I keep putting off writing about this part of my life. I'm not sure if that's because I have a hard time putting into words what happened during my stay at St. Alban's Hospital, or if I genuinely struggle with remembering it all. I have no doubt that I've tried to block out much of that time.
The day that I was taken to Radford to be admitted into the hospital was a long one. Radford was about a 45 minute drive from our home in Roanoke, but that turned into the longest drive of my life.
Mom took the day off from work to take me that day. I don't remember the circumstances surrounding the event, but I'm not sure why Dad wasn't able to come with us. Maybe he just couldn't get off work at the time. Maybe someone needed to stay behind to be there when April got home from school. All I know for sure is that it was only me and Mom in the car. And it was very quiet.
Before making the trip, we had spoken with my counselor about what we could expect from the hospital. Our expectations were not much. I would be admitted. I would be staying on the adolescent unit of the hospital, along with other teens dealing with issues ranging from eating disorders to suicidal thoughts. I could expect to stay there for two, maybe three weeks. I'd be home by Christmas. That didn't sound so bad.
And then the day actually came. That long car ride didn't even seem long enough. We got to the hospital and were told to wait. For a long while, it seemed that our insurance wouldn't cover my stay there. For a long while, I started to feel relieved. While we sat in the lobby, waiting for the final word, I began to think I had made a terrible mistake. What could the people at this hospital do for me that my family couldn't? Why did they think that just because I was in their controlled environment that I would suddenly be able to feel better about myself and put the pounds back on?
Just when it looked like we had made the trip for nothing, the decision was made that I could stay.
I was forced to say good-bye to my mother. I was given a physical examination before being released to the adolescent unit. I was given a room that I would call home for the next few weeks. I was introduced to the nurses and aides that would come to be my caregivers. I never felt more alone in my life than I did that first night.