After 3 hours of camp physicals I was pretty much wiped out. All the expended nervous energy had exhausted me. After the last of the campers left I spent another hour or so completing documentation and then organizing the medication administration records. I had completed one page for each child that required scheduled medications. There were twelve kids getting regularly scheduled medications. Not too bad.
It was after 10 pm by the time I locked up the office and trudged up the stairs to my room. The kids were sound asleep and Sammy and Anita were sitting outside our rooms in the hall and talking softly. I thanked them and bid them good night. As they disappeared down the hall, I peaked into the girls’ room and was happy to see that they were both asleep and sprawled on top of their sleeping bags. It was pretty warm in the rooms tonight. I quietly slipped into my room and smiled to see my son’s cherubic face relaxed in slumber. Kids are so freaking adorable when they are asleep!
I slipped into my pajamas. I had packed a light spaghetti strap shirt and matching shorts. I knew camp lacked any air conditioning so I had decided to pack light pajamas. These were a good choice I decided as I climbed up into the top bunk. It was definitely hotter up here! I lay on top of my sleeping bag. It was too warm to crawl into it.
I lay there trying to relax. I was physically exhausted but my mind was buzzing. I tried to relax. I listened to the call of a couple of loons that I could hear in the peninsula. “This is freaking awesome!” I thought as I listened to the sounds of their haunting wails echo across the lake. I could feel myself begin to doze off when I heard the mosquito.
The buzzing sound was coming closer and closer….and then…it stopped. I froze and stiffened. I waited to feel it’s pinch but nothing happened. I imagined it, crawling around, pawing my skin, and looking for a sweet spot. I sat bolt upright and my eyes darted around trying to find the pest. I saw nothing in the dimly lit room. GRRR! I slowly laid back down and waited. Sure enough it started again! The sound was coming closer again still! Then the sound stopped and I felt it! It landed on my leg, I was sure. Again, I sat bolt upright and slapped at it. But, nothing was there. Dagnabbit! Sitting still I listened as I looked around the room and sure enough I heard it buzzing around again. I couldn’t see it anywhere! URG! Fine! I decided. I would hide in my sleeping bag. I pulled it up around me. And lay there with only my head out. But then, I didn’t want to get bitten on my face, so I pulled it the sleeping bag over my head and lay there inside the bag, eyes wide open and listened to the infernal buzzing sound and the calling of the loons. As I lay there, holding the sleeping bag tightly shut around my face, I started to get hot. So I opened enough of the sleeping bag to create a blowhole. OK. This is great. For five seconds. How am I supposed to keep this up all night? I roll onto my side and leave a small opening to breathe through. I try to relax all my limbs. I slow my breathing. I listen to the loons. I try to force all the thoughts out of my head and ignore the mosquito. I was now a sweat ball. I could feel a trickle of moisture forming on the small of my back. I gave up and flung the sleeping bag off me. I couldn’t stand it. I lay there listening to the mosquito and the loons for over an hour. I was wound up tighter than a face lift! There is no way I could sleep!
I heard rapid footsteps down the hall and whispering. Then I heard a gentle “tap tap tap” on a door. Was that my door? I was not sure so I wait. Again, the “tap tap tap” and a “Nurse?”. What the heck?! It was midnight by now. Why was someone tapping on my door at midnight? Oh my God! Maybe the girls got up and were wandering around or something! I sat upright, quickly wiped myself off with my sleeping bag and scrambled down the ladder and opened the door a few inches.
Two counselors were outside my door. One was Emily, who helped me check hair, the other was Rob the head counselor. I took a quick look to the adjacent door to see if the girls’ door was open. It was not. I felt some relief with that.
“Sorry to bother you Nurse!” whispered Rob apologetically. “But we have a problem.”
I stepped out into the hall so as not to disturb my son.
“Oh and what is that?” I asked as I suddenly felt a little exposed in my minimalist pajamas. I noticed that Rob is giving me a once over. My bottoms felt really short at this point.
“Well one of the counselors fell out of his bed and we think he might have a spinal injury.” He told me. Emily was hovering and looking agitated.
“Holy crap! OK. Just let me get some shoes and and we can go!”
I grabbed some running shoes and stuffed my feet in them and turned to leave the room, but quickly turned around and grabbed a sweatshirt and threw that on myself. That would provide some coverage.
“OK let’s go!” I said with wide eyes. Emily looked pretty upset. It made me nervous.
We hightailed it down the hall and then staircase of the main house. My mind was racing with terrifying thoughts. Rob had a flash light and he flicked it on as we left the building. We jogged up the slope towards the dark woods and the Deer hut. As I ran I noticed that my pajama shorts were indeed very short and I felt the rush of air. I am sure that they will think my face is red from the exercise, and not from my embarrassment over my inadequate PJ’s. Emily explained that Muddy went to lean over the side of his bunk bed and he fell out.
We entered the Derr hut at the far end where the counselors’ room was located. There on the floor, in the dark, was Muddy. He is laying there, eyes closed and with his hands across his belly, a blanket over top of him. He looks dead. My heart sunk before it started to race again. I could feel my pulse throbbing! Rob shone the light on him and Muddy lifted his head and he waved at me sheepishly.
“Hi Nurse.” He says. I take a huge breath and let it out.
“Hi.” I said still concerned. “So I hear you fell out of your bed?” I asked and knelt down beside him.
“Ya. I was leaning over and fell out.”
I looked over to the bed and the steel bunk was about 4 feet of the floor. That was not a huge distance. I noticed an ancient looking bed side table and wondered if he may have hit his head on the way down.
“OK. Does anything hurt Muddy? Did you hit your head on the table here?”
“Oh no. I mainly landed on my arm, so it feels a little sore. My head didn’t hit anything though.”
“Are you moving everything OK?” I asked as I pulled the blanket off to have a visual.
He nodded and demonstrated by raising his arms and legs in the air looking a little like a turtle stranded on his back. I borrowed Rob’s light and took a look in Muddy’s pupils. They were equal and reacted to light. I assessed his right arm and he had full range of motion, no swelling and no bruising…yet. I log rolled him onto his side and took a look at his back and did not see any deformities. I wanted to be cautious but I really did not think this guy was hurt very badly beyond a bruising. I considered the options. Bring in a spinal board and then call an ambulance and then wait for it since we couldn’t transport him ourselves….or just watch him? Ugh.
“Well, how do you feel Muddy? Do you think you can sit up?”
“Oh ya.” Muddy responded. “I think these guys have done too many lifeguard practice drills! I am fine. I might need some Tylenol though.” He said as he got up onto his feet.
Emily and Rob looked a little embarrassed. Emily shrugged her shoulders.
“Well we didn’t know!” Rob responded throwing his hands up in the air. “We were just worried! Jeez!”
“Awh it’s OK guys. I know you were just being careful. I appreciate it. Thanks for coming out Nurse.”
“You can call me Anne. It’s no problem. I am glad you are OK.” I said standing up myself. As I did so, I was conscious of the shortness of my pajama shorts again. NUTS! I was going to have to come up with something else. These PJ’s were not gonna cut it!
“How about if I give some Tylenol to you, Emily, and you bring it back to Muddy? Would that be OK?”
“Oh sure.” Emily responded and she followed me back to my room so I could grab the keys and then to the office. I got a couple of Tylenol from the cupboard, thanked Emily again as she left to deliver the Tylenol for Muddy.
I shuffled up the stairs. By now it was well after midnight and I thought I could fall asleep. I checked the girls again, and they were still asleep. Then I tiptoed into my room. My son had flipped upside down in the bed but was also still asleep.
Whew. What a crazy episode! I didn’t bother to take off my sweatshirt and just hiked it up the ladder and lay down. The loons has moved on by now and I could only hear them in the far off distance. I didn’t hear the mosquito anymore, thankfully! It took me about twenty minutes before I could feel my body begin to relax. I started to doze when I heard more whispering out in the hall. I waited. I heard a cough. Still whispering but no tap on my door. It sounded like two guys talking at the end of the hall where I noticed there were a couple of chairs. I started to doze off again. More whispering and coughing woke me up, but still no tap at the door. I dozed. I woke to louder dry hacking coughs. Now instead of whispering the voices were talking. I couldn’t make out what they were saying but it was plenty loud enough. I tried to ignore the talking and the frequent dry coughing…but I couldn’t. I lay in bed awake for about 30 minutes of this and then I could stand it no longer. I climbed back down the ladder and I pulled my shorts down to ensure complete coverage of my bottom. I stepped out into the hall and quietly closed the door behind me. Looking down the hall I could see two male counselors sitting in the chairs.
“Hey guys!” I whispered as I padded over to them.
“Oh hey Nurse!” The two young men responded.
“You can call me Anne. Are you guys OK? Sounds like one heck of a cough!”
“Oh ya, eh? I managed to pick it up from my sister this weekend while I was in the city.” One counselor offered. He looked about 20ish, his name was Dave. He introduced me to his buddy Erik who looked about the same age. “This cough is driving me crazy!”
You and me both dude! I nodded. “I can imagine! Would you like some cough suppressant for it? I could grab you some from the office if you like?” I helpfully suggested. Maybe I would take some too so I could be knocked out!
“Oh no!” Dave waved me off. “I wouldn’t want to bother you!”
Oh please! Really! “It would be no problem at all! Plus it will help you sleep too.” And ME.
“Thanks but no thanks. I am kinda a health nut. I don’t like to take medicines if I don’t need to. And we have to wait for a camper’s parents to arrive anyways, so I can’t fall asleep yet.” Dave said. Dangit.
“Why are you waiting for a camper’s parents?” I was confused. It was 3 AM and there were parents on the way?
“Yeaaaaa. So, one of the Bear hut LIT’s brought a joint to camp. He told one of the other LIT’s, who promptly told us. When we asked the kid if it was true, he tore out of the hut with it and tossed it into the woods. So, Bill called his parents to come and pick him up. Apparently they are not too happy. We have to stay up to meet with them. They should be here in a hour or so.” Dave explained.
“Wow! He brought marijuana to camp?! That would totally suck to be those parents! I can’t imagine how infuriated I would be at my kid! Dropping him off at camp and then likely having to get right back in the car to pick him up!” I said incredulously, and shook my head.
“And Bill told them they would not refund their money when they asked. They were not happy about that either! The Dad had a few choice words. I know cuz I was in the office when Bill made the call and I could hear the Dad on the other end of the line.” Dave commented. “So we have a couple of counselors waiting with the kid and a couple more stationed out by the Bear huts to patrol.”
“What are they patrolling for?” I asked.
“Well, Bear hut LIT’s keep trying to sneak out of their huts to look in the woods to find the missing joint!!” At this Dave and Erik busted a gut laughing. My eyes widened, and I gave a quiet laugh. Dave then broke into another coughing fit.
“Well good luck you guys.” I say. “But, I gotta get some sleep.” I said as I rubbed my eyes. “Let me know if you change your mind Dave and you want some cough suppressant. And it was nice to meet you guys.”
“Thanks Nurse. Sorry to waken you!” Erik says as he watched me go. I gave my shorts another little tug down.
“You can call me Anne.” I offer over my shoulder as I returned to my room. I climbed the ladder back into bed and this time I conked out in a matter of minutes.