Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sad Skinny Mennonite

Continued from Men-oh-Men!

I went to the walk-in clinic that George told me about. I asked the lady at the front desk if she wanted to see my SIN card.  She chuckled and said, “No, but I need to see your health card. What is the problem?” 

I explained, “Ahhh, I don’t know. My neighbor told me to come here because I’m losing my shape and I don’t feel hungry. I just feel nauseous all the time and I can’t sleep.” 

“Hmmm, take a number and have a seat. A nurse will be with you shortly,” She said.

I explained to the nurse how I was feeling, to the best of my ability. She asked me all kinds of questions I didn’t understand. I told her that I didn’t speak much English and that I was from Mexico. I got laid off from my job, I didn’t know how I would pay my rent, and I did not want to go back home to Mexico.

I told her that I thought I might have the same nerve problems that my grandfather did and that he hung himself. Some days I was really happy and other days I was extremely sad. I told her that I missed my family a lot, but that I had felt like this ever since I could remember, even while I was living at home.

Living at home, I didn’t worry about paying the rent or learning English but, rather, I worried about not being strong enough to live like all the Mennonite women had to in Mexico. I often thought about ending it before it even started.

She said, “Wow, ooookaaaay. Did you ever see a doctor about these nerve problems?” 

I told her that I had never really told anyone about this before, other than my mother, and she told me not to think so much, or so far ahead. She told me to just trust that my life would turn out as it was supposed to. I needed to just accept that and then I would be alright. I tried, but I just couldn’t do that.

The nurse told me that she didn’t have enough time that day but she wanted me to come back to tell her more about my nerve issues. She said she had never heard of this before but she was interested in learning more about it.

She took my blood pressure and a blood sample. I watched as the bottle filled with my blood and I almost fainted. She asked me to get up and step on the scale. When I got up, I had that same tingling cold sensation I felt after Hilary told me he was letting me go and felt my knees go weak. The nurse caught me and held me up for a bit until it passed.


I stepped on the scale long enough for her to write down my weight. It was 94 lbs. She asked how tall I was. I had no idea. All I knew is that I was taller than my mother and my older sister. She got out a measuring tape and that was the day I found out I was 170 cm tall.

She left the room and came back with a bag of chocolate cookies and a bottle of water and said, “Eat these while I go see my next patient and don’t get up. Stay sitting.” I said, “Okay.” Across from where I was sitting was a shelf full of books. I was tempted to get one and look at the pictures in it and thought how nice it would be if only I could read.

My Low German thoughts told me to just do what the nurse told me to do. I forced down a cookie and drank some water. When the nurse came back, she said, “You need to make sure that you eat at least three times a day. You are going through a lot and you should talk to someone who can help you figure it all out. In the meantime, when you feel sad, you can come back and talk to me.”

She said, “I think you should go to school to learn English, make friends, and go out and have fun.” 

She gave me sheets of paper with ESL classes and 24-hour help phone numbers I could call. She also gave me all kinds of pamphlets that had pictures of really skinny sad-looking girls on them.

I thought, “What am I going to do with all this stuff?” I couldn’t read the pamphlets, or call any of the numbers she gave me. Even if I did, what would I say? I just took them and said, “Thank you.” Click here to continue reading my story.

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