Lessons learned


Lunch was sliced carrots, celery and grilled cheese sandwiches followed by grapes for dessert. Himself was very generous and poured some of his diet cola from his ‘water’ bottle into my melamine coffee cup.

“Friends don’t let friends drink camp juice,” Himself whispered as he screwed the top back onto his bottle and winked. I had to laugh. The taste of it was refreshing and delightful and oh so civilized. It could only have been better if it had been a chilled Riesling! Riesling and grilled cheese…that would be a good pairing, yes? I considered. 

“Thanks pal ‘o mine. Where are you off to after lunch?” I asked Himself.

“I was thinking the fishing dock,” he responded thoughtfully .

“Sounds good. I will pick up the kids from child care after I give out medications and we will meet you there.” I got the thumbs up.

Best game ever!

My after-lunch line was short. I had the regular meds to give out and then just Benjamin from the Deer Hut and Ashley, the counselor remained. They were sitting on the ground playing a game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’.

“What’s up Benjamin?” I asked as I leaned against the door of the health office with my arms crossed. 

“I have a sore throat Nurse Anne.” Benjamin answered over his shoulder.

“For realzies this time? Cuz last time I think you were just looking for candy. Am I right?” Benjamin looked at me sheepishly. 

“For real this time! I swear Nurse Anne!” 

“OK dude. But see what happens when you ‘cry wolf’?” I said as I waved him into the office.

“Wolf? What?” Benjamin looked confused as he followed me in and took a seat in the chair. 

“It’s a fable. Have you never heard it? A little shepard boy thinks it’s funny to yell ‘WOLF!’ cuz it makes everybody in the village come running to his rescue, so he does it a few times. Then one day when a wolf really is attacking the boy and his flock of sheep and he yells ‘WOLF!’ no one comes cuz they figure it is just another false alarm, so they ignore him and then the little shepard boy gets eaten by the wolf. So the moral of the story is you should always tell the truth.” Ashley summarized from her spot on the floor.

“What she said.” I nodded as I stuck the thermometer under his tongue. “What can I do for you, Ashley?” I asked as I waited for the thermometer to beep.

“I just wanted you to look at my burn again.” Ashley got up from the floor.

“Did you try the bacitracin on it?”

“Yup. I could probably use some more though.” She pulled back the dressing on her forearm. The blister was gone and the area looked like it was healing nicely without any drainage or evidence of infection.

“Good job Ashley. I can give you some more bacitracin. Do you need some gauze too?” I asked as I started to pull together the supplies. 

“Yes please.”

“Oh for sure.” I was interrupted by Benjamin’s thermometer beeping. “Have a seat Ashley and I will take a look at Benjamin here and then I will get everything organized for you.”

Benjamin didn’t have a fever but he did have some erythema when I looked at his throat. 

“So maybe this time you are not crying wolf, little buddy. Can you drink lots this afternoon and come back either after dinner or at bedtime and let’s keep an eye on it.” Benjamin nodded. “Do you want some pain medicine to help with the sore throat?” Benjamin nodded again.

“Can you swallow a tablet?” 

“Yes,” he announced proudly. I pulled an acetaminophen tablet out for him and placed it in his little hand and then gave him a dixie cup filled with water. He tossed it back, thanked me and left. 

“Anne, could I also have something for pain? I bumped my arm while prepping lunch and it is still throbbing.”

“Absolutely.” I grabbed the bottle of regular strength from the cupboard and poured out two tablets for Ashley and placed them in her outstretched hand.

“Yaaa…so this is gonna be a problem.”

“Say what?” I stopped and looked at her. 

“Yaaa….so I can’t swallow pills.”

“You can’t?” I asked curiously.

“Nooope. I know! I’m nineteen and little Benjamin can swallow pills but I can’t. It’s really embarrassing actually.” Ashley grimaced.

“Shall we have a lesson then?” I asked her.

“Oh my goodness! If you could teach me I would be forever grateful!”

“Let’s do this!” I said as I filled a dixie cup with water. Ashley nodded her head with a look of determination. “I think the key is that you need to put the pill as far back on your tongue as possible and then use lots of water.” 

Ashley took one of the pills and stuck her tongue way out. She placed the pill on the posterior portion and then managed to gag herself. Throwing herself forward at the waist she retched several times into the sink and the tablet fell out.

“OK. OK. Good first try but maybe not so far back as to stimulate the gag reflex there girl!”

“OK.” Ashley said as she nodded. She had tears in her eyes from the retching. I gave her a new tablet. She placed it on her out stretched tongue.

“Now fill your mouth with as much water as you can, tilt your head back and then swallow,” I said.

Ashley obediently did as I told her. Guzzling the water from the cup and causing her cheeks to distend out. She tilted her head back and paused.

I waited patiently. Nothing happened. I waited some more.

“Can you swallow it Ashley?” I asked gently. Had she forgotten that step?

Ashley looked at me with sadness and gently shook her head. Then she spit it all out. Right. Into. My. Face. 

Shower time

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