Tuesday, 22 March 2011

faux pas - not such a nice person (me)

I was just out walking the dog in the park this morning.

Blogdog, is 11 years old but still spritely and the spring has got his testosterone levels on the rise.  He is generally a very well behaved and calm dog but now and again another dog will take his fancy (not often - usually it is Boris the Schnauzer and otherwise generally only bitches in season) and there is no reasoning with him.  Anyway, today, about 100 metres from a gate that was not our gate, Blogdog ran after a golden retriever;  he was acting all over excited - licking and fawning and wagging his tail like mad.  The GR was being walked by a young woman.  I realised that Blogdog was not going to come back to me willingly and that the other owner was heading towards and out of the gate, presumably to go home,  so I called over cheerily "please could you wait a minute?" as I did not want Blogdog running out onto the road following her and 10 seconds later would be there to grab him by the collar.  But she carried on regardless and left the park, out of my sight and with my dog in tow.  I began to jog to catch up, and called again.  I caught up with her about 20m beyond the park gate, still with Blogdog shadowing her.  I took hold of Blogdog.  I was by this stage quite cross as she was just putting her own dog on the lead and about to cross a road with a fair amount of rush hour traffic on it, still without making any attempt to stop or look back to see whether I was coming and there is no way that she can have not heard me.  Yes, my dog was at fault (although I am 90% certain that hers must be in season  as my dog would not have acted the way he did otherwise), but actually if you care about animals you would not want any dog to get lost or run over needlessly and she only would have had to wait for 10 seconds as I was clearly coming over to retrieve Blogdog.

I felt she had shown a lack of consideration and I told her so (blush) - not rudely, but definitely firmly  "I would have really appreciated it if you had stopped by the gate.  Walking out of the park with someone else's dog is really not very nice at all"  She looked startled and sad  :-(   muttered something very quietly about her dog wanting to get home, and carried on her way. I, back to the park with my Blogdog in disgrace.

I wonder if I looked intimidating - I am only small and petite but was wearing my leather biker jacket as I had just given Waif a lift to school on my motorbike (I passed the test yesterday and that is a whole other post)

It suddenly occurred to me that the owner had looked very thin.  She also had red/ blonde hair and a golden retriever like my new friend whose anorexic daughter was expected back from Oxford last Monday.  My word, this was Lucy.  I feel so bad.  I am doing my best to get my new friend's phone number to phone her up and explain that Lucy was told off by a cross lady in the park this morning so may not be feeling good (I usually just see my friend at training and around the local streets and although I wrote down her number last time, I cannot find it).  I feel mortified to think that I may have spoken sharply - nay, DID speak sharply, to a girl in a fragile state, and hope that she doesn't go home and not eat breakfast because she is upset.  She is obviously not used to the etiquette of dog walking and I did not treat her with the gentleness I would have shown to my own daughter.  This shows that I am NOT a nice person as really one should always treat every stranger on the basis of how you would treat a friend or how you would wish your own family members to be treated because you never know what private difficulties and anguishes others are nursing.

I will go and check now whether a mutual friend has got back to me with contact details and get back to you all.  I hope I can make up for this.  I really feel quite sick with guilt.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Looking to the future

I have made a new friend at running club.  She is a little older than I am and her daughter is 20 years old and at Oxford University.  I heard on the grapevine that her daughter, like Waif, has had anorexia since she was 14 years old.  She too has been treated at The Maudsley so we bumped into each other locally the other day and got chatting.

Sigh, I assumed that her daughter (will call her Lucy) would be fine by now - happy at Oxford etc but it turns out that it was not that simple.  Lucy had to postpone her place by a year in order to spend 7 months as an inpatient for treatment and is still only 42kg, despite being about the same height as Waif (about 165cm).  Apparently she phones from college complaining that she is fat because she has put on 0.5kg (FFS she must be skeletal), and has then lost it by the next week  :-(

My new friend tells me that they took part in an experimental group family therapy at the Maudsley a few years back and that she felt happy at that time that Lucy had not done any of that food throwing/ aggression that others talked about.....only to go through it herself the next year.

This tells me several important things:

- not to get complacent - just because Waif has made good progress recently does not mean that she will not relapse and have this horrid disease for years and years

- to not relax on Waif gaining her target weight of 51.5kg

- to not expect that the course of the disease will not change its nature  :-(

-  that I am right not to be intending to return to work in the near future.  I have instead applied to do a part time Masters course  (in science communication).  This will involve one day a week in college and the other studying I will be able to fit in around Waif's needs.

I have not weighed Waif recently although I try to gently remind her several times a day to eat.  Often I get an "oops, I only had cereal for breakfast" (this morning for instance) or somesuch in reply at which point she will go and have some more.  As she now has a budding social life, she is having quite a few meals out of the home so I have no real idea of what is eaten but I am trusting her for now and also reminding her that she needs to be 48.5kg by 31 March if her orthodontic braces are to be fitted.

Meantime, I am in the middle of marathon training.  I ran the first 18 miles of the course this morning so am having a little sit down this afternoon.  I have almost given up on hoping to lose a couple of kg before the race, which is 5 weeks away, as it is so much more important that Waif does not see me skipping meals (which I also find very easy to do, just like her).  Half of me wants to be independent and not have life revolve around an eating disorder but half of me just wants Waif to be better more than anything else in the world.  It is easy to forget how worried I was this time last year and to forget to keep concentrating on recovery.

The battle against my daughter's anorexia is my real marathon.