A bed for Andrea but too many waiting

A bed for Andrea but too many waiting

A Girl Called Tim - my memoir - recovery IS possible at any age.

A hospital bed has been found for Andrea.

Potentially due to the activism by readers of this post and Andrea’s community, her desperate medical situation has been recognised and a medical bed offered at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Amazingly, this location is out of Andrea’s postcode area.
I understand that Andrea will remain in this hospital until she is considered ‘medically stable’.
I am sure you will share my concern, however,  that although positive in that a short term medical solution has been offered, it is difficult to see how this measure will be anything more than a band-aid solution. It is hard to see how the medical measures being offered will treat Andrea’s eating disorder.
You may also be a bit confused as to why an out of area medical bed could be found for Andrea but not an out of area eating disorders bed which would serve her needs infinitely better.
We will continue to hope and pray for Andrea, and all adults around the world who want to recover from their eating disorder but are having awful trouble finding someone to believe them and help them. And those who are offered beds, often feel guilty on behalf of those who miss out. I received this message this morning from another adult ED sufferer in Sydney:
I am at present on the waiting list to get onto the inpatient ED program at the Northside Clinic Hospital.  Waiting lists have grown exponentially since they shut the Hills. Apparently it is a minimum of an 8 week waiting list.  This is OK for me, but I guess a lot of people would give up after waiting that long, or some may die or get physically much sicker.  There really are not enough beds, and I feel bad taking a bed from someone that might be in a worse state than me.  If there was more community support there might be less of a problem with inpatient beds.  Hopefully there will be some improvements after the NEDC  have finished their work.
Certainly hope so.

My Kid is Back - Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia Nervosa - by June Alexander in collaboration with Daniel Le Grange.

We know that Maudsley Family Based Treatment is the best thing on offer for early intervention of anorexia in children and adolescents. And this is vital. Because if your ED accompanies you into adulthood, the going gets tough. Really tough. People often give up on you. You become alienated and isolated. It is like living under house arrest. You live every hour of every day, secretly wishing someone will find the key and unlock the door to set your true self free.  I empathise with issues facing the adult or long term eating disorder sufferer because I belonged in that category. My ED had a 20 year head start.

Almost daily, women write to me in despair, stating that they have been denied treatment because they are ‘too complex’, or ‘we have tried this with you before and it did not work, so we won’t try again’. These are women who want to recover, but are being denied the opportunity. This makes me sad. I hope clinicians – and especially the health providers –  everywhere heed this plea on behalf of the adult/long term/chronic sufferer. There is always hope. This is what makes living worthwhile.
Oh for a Recovery Guide
I met an amazing young woman, Hays, at the 2011 NEDA conference in Hollywood, when I spoke about Hope at Every Age. Hays lives in a southern state and is battling really hard right now. She has just been released from hospital and had no choice but to return home alone to her small unit, where she continues to struggle amid her ED’s non stop torment. Hays hopes to enter a treatment centre soon. We hope this can be arranged very soon because, like Andrea, she is extremely unwell.
Hays permits me to share her insights on her hopes and sources of inspiration:
Speaking of a recovery guide, or a life guide, etc. … June, I have one very vivid memory of the NEDA conference that you experienced, too.  Think back to the Q+A after your presentation.  There was one, particular question above all others that rings in my ears that I cannot seem to forget, and it was asked by a young woman who seemed to be in her early 30s – very close to my age.  She and I were sitting alone in a row towards the back of the conference room.  We were about eight chairs apart, and I swear you had our undivided attention because neither of us rustled a program or moved a leg throughout your speech.  At the end, we glanced at one another.  Her eyes were red as she held back tears, and I, on the other hand, let my flow.  We never spoke a word.  When your co-presenter asked for questions, the woman near me posed one towards the end of the session.  She kind of fumbled for it just a bit, but to me, her question was as clear and as eloquent a one as I had ever heard.  You see … she spoke for us both when she asked, “Are there people who kind of help ADULTS with anorexia approach a similar method? (FBT).  What about adults whose families cannot intervene?”
Your co-presenter, Assistant Professor Renee Rienecke Hoste (University of Chicago) understandably approached the question very clinically and mentioned treatment centres but was unable to really address the question in the way this woman had hoped.  As Renee spoke, the young lady sat back in her chair looking a little defeated.  It was not what she wanted to hear, and me either, for that matter. BUT then, you jumped in because YOU got it!  You understood. I could tell. You mentioned that there were resources for adults and mentioned the importance of recovery guides and surrounding oneself with a family of choice.  You added a few more brief words, and this was good enough for us because you emphasized that there is ALWAYS hope regardless of age. Immediately after my neighbor got her answer, she looked at me and slipped out of the room as if she was embarrassed.  More than anything, I wanted to follow her and to tell her she was not alone.  There were at least two of us, but I hesitated because I did want to hear the other questions.  I never saw her again.  But, she knew, and so did I.
June, there has not been one day since the conference in which I have not revisited that snippet of time.  I hear her more clearly now as I echo the same question:
Do surregote parents/recovery guides exist who assist adults in the early stages with meals/snacks, etc.?
I have never found them, as I can imagine what an undertaking this would be!  But, in my mind, I cannot help but think what a help this would have been for me when I was little or especially right out of college and before my last laundry list of treatment centers.  I will never forget reading Harriet Brown’s BRAVE GIRL EATING when it was hot off the press.  I do not remember ordering it, but I do remember reading it in one sitting.  And, then rereading it again.  And again. At the time I had experienced a series of anorexia-induced seizures, and my treatment team recommended that I move home until I stabilized.  While I was living at home that year, my parents and I tried to tackle the eating disorder in our own way with guidance from my txt team.  It was a royal mess!  But, back to HB’s book … At that time when I was reading it, I kept imagining that I was in her daughter’s place and that HB was fighting on my behalf.  It was a great feeling to imagine that a woman whom I had never met was strong enough to override her daughter’s ED until her daughter was strong enough to do it for herself.  All I could think at the time was that I wanted a Harriet helping me.  Later, one book lead to another in this same vein as I read EATING WITH YOUR ANOREXIC by Laura Collins.  Again, this experience was one I will never forget.  I am not sure where I intended to take you with this little journey down my memory lane, but all this to say, I hope the young woman at the NEDA conference found the person(s) she was seeking and so desperately wanted.  For me, this discovery process is anything but short, pretty, and neat, but I will always take inspiration and motivation from any source whenever or wherever I can get it whether it be from a Harriet or a Laura who lives only in my mind or an unforgettable woman on a distant continent who lives and breathes HOPE AT ANY AGE.
As for today, June, I will be proactive … Don’t doubt this for a moment.  The search results for a treatment centre from yesterday … 2 NO’s and 1 MAYBE.  However, like a dog with a bone, I am following up on a few other leads.  I will keep you posted…

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