Corey hope to see you soon.” “Thank you Jane.”

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Walden Stay 1 part 6

Bill called me back into his office after lunch had settled down and I think he spoke to Jane.  I went in with my forms all filled out, and told him I had something very serious to discuss with him. He looked not as surprised as I would have thought, surely Jane and Carroll tipped him off about the medications issue and that I had said I was calling DHHS.  I had no intention of really calling DHHS, I wanted to get the hell out of there, and I would use any leverage I had. It was completely against the rules, to know other patient’s medications, and maybe even diagnoses.  I mentioned to Bill there was a major violation in the medication room.  I explained how on the pixis machine, which held all the drugs and patients information, that I was able to see on the screen every one’s medication for psychiatric illnesses.  “Corey, this is a serious observation you have brought to our attention, and I guarantee you now they are fixing it as we speak” “I understand that Bill, but the damage has been done.  There is no erasing the medications and the patients I saw, it is a grave breach of their privacy.

“Corey it appears we have two things going, is there a matter you would like to handle first?” “Yes, I would like to submit my three day forms and be given to contact my primary physician.  If it alright by you, I will sign these forms now and get this process starting.”  Bill handed me a pen, and I carefully read every word that was mine to make sure there no errors.  I then handed Bill the forms and quickly asked for a copy of them.  Bill seemed perplexed, like why would I want a copy?  I knew this wasn’t going to get easier, I was starving and getting bolus protocols in the hopes of getting released.

I then asked Bill what the procedure, who would all be reviewing my paperwork.  Also I asked what time on Friday I could expect to here a word. “Corey, three day passes are not taken lightly and it will be reviewed by many different people. My guess is you will know, Friday morning before noon.  However don’t hold me to that.” “Thank you Bill now may I please try to call my primary care?  It is very important, that I speak to her right away,”

Bill handed me the phone and I nervously called my primary care doctor. “Hi this is Corey. May I please talk to Dr.Carter I am in-patient and it is an emergency.” “Hold on and let me find her Corey.”  “OK,” I said as the knot in my stomach grew tighter.

“This is Dr. Carter.” “Hello Dr. Carter it is Corey and I am having a very rough time, I have lost more weight since I was admitted and just put in for a three day release.  I am sorry this place is just not a good fit for me. I have been in trouble since I got here, and they told me you night not take me back as your patient.”  ” Corey, who is in charge down there? Of course I would take you back, your patient after all.” “I thought so but they tried to convince me, that you would not see me being this sick.” “Take care of yourself and I will contact Jane, and see if we can make things better.”  “Thank you,” I whispered as I hung up the phone, so relieved that I had  Dr. Carter’s support.

My eyes welled up in front of Bill, it so isn’t what I wanted to happen.  He offered me a tissue, and asked me next if I wanted to talk about the pixis machine.  I said, “Bill this has been a long hard day, and no I don’t feel like talking about the pixis machine.  I have the number for DHHS and will use it if need be.”  “We would like to talk to you about that incident before any phone calls get made.” “I will see what I want to do, nobody is cutting me any slack here, but you are a bumbling ass to plan me as a fool, and do what you want to cover your ass.  I don’t think that is the way things are going to play out in the facts of my treatment. Thank you for handling my forms, and please be sure to get me a copy before the end of  the day.”

I headed out of Bill’s office, and there were some patients, standing around looking bored.  I wanted to go back into my room, but I really didn’t want to be alone.  So I headed into the community room, looked at the clock, there was two hours before dinner. So patients were making friendship bracelets, so I sat down to join them.  “Corey, how are doing?  We never see you at any of the groups.” “Well I landed here quite hard, and I have been trying to get out on a three day pass.”  I enjoyed the afternoon, I made a bracelet for me daughter, I really missed her it was so hard to be a way from her,  A staff member came into the room, and told us it was time to get ready for dinner.  I asked to use the restroom. The counselor was new, I had never seen her before.  She said, “Sure Corey, lets take care of that now.”  “OK,” I said, and I followed her down the hallway towards the restroom. “What’s your name,” I asked.  She told me her name was Susan.  I told her it was nice to meet her.  I went into the restroom, and started talking to her while I was peeing. I didn’t flush, I was so excited.  She came in and checked and said it was fine to flush.

People were lining up for dinner, my veins went cold with the thought of the bolus protocols. “Corey please roll your sleeves up.”  I did as I was told and tried to have a good attitude. I didn’t want to ruin the meals of all the other patients.  They let us in and I found my seat. I was sitting with a couple people I have gotten to know.  I was excited to maybe have a conversation.  I had some food in front of me, chick peas, and cottage cheese.  Oh how I wanted to eat it. I wanted so badly, to devour it. But restraint, I couldn’t eat anything. I knew the hunger would pass, but it was not going to pass really soon, as I was starving, my body needed food.  However, I wanted to get out of the unit.  Dinner started, and we had a nice conversation. I didn’t get yelled at for one thing, and still didn’t touch anything on my plate.  Time was up, the staff members went around looking at people’s plates.  They got to me, and didn’t say anything. I just sat still and silent.

Next the staff announced the people needing bolus protocol (just me) should go to their rooms and the staff would be in. I got up and tossed all my food away, I was still starved, it hadn’t gone away.   This was the hardest part, my body fighting for food.  I knew in another day my body would completely adjust, and I wouldn’t be hungry anymore.  I headed to my room.  I was nervous about the bolus, but they gave me no time to worry.  Two nurses came in, and said hello, “Corey can you slide over to the left? Thank you sweetie, I know this isn’t pleasant.  I will try to go slowly.”  “Thank you,” I said. “The other counselors have been pushing the syringe really hard.  Before I knew it, it was over and it didn’t hurt as much. I thanked the nurses for their kindness. Laid my head down on my pillow to cry.  What was I doing here?  How did I end up here?  Would I get out as I planned? I worried as I drifted off to sleep if I would live if they made me stay here.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Lessons From My Knee

It was two weeks ago today that I had my knee surgericaly reconstructed.  It was what I knew the last attempt by a highly skilled orthopedist to fix my wrecked knee.  I fell and smashed it good, probably once and for all.  I used to be a Division 1 full-scholarship basketball player.  Yes at 68 inches I played point guard, but I could jump, surprisingly. Over the year that knee has gone through two reconstructions, and 11 scopes.  So when I tripped on my flip flop about 5 weeks ago, I knew in my heart my knee was a mess, even before I fell.   

I went and had an MRI because on top of the knee, I had two fractures in my leg, that needed surgery sooner.  I was down the day of my knee MRI, knowing that if I hadn’t fell, my knee was gone probably for good, at only 39 yrs old. My dream of running road races with my daughter Bella, danced in my head, pounced on my heart, and just made my whole head hurt.  I couldn’t fathom that I had possibly raced my last race.  What about another child, that may be in my future? I woldnt be able to run around with them either?

So on the day I went to get my results from my MRI, my pug, Julia Bleu, was at the vet having emergency surgery for a cancerous tumor.  Certainly I had better days, but I still kept my hopes high.  I got into the room, and my MRI images were plastered all over the lighting boards.  I didn’t need to be a doctor, to see all the damage, both past and present.  The doctor walked in, with a slight smile, not wanting to let me down too hard. He was good, he came out and said it: I don’t see a knee that will ever run again, but we can surely get you back to walking and perhaps some hiking.  I was filled with anger, not knowing where to direct it.  My eyes welled up with tears, and I looked at my doctor, and said,”Can you please go in and do everything you know, to give me one more chance to run. Please don’t give up on me, I am not ready to be put out to pasture, I just ask that you really do try.”

He looked at me with such sad eyes, between wanting to pick the truth and also what I wanted to hear, I know I put him on the spot.  Again he said, “When I look at these images, I don’t see a knee that will run again, but when I look at you, I see a person who will do anything for one last run.  I will operate on it a week from today, I will do everything, but my hopes aren’t very high.” I was crying the whole time he spoke to me, I just needed him to try to fix it just one more time. It didn’t matter if it bought me one race, or maybe if I got lucky, would buy me a couple of years.

So you all know I had the surgery and I even went to the gym to test my knee, because I detected a hitch, and a lock. The dreaded hitch and the lock, I didn’t have them either prior to surgery so I am not sure what happened with that, but they are there.  We tested the knee with fair results, I never broke into a jog. However I was able to find a stride, that kept the hitch and the lock at bay.  I have been going faithfully to the gym, working my knee everytime, just a little bit more than the last time.

Well today is two weeks, post surgery, and everything considered I am doing well. I see the doctor on Friday, and surely wont tell about the test, but will share about the issues that are new.  Today I had a moment, when I let my guard down, I thought about the road race I was hoping to be back for, and I couldn’t picture myself at the race. It was impossible to imagine.  I was very surprised, I concentrated really hard, to picture myself at the race.

My knee has been there for me, for everything I have asked of it. I have never been let down by my knee, so now is the time to embrace the truth, my knee doesn’t have to wait to see the doctor on Friday, to be told there is no more running.  I am going to hold on tight and pray to the gods above. That not with any time table, but with a lot of intentional work, I am going to nurse my knee, and hope against hope there comes a day, when I lace up my Mizunos, and race with my daughter even just across the parking lot.

It is time to get real, and I have got to give the doctor a break.  I also have to give myself and body a break.  There is no cap this is not absolute, everything could get better in 6 more months.  Keeping a positive and upbeat attitude will help me heal the best I that I can.  And who am I to scuff at walking or even better hiking?  There are so many people who aren’t able to do either, I will count my blessings right here and now.

So tomorrow I let the good doctor off the hook.  I will go into the appointment and thank him for all that he did.  I know he thought the surgery wasn’t a good idea.  I will apologize for pushing too hard, and let him know where I am with my leg.  I will tell me that I am not disappointed, I have a leg that I can walk on.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Walden Stay 1 part 5

It was nearly time for lunch and I was freaking starving, no solid food in two days.  Now I would do that home but have plenty to drink…..here at Walden they restrict your fluid, which is inane since whenever I end up in the ER I am always dehydrated. I finished up my paperwork, and had a plan to finish talking to Bill, the patient advocate after lunch.  My mind was fixated on the bolus protocols.  I also didn’t want them to happen in front of other patients, incase I did lose my shit. These things were

like water-boarding for neo-lites.

I had to use the restroom, so I dashed out into the hallway. “Corey, what are you racing around for?” the hatchet of a counselor was blaring at me. “I have to use the restroom, and I didn’t want to hold up lunch.” “Let’s go follow me, so you finally decided to show some manners all of a sudden for your fellow patients?”  “I haven’t done anything to them. Stop trying to twist my head.  It will take a lot more brain power than you generate to turn my head upside down.” “Please hurry, talk or say something out loud, and don’t flush the toilet.” “What do you want to know, I don’t think we would ever be friends, your not my type of peep.  I have been rowing in the struggle boat toda…” “Oh no I flushed by accident! You have no worries I am 100 percent a restrictor, no worries.” “Corey, that is not appropriate to talk about unless it is with your medical team. Get in line, and please don’t re-create this morning’s breakfast.” I laughed to myself because as long as I was at Walden I would be creating that  scene every meal.

We got into the dining room and I found my seat. Oh I had ordered cottage cheese.  I wanted to eat it so bad, but I couldn’t, I knew in a few minutes the hunger would pass.  True to form, all the counselors were on top of me.  “Corey, you need to eat, look at everyone else.” “I don’t need to look anyone else, they are not me.  I am not hungry, so may I be excused?” “Corey sit down, and chill out this instant. Alicia, please go get Jane.” Oh great Jane was coming, but she is at least fake nice, I can tolerate her, and she has a good way with me I think.  “Corey!” “Hi Jane, so surprised to see you. Corey are you sure you are finished?” “Yes thank you I am.” “Please come with me back to my office, Carroll the charge nurse is waiting for us.” I walked into Jane’s office, and some very mean old lady who looked like she never had or wanted to go on a date, was glaring at me. “Carroll this is Corey.” “Hi.” So Carroll can you explain to Corey what is going to happen with the medication?” “You are not taking your Adderall anymore, I would never approved it when you were admitted.” “Hey that is for my mania, I am in need of it honestly. I am a lot worse without it. It is prescribed by my psychiatrist, and I want to talk to her now, before I listen to anymore fucking cockamamie bullshit.” “You can talk to her on your free time, but your a patient of ours and we will treat you according to how we see fit.” “Okay, I have my three day letter, and I am about to go tell Bill the bad news.  You will be closed down before you take my medication away, I am going to call DHHS with Bill, and let them know I know all the patients psych medications left up on the pixis, and from their medications I know their diagnoses. So lets play hardball, shall we get started?  My fucking  Adderall is the least of your concern lady, I don’t know you, and you wont bully me with your beef jerky body. In fact, I will add that on to my complaint; Carroll the nurse threatens me with her unprofessional attitude. I am going to see Bill right now if that is alright with you.” “Corey, you are not going anywhere, until you get your two bolus protocols.” “Fine, I am ready.”

Jane left with Carroll and let me in the office, waiting for my bolus protocols.  They came right back with a counselor and the stuff. “Corey can you turn your head this way? Thank you are you ready?” “Yep” So the counselor slammed the syringe even harder than the morning.  I didn’t flinch, I was in for the fight. “Can you hurry up and do the other one please?” “Sit still, are you ready?” “Yes try and see if you can slam it harder, all this will be documented I promise you.” “Corey here we go, all set?” “Yep.” Once more she slammed me with the syringe, I couldn’t see straight. I sat up fast, and tried to ward off a panic attack. “May I go see Bill now?'” “Corey Bill knows you are waiting for him. He will come and get you when he is ready.” I got up to leave I had so much to say, but I didn’t have the strength or the energy. I went back to my room, and closed my door. I was scared out of my wits, and needed my family. I had to relax, I was starting to get get faint. I closed my eyes until Bill arrived. “Corey did you still want to meet?”

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Walden First Stay part 4

After getting the bolus done, I was more determined than ever to go fill out my three day paper work, and get the hell out of Walden.  I went straight to my room. I thought about hanging out with the group, but I felt a little uncomfortable for some reason.  Later I would find out, that being the smallest in an eating disorder hospital was not going to get you very far.

One of the few kind staff, came down to find me in my room, working on the paperwork.  She suggested I bring it down to group, where I could fill out, and get to know some of the other patients.  I said,”OK,” and I headed down to the big community room. I took a chair and this nice girl beside me, told me what I was doing was really brave. “Well I just went through to bolus protocols so I don’t know how brave I really am. All I know is I getting out of here, in the next three days.”  She said, “You seem very sick, do you think that is a wise idea?  I mean no offense, but you are so slight, I think a bit of time in this wretched place might help you just a little bit.” “I hear what you are saying, but I must leave. I wasn’t prepared for this in the least.  Perhaps I will go home, and regroup and come back and do a real stay?”

I got right on my paperwork, and didn’t hear my name when it was called.   “Corey, you are wanted by the medical staff.”  “OK, I am coming I need to grab my stuff.” Off to Jane’s office I went again.  I thought for a second , no it couldn’t be another bolus?  “Corey, come in and have a seat. So Bill tells us you are filing your three day day paperwork today.  The first of the three days, doesn’t start till tomorrow.” “Then if that is the case, I will turn in my paperwork late this afternoon.  It will still be the business day, but I am not giving you my paperwork early so you can get a jump on it and actually have an extra day.”  We sat there in silence, I am not sure anyone knew what to say. Finally after a moment, I asked if I could be excused. “Sure Corey, so you will have that paperwork to me no later than five. Do you need to follow up with Bill?”  “Yes I do,” I muttered, I was going to bring up the medication medicine.  It was against all the federal and state laws. I didn’t want to play hardball, but that was what they were turning it into.  “OK Corey, I will come get you in just a little bit,” said Bill all filled with nervousness.  I felt bad for the guy, he was not even involved, but that is his position I guess.

I took my feeding tube pole and headed to the nurse’s station.  “Corey what is it?” “I was told I get two hours off the pump, and nobody else is on one right now. May I come off of mine?” “Sure you missed the unhooking because you were in the meeting. Sit down, we will flush it, and cap it off for two hours.”  “Thank you very much.”  The nurse proceeded to flush my tube, and she capped it, and fell on my face. I was so happy to be without that bloody pole.  I went back into the community room, and soon it got really quiet. I felt I should leave, that maybe I was the problem.  Then a girl came up to me and asked me as I was busily working on my three-day paper work if I wanted to join the group, because they wanted to get to know me! It was so sweet, and since I knew I had till 5 pm to turn in my forms, I said, “Sure it would nice to get to know all of you, without being screamed at for something.”  So I sat beside this really cute girl, who I could tell was looking at me from the corner of my eye. Her name was Juliet and she had to be like 25 or 27 years old.  A little on the young side, but I am highly intelligent but a bit immature they say.  It is because being born differently I never went through puberty, so I never honestly grew up.  Everyone of my friends and family accepts it totally about me.  So I got comfortable, and this guy, Amere, spoke to me first. “Corey, my name is Amere, and I have been here lots of times and nobody has pulled the stuff you have, it is great! Best time I have had here.”  “Glad to keep you amused, I guess, I just want to get the hell out of here.  I am signing a three-day form today, and in the meanwhile between us and the walls, I am on a full blown hunger strike.”  “Wow,” said Amere, “You are outstanding.  Starving yourself in an eating disorders hospital? You know that means 2 bolus every meal.” “I know I had two this morning already. Somehow, I will get through those.” Another, pretty girl, who looked liked we might be friends, said, “Hi I am Becky, and you rock this mother fucking haus. I have no idea where you get the guts to do it.” “Oh it is just part of me, a little on the edge, like to take chances and always question ignorant authority” “Okay folks, time to break up the friendly chat, with Corey.”  “Why did you say me? We were all talking?” “Because my sweet child, it is you they are wrongfully in awe of at this time.” I turned my back on the counselor feeling pretty bummed out. I hadn’t wanted to come and make scenes like this, but I had no other options.  I grabbed my paperwork and headed to my room, I needed to get this paperwork done and turned in.

Today, I would call my mom, and my doctor back home. I wasn’t even hungry anymore, good old anorexia at work.  I had still a full day ahead of me, and I couldn’t get those dreadful bolus protocols out of my head.  Four more today……..

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Walden First Stay part 3

I left the meeting with my three day forms all eager to go fill them out and get them submitted as quickly as I could.  I was met by this 6 foot blue business suit all professional and formal.  “Are you Corey?” “Yes, that’s me.” “Do you have a few minutes to talk? I am Bill the patient advocate.” “Sure I can talk, I hope you have some time because I have a lot of things to say.”  “We can talk as long as long as

 you don’t miss breakfast, if we haven’t enough time, we can continue it afterwards.” “Thanks, that would be great.” I entered his office and begin my complaints……by the end of my litany Bill was well over cooked, and I hadn’t even gone for the jugular.  I saved the part of closing them down for knowing and seeing all the other patients medications at the window that were left up on the pixis machine.  I figured I would use that as my last resort, as I had already many cards to play.  Just as we were finishing up, breakfast was called.  Bill told me he would touch back with me later.  I took my feeding tube machine and slid right down the hallway, when as staff member yelled: “Corey what are you doing sliding across the hallway, without any shoes on your feet?” “I have been in meeting with the patient advocate. I am sorry.” I couldn’t care less that was so much fun.  I would do it again later, it was worth getting yelled at, what did I care, I was starving myself to get out of there.

I found my seat, and finally some food I could eat, BUT, no I was trying to lose as much weight as possible so they had to send me home.  So I looked at my yogurt and my apple with hunger, but being the champion restrictor I just passed on all of it completely.  “Corey.” I swore if this hack said my name like that in that tone more time, I was going to lose it right on her, no I wasn’t joking in the least bit. “Corey Britton, you need to start to eat.  You have only twenty minutes before you need to reach 100%.” “I am sorry to tell you, you will have to check with the medical staff.  We had a long meeting but didn’t get to the bolus protocol so I wont be doing it this morning, and I am finished.” “Corey you think this is all a big joke, you are impacting the entire unit.” “I apologize everyone for impacting you profusely, I am sorry it happened.” People broke out in laughter I didn’t know what was so funny, but they certainly weren’t upset with me at all. “Corey just go, and head to Jane’s office.” “I don’t know how to get there, can somebody help me?”  “Oh you will be fine, if you look hard enough you will find it no problem” “Okay, I just might go get lost in the patient advocate’s office again.”  “C-O-R-EY!” “Please go now without another word.”

I sensed she might have woke up on the wrong side of the bed or not had her coffee yet.  I meandered the hallways, after putting on my shoes. I found my way to Jane’s office. “Hi Corey, please come and have a seat. Heard you didn’t do so well with your breakfast?” “No I passed, I wasn’t feeling hungry.” “Corey you are going to have to do the bolus protocol We have the stuff right here, we will attach it to your feeding tube, and then press on the syringe.  We need to do it twice, and I am sorry to tell you, it doesn’t feel good.” “Do what you want to do, everything is being documented, and I haven’t brought out my big guns blazing.” Sit real still, Alicia is going to do your first bolus.  It is quite a shock to your system, so you let us know when you are ready.” “Fucking ready!” The girl Alicia, she took no pity on me, she shoved that syringe all the way straight down. I honestly thought I was going to die but nope I was fine. “Are you okay Corey?'” What if I said I wasn’t would it change anything, so no satisfaction for you, I am ready let’s get this over.” Again she plunged the syringe right down, I wanted to do the same thing right back to her. I fought back my tears, no nothing fell, and I regrouped quite fast I think, it was truly pure hell.  I couldn’t stop thinking that at lunch and dinner there would be two more bolus’ each.  It was worth it to get out of this miserable place.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Who Are You? No Labels Allowed

As a person who askews labels of every sort in any dimension, how do you establish your identity?  It is a universal feature that when you meet someone they will ask you certain questions about yourself to attach labels to you.  This is done to create what people believe to be order and clarification.

 

However labels are so vast and wide, that even with labels, you can not be certain about anything in actuality with a person.  To try to sum a person is just flawed thinking and maligned human communication.  We want to get a  read on a person so we can start talking specifics with them.  Instead of starting out slowly asking one another methodical questions to get to at least on topic or scenario that you can both bespeak too, and from there start an authentic relationship that goes as fast or slow as you your personal comfort level allows you to do.

I am a person who lives my life with without any labels.  I do not attach the simplest of labels to myself.  I feel in doing so I may inhibit my own person or the expectations of others about me in general.  I am neither boy or girl, straight or gay, rich or poor, educated or uneducated.  Now I may have lost you, because you think I am different a boy or a girl?  What if I told you about people born with both sexes?  They are called intersexed people and there are a lot of them. They are not freak shows, or circus acts.  Think about the transgendered mess? What if we didn’t have labels? Does it matter that a person with male plumbing, is a girl despite it? I think not, and maybe your not ready, too comfortable in your tiny, tiny world. Again educated or uneducated?  Here I get down to the crux, the literal meaning.  Just because I have a 4 or 6 year degree does not mean I am educated.  Surely it means I went to school and was a student.  But am I educated, a diploma is no guarantee.  Poor or rich?  Maybe I don’t have to work, because I have enough money in the bank.  Does that make me rich? Absolutely not.  I may be on a very fixed income, and on top of that compared to other people I just might not be rich at all.

I know this sounds trifle and full of semantics for sure.  However, all the information that you can glean from a person either from statistics, data, or personal one on one communication, is exposed to your stereotypes, prejudices, likes and dislikes.  I am looking to be judged and valued just on the raw me data.  Nobody knows the raw me data quite like myself.  I can give you better than mere generalizations or labels if you will, about myself, my life, my attitudes and my beliefs.  I promise you what I would give you, would be very far from the correct labels you attached to me.

The world is not concrete, it is completely abstract.  The medical profession is starting to get away from just plain disorders, and call things spectrum disorders.  This is because for every concrete, there are 50 shades of grey involved in it.

I am Corey I am a lost boi/girl who has mania and doesn’t sleep very much.  I am neither republican or democrat, I vote for whomever I think is the best candidate. I am unspecified in my sexual orientation. I love women and adore them, but can’t rule out that there might be a guy I wouldn’t like. This might make me to appear undefined, but I am person who people really get to understand. Because I don’t accept labels of any sort I have to spend more time with a person to make sure they get who and what I am because nothing makes me angrier when someone assumes something about me. I am a parent and I battle anorexia, these are things that are me.  See my skinny self on the street, you might mistake me for an addict.  When in fact I am working on my PhD, and live a life I am proud to call my own.

Who are you do you subscribe to the concrete facets of this so called life? Or are you an amalgamation of contradiction and surprise?  I hope everyone starts realizing how limiting and dangerous labels are to our entire society.  Yes, we need order, and systemization, but it shouldn’t come at the authenticity of a human being. Our society is all too limiting, the choices are endless for who you can be, if you are vulnerable and call on your authentic self.

We live in a world that says if you are this, then this whole list of attributes gets automatically assigned to you. No this isn’t how it should work, we are individuals not cookie cutter pieces. There is no wrong or right way to think and live your life. Just going along with your friends could cause you great pain later in life.

What this all boils to is being authentic to yourself as you grow your individual identity. Be who you are  inside, fuck the people who don’t understand, they are dinosaurs and a whole lot more.  I write this piece for you to think, to check in with yourself. Ask yourself, I am living all that I believe, or are parts of me left closed off because they make me too complicated?  I didn’t write this piece for any other reason, then to free you all from the labels that bolt you down, take away your individuality.  Your individuality is beautiful at best, but we happen to live in a society, who wants us to define ourselves by checking boxes.  Be better than that; be you.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Walden First Stay part 2

So after I got the humiliating feeding tube. It was almost time for dinner.  I had no idea where that took place, so I stayed in my room and unpacked my suitcase.  I wanted nothing more than my journal and pen.  I needed to write more than I needed to eat I can surely tell you.  I heard there was shuffling outside my room door, I wondered what it was, I stuck my head out into the hallway, everyone was lining up for dinner.  “Corey, you need to take your jacket off, there are no sleeves or hoods in at dinner.” “But I am cold what I am to wear?  “Okay Corey, keep your jacket on, put roll up your sleeves, please.”

“Dinner is open, no body talk, no food talk, please find your seat.” I found my seat, and had to deal with the three other people at my table.  I was a little taken back by the surroundings, I was sitting in a very old room. Sitting with three girls, all much bigger than me., they weren’t talkative, they just stared at their empty plates. I had no idea where the food was, or what we were going to have to eat.  I only ate Greek yogurt, 80 calories black cherry is my favorite.  All of a sudden, a staff member spoke up, “We will call your table up to the food bar, and bring your plate on your table to be served.”  What food was she talking about?  I didn’t see it, and some people had apples, salads, and cottage cheese.  I had eaten all day, not a thing, and there was nothing in front of me.  I was hunger, that anorexic hungry; you wait a few moments and then it passes.  Our table got called up to this heating service table, with a server standing behind it.  I put my plate out and I had no idea what it was, but he plopped some on my plate.  There were three things, I didn’t recognize.  I really wanted a yogurt, or at least an apple.  I raised my hand, “What is it Corey/” “Umm, I have some issues I am hoping you can help me out”  “Corey what is exactly your issues.” “I cant eat any of this, may I have an apple like the others, or better yet a yogurt? I appreciate it, but I never would have ordered this food.”  “Corey, you have your food.  Tomorrow you will fill out a menu.  If you don’t eat 100% of your food, you are scheduled for bolus protocol.”  “What is bolus protocol? Is there a manual of this place and all its rules.?” “Corey, if you don’t eat 100% of your food, we will take a large plastic syringe, and plunge nutrients done your feeding tube. It is not something you want to happen. It isn’t pleasant for any of us”  “This is not going to happen to me, I was never explained any of this.  It is 5:30 and I have been at an eating disorders hospital since 9 am, and haven’t been offered a thing to eat. So I am done, and you best leave me alone. I will call the patient advocate, this isn’t a psych ward, I will not be treated like this.”  “Are you all done with your fabulous newcomer show?  Fine, leave, it will be reported tomorrow, and so will your refusal of the bolus. We will be in shortly to hook up your feeding tube and get that running for the rest of the night.” “Ok I am done, may I leave?” “Corey you are doing what you want to do, so leave if you want, it will be reported tomorrow morning.” I got up and pushed in my chair, I left without making any eye contact.  As I got up to leave, people started cheering my name. I laughed a little but dreaded the night, and I was so hungry.  I went to my room, flopped on my bed, and journaled how hungry I was in an eating disorders hospital.

The staff abruptly appeared at my bedroom door.  “Time to get you up and running.  Can you sit on the edge of your bed, with the side of tube pointed out at us.” “Am I going to feel anything,?  I mean NO one has communicated with me thus far.” “Please, hold your head still, while we attach the bag from the machine right into your feeding tube. You shouldn’t feel anything, unless, there is a clog, and we will flush it out in the morning.” “So I am going to sleep with this on?” “Corey, our friend, you are going to live with it on, as long as your here.”  “Oh I wouldn’t be so sure.” “Yeah we have heard it many times before. Let’s have a bet to see who is right.” “Okay, if I win you have to eat whatever they are serving at supper.” “If we win, you get an extra bolus, for making a scene, and us look like numb nuts.” ‘I did that, really? Then I guess I already won,” “We will see who is laughing tomorrow, the night report says Corey every other word.” “Sorry ladies, I am not afraid, especially of this shit box place.” “I am filling out my three day tomorrow, so we shall see who gets out of here.” “Impressive already signing a three day, you must be an expert on anorexia. Cant wait to look at your forms.”  “Just for that bitches I am having them sealed.  Want to see the real Corey? No low lifers like yourself will have access to any of my paperwork. Get a fucking  degree, and some compassion while you are at it.” “Ok, Corey, gone to school we see. Big deal it doesn’t me shit around here I promise you that.”  “Well good because I just wrote down what you said, verbatim, if you don’t know that means word for word. Professionalism is part of your JOB. I can be an ass because I am the patient. Guess we will both have our own reporting to do tomorrow morning. Are you done, if so you can leave. Your presence is bothering me.” “Good night sleep well, you are going to get it tomorrow.” “Go fuck yourselves I know you can do it, or otherwise help one another out.”

I was so pissed I didn’t know what to do. I began to write down everything since I got there, but that was fruitless, and I was starved.  The machine kept making this whiring sound, I knew I probably wouldn’t sleep.

Next thing I know there is some dude standing over me with a flashlight and a blood pressure machine. ‘You, Corey?” “Yes” “I need to take your blood pressure sitting down and standing up” So I extended my arm and got through the next five minutes. “Put on a johnie, and go out to get weighed.” “What get weighed right now?” “Yes we do it first thing in the morning.”  So I went into the bathroom and took off all my clothes.  I could tell I had lost more weight. It gave me my ticket to get out of hell. I would starve myself on this unit. Happy  now, I stepped out into the hallway, and followed down to where people were lining up.  I noticed I think I was the smallest.  Couldn’t be right I wasn’t that sick. They must have another ward, and this must be the general population.  “Corey, please step up and turn around.” I did what I was asked to do. “Please go get dressed, the medical team is waiting to see you.” Snickers and yays I heard through the crowd. I had no idea what was going on.  I wheeled my pole with my bag of fluid, feeling like Linus and his blanket. I picked out my clothes, got ready and stepped back into the hall.  “Corey, this way please,” Jane the medical director said.  I said, “Ok, I am on my way.”

I got down the hall and there was this big room.  Lots of people were sitting in there. There is no way they all could be for me?  I found a chair and slumped right down. “Corey, we hear you had a very tough night.” “Yes I did, I had nothing to eat, funny since this is an eating disorders hospital. I was also never given a menu, so I had nothing all  day, except for this stuff I pointed to the bag. I want to sign my three day release. I know it is my right, and I also want to see the patient advocate, before noontime so I can make my phone calls. This may be how you think you will treat me, but it isn’t going to fly. From my family to primary care, they wouldn’t want me here in a heart beat.”

“Corey are you through, may I speak,” said Jane. “I am done for the moment.” ‘Thank you Corey, you can surely sign the three day today if you really think it is necessary. I will also alert the patient advocate to come see you as soon as possible.  Here is my concern, since you got here yesterday, today the scale is down three more pounds.” “Ha doesn’t look too good on you.”  “Corey I am speaking hear me out. This isn’t going to work unless you cooperate.  Could you at least try to comply?” “I will follow the rules, when I know what they are, and when I get to choose my food.” “Fine lets find you a menu for this breakfast, and the nutritionist will explain how to pick your food. I will see you later today.  I will leave all the paperwork on our bed.”

And this is how the story will continue: Corey gets out of Walden by starving some more so they have no choice. I will have to come back but I will be going home as you will soon read.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Walden Stay part 1

I wasn’t sure when this day was going to happen.  I have been battling anorexia for exactly two long years.  I blogged about before it began, then when it began and was fun, I blogged about sickness, and my long road home to recovery-but I never told you about my first trip to Walden the Eating Disorders Hospital.

It was November 8th, 2014, and my ex-wife was driving me to this special hospital, where all they treat is eating disorders. I was sent there by my primary care, doctor.  She said I would die if I did not go in. I backed a bag, and scared out of my mind, sad about dropping out of school for the semester, and saddest that I wouldn’t see my daughter Bella.

Walden is located in Waltham, MA a little over an hour for us to get there door to door.  When we pulled into the drive, my ex-wife asked me if I wanted her to go in.  I said I was fine, as I dragged my suitcase, which was too heavy for me to carry.  I put on my brave face, and made it to the revolving doors.  I watched as my ex-wife drove away, I was so scared I started to cry.  I got into the building, and saw no obvious signs.  Finally I ask, a patient I guess, “Could you tell me the way to get to Walden?”  They pointed this way and that way, I think I got it or nearly close. I said thank you and continued to drag my bag to heavy for me.

I finally reached the admitting entrance for Walden, and I collapsed, I was so tired and thirsty from hauling my bag all over the place.  I got up and tried to open the door, but I couldn’t do it. It was too heavy for me to hold, so this angry woman came out, didn’t say a word, and just grabbed my bag. I said, “Thank you very much.” No response from her.  I slumped down into the seats.  I needed a moment to rest.  “Corey Britton, come this way.” I got up and followed the mean lady down the hallway.  “Take off all your clothes and jewelry, and put on just this johnnie. I will be right back to get your weight.”  Okay, I thought with a glimmer of hope, what if I weighed too much to get into this place.  My thoughts were short lived, as the mean lady returned.  “This way, follow me. Step on the scale and turn around.” “Turn around,” I said, what do you mean” “You don’t get to now your weight when you are at Walden. So turn around please.” I thought, what the fuck, I weighed myself every morning, and wrote it down and kept a record of it. How the hell was I going to know what was going on. “Step down, and now go please put back on your clothes. Have  a seat I will be with you shortly/” Ok I thought, this has got to be the worst of things, between this lady and getting weighed in.  I was thirsty but there was nothing to drink, or even eat in an eating disorders hospital. I let it all go, and prayed, that I weighed too much to get admitted.

Soon enough, the mean lady appeared carrying my suitcase in her hand.  “Follow me, it is a ways to the unit.” I slowly followed right behind her.  It took like forever to get there, she was not even joking, I got the doors, where she waited for me, and told me to follow her down the hall, and take a seat at the nurse’s station.  Ok I thought, as long as I can sit, and hopefully get something to drink. I noticed others on the floor, and by my surprise they were all bigger than I. I thought the really sick ones, must be off in some other wing. I sat and I sat and nothing happened. Now I had to pee.  The first person I saw, that looked like she worked there, I stopped.  “I am Corey, is there anyway I can use a bathroom?” “UH, it will take a moment to get a person who can escort you to the restroom.” Escort me to the restroom? This must be a pretty big place.  Finally a lady with a BIG MASS attitude, showed up and said, “Let’s go Corey,” What the fuck I had no idea where I was, but this place was whacked big time.

We got to the bathroom and she snapped at me, “You must use the restrooms while talking to me, and do not flush it is against the rules.  Make it quick I am late for snack.” What the hell, talk to her while I pee, and don’t flush how embarrassing. I said, “Well you know my name is Corey. I am hoping to be gone very soon. I have a daughter back home.” I flushed and she immediately opened the door. Shit I wasn’t supposed to do that.  I thought she was going to blow a gasket, she said nothing and I  walked back to my seat. I thought as I looked around a bit more, there were a good amount of people on the unit, but none looked very sick to me.  Maybe this anorexia has effected my eyes.  “Corey, is this you?”  “Yes it is. I have a small question is there something I can have to drink? I got here at 9:00 am and I get very thirsty as it is but I am really quite parched.”  “Well we are going to meet with the medical staff, would you like some pedialyte?” “Sure, thank you, that would be great.” “Come with me Corey, my name is Jane, and I am in charge of the medical staff.” “Nice to meet you, I hope my stay will be very brief.”

“Corey, I must be honest with you, you are one of our sickest patients. I don’t know how long you have survived, but you are going to be here for quite awhile. “But I, ” ‘Corey just sit back and relax, the drink will be here very soon, and you should feel a little better. Has anyone talked to you about the placement of as feeding tube?” “NO, I don’t want that, I will call my family right away, I signed in voluntarily.” “Corey, you are very sick, and although you signed in voluntarily, we have safe measures to ensure your health, and you cant leave here, unless you fill out a bunch of paperwork. It gets reviewed, we make our decision, and if we have to we take you to court. This is all to keep you safe and well.  Do you feel well, I would guess not?” “NO I don’t feel good, but this is not what my primary care told me this was all about. I need to call her right away, she wont want me in this situation.” “Corey, your primary care isn’t going to take you back in this condition.”  I started to cry, from a place with no bottom, I was scared, I missed Bella, and I was all alone. I realized I always have someone with me. “I don’t want the feed-tube that is my right?”  “Corey we decide because you cant do it how to best provide for you and your medical treatment. You need a feed-tube, there are kids all over this place, much healthier than you with them. It is a simple procedure, and our best person to do it is here right now.”  Take a minute, do you need more juice/” “Yes please,” I said.

I was fuming mad at everybody, but mostly at myself.  “I have no idea about a feeding tube, could you describe it and the procedure..? ” “Yes, my name is Denise, and I am the person who places most of the tubes. It really is a quick and easy procedure.  It wont hurt not a bit, and for the gaging we give you hurricane spray. It is a tube, just like this one I brought, and we thread it up through your nose, and all the way down to your stomach, so you can be put on an electronic machine that will pump nutrients all day and night.”

“Ok, when is this going to happen?” “Right now if you follow me. We have a procedure room right next door. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.”  They strung the tubing up my nose, I gaged, and they got it to my stomach. They put a big piece of plastic tape, running across my entire face.  It was the single most humiliating experience.  One that took this long for me to describe in detail, my first hours at Walden,Behavorial Hospital.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

Hope for All That Ails Our Society

I once said in class this spring to my professor, that “hope is never satiated.”  I am surely not the first person to say this, but it caused a quiet that fall over the classroom.  What do we have if we do not have hope? Is there such a thing is actual hopelessness.  Now hear me out, because I have felt hopeless before.  However in the back of my mind was the faint desire for hope.  I challenge you to think about hope and is it possible to be fully hopeless.  There is always something, where we have figured it out or not, that could be the hope we so desperately seek.

Today is Tuesday, it is my second day at the Friendly Kitchen.  I haven’t seen my friend, Eugene.  I will try calling him today to see if he will be at the soup kitchen for dinner.  I probably should have reached out to him a couple of days earlier.

My first night at the kitchen was last Thursday night.  I met most of the community and all of the staff workers.  I wish there was a way to bring younger people into the group, some of the members are getting up there. On top of that , the lack of representation by the younger generation is frightening to me.  Just like me, until I met Eugene, I was immune and didn’t have homeless on my board of societal concerns. It amazes me how I am so sensitive, didn’t blink an eye at the homeless population.  I always brought stuff for donations, to school, church, and the Friendly kitchen. I am thinking about getting Stephanie , my girlfriend, to come help us out.  She would love to be involved, and she can make it from her work on time.  The community would love her she is such a gem.  It is something we have talked about doing together for sure.

Tonight I will talk to the director, Irene, about Stephanie coming in to help also.  I think it would make a lasting impression on our friends surely.  I have this secret vision, of getting younger people involved, and then picking a night when there is no soup kitchen, and running it ourselves to help the homeless community.  It is probably a ways, and would involve Irene’s approval, but I think she would be happy if a band of us just showed up together.  I am not just talking my personal friends, I am talking about younger people in general getting involved, contributing, and making a difference.  I realize resources and time being part of that are pretty maxed out.  There has got to be way to get UNH involved; to run a soup kitchen for the surrounding community.

This is what I meant in that awful blog I wrote, about rolling up my sleeves. I can do this stuff from my study, I am only taking one class this summer semester.  I have lots of time to make an effort, put a plan together for the university.  I will not say a word to Irene, as I just want to go to the Friendly kitchen and roll my silverware in napkins, and then go about my official job, of replenishing drinks for the community.  Perhaps Irene, will have something else for me to do, but I sure hope to get to interact with the community.

There used to be so much more emphasis on community volunteering by schools in the area.  Unfortunately I know because my daughter who is 12 wanted to volunteer at the Friendly kitchen.  No they said, no people less than 18, the community can have issues that aren’t appropriate for younger children.

I think I will go take my shower after I call Eugene, and plan on what I am going to wear. I didn’t  talk much to many of the team members, so hopefully I can do that this week.  Gosh I feel so fortunate that this worked out, and that I can help.  It really is my new pet cause, along with all the others, I stretch myself to thin.  People are people, and no matter their circumstances, we owe it to everyone to treat them with respect and dignity.  Such an easy concept lost on most of society.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016