What to expect during treatment in the Eating Disorders Unit: Madi O’Dell’s story
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What to expect during treatment in the Eating Disorders Unit: Madi O’Dell’s story

August 14, 2019


Hi, I’m sue O’Dell, Madison’s
mom. And I’m Madi. (Sue) From a parent perspective on what to
expect when having your child come to Children’s in the eating
disorder, basically how it works is we came in and had her
evaluated. They determined that day whether or not they will
admit them. Madi was sick enough that they did admit her that
afternoon. And we had to go home. We didn’t bring anything
with us for her stay here. We didn’t know how long she would
be staying. So we had to go home and gather all of her
belongings. And I remember bringing them back that night.
And so Madi had her own room, and that was kind of the end of
our first evening here at Children’s. And so what we
learned as we went along is that the family is so important in
the child’s recovery. And so you’re involved in every aspect
of their treatment. And so we were taught how to come up with
meal plans for Madi, and caloric values, and why they had them
eat things this time of day, and why they’re so strict on where
they eat and when they eat and the amounts that they eat. We
just had no idea of all that was involved with that. And then
there’s the counseling component where families are involved in
family therapy and then individual therapies with your
child, and therapies–if you have other children, they’re
involved in those. But the thing that is most impressive about
Children’s that we didn’t know is the team approach. So there’s
so many people involved in the recovery. So there’s
nutritionalists, and there’s counselors, and there’s an M.D.,
Madi had Dr. Caplan. And there’s a psychiatrist, we were lucky
enough to have Dr. Hagman. So there’s just a whole team of
people that are looking out for your child’s well-being and
helping them on the road to recovery. So I think that you
just have no idea just the depth and wealth of people that are
here to help your children. (Madi) I think from the patient
standpoint, you have to be prepared–I mean, to get
everything taken away from you. They strip you of pretty much
all of your rights, which isn’t fun at the time, but as I look
back on it, it really is important to recovery. I mean,
patients, your parents don’t get to stay with you like a
regular–like in the regular hospital, which is kind of
different, but, I mean, you can see the pros and cons of that.
You kind of learn to live on your own. And you don’t have the
stress of the family around all the time. I think that was
really helpful to me. At least for the first week, because you
eliminate all the–everybody else’s opinions, pretty much. I
mean, I had to take time for myself and kind of figure out
what I needed to do in order to get better. But I think for
parents, I think you have to learn to be patient, because
there really is no treatment time period. I mean, each kid is
different and each treatment of an individual is different. And
so some kids are there for a week, some kids are there for
months. It just really depends on how sick you are and how
driven the patient is to getting better. The Unit is gorgeous.
Definitely not what I expected. I mean, I expected the white
walls, general hospital kind of setting with machines and just
like, a bed with a curtain. And it’s definitely not that. I
mean, the walls are lime green, and bright blue, and purple, and
pink, and it’s actually really beautiful. I mean, they do have
one room which is a split, shared room, but the rest of the
patient rooms are single rooms. So you get your own room and it
has two giant wardrobes on the left, and your own patient desk
with a really cute green chair. And you get a whiteboard and
your own phone and a little coffee table. And it’s really
nice. And all the patient rooms have windows and you get all
that light in and it’s gorgeous. And it’s not what I expected. I
mean, across from the patient rooms there’s like, a little
nurses station, and so they’re just right across the hall. You
don’t have to travel far if you ever need any help for anything.
It’s a great place to be when
you’re sick.

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  1. i never entered an eating disorder clinic. I ate an apple a day or 2 lettuce leaves a day. Just occasionally a small amount of mash potato. 2 teaspoons. Exercised for a minimum of 4 hours a day. I was never bone thin at all! I looked normal. I did this for 25yrs of my life. I was only hospitalised once in a normal hospital, because in order to get bone thin I stopped eating altogether for 2 weeks. I was so weak I couldn't walk. Im here to say some people with anorexia do not get bone thin. Our behaviours are the same but my metabolism didn't support the extreme weight loss.

  2. How would this be for a trans boy like myself? Nothing has been legally changed so I really wouldn't want to go😣

  3. This is the exact same clinic I was in! It’s so surreal seeing it again. I was here back in 2016 for about 2 months. I met so many nice people and learned a lot.

  4. Haha, there are times where I'm glad I'm getting help for my eating disorder at this moment, then there are these moments where I just want to give up, go home and just die. Yep, life pretty much sucks!

  5. I am an avid #MentalHealthAwareness advocate and performer, and I love this so much. I travel the country trying to bring that awareness on stages, in classrooms, hospitals, and on my YouTube channel, so I get excited when I see other advocates. 💙❤

  6. I probably would benefit from being in inpatient but I don’t see how having my rights stripped away would help me recover? I feel like I need to choose to recover, not have someone taking away my possessions, forcing me to eat, watching me go to the bathroom, keeping me from my family, etc….

  7. I’ve never been hospitalized for my eating disorder. I was hospitalized because I tried to kill myself… the doctor there told me I wasn’t “sick” enough to be put into an eating disorder clinic.. I feel like if they just let me go I wouldn’t be where I am right now, I’m trying to recover on my own and it’s just so hard sometimes.

  8. My parents and a doctor r sending me to one,
    Because I have trouble swallowing and it became a fear for me to swallow.
    It’s been a year since I’ve eaten food (I’ve been only eating peanut butter and drinking ensure meal replacement)

  9. Anyone else get stuck in a hospital room that was so clinical looking and slept in one of those medical hospital beds that where so uncomfortable,,

  10. “Because she was sick enough”

    Idk if this was her intention for saying this but I remember in my treatment my family and staff treated me (like literally felt) like I wasn’t sick enough…they accepted you no matter what because one I guess they don’t care because if you have money, they will accept you. This was the reason I relapsed the worst after treatment just because of this. Obviously it does matter about your health (mentally and physically) but nobody should feel like they are being treated differently than the other patients…which is how I exactly felt. They even misdiagnosed me because they didn’t even listen to my story well they did for others…I remember even telling a staff member that I wasn’t sick enough to be here and they said “than why are you here then?” Completely ridiculous. Everyone with an ed or mental health is sick enough. They need help, they will hopefully receive help not like what I went through 🙁

  11. This is not at all what I experienced (it was a different place). My recovery "camp" (that's what they called it) was awful. Yes, they would have someone talk to us about keeping a balanced diet, but they never followed that. We would be given large portions of food that was disgusting. I would try to eat as much because I wanted to recover so badly, but instead of doing the responsible thing and teaching us how to have a healthy diet, it was all about weight gain. Yes, weight gain is important, but feeding us cookies and ice cream as a snack is an unhealthy way to do it. Because of this, I have struggled with cravings for a long time. They wanted to get us out of there so fast that they didn't even care about how healthy our habits were. I'm not complaining about gaining weight, just the way they did it was so unhealthy, especially from a program in a hospital.

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