I had my first meal with Emily today in God knows how long. The funny thing is, I didn't even know that we weren't eating together for most of the last year, or at least not approaching eating together from the same point of view. The experience was a little stressful for me, but Emily said it was way better than she thought it would be and asked me to have snack and dinner with her too.
She wasn't able to finish breakfast but she said that two weeks ago she would have been disappointed to have eaten that much in a whole day, now she was a little disappointed not to have been able to eat that much in one meal. That, in my opinion, was a very long way for her to have come in two weeks. And while I know, because the 'team', have told us that it will be two steps ahead, and one back, for now at least we are moving ahead.
I was shocked to realize how much my mental, emotional and physical mood was uplifted by hearing her say those things and by her having a good meal experience with me. I am more hopeful than ever.
Yesterday we had a funny, funny as in odd, conversation about her abhorrence of smoking, wherein I asked how she could allow 'Ed' to starve her to death, but she couldn't conceive of smoking because it was so unhealthy. She gave me a look that reminded me of kid in 'the exorcist' and replied that she didn't wake up one morning and decide to starve herself to death, but it was a gradual disintegration of rational thinking. It was a really awkward moment between us, and there was a medical student in the room witnessing the whole thing, but I can't help but wonder if it didn't strike a nerve. One thing is for sure, if looks could kill, I'd have been six feet under.
Today, I met with my counsellor for the first time and the hour was taken up with my 'telling the story' of how Emily ended up so sick and what the immediate future looks like for us. I hope that next week we can start working on my feelings of guilt and fear because I can afford to be spending energy on those feelings when we get Emily home. The refeeding process will take six hours per day, plus meal prep time, plus sessions with the team. I know I will need to take a leave of absence from work for some period of time because I wouldn't be able to do a good job at work and I can't afford not to put everything I can into getting rid of Ed and getting Emily back.
Intially i.e. the first month, Derek and I will spend every meal and snack with Emily and eventually we will probably trade off meals when Emily goes back to school and I go back to work. It reminds of the level care you give to a baby, kind of like a maternity leave. Life will be very different for us during this phase.