Jesska Denise is an Irish beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog



The Fight for Inpatient Treatment

ed recovery blog ireland
(Trigger Warning for numbers and pictures.)
It's weird writing on here again. I feel like I've gone so long without posting any sort of real update, that in a way, I owe it to my blog to continue the story of my journey and ongoing recovery. My last two posts were pieces I had written whilst an inpatient. Which may lead you to think 'wait what?'. Yes, because I haven't updated. I've been very vocal on Instagram *ahem* here btw, but not on here. My little corner of the internet, so lets rewind.

If you don't remember last year, (I do) I wrote a piece on how the HSE had refused to fund inpatient treatment for me. And you're probably wondering how it all happened. What changed? How did I eventually get the treatment I needed and deserved? I fought. I fought tooth and nail until I was pretty sure the head of CHO8 hated me because of my numerous phone calls and emails.

It came to a point last August where I wanted to know, why was it refused in the first place, what was the reasoning behind it. I was desperate for help, so I wanted to know what I did wrong to not get the funding, how could I access inpatient treatment. My team had said it was BMI related, but I wanted it in writing. I contacted Jim Daly, Minister for Mental Health in Ireland. He passed my case onto his office, and correspondence went on and on and on for some time until mid-November when I received the following email.
anorexia treatment ireland
(Email form Jim Daly's office in November 2018.)
The funny thing about this email was, that it took into account my BMI in September 2018 and not my BMI from December 2017/January 2018 when the original request for funding went in, which was lower. It also states that in order to access inpatient treatment, the minister for mental healths office thinks they should have a BMI of 13. If that was the case, why does Lois Bridges (where a number of patients are there on HSE funding, and some have been funded twice) refuse to admit patients with a BMI of less than 13.5? 

Anyone with a BMI of 13 or less is seriously ill and needs to be admitted to an acute hospital. “We had good results with these high-risk patients before but now we don’t accept anyone with a BMI of less than 13.5. Our program is suitable for patients who are not at risk of suicide and who are cognitively able for an intensive program,” explains Molloy. Source: Irish Times

Completely glossing over the fact that early intervention is key and that the severity of the mental illness cannot be measured by physical aspects.
At the time my dietician and I had agreed not to discuss numbers and weight so the reference to my 'current' BMI in the above letter was badly thought out. I was fuming when I saw this letter. If BMI is such a factor, how are people who are diagnosed with bulimia or binge eating disorder supposed to receive specialist help? And why is the severity of a MENTAL illness, being based on a physical symptom such as weight loss? Is schizophrenia or OCD looked at in the same way? Or is just anorexia?
I was left feeling like in order to receive the specialist help I desperately needed I have to be on death's door, if I had a tumor would it need to be bigger before chemotherapy is suggested or is it again, just unique to anorexia? This letter severely triggered me, my weight started plummeting and prior to being admitted, I was maintaining at 47kg. 
anorexia recovery ireland
(November 2015)

Four years ago I was on death's door, my weight dropped to 37kg in December 2015. At 5ft6, this put my BMI at 13.2. But inpatient treatment was barely mentioned at the time, yet I was physically compromised and very mentally ill. The above picture was a few weeks before December.

When it was discovered in November 2017 that I had osteoporosis in my spine and osteopenia in my hips, talk of HSE funding began. I was assured it wouldn't be an issue getting funding as they 'knew the woman over it quite well'. 

leinster eating disorder clinic
(This is the HSE premises Dr. Moorhead works out of, leaves in the building.)
It was suggested that I return to see Dr. Teresa Moorhead to help with the application, but I refused as it had been some time since I had seen her (a year) and I wasn't able for a journey to Dublin. Apparently, this decision of mine not to see her was a factor against me getting funding.

Then the talk began of applying for funding again. I was relieved, but I knew I had a fight on my hands to get it. I did everything that was asked of me, I jumped through every hoop, I went to see Dr. Moorhead so she could back up the application. I knew I needed the treatment, that without it, my weight would keep dropping and I would be chronically ill or dead. Once I knew the referral for funding was put in, I found out who I needed to pester. I discovered that the HSE is broken into sections, and my section is CHO8. I found out who was the top dog of CHO8 thanks to google, and I got onto emailing them, and ringing them and speaking to their secretary. I wanted them to know I needed this. My entire team helped push as much as they could, and I pushed as much as I could from my side.

I had lost two inches in height, my blood results were starting to come back with problems, my blood pressure was very low and upon standing I would get dizzy and nearly blackout. The physical complications were becoming very apparent and I became physically complicated with chest infections and colds that my body couldn't fight off. Resulting in a scary trip to midoc were I couldn't breathe because my lungs were so weak and full of gunk. It was terrifying. I didn't know how to break the cycle I was in. 

I got in touch with the hospital I'd been referred to see if they had heard anything. Then the unthinkable happened, funding was approved. Verbally approved that is. After many emails, they eventually did confirm it in writing and it was just a matter of waiting for the bed to be admitted. I never gave myself time to think about what inpatient would entail, I was so focused on fighting whoever to get there. But I fought. I fought the two hardest fights I will hopefully ever have to fight and now I'm home, after 14 weeks inpatient.

anorexia before and after
(Before treatment, after treatment.)
I still have a long way to go in terms of recovery, I begin aftercare in the hospital next week, but I'm better than I was. I feel less obsessive and needy for control and structure. I eat regularly. Something I haven't been able to do in years. But I did it, I fought the HSE for funding and I got it.

My mission is to make sure no one ever has to go through what I did to get the help they deserve. If the HSE was properly equipped to deal with eating disorders and had beds publically, they wouldn't have to fund people to stay in private hospitals with eating disorder units, and it would be one less thing for parents and sufferers to worry about.

The personal fight isn't over, but damn, it's a lot closer to over than it was before Easter. The hospital and the group saved my life, and I'll be forever grateful to all there and my little hospital family.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jess, what a terrible story - but what a great one woman campaign!! It’s unbelievable that you and your family had to go thorough so much - and while you were so very ill. Im glad that you were finally given the treatment you need - and good on you for continuing to fight for change so that others dont have to face what you did. Im delighted that you are feeling so much better, it will surely be a long road - but you’re on your way. Look after yourself x