I woke up before the camp did on day two. The main building was as quiet as a graveyard. It was kinda hard to believe that the place housed 20 or so teenagers! I quickly had a shower, dressed and even had time to go to the health office to set out the meds for the morning and scribble a “joke ‘o the day” on the white board. I zipped back upstairs to check on the kids. They were still sleeping, so I crept back down the stairs to the dining hall to brew a pot of java.
The dining hall was a beehive of activity as a couple of the LIT 2’s were setting the tables for breakfast and the cooks were flipping pancakes and frying bacon on the grill. The place smelled glorious!
“Morning!” I greeted the LIT’s.
“Morning Nurse!” They cheerfully called out to me as they briefly looked up from their work.
I managed to find everything I needed to brew the coffee and got it going. While the coffee maker rumbled, I stepped out onto the side deck and sat quietly on top of the picnic table, elbows on my knees and hands folded together. I could hear the clatter of the melmac plates in the dining room and music from the kitchen softly playing as I sat looking out towards the camper huts in the distance. No movement out there whatsoever. What a stark contrast to what it would be in just a few minutes. I sat and enjoyed the stillness.
I heard the opening of the door out onto the balcony on the second floor and watched a counselor approach the bell. She covered her right ear with her left hand and rang the bell. Time to get moving! The day was to begin.
I popped back into the dining hall and poured myself a cup of coffee and took it upstairs as I went to get the kids ready for the day. The music of “Radio Acorn” had begun when I went to check on the kids. They were still asleep despite the blaring music.
“But I’m still sleepy!” My daughter whined when I told her it was time to get up. She flipped over in the bunk bed and pulled the sleeping bag up over her head.
“Two words darling.” I said as I bent over the sleeping bag. “Pancakes and bacon!”
Within a split second both girls whipped off their sleeping bags and began tumbling out of bed. Well…that wasn’t too hard!
Breakfast was pretty uneventful except that I did notice Blake was more animated then I had ever seen. He had a pile of three pancakes on his plate and was covering them with syrup when I caught a glimpse of him. Huh. Guess he was taking the news of going home pretty well!
After breakfast I shuffled the kids off to child care to get them ready for their instructions and I went to the office. Two new kids with belly aches this morning! Similar symptoms to the two that had presented the day before. All from the Deer Hut. All had the groddy fingernails. OK, this was a problem.
My mind raced. I had images of an epidemic. Vomiting campers with raging explosive diarrhea, pasty colored faces, blood seeping from their eyes! I shivered as fear seeped into me.
OK. OK. Maybe. Just maybe I was overreacting? I mean really Anne! Blood from their eyes? It was not likely Ebola that we were looking at here, but I did needed to take this seriously. A bacterial or viral gastroenteritis could really wreak havoc at camp and of course create a heavy workload for me and I was not really looking for any additional work, thank you very much!
I popped my head out of the office to look for a counselor.
“Who is here with the Deer Hut kids?” I asked.
“I am!” Tania, sitting on the floor cross legged and playing rock paper scissors with a camper, held up her hand.
“You guys have something going on in your hut. There has now been four kids with belly aches from the Deer hut.” Tania looked a little startled.
“Do you know if any of the kids wash their hand before meals?” I asked.
Tania scrunched up her face, thinking. “Probably not.” She responded.
“OK, well I would like you to get the kids doing that before every meal if you could.” Tania nodded.
I was gonna need to institute this camp wide though, I thought. It wouldn’t take much for things to spread from hut to hut. I needed to take this up with the directors. Not only did we need to have everyone wash their hands, but we needed to have more serving utensils too. No more using your hands to grab your food!
In the meantime, I had the two Deer hut boys checked into the infirmary. I sat down to do my documentation when Alisa stepped into the office.
“Hey Anne. We have a couple of first aid bags that need to be replenished from our trip to Algonquin park. Would you be able to do that for me?” Alisa said as she dumped two first aid kits onto the examination table. I watched as lumps of dried mud fell onto the floor as she did so.