An epic fail at camp nursing!


That old ugly feeling of incompetence enveloped me again as I looked at the van. I heard the side door open and the campers piled out. I stepped, dripping with soapy suds onto the driveway to intercept the campers and get my ER report.

Collin stepped out first. 

“Chubby has some pills I have to take for ten days.” Collin pointed to Chubby who waved a big paper bag from the pharmacy. “I have already taken one. Should I come up before bedtime and get the next one?”

“Sounds like a plan Collin. Are you allowed to swim?”

“Nope. You were right. It was a busted ear drum. No swimming for me. Sure glad I got switched to archery!” Collin walked passed me.

Next out was Alex. His finger was in a splint. 

“It’s just a sprain Nurse Anne!” Alex said as he waved his splint at me. 

“Me too!” Luke joined in as he eased himself and his crutches out of the van. Luke still had the ACE wrap around his ankle. He got himself up on his crutches and began to hobble off.

“Ya. Our x-rays were fine, but Zack’s? Not so much!” Alex snorted as he gave a flick of his head and a backward glance at Zack who was struggling to get out of the van. My heart sunk.

Zack appeared with a cast on his forearm. As he stepped out of the van he looked up at me. 

“Are you kidding me? Busted?”

“Yup.” Zack said and looked down at the cast. “They did an x-ray and it showed up.” 

“Zack! I am so sorry. I thought for sure it was OK.”

“The doctor said it was a radial fracture. He was kinda mad too that I didn’t have it splinted. He said that if you had even thought it might have been a fracture you should have splinted it.”

When Zack told me that, it felt like a punch in my gut. He was right. I was stupid. I should have been more cautious. I was suspicious enough to send the kid to the ER, it would have been prudent to splint his arm. That was an epic fail. I felt my shoulders droop with the weight of my poor judgement.

“He was right Zack. It just looked so good that I doubted myself. I am so sorry. Are you having pain?”

“Not right now, but I might come up after dinner if that is OK?”

“Absolutely. Also, I am guessing we need to change up some of your instructions?”

“Ya. There won’t be any swimming for me this summer.” Zack looked dejected. “Chubby said he would get me into new instructions though. Oh and we already talked to my parents in the emergency room. The doctor called them to tell them what I have to do with the cast.”

That sick feeling washed over me again. I felt horrible for this kid. I had to remind myself that I had not broken his arm, but with the amount of guilt and sadness I had, you would have thought that I had jumped up and down on his radius myself!!

Casey was the last one out. He jumped out on two feet and started to race up the hill, almost knocking me over.

“Hang tight, dude! I need to know what the doctor said!”

“Oh, he said I was fine.” Casey shrugged and ran off after the others.

I turned to Chubby with a quizzical look on my face.

“The doctor told Casey he was a ‘total faker’ and he need to ‘stop wasting the camp nurse’s precious time and resources’.” Chubby finger quoted.

“No CT scan or anything?” 

“Noooope. He totally got called out and as soon as he had been, his attitude completely changed. I think he was embarrassed. But the upside for Casey is that he got to miss his marathon swim! He told us alllll about how glad he was to have missed it.” Chubby winked. So Muddy had been right. Casey was angling to miss his swim instruction. Geez! Maybe I needed to hand over my stethescope to Muddy. He would probably do a better job at this camp nursing gig then me!

“Oh and Anne…” Chubby fumbled for the paper bag and held it out to me. I reached through the passenger side window and grabbed it. “Here are all your supplies. The antibiotics for Collin, the acetaminophen you asked for and the ‘epi pen’ you wanted too.” Chubby made the air quotes again.

I looked in the bag and saw the ‘epi pen’ in there. In big obvious letters it said “PREGNANCY TEST”. I looked back up at Chubby. Yup, he was on to me. I gave him a sheepish smile.

“Thanks Chubby.”

“Hope you get what you want Anne.” Chubby said with a little wave as he slowly pulled away in the van and I watched him go. I felt even more sick. How was that even possible.

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