A typical day in the Eating Disorders Unit: Madi O’Dell’s story


Hi, I’m Sue O’Dell, Madison’s
mom. And I’m Madi. A typical patient day, I mean, you wake up
6:30/7:00, depending on whether or not you want to shower or
not. There are two bathrooms on the unit with showers, so if
there are multiple girls who are staying overnight, you kind of
have to share and you get your little time slot. But when you
wake up, the nurse comes into your room and takes your vitals,
and then you do weight and stuff. But after that, you’re
free to kind of do what you please until it’s breakfast
time. So, shower, get ready, get changed. Sometimes we would
watch TV in the morning, just depending on how long we had.
And then food gets delivered and so we all go to breakfast. I
think it’s around like, 8:00 in the morning. We all sit down to
breakfast, eat our breakfast and then we head into the main room
where there’s this giant table and it’s really colorful,
there’s huge windows, and all the patients kind of sit around
the table and we go through our morning routine. So it’s a lot
of checking in, how things went over the night. We have this big
workbook or packet that we get to go through and we work on
that during the morning time. And then after that, we usually
do some kind of a walk–so walk around the hospital, go on a
walk outside, if you’re cleared physically to do that, you get
to go outside and kind of hang out for a little bit. It’s like,
10 minutes, but you get to get off the unit; it’s really nice.
And then you come back and a lot of the other patients who don’t
spend the night come onto the unit. And so you have snack time
and you have your first snack of the day. And then we usually go
into a group therapy session or an individual therapy session.
So you meet with your own personal psychologist or you’re
meeting with different counselors and are going through
a nutritional workbook or you’re working on different things. It
depends on the day. So we do that, and then you go to lunch.
So you go to the cafeteria and eat some more. There’s a lot of
eating involved on the EDU. [laughter] And then you split up
into another group. You could have a family therapy session,
it really depends on the patient. And sometimes, once a
day, we get to go to the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy program.
And so that’ll be like, art therapy, music therapy, movement
and dance, or yoga therapy. And so we have one of those a day.
And it can be in the morning or the afternoon, but usually it’s
in the afternoon. So we’ll go to that, which is just downstairs
from the unit. And then after that, you come back and some of
the parents are in their own class. And so they get out of
their class and you might have a family group therapy session
where you do–each family gets together and they make an art
project to how they would describe their family. Or you do
a painting or you toss it around and you talk about different
things. It depends on, again, what day it is and what you’re
doing. And after that, the parents leave and they go down
to the main hospital cafeteria. And what’s something different
that not a lot of people know about the EDU, is it’s in a
different building than the main hospital. But they’re all
connected from underground tunnels so you can get to each
building pretty easily. So the parents go down to the main
cafeteria for dinner, and then the patients kind of stay and
wait around and get some small things done, and then we head
down to the cafeteria as well. At dinner time, you can eat your
meal with your family and kind of hang out and chat. And after
that, some of the patients leave to go home if they’re not
spending the night. And then the rest of the patients come back
up to the unit where they can kind of hang out with their
family. And we used to watch movies and chill out in my room
a bunch of time. And then parents leave and you have
another snack and then just to kind of be by yourself for a
little while, and then
it’s bedtime.

14 thoughts on “A typical day in the Eating Disorders Unit: Madi O’Dell’s story

  1. Hey guys! Madi here…I am doing great!! I am loving College and really thriving…I actually leave for Peru next week for a medical mission trip and am starting to get excited…soccer went really well last year for me and I am thrilled that pre-season starts in just a few short weeks!! I hope you all are doing well 🙂

  2. It's a psychiatric disorder… If you just took random things and it "worked" you did not have Bulimia, you likely just pretended or thought that because you purged every so often you must have it.

    Were you officially diagnosed… By a psychologist or psychiatrist?

  3. @Madi O'Dell thank you for being so courageous and thoughtful to share your experience during your time there!! I have never personally gone though and ED but being a young American girl I certainly feel the pressure to look a certain way. So I just wanted to say thank you and have an amazing time in Peru unless you're back already in which case I hope you had an awesome time 🙂

  4. Yes I was diagnosed by multiple psychologists and a psychiatrist so I actually was diagnosed with an eating disorder

  5. Doing good on the eating end of things. It's not even a problem here at school anymore, which is amazing and freeing

  6. I was diagnosed with an eating disorder at the age of twelve, although i wasnt diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia. I have an eating disorder in which anytime i eat food i gag or vomit (UNINTENTIONALLY) im very sensitive to unfamiliar foods (basically everything)

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