Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dear ICED: Turned away because they only took females

Eating Disorders are brain-based, biological illnesses with a strong genetic component and a psychosocial influence. They are not disorders of choice, vanity or family dysfunction. As with autism and schizophrenia, we don't know everything, but we do know we were wrong about a lot for a very long time. Help us challenge stigma and fight for resource parity for these deadly disorders!
Turned away because they only took females
Maria Candrill
Staten Island, NY

Sal's eating disorder began about 9 years ago.He said that when he was in 6-7th grade that the kids would make fun of him because he was chunky. When he started high school he travelled to the city and joined the football team. From September to December he lost about 40 pounds. When his friends from junior high saw him over vacation they didn't even recognize him. He transferred schools in December and joined the track team. He said that during that summer he got sick and he threw up. He said that something just clicked in his head that he could eat and just throw up. I didn't realize that anything was wrong for over 6 months. One night I heard him calling me from the bathroom. He was lying on the floor with vomit all over. He was diagnosed with bulimia in 2006. From the age of 16, he has been in and out of treatment centers. Back then I knew nothing. I made a lot of phone calls, did a lot of research online and read many books. Sal was turned away from many facilities because they only took females. When I found a place that took males I had issues with my insurance. After nine years I'm well educated. Thru NEDA, I met Lisa Kantor and she has helped me with several issues that I have had with the insurance. I still self paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sal has been to New York(where we live) Wisconsin, California,Colorado  and Arizona for treatment. Some of the facilities he has gone to several times. He has had some periods of time where he was stabilized and in a good place but  unfortunately since he turned 21 it has been very difficult. He would go to the hospital to be stabilized and then to a psych ward which couldn't deal with ED. The cycle would continue until I would pay for treatment. I would arrange for flights and transportation to take him to a facility because he would say that he wants help. Then he would get there and not comply. This past year I flew him from AZ to CA to WI to AZ to CA back to NY.He went from hospital to treatment center to psych wards to homeless shelters to hotels. I had to keep a log for every day so I could keep track of where he was.I was calling hospitals and psych wards to try and locate him. I couldn't always get information because of the HIPA laws and then he wouldn't always sign the papers so the facility could speak with me. It depended on his mood.It was crazy.I brought him home the day before Thanksgiving 2014 because he was getting kicked out of another facility for not complying. It was a choice between sending him to a homeless shelter again in CA or bringing him home. Unfortunately he brought his ED home with him. It was not healthy for myself, my daughter and my boyfriend, so I told him he had to leave if he wouldn't get help.It was one the the toughest decisions I ever had to make. He left on Jan 17, 2015 because I could no longer have ED in my home.He went to live with a friend in Colorado. He ended up in several hospitals and a psych ward. On Mar. 20th I flew him back to CA to go to a facility that he had gone to before last year. He lasted 11 days without any ED behaviors and then he refused to take his meds. It was decided yet again that he needed a higher level of care. He was taken to a hospital. As I am writing this I was informed that he will be transferred today to a psych ward and when he has been ED behavior free he will be able to return to the ED facility. The cycle continues.I will no longer pay for any more flights or any more treatment that is not covered under the insurance. Tomorrow he will be 24 years old. I am learning to accept that I can't fix my son. I can't save him from the demons inside him. I have always said that Sal is welcome to live with me but ED is not allowed.I still believe that there is hope and someday Sal will be ready for recovery.

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