Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Day At A Time

I haven’t been blogging lately. I’m feeling stuck between having a million things to say and not being able to get any words out at all. I have been taking life one day at a time lately because it’s changing that fast on me.

My daughter is still in the hospital and I thought she was doing well there. I have seen some very positive changes in just a week. I was relievedl until we had a meeting with the medical team that is treating her.

They asked me what I thought about her progress so far and I told them. Then they told me that my daughter is highly motivated to get out of the hospital, but not to actually get better and I shouldn’t confuse the two.

I don’t entirely believe this. Maybe I just don’t want to believe this, I don’t know. I’m beginning to see why they are saying this, but it doesn’t seem entirely true.

We’ve also been getting some “Parenting An Anorectic” lessons. Unlike the previous treatment center, no one here is questioning our parenting skills or trying to get me to admit I’m an incredible control freak that must hypermanage every second of my kids’ lives.

I’m so not like that.

But, they have been working with me on some of my personality/parenting traits in order to help Samantha. They insist (and even she admits) that part of her success as an anorectic is her ability to manipulate me.

I have to stop being so nice, sympathetic, empathetic and willing to negotiate in order to work out problems because I’ve learned, my daughter’s problem is totally taking advantage of me. The way I handle problems is fueling her eating disorder. There’s a difference between “mothering” and “parenting” and I am confusing the two.

You wouldn’t think that those are bad personality traits to have, but they are when you are dealing with something like anorexia nervosa. The nature of eating disorders is based on deception and after the lengthy conversation, I can totally see this and I can see where I need to make some changes in how we deal with this.

It’s not that my daughter is bad or deceptive, it’s the eating disorder that is. Again, I should not confuse the two.

I’ve been working on a plan based on the cognitive behavioral therapy they use in the hospital for when my daughter comes home. They flat out said “IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR DAUGHTER ALIVE”, we have to have a concrete meal plan in place for her and there is no negotiating. If she eats, she can earn her things back like her cell phone, computer, visits with friends, trips to the mall, etc. If she doesn’t, she will have to just sit on the couch and watch TV with no physical activity at all.

Of course I want to keep my daughter alive. I’m thrown by the words, but I think I needed to hear them.

She knows I’ve been getting an “education” and yesterday was my first “test”. When I went to visit her she told me that she knows they’ve asked me to institute something like that for our household and she wanted me to know flat out that it’s not going to work.

My first instinct was to “mother” and say “Sam, we will keep at it until we find something that works.”

But, I didn’t. I stopped. I took a breath and said quite firmly...

Sam, this is the way it’s going to be. You are going to do this and eat when you come home or I will put you right back to the hospital.”

It killed me inside, but I did it and I noticed something immediately. She backed down.

Normally, there’s a little debate when I say no to anything because, I realized, I don’t say “no” like I mean it. A million instances flashed through my mind when I’ve given in or negotiated something with her. That didn’t happen this time because I said it like I mean business and it worked. I think. I hope.

She will still be there for a while, probably several weeks, which will give us some time to make some changes here in the house and get our plan in full action. It involves some changes with all of the kids and the way we do things but one is willing to make the changes in order to help Sam.

This didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be fixed overnight, but one step and one day at a time.

Despite all of this, I’m still very hopeful because now I know there is something I can do to help. We got nothing like this from the first treatment center.

Thanks again for all of the prayers and good thoughts we’ve been receiving from everyone. They are totally appreciated.


Rockycat said...

I'm sorry that you and your family are going through this - it must be incredibly difficult. Best wishes to you all.

Jessica Morris said...

What hard things to hear. I admire that you're willing to listen to the things they think you should change in order to help her.

Baby Mo is still securely (stubbornly!) inside me! *sigh* for being told he probably wouldn't stay in until the 17th of June (37 weeks) it seems like he's been in there FOREVER!

Crystal said...

Sounds like a tough road. (((hug)))

pjazzypar said...

:( I am sad to hear that you and your family are experiencing difficult times. I don't know how you feel RC, but I do know that we all go through hardships and it is how you handle these crisis that determine your character. There has to be rain in order for us to appreciate sunshine. Enough with the clichés already. Just hang on in there because I truly believe that this is going to work out. Here is a (((Hug))) from me as well. Stay strong.

Jenny McB said...

I hear you on how hard it is to parent. This may sound kind of snarky, but take the time to practice the parenting, no backing down attitude with Sam's siblings now. That way you will have some of it figured out before Sam gets home, since there's a lot more emotion/bad end results if you "screw" up with Sam. I don't think that came out right, but hang tough.

SmileyGirl said...

Thinking of you....parenting is so tough and being tough is sometimes the hardest things. Even when we know its right it still is so hard to do. Hugs to you.