The young counselor stepped into the office and sat up on the examination table. She flipped her hair back and then chewed self consciously on her fingernail.
“Oh, please call me Anne.” I said casually as I put my back pack down on my desk. “And what’s your name again? Sorry, I haven’t learned everyone’s name yet.”
“It’s Amanda.” She said as she flipped her hair again. She seemed nervous.
“OK Amanda. So what’s up?” I asked as I leaned up against the desk.
“I think I might be pregnant.” She blurted out.
I paused for a moment. This I had not anticipated. I took hold of the armrest on the chair.
“So, you think you might be pregnant.” I parroted as I nodded and sat down on the chair. I knew that I sounded like a total dork. I was using my very best nursing communication skills I had perfected in Nursing 104. It was always a great way to buy yourself some time and make the patient feel like you were listening…when really I was just trying to process what the heck she had just said. She didsay pregnant, didn’t she? Pregnant? Yikes!
Ya, so, I was completely unprepared for this. This was not covered in the camp nursing orientation I had attended three months ago! This was not an issue I had ever dealt with in the intensive care unit either! This kid was probably, what?, sixteen I figured as I looked at her.
Pregnant at sixteen? Yikes again! The thought made me terrified for her. I was twenty-six when I had had my twins. At twenty-six I felt completely unprepared despite having a nursing degree (which covered labor, delivery AND pediatrics) and a supportive husband. I could not imagine being a pregnant high school student.
“What makes you think that?” I asked trying to buy myself some more time. My mind was racing.
“Well, I went home two weeks ago and saw my boyfriend.” She gave me a knowing look. “And I am late by three days and that never happens. I am like clockwork usually. So I am totally freaking out. I called my mum last night and it was her idea to talk to you. She wondered if you might have a pregnancy test here in the health office?” Amanda looked around the office, as if she might see one just sitting there on my desk, or something.
I caught myself looking around the office too. I stopped myself. What the heck was I thinking? What the heck was she thinking?! Of course there was no pregnancy testing kits here! This was a first aid set up at best and certainly not an OB/GYN clinic!! Oh and a Catholic camp to boot, so why would they stock a bunch of pregnancy kits, for Pete’s sake?! Ha! Ha! Ha! Deep breath. Deep breath.
“Oh, no, Amanda.” I smiled, masking my inner turmoil. “We really don’t stock anything like that. You would have to pick one up at the pharmacy in town. Do you have a day off soon?”
“No, not for another four days and I don’t think I would be able to get into town. Besides, I can’t wait four days. I need to know now! Is there any way you could go into town and get one for me? I could totally pay you back.”
I thought about it. I hadn’t really planned a trip into town. If I went, I would have to arrange for coverage, and so forth. What would I do with the kids? It would be a huge pain in the neck…wait…I had an idea.
“Amanda. Let me see what I can do.”
“Oh thank you! Thank you so much!” She stood up and gently grabbed my hand. “I so appreciate it.” She said as she looked into my eyes. She looked like a deer in headlights.
“Come back tonight, after dinner. I will let you know what I was able to do.” She nodded and turned to walk out but then stopped and turned around.
“Would you mind calling my mum? She wanted to talk to you. I can write her work number down for you.”
“Oh sure.” Oh God.
I gave Amanda a pen and a pad of paper and she scribbled her mum’s work number down. I took the pad and the pen and stuck them in the front pocket of my back pack as Amanda left. I pulled the back pack on, and proceeded to run upstairs to my room again. I pulled a twenty out of my purse and ran back down the stairs.
“Please, please, please let them still be there.” I whispered to myself.
I burst out of the stairs and onto the deck and saw that the van had not yet left. The wounded campers were still sitting and waiting. Chubby had finished packing the van and slammed the back doors shut.
“Hey Chubby. Wondered if I could ask you to pick up one more thing for me at the pharmacy?” I pulled out the pad of paper and pen and wrote the name of a pregnancy test down on the paper. “Could you get me one of these too please? Ask the pharmacist to find it for you. And here is a twenty. Use the change to buy yourselves another box of Timbits if you like.”
Chubby looked at the name that I had scribbled down on the paper.
“Yuuuup. No worries, eh. Is that like one of those epi pen thingamajigs that saves lives?” Chubby asked as he continued to look at the paper.
“Something like that.”