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Old 06-26-2006, 11:17 AM   #1
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Anorexic Friend

A few years ago, I lost one of my best friends, and I have taken her 45 year old divorced daughter under my wing. SL is bi-polar, and ended up being over-medicated for several years after her mother's death. She also was drinking quite heavily, which added to the problem.
She was a beautiful woman until she stopped eating. She did go through re-hab, and got her alcohol and drug problems straightened out, but she still has the eating disorder. Thing is, her stomach has shrunk so much, that now, if she eats more than a handful, she gets sick and throws up.
Her anorexia is so severe that she literally looks like she's been in a concentration camp. She is nothing but skin and bones.
SL is aware that she has a problem, and is finally trying to correct it. But she is so far gone, I'm afraid that if she gets sick, she's going to die. So many foods don't appeal to her or don't go down well.
My husband and I can get her to eat...Saturday night she ate 1/4 a baked potato with butter and sour cream, 2 asparagus spears, and about a 3" circle of pork steak. I've made sure she has easy to prepare, healthy food in her apartment, and check on her every day to make sure she's eaten.

I desparately need advice on how to help her!

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Old 06-26-2006, 11:19 AM   #2
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You're doing a good thing! Hugs to you!
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:25 AM   #3
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Will she listen if you try to get her into a treatment program? This is too big an issue for you to try to deal with on your own. Keep doing what you are doing and look at your local hospitals for an inpatient program. Good luck.
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:06 PM   #4
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I don't know if she will or not, Alix, but I'm you're afraid you're right. That's a good idea...I'll call around and see what I can find.
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:23 PM   #5
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((((Constance)))Going through this with my daughter as an inpatient - I am hearing the same thing over and over again-until the victim of the disease is ready to take control- they cannot be helped. I know you said that she wants to take charge but, if she is medically at a point where her stomach has atrophied so much that she cannot tolerate healthy amounts of food- she really needs professional help.I have had to witness in the past few days breathing skeletons with nasogastric tubes so they may be nourished,The florr that Kiersten is on the ages range from 15-48 and the worst are the older patients because of how long the disease has been in control.God Bless you for being so supportive and loving-she is very blessed to have you.Love and energy, Vicki
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:27 PM   #6
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You all are very kind, but you would do the same if you were in my shoes.
I talked to her just now, and a friend had taken her out to dinner last night, and bought her a steak, steamed broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes and a salad. She said she ate "some of everything".
She has a doctor's appointment Wednesday, as a follow-up to her last bout with "stomach flu", which put her in the hospital.
I told her she needs to talk to him about how to put on some weight. But since he has seen her, he's obviously aware of her problem, which is probably why he wanted her to come back.
His nurse and receptionist are lifelong friends of mine (small town, ya know), and I may call one of them and put a bug in her ear. Do you think that would be improper?
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:53 PM   #7
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She might want to try the Spirulina Protein drink it has the good yeast,bee pollen,spirulina,protein and a host of other really good nutritious ingredients,it come in vanilla,chocolate and strawberry.I dont recommend the carob flavor but the a personal choice on my part, you can mix it up with milk,soy milk or Rice Dream it should be really easy on her stomach and will really give a good amount of nutition.Also it tastes really good.Heck if shes so inclined add a scoop of ice cream also.
Its found at heath food stores and some of the bigger grocery stores dont let them talk you into something else as most other protein drinks dont taste that good if you cant find that one the next one I would try is Tigers Milk protein powder.
Next idea is yogurt and fruit smoothies.
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:18 PM   #8
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Constance, clearly this person has severe problems.

Agree with Alix that this is beyond anyone's ability to cure without very skilled professional help.

I hope you can find that for her.

In the meanwhile I guess all you can do is get her to eat as much as you can.

You have to realize you are doing your best, and sometimes there are no good answers.

Some problems are beyond the best of our abilities, all we can do sometimes is try to help.

God bless and stay in there. I wish I could be of any help.
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Old 06-27-2006, 05:48 AM   #9
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As a person who has been through eating disorders I have to tell you, the more you talk about it to her, the worse it will be. She obviously needs professional help, but really all you can do is make sure there is good food available to her. After that it is up to her. Even if you see her eat, chances are she'll find a way to void it later when you aren't around. Try to make a point of NOT talking about the problem. Eating is just a natural, wonderful part of life. Make sure the food is there, but do not push it. Unfortunatley, in spite of overweight being a big problem in this country, we worship at the altar of bone-thin and disdain people who are overweight. Make sure she is getting the professional help she needs, make sure the food is there. After that there isn't much you can do, and the more you talk about it, the more she will obsess. Trust me, I've been there.
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Old 06-27-2006, 07:30 AM   #10
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I'm so sorry to hear this Constance. Your a wonderful, dear friend to reach out. I agree that she has to want to get better in order to get better.....no one can do it for her. From what you've written I wonder if she felt she had no control in her life and once she started this she felt like this was the one thing she could control without realizing it was actually the other way around and it turned out controlling her. She def. needs professional help. I'd do all the research in and around the area and see what treatment programs are available then present them to her and tell her the help is there if she truely wants it. I think her problems go beyond the anorexia and its going to be a rough road to recovery for her. My prayers are going up for her. Bless you for being there for her.
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Old 06-27-2006, 07:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
His nurse and receptionist are lifelong friends of mine (small town, ya know), and I may call one of them and put a bug in her ear. Do you think that would be improper?
ABSOLUTELY NOT - Go for it! And they should know also that you've been supporting her. They may get cagey about specifics, unless your friend eventually signs a release so you can get information and perhaps even go on visits with her. If the doc is any kind of doc, he'll get her to at least see a nutritional counselor if not an inpatient program. If he's not any kind of doc - it's time for her to change!

It sounds as though she could use some ongoing counseling in general, as the 'symptoms' she has had of alcohol abuse, bipolar, and eating disorder are all things that need to be kept 'fine-tuned' all the time, not just in crisis situations.

Bless you for being there for her!
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Old 06-27-2006, 07:39 AM   #12
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i can't really offer anything, connie, but i will say thank god for good people like you. you are her angel on earth.
i wish her luck, and i'll keep you in my prayers.
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:09 AM   #13
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I would agree with the above posters who mentioned a treatment program. As good as your intentions are, you cannot take on the responsibility of trying to get her well. The decision hsa to be up to her - and the first step is to admit that there is a problem and then she needs to start examing why. (her mothers death must have something to do with it, but eating disorders have many many reasons for starting and contuining)

It must be exhausting for you and emotionally draining. It seems like, from what you have written, that you are trying so hard to ensure that she is eating. The only thing is though, that eating is not really the problem. Its the symptom of a greater issue. I know you have good intentions and must care about her a lot... but eating disorders run deep... she needs something intensive in order to really get help.

As for the digestive problems, this is common in eating disorders but can get better with treatment. There are digestive medications to help imrpove the gastric emptying rate (motillium/domperidone being one) Also, provided she is not a laxative abuser (this happens with bulimics quite often) the doctor may recommend a gentle stool softener, such as colace, to make sure she doesnt get blocked up. This should all be done under medical care though as introducing too much food too quickly can actually be dangerous with eating disorder patients. Some can actually die during treatment from something called, "refeeding syndrome." As long as the care is gradual, this rarely happens though.. but that is why critical medical care is important!

I hope you, and the others in her life, will be able to convince her to seek treatment. THere are many options from individualized therapy, intensive day programs, to partial or full hospitalizations.

Take care... and good luck.
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Old 06-28-2006, 10:32 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by grumblebee
I hope you, and the others in her life, will be able to convince her to seek treatment. THere are many options from individualized therapy, intensive day programs, to partial or full hospitalizations.
My friend doesn't really have anyone else, except her step-father, who lives out of state. He cares about her, but does not involve himself in her personal life.

She has an appointment with the doctor today, and I called one of my friends who works for him and told her about my concerns. She said, "You know, it's really illegal for me to be talking to you about this, but since we're friends, it's OK. She asked me a few questions, and said she'd see to it that the doctor got the information.
I'm hoping for the best.
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Old 06-28-2006, 07:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
She said, "You know, it's really illegal for me to be talking to you about this, but since we're friends, it's OK. She asked me a few questions, and said she'd see to it that the doctor got the information.
I'm hoping for the best.
Well - shhhh - it's not really okay, according to HIPAA and privacy act. But it's done all the time. If your friend talks to you about her visit to the doc, why don't you suggest (if you sense she'd be open to it) that you become a 'partner' in whatever the doc might suggest. That way, she could sign a release so the doc/nurse could give you info, you could make calls for her, sit in on suggstions re diet and treatment. If she doesn't sound open to it, I'd be really, really quiet about having made that call! Trust is probably an issue for her, and the last thing she needs right now is to lose the trust she has in you.

(((((((((((HUGS))))))))you're doing great!
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:11 AM   #16
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Well, it really didn't make any difference, as my friend blew off her doctor's visit. She said she didn't feel like going.
She came over last evening though, and I filled her full of guacamole and homemade tortilla chips, and sent her home a care package with a grilled hamburgur on a bun, and leftover biscuits, sausage and gravy from Sunday morning.
As you all say, it's up to her. All I can do is be here when she needs me.
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:34 PM   #17
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Constance,
I have had a lot of personal experience with this. I haven't had a chance to read all of the other post, so I might repeat a few things. Just remember that this can not be changed over night. It is a very slow process physically and mentally to overcome this problem. If she just eats one more bite of food a day that is making process. It takes a lot of patients to help with this. Definitly don't try to push too hard but just be there for her for encouragement. If she is letting you help her then that is a good start and a good sign that she is ready to help herself as well. She definitly needs professional help to get the the root of what is really bothering her. I know a lot of anorexics stop eating and spiral down into this problem because it is a way to bring control to their life. She needs to see a psychologist who can help her get to the root of the problem and fix this thing starting with the mind and the rest will come along. Hope this helps
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Old 06-29-2006, 05:46 PM   #18
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Thank you, Abj....a couple of others here have said the same thing about not pushing, and I have taken that advice. I know how much it aggravates me when people constantly chide me about my smoking.
SL called today to thank me for supper last night. It was really quite heartening to see her dive into the guacamole. She said she'd had the bisquit and sausage gravy I sent home with her for breakfast this morning. If she ate even a little of it, that's a good thing.
As you say, it's going to take time.

Again, I want to thank you all for the encouragement, positive vibes, and prayers, not only in regard to my friend's problem, but also all the other personal trials and tribulations I have shared here. You're a dear and caring group of people, and I'm grateful to have you as my friends.
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:36 PM   #19
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There are great in-patient treatment programs that can be really expensive but also heal people emotionally and physically and can be enjoyable expiriences. http://remudaranch.com/index.asp?flash=yes
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:16 PM   #20
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My friend has no money, so anything like that would be out of the question, but thanks for the advice.
My husband has been having good luck getting her to eat. We fed her Saturday, and again last night. We always send care packages home with her, which she claims she eats.
It just breaks my heart to see that boney little body. There's thin, and then there's emaciated. What seems strange to me is that her face is puffy and her ankles are swollen.
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