Anything But Normal
“What’s wrong with being quiet, still, lazy? .” This was a weekly topic with my treatment team during my recovery from anorexia. I felt if I could answer that question, I’d discover a secret door, like Scooby Doo and the gang, and the mystery behind my disease would suddenly be revealed. If only life were as easy as a Saturday morning cartoon.
Even back in 2010 I was wrestling with stillness. Once home from Central Oregon, the recovery from pneumonia was a long process, made longer due to the fact I pushed myself too far too soon. The month long mandated bed rest lasted not more than a week before I started taking semi-slow walks down the street and doing some ab and arm exercises with light weights. Activities that exhausted me physically but mentally provided a lifeline that helped me feel less restless, helpless and lazy. I cannot lie on the couch and watch TV all day. That is not the kind of person I am. But in reality, I was afraid that was EXACTLY the kind of person I was. Being quiet and still, eating delicious homemade meals dropped off by friends as I watched movies and dozed on and off, while my parents took the boys after school, lovingly spoiling them between lacrosse practices and swim lessons. Yep, deep down I was scared I could get VERY used to that.
I weighed myself every day upon returning home. I was correct in my perception that when I left the hospital my body was much different than when I entered. Fifteen pounds different to be exact. After my tantrum with the nurse on departure day, I was assured it was just water weight from all of the fluids they had pumped into my dehydrated body. Regardless, I was not going to be satisfied until the scale was back down to the number it was pre Sunriver. So I watched. And my weight did drop steadily everyday as did my anxiety around it. With the assurance it was just water weight I had gained, I allowed myself a little grace when it came to feeding my body. I was hungry, ravenous at times. I knew it was my body trying to heal and begging for nourishment, and I did my best to respect that. My rational brain knew I had dodged a bullet in Sunriver, and although I refused to acknowledge that the pneumonia had anything to do with my low weight, I knew I had to take care of myself if I wanted to get back up to speed. So, I ate. Creamy carrot soup, cheesy lasagna, spicy Thai chicken pasta, and protein packed spinach omelettes. Food hadn’t tasted so good since the bean burritos from Taco Bell during my pregnancy. I could almost feel my body healing, and like a withered houseplant being watered, I was absorbing every nutrient and coming back to life. And after a couple of weeks, as I got stronger, I was itching to get back to my routine and, Marc and the boys made it known they were ready to have things back to normal too. However, things were about to become anything but normal.