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Archive for August, 2010

“…very-thin female patient in no apparent distress…”

“…weight loss of more than x-lbs since previous clinic visit two weeks prior…”

“…reluctant to change behaviors because of fear of gaining weight…”

“…orthostatic hypotension…”

“…Thoughts: tangential, Judgment: good, Insight: poor…”

“…concerning signs and symptoms were discussed…”

“…patient has little insight into the severity of her illness…”

There must be a mistake. Surely these phrases aren’t from clinic notes about me…

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Alphabet

It starts with the name of the hospital…

U—

Continues to divisions…

BHS, MSS, ISS, IP, OP

And to sections of the physical building…

BT, JPP, JCP, RCP, PFP

On to units…

MICU and PICU and NICU and SICU and PACU. Along with the CVICU and CPICU. and ETC and ECT. CDS, PHP, PPH, EDO, OR,

There are tests and procedures…

EEG, ECG, EKG. MRI, CT, CBC, WBC, ABG. PET, UA,

Diagnoses/Diseases

MDD, BPD, MI, PE, CVA, BSI, PTSD, ICB, SDH, CVD, CHF, AN, BN, EDNOS, BED, MRSA, VRE, DVT.

And people…

RN, MSN, MD, MPH, PhD, BSN, MA, MS, BA, BS, DO, PAC. PT, RT, AT, and OT. RTR, NM, ANM, APN, ARNP. NA and PNA. NF, HO. CNA, CMA, LPN, DDS, OD, JD. LMHC, LMSW, LISW.

And others…

AC, HS, TED, SCD, IV, AB, BID, TID, QID, BM, I/O, S/S, T/K, BPM, BM, BP. BMI, GAF, WD,

The above don’t even begin to break the surface of the letters I now speak in, not to mention the inordinate amount of shortened words and phrases I use and hear.

I am definitely well on my way to being fluent in the language of jargon.

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Superpowers

A fun post today.

I was running and listening to this week’s episode of This American Life. In act two of the show a journalist asks people which superpower they would choose: invisibility or flight. Since I was running and running is my sort of meditation/thinking time I paused at the beginning of the story and thought about what superpower I would choose and why before listening to it.

I thought…

Invisibility. Flight.

Flight. Invisibility.

I could get places quickly. I could go places I normally wouldn’t have access to.

Hard decision.

I ultimately decided invisibility. And what would I do with that? I would slip into upper-level, small classes where an extra person would be noticed. Psych classes, medical classes. I would go to doctor’s rounds at the hospital and into places like the white house and senate chambers where gaining access is incredibly difficult. And invisibility would be nice sometime when I just didn’t want to deal with people. I could relax in the park, curl up in a corner of the library, or bypass irritating people that feel the need to make awkward conversation every time they see me. ┬áIt briefly occurred to me that in a sense my eating disorder feels like a step toward invisibility and I briefly pondered the implications of that and wondered if a trend would be seen among eating disorder sufferers and their superpower choices.

Then I listened to the podcast. And the choice of invisibility was kind of degraded. People chose invisibility to shoplift or spy on people. Most people determined that the power of invisibility would turn them into a criminal. People associated invisibility with shame, denial, guile, and unwanted or embarrassing characteristics.

And I would use invisibility for the pursuit of knowledge. …..intriguing…….

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It happened

As stated previously, I work on a medicine-psychiatry unit. Since the eating disorder program is exclusively on a different (general psych) unit, I knew that I wouldn’t have much contact with them. However, I did expect that at some point we would have an ED patient. We had one a few weeks back from a different unit (there are two adult general psych units, a child psych unit, a geriatric psych unit, and the med-psych unit in our hospital). I dealt with that one easily. Really didn’t notice any difference from other patients/diagnoses.

But the one last week…

Came from the ER with dangerously abnormal labs an hour before my shift ended. My shock came early on. We had met previously…when I was an ED patient at the hospital. It was a brief couple meetings in activity therapy/hallway passings. I don’t know if she remembered me, but I most definitely remembered her. I spent nearly an hour pestering her nurse to get a meal voucher printed so I could get her food (she hadn’t eaten all evening). I was able to think properly and treat her as any reasonable person would do…not as the eating disorder “voice” would tell me to treat myself. I was the only person concerned that she hadn’t eaten all evening; everyone else was questioning my obsession with getting her food. Honestly it was kind of surprising considering her labs and weight. I made it through the shift, but wasn’t able to stop thinking about her.

It really wasn’t about her though….it was about me.

Her weight triggered me, but there was something else too. I was slightly envious. She was getting help. She would go to the ED program, spend time in therapy and groups and restore weight and [hopefully] get her life back.

And I. I continue on through my life. Scared to ask for help, terrified that I will be forced to get help, but wanting so badly for someone to see how much I need more help so I can stop feeling like this.

I get to work and can barely stay awake. I get home from work, crash in bed and sleep as long as possible. I run with my dog because I “have to” and then when I return to work my legs are heavy and aching as I spend another 8 hours in constant motion. And the cycle repeats itself…

And I’m hungry. So hungry I can’t sleep, but there’s nothing I feel is safe to eat or that I even want to eat. It all turns my stomach.

I hurt. I can’t lean back on the city bus seat because my shoulders, spine, and hip bones hurt.

I get light-headed when I stand. Or that’s what I’ve told my doctors and therapist. In reality, when I stand my vision goes black, my head pounds and aches, my ears buzz, my face flushes, I stumble and sway, and hopefully I am able grab a wall or collapse on a chair to stop it.

I still don’t understand why I do this.

I don’t understand why I can’t stop.

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