“Not sick enough” is a phrase that I have come to despise.  On many hospital trips where my daughter needed medical attention due to POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) we were told that her vitals were okay and that she wasn’t sick enough for them to admit her.  I mean, she was fainting regularly, her heart rate was through the roof but her ECG and labs were “fine”.  She was refusing to eat at home, was hiding food and clearly was not well enough to be managing on our own. I tried as best as I could to get her to eat but the ED was screaming so loud then.  When they told her she wasn’t sick enough, 2 thoughts ran through her head.   She’s doing good enough at this ED thing and I guess I need to get sicker for someone to believe that I needed help.

I mean, would you tell someone with a gaping arterial wound that they weren’t bleeding enough to get help?  Sorry, come back when you are almost dead and then we will bandage you up.  How is it any different for someone needing care for an eating disorder?  It wasn’t until she was videotaped fainting and insistence on my admittance, that the hospital finally acquiesced and admitted her.  She was there for 2 weeks getting medically stable.

How is it that she felt she needed to get sicker to get help?  I mean, the eating disorder was consuming her life yet her illness was invalidated.  She was losing hair, fainting, couldn’t run without getting dizzy or exhausted and had virtually stopped eating and drinking.  In hindsight, I’m thankful that her ECG was fine and no long-term damage was done to my internal organs but still.

I am trained RN and I couldn’t get her admitted for the first 5 times or so, and I could speak their language.  I guess they figured we were managing well enough at home, but we weren’t.  Not sick enough should never be used in relation to someone with a mental illness.  She was sick, and I needed to be validated.  End of rant.