I had finished up my documentation, grabbed some first aid replenishing supplies and was just about to close the office door when I heard more footsteps up the back stairwell. I stopped, hand on the door knob and waited. Seconds later Taylor popped open the door. He was followed by the counselor Ben and a couple of other Dear hut campers.
“We have some more business for you Nurse Anne!” Ben called to me.
“Perfect timing. Another couple of seconds and I would have been gone.”
I took a look at Taylor’s rash. The erythema of the rash had extended it borders a little but the little fluid filled blistered looked drier. That was good. It was obvious that he had been scratching too.
“Well it is looking a little better, don’t you think Taylor?”
“Ya. But it itches like crazy.” He said as he proceeded to scratch all around the rash. I handed him some nail clippers and he went to town trimming his nails down. The I applied another light layer of steroid cream and some more antihistamine. I sent him on his way.
The next camper, Mack, had a sore throat. No temp. No erythema. No patches. No palpable nodes. Ate a full breakfast.
“Well…you might be coming down with something. I want you to drink extra fluids today. So that means going to the water fountain when you can and have an extra glass of ‘juice’ at meals. OK? That should help. But you come back if it gets worse or you have a fever. OK?”
“Nurse Anne! I think that a cough drop would probably clear things right up.” The little guy told me slyly.
Aha! He had shown his hand!
“Well buddy. I don’t have any cough drops. We used them up a couple of days ago and now we are all out.”
Mack’s face dropped.
“Oh but we can do a salt water gargle! That helps a lot of people.” I said brightly.
“What’s that?” he said skeptically.
“Oh I put some regular salt in some warm water and you drink it, but don’t swallow it, and then gargle it for as long as you can. Some people swear by it. They say it relieves some of the throat pain.”
“It sounds disgusting.”
“It is kinda gross sounding. Yes. Interested?”
“No. I was interested in some candy.”
“Well I’m out bro.” I shrugged.
“Ah forget it then.” he waved me off.
I followed Mack out into the hall. The third camper, Robert, sat up and smiled as he saw Mack.
“She doesn’t have any candy Robert!” He told him. Robert looked chagrined.
Ben looked at the two boys.
“Whaaaat? Is that all you wanted was candy? You faked a sore throat to get candy from the nurse?”
“Hey! My throat is a little sore!” Mack argued as Ben shook his head.
“But that was probably from all the yelling you were doing last night in the hut during the pillow fight, you goof.” Ben chastised him. “Sorry for wasting your time Nurse Anne.” Ben said as he followed the two down the stairs.
I went back into the office to jot down a quick note about Taylor and Mack. I was just about to close the office door when I heard more footsteps up the back stairwell. I stopped, hand on the door knob and waited. Again.
Clarissa stepped into the hallway. She was a tiny first year counselor. She was a hard core competitive university gymnast and had the figure to prove it. She was basically a walking muscle-anatomy lesson.
“Anne! May I speak to you privately?” A feeling of nervousness overcame me. I had done this once before.
“Sure. Come on in.” I said as I closed the door behind her.
“So…I’m unable to swim.” She nodded at me slowly.
“Okay.” I nodded thinking maybe she pulled one of those super defined muscles.
“I have a visitor.” Clarissa said.
“Okaaaay.” I nodded some more. I had no idea why she was telling me this.
“My visitor is my Aunt Flo…. She’s here from Red River.” I nodded more. I had no idea where Red River was but I was sure it was probably a pretty nice place.
“Okaaay.” I nodded more looking like a complete imbecile.
“Anne! I got my period.” Clarissa blurted out.
“Ohhhh!” What an idiot I was!
“And I have never had it before… Ya. I guess with taking a break from gymnastics this summer and my body decides to bring it on.” Clarissa smirked.
I remembered back to my camp nurse conference that I had attended way back in April. We had discussed helping young ladies with the onset of menarche. I thought, being at a boys session, that I would be immune. Derp!
“Gotcha. That would certainly do it! So you need supplies then?” I said as I gathered my wits about me and pulled open the cupboard that was stocked for just this kind of situation.
“Yes please. Just until I can get into town. And also a quick lesson.”
I will spare you the details but what followed was the Cliff notes version of the lecture you got in grade 9 phys ed class.