Dirt, walking wounded, and pills for everyone!

After breakfast Sammy and Anita came to get the kids ready for first instruction. I asked the girls to please change my son’s shirt before he went to swimming class. It still had chunks of jelly clinging to it and of course the Diana sauce from days ago underneath the jelly!

“Are you sure?” Sammy asked me. “Cuz, he could just wear it in the water to get it washed off. That’s what us counselors do.”

“Ummm, sure OK.” I agreed. Seemed like a good idea. I mean, why not?  I was kinda desperate.


At that moment I felt something inside me shift. It was like all my cells had realigned as my standards for normalcy had just gotten a serious readjustment. Whatever! I mentally shrugged. This was camp!

I hurried up the stairs to get things ready for the morning rush. I was finishing setting out the meds when the campers arrived. I went through my regular med takers and then I turned my attention to my “walking wounded”. 

I washed and applied bacterial ointment to Road Rash. It looked nice and dry today, so I was happy about that. Then I reassessed my ER candidates. I gave acetaminophen to Ruptured Eardrum. Possible fractured forearm, Sprained Ankle and Swollen Finger each got acetaminophen also and ice packs. I asked them to notify their counselors, grab reading material from their huts, and to convene by the van for their ride into town. They trundled off.

As I went to put the acetaminophen back into the cupboard I noticed it was getting low. I pulled out a sticky note and wrote ‘acetaminophen’ on it. 

I poked my head out of the office to see what was left. There was one kid still sitting in the hallway, with his back against the wall and head on his knees. He looked about twelve. A counselor lay beside him on the ground, curled up in a ball, with his hoodie pulled completely closed over his face as he lay trying to sleep. 

I stepped out into the hall and gently tapped the camper on the shoulder. His head came up. His eyes looked glazed over.

“What’s up buddy?” I asked.

With the sound of my voice the counselor, who, it turned out was Muddy, came to life, pulled open his hoodie. He sat up.

“Casey told us at breakfast this morning that he ran into a tree last night and that he passed out for a few seconds. He didn’t think about it too much so he didn’t mention it. But this morning he had a headache and was not hungry for breakfast, so we thought you should look at him.” Muddy rolled his eyes heavenward. I was not sure what that was supposed to mean. Hmmmm.

“So you ran into a tree and knocked yourself out, didja?” He nodded very gingerly.

“How long were you out?”

“Not sure. Don’t think very long. Maybe a few seconds. I just woke up all crumpled at the bottom of the tree,” Casey answered softly.

“Still have the headache Casey?” He nodded again. “Feeling sick to your stomach?” He nodded. “Any ringing in your ears?” He gently shook his head. “Does bright light hurt your eyes?” Again he slowly shook his head. “Anything else?” I asked.

“I just want to sleep. I don’t want to go to any of my instructions today.”


Nice. Sounds like a concussion to me. Now…what do I do with that at camp? It didn’t feel comfortable for me to keep him here without further assessment. Would he need a head scan? I dunno. Plus, the van was leaving pretty soon. I waved the guys into the office as I pulled open the medication cupboard and found my bottle of acetaminophen.

“Weeeeellll. Casey, I would like to have a doctor see you in town today. I’m going to give you some acetaminophen that might help with the headache. I need you to go down and wait for the van. Don’t try to read or anything, Casey. It just might aggravate things. OK?”

“Casey, you get started and I will be down in a few minutes. I just have to talk to the nurse, OK?” Muddy patted Casey on the shoulder and watched him leave the office. Once Casey was out of earshot Muddy turned to me as I started to pull medical forms on all the boys going to town.

“Just so you know, Anne. I think Casey is totally faking.”

“Really?!” I looked at Muddy. “Why would he do that?” I said as I put the five forms into a beat up manilla envelope.

“Cuz he has a 500 meter swim today for his Bronze medallion in swimming! I’m guessing he wants to avoid that!”

“Well, I guess we will see what the doctor says. I don’t really feel comfortable accusing him of lying. He seems to have some of the symptoms. But, oh man…500 meters seems like a lot!”

“Ya it’s like ten laps from the raft to the dock and they have to do it in 20 minutes. It’s our first attempt with these guys, so there are usually a couple of pukers. I had money on Casey being a puker cuz he is the weakest swimmer in the class.”

“Really? You actually placed a bet on the little dude? That’s evil Muddy!” I smiled.

“Nah. I’m just kidding. I don’t have enough money to bet on anything. You should see my camp counselor paychecks. Not a whole lot of money for extras.”

“But you smoke though, don’t you?” I gave Muddy a sidelong look.

“Ouch. Ya got me there! I only smoke one a day though. OK gotta run Anne!” Muddy laughed as he pulled his hoodie back on his head and turned to leave.  

“Hey wait Muddy. Before you go, can you do me a solid? Can you take these medical forms down to the van?”

“Sure, no problem.” Muddy took the envelope from my hand.

“Oh and you know smoking is bad for you, right?”

“Yup. I know. I see the warnings on the package.”

“OK Muddy. Thanks for your help.” Muddy turned to leave.

I turned back into the office and noticed the sticky note.

“Oh wait Muddy!” I called out after him. Muddy stopped and I ran out to him and slapped the sticky note on the envelope. “Can you ask them to pick up a bottle of acetaminophen for me? The biggest bottle they can find please.” I said as I pointed to the sticky note.

At the rate I was going, I was going to need another metric ton of acetaminophen.


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