Camp can be so nauseating!


My daughters and I tromped down to breakfast. They were pretty tired after the evening camp fire. We spoke minimally. I have found over the years that ‘morning silence’ is an excellent practice with children (or with teenagers before the first cup of coffee has been had). Otherwise I am deemed ‘super annoying’. I hate that. So I didn’t mention that they had a really, really bad bed head. If there is anyplace that you can get away with really, really bad bed head, it’s camp. 

My son had returned from his jaunt as a valuable member of the morning wake up crew, after having visited all the sleeping counselors and all the huts and rousing them from their slumber. He gave Ash and Pikachu each a high five as he marched back to the directors table for breakfast. His glee was practically palpable. It was a hilarious contrast as he sat down beside his lethargic sisters and, with much animation, shared with everyone at the directors table his rendition of the “I choose you” Pokemon song and all of the goofy wake up call antics.

Breakfast was, aside from the apple cinnamon muffins (of which I had already partaken of one) was fresh fruit cup and sausage links. It definitely trumped the Cheerios I served on the daily at my house!

While we were all noshing, Abby , a Bear hut counselor came over to our table with a couple of tall lanky campers in tow. They were twins. I remembered meeting them on the first night when I had done the initial physicals. They were completely identical except one looked green around the gills. 

“Nurse Anne…Ted has not been feeling well this morning.” Ted nodded behind Abby. His identical twin, Fred (yes…Ted and Fred…I know…I agree…it’s cruel and unusual punishment), looked on with concern. 

“The thought of sausages makes me wanna hurl.” Ted said as he gently rubbed his belly. And then, as if to make it clear he dry heaved. Fred lay a hand on his shoulder, in comfort. 


Oh Kaaay! Quickly moving into action I whipped out my keys. Gave a nod to Fr. Brian and Bill and asked to be excused to attend to this ailing young man. 

“You go. We will supervise these three.” Fr. Brian told me as he waved his hand at the kids.

Fred went back to the Bear Hut table when Abby assured him that we would take good care of Ted. Up the back staircase the three of us went with Ted stopping to retch and dry heave every few steps. What agony! 

We finally made it up to the health office. I unlocked the door and quickly pulled out a chair and had Ted have a seat. I grabbed a thermometer and placed the garbage can between Ted’s feet. Ted opened wide and allowed me to take his temperature while I checked his pulse.

“Any fevers or sweats last night Ted?” With the thermometer in his mouth he gently shook his head. His pulse was normal. 

“Are your bowels working OK?” I asked. He looked at me quizzically. “Have you pooped lately?” Understanding dawned on him. God bless him, he was too sick to be embarrassed even with Abby standing in the office doorway! He nodded and, around the thermometer said, “Yesterday.”

“No diarrhea?” Ted shook his head gently. “When did the nausea start?”

“About two hours ago.”

“Anyone else in the hut feeling sick?” Ted shrugged his shoulders.

“And your brother is OK, right?” Ted nodded. 

“Did you eat any breakfast or have anything to drink this morning?” Ted shook his head again.

“Can I feel your belly?” Ted nodded and I pulled up his shirt and gently palpated all four quadrants. They were soft. “Does it hurt anywhere?” Ted again shook his head. I pulled out the super cheap camp stethoscope from the drawer and had a listen. Hyperactive bowel sounds. 

Huh. I was worried that we were looking at the beginnings of another viral gastroenteritis. It would be good to isolate Ted for the day and see who else showed up. My guess is that it would be more Bear hut campers. Ugh!

Finally the thermometer beeped. I pulled it out from Ted’s mouth and I only had a second to look and notice it was 37.5 degrees Celsius (no fever) before Ted threw his head forward and he truly did hurl. With a resounding SPLAT he hit the garbage can…mostly.


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