I stood very still for a few moments with my eyes closed as I felt the water drip down my face and onto my shirt. I had not expected that at all. Good thing I was wearing water proof mascara, I thought to myself!
Ashley was bent over the sink again in the midst of a coughing fit. I grabbed some paper towels and wiped my face and dabbed at my shirt.
“You OK Ashley?” I asked as her as I pulled at my soggy shirt and noticed her coughing slowed down. She took some deep breaths.
“Oh my God! I am SO sorry! I didn’t have time to turn my head when the urge to cough hit me! I really feel badly!”
“It’s OK Ashley. No big deal. When you are a nurse you kinda get used to having all kinds of things sprayed and thrown at you.” I smiled and laughed as I recalled having a patient baptize my brand new nursing shoes as I completed my first night shift as a legit RN. It turned out that that was only the first of many incidents through my career. Food, vomit, stool, saliva, blood…it’s all a part of the job. “You just have to hope that when it happens, your mouth is closed!”
“Well? Was your mouth closed just now?” Ashley laughed.
“Twas!” I nodded. “No harm. Shall we try again?”
“Yes please. Now I am really determined to nail this. Is that OK?”
“Absolutely. That’s what camp is all about, n’est pas? Learning new skills?”
“True, but usually it’s swimming or canoeing. Not ‘pill swallowing 101’. This embarrassing situation has fueled my determination though!” Ashley laughed and shook her head with disgust at herself. I shrugged and waved her off.
“Don’t be embarrassed. Here’s what I think we should do. Try one pill at a time. Same technique: pill to the back of your tongue; lots of water; tilt your head back; swallow. I’m gonna finish tidying here, you just keep on trying. I have a huge bottle of acetaminophen so we can just keep on attempting it. If you want to give up, I have the liquid form.”
“I like this plan and I’m going to succeed,” Ashley smiled with determination and then filled her dixie cup with water again.
I busied myself in the office. I mopped up the water off the floor as Ashley stood with her head tilted back and then spit the water and the pill back into the sink. I mopped the remainder of the office as she placed another pill at the back of her tongue and took another sip of water, waited and then gagged. I tidied the gauze packages in the drawer as she attempted again and ended up spraying the water and the pill all over the cupboards. I sorted all the pens and sharpened all the pencils on the desk as she attempted it again. It was really quiet for about a minute when I heard Ashley gasp. I looked over my shoulder, concerned that maybe she had aspirated the water. Ashley slowly turned her head towards me with a complete look of wonder. Then she broke out into a huge triumphant smile!
“I DID IT!” Ashley yelled and threw her hands in the air like she had just landed a quadruple back hand spring at the Olympics.
“Yay! Yay!” I squealed, clapped like an idiot, and gave her a high five.
“Now I need to try to get the other one down.” Ashley turned back to the sink and placed the next pill. She tilted her head back, waited and swallowed.
“You aced that. No sweat now, eh?!”
“I believed I could and I did!” Ashley said as she stood with her hands on her hips and a look of incredible pride.
“Huh. That would make a great t-shirt!”