|Robin's Father's Story||Anorexia||California|
I remember being frightened to death that you were going to die. At first I thought you
had tuberculosis. I couldn't understand why you were losing so much weight so fast.
Someone suggested that we take you to the UCLA hospital where we were told there
were some experts in Anorexia. My image of you at that hospital was sitting in
a hallway with your back against the wall weeping and wailing uncontrollably.
I also remember on that visit that one of the senior pediatricians took me aside and said to me,
"don't worry, this is not your fault." I thought this was a bizarre remark. My only
concern was to get you better but I felt so helpless because everything we tried seemed to
fail. You would outwit us each time.
I remember that the dark house that we lived in seemed even darker because of your condition. As a matter of fact it seemed intensely black. I remember that there was a sense of war present in that house. It was you against your mother and myself. And I recall your making certain threats against us. You said you wanted to kill us and then you would say you were only joking, of course. Your mother and I always wondered whether there was something we had done in your upbringing that may have resulted in all of this. I think your mother and I thought the other one might be to blame.
Finally we found a psychiatrist and I had an instinct he might have an answer for us. When he agreed to look at you I was immensely relieved. As your mother would say when we saw him come up the walk for a visit "we thought an angel was arriving." He was an odd little man but seemed to have knowledge and insight. And I liked the fact that he was both warm and yet scientific and clinical. When he told us that the only way to make any progress was to work with you one on one in the hospital where he was employed, we agreed. When it came time for the actual hospitalization he told us he was unable to accommodate you on the children's ward because you were so open to potential infections and he therefore had to keep you on the ward where he saw his psychiatric patients. The immense pain that enveloped us when we left you there pleading with us not to leave was beyond description. The next few weeks were among the most heart wrenching of our lives.
At first you seemed to make no progress and then suddenly there appeared to be a turnaround. I didn't know whether it was due to the soft care that you were receiving there at the hands of a young female psychiatrist or whether it was something that our angel psychiatrist had done or whether it was the medication or all three.
When we finally did get you home in the next few weeks they wanted you back for outpatient visits. I usually drove you there and back and I remember specifically one visit, to my great horror, you informed me that you would never forgive me for allowing you to be put in a psychiatric ward with the all ill patients. I knew there was no way to answer you at that time but trusted with healing and time you would eventually understand that we saw no alternative to saving your life.
Later when you were on the road to recovery but still showing many of the prototypical signs that color this entity, I would tremble inwardly as each of these signs emerged. Thinking does this mean possible regression. My heart would ache when I would see that you still had the compulsion to exercise excessively.
Finally, I remember taking you to the school to which you had been assigned hoping you would accommodate better there than you would at a public school. Watching you leave the car to enter school each day broke my heart. Your little body and your iron determination leaving together. But I knew then that over time you were going to make it.