ACUTE Brings Blessings

December 18, 2019

Denver Health patient Bonnie Tucker

By: Bonnie T.

Hello, my name is Bonnie. I am 63 years old and live in South Carolina and would not be here today without the help of the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health. My struggles with anorexia began in the early 1990’s. It started with fat-free diets. I never had a very high opinion of myself and controlling my weight became an obsession. With sick parents and in-laws, work and life stress, my anorexia got out of control. Looking back, I find it’s true that virtually no one will tell you how sick and unhealthy you look. No one but my husband ever talked to me about my illness, but I was defiant and didn’t want to hear what he had to say. I thought I was fine and looked good. I saw a number of counselors over the years, but the more they tried to help, the more defiant I became and I just quit going to them.
 
I retired from a major insurance company in 2017, after 35 years. (How I functioned all those years I will never know.) My weight plummeted and by mid-April I realized that I was going to die if I didn’t get help. I decided that I wasn’t ready to die. My primary doctor tried to find me help locally and my husband and I searched the Internet for facilities and health care professionals close to home, but to no avail. My doctor gave me the name of a local counselor affiliated with a residential treatment center. After phone conversations, the intake coordinator told me that because of my extremely low weight and physical condition, I needed inpatient care for my initial refeeding process. I was at high risk of developing severe medical problems, including death, during my initial treatment and needed 24 hour medical care during the process. The only facility available was ACUTE in Denver. After many tears and talks with my husband, we decided that ACUTE is where I would go.

So, I boarded a plane and flew to Denver. I was scared of what awaited me and of possibly dying alone. From the moment I arrived, I knew that I had made the right decision. Words cannot express the compassion and concern shown to me by the entire staff. I found the environment so serene and calming. From day one, I did everything the staff asked of me and in return they helped me get stronger physically and emotionally. ACUTE saved my life

ACUTE was amazing! I was able to transfer to the Eating Recovery Center (ERC) in Denver after four and a half weeks at ACUTE. I would not have overcome my eating disorder without the caring, professional staff at ACUTE. I would not have stayed at the ERC had I not gone to ACUTE first. I spent six weeks at ERC and then four and a half weeks at the ERC in Greenville, South Carolina before returning to my home on September 25, 2017. 

Looking back, I know that I lost a lot of years to my eating disorder. I don’t know how my husband stood by me, but I am thankful every day that he did. Both of my parents died worrying about me, but I hope they know now that I am healthy and at peace. I so enjoy spending time with my husband. I have a relationship with my sister that is better than ever. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I wouldn't have any of the blessings in my life, including my marriage, if not for ACUTE.

I still have my moments, but I know that the road ahead is so much brighter than the road I left behind. If you or a loved one are living with an eating disorder, just know that help is only a phone call or email away.

Find out more about ACUTE's medical stabilization program and find out how you can get the help you need.