The after effects of night out.

We got down to lunch after I quickly set out the meds in the health office. Our ‘directors’ table was full today with Barb, Bill, their two kids, my three, myself and Father Brian. Barb and I had to watch our elbows as we sat beside each other! We had to send the kids back a few times through the kitchen to get enough of the pizza and salad to serve everyone lunch at our table.

I peeked over to the Bear Hut table and noticed the LIT’s attempting to make it through their lunch with their various handicaps. It was heartwarming to see them helping each other as I observed that one LIT was feeding another. I pointed towards the table.

“That looks like a really rewarding and worthwhile learning experience!”

Father Brian gave me a nod and Bill managed a nod and a small smile. Huh. The mood seemed pretty lively amongst the campers, so it seemed like a stark contrast that the adults at our table were so somber. I noticed that the tone at the senior staff table was pretty dour too. Huh. I was not sure what was going on.

“So, Barb….how are things?” I tested the waters.

“Oh. It’s a busy time of the summer for the directors. They are in the midst of all the staff evaluations. They have to meet, one-on-one, with each member of the staff and provide feedback.” Barb told me as she cut up a slice of pizza into tiny bites for her daughters.

“That’s gonna take a while I would imagine! And it would be a bit draining!”

“Yes. That is true. It does take up a lot of time.”

“Is that why everyone seems so gloomy?” I whispered as I nodded towards Bill and Father Brian and then looked over my shoulder towards the senior staff table.

“Not really.” Barb lowered her voice in a conspiratorial manner. “There was some drama that came to light during one of the evaluations. I guess during night out, one of the counselors got pretty drunk.”

“What is this ‘night out’ that you speak of?” I asked Barb.

Barb explained that ‘night out’ is the one night every week that the van will take a small group of counselors in to town and drop them off at about 6 pm. The van returns at about midnight for pick up. Most of the counselors go shopping in the strip mall, or see a movie at the theater, or go on an eating binge, or do their laundry at the laundromat. The ‘of age’ counselors will often go to one of the pubs, order a meal, watch sports on the TV, and have a few drinks.

I thought about it. A counselor gets one night out every 3 to 4 weeks, so it is easy to see why a young person might go out after, maybe, 28 solid days of dealing with children and, maybe, have a few too many beers. It was not like they were driving, right? Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone being drunk and disorderly, but I can see that one might not be aware of their own limitations and might over indulge. Also, I considered that I was not awoken in the middle of the night, so I hoped that the counselor was OK?! Either that or the counselor was in the hospital.  

“Oh. So the drunk counselor is OK or not?” I felt a twinge of terror as I recalled caring for a twenty year old exchange student from Japan who had gone on a drunken binge on his last day in Canada and ended up aspirating on his own vomit. My heart had broken as I watched his situation deteriorate and he fell into a state of persistent seizures called status epilepticus. He died in front of my eyes. I cried on the way home from that night shift, as I imagined the inconsolable grief of his parents when they received that devastating phone call.

“No, no! The counselor is OK. She made quite a mess of the bathroom, I heard, but it’s just that she is only 17….”

Oh, ya, that is bad.  

“…so she will need to be sent home…”

Oh, yikes!

“…and she happens to be one of the counselors responsible for child care….”

Oh crap…

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