Worst job ever?

“Gooooood morning Camp Acorn! It’s your #1 DJ, Bobbo Beats! Rise and shine! It’s everyone’s favorite day! It’s Visitor’s Day! So get up, put on your staff shirt, slam down some coffee and embrace the day!” I heard Radio Acorn signaling the start to what ended up being a very long day. Meanwhile I was looking at the worst case of conjunctivitis that I would ever see in my career.

“Does it hurt?” I asked him as I tried to remain calm.
“It still stings but not as much as when it first happened.” Tim told me.

“Are your parents coming up for Visitor’s Day today?” I continued to examine his swollen, red and purulent eye. 

“Ya. They should be here pretty soon actually.”

“I’m thinking we need this eye tended to immediately. You probably need more flushing and an antibiotic, at least. I’m thinking you need a trip into the emergency room.”

“Seriously?” Tim asked alarmed.

“Ya. Seriously. I need a doctor to look at this. I’m not sure what DEET does to an eye, but it can’t be good. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your sight.”

“I guess.” Tim answered dejectedly.

“OK Joe. Here’s the plan: take Tim down to the eye wash station and continue to flush his eye until his parents get here. I will try to intercept them and explain. Can we get someone to bring breakfast down to you?”

“OK. Will do. I can get one of the other Bear Hut counselors to bring us down some food. Come on Tim.”

“I hope the washing gives you some relief. Do you want something for pain, Tim?”

“Yes please! What’s the strongest thing you got?” Tim laughed.

“Ummm…some Tylenol?” I laughed and shrugged.

“OK. I guess that will have to do.” Tim said over his shoulder as he and Joe started towards the eye wash station in the Arts ‘n Crafts building.

I raced upstairs to the health office taking the stairs two at a time. I grabbed Tim’s health form, a couple of Tylenol, and I found an eye patch and a roll of tape I looked up when I heard a knock at the door. Himself stood there with the three kids.

“You at work already?” He asked.

“Yup.” I waved the eye patch at him as I frowned.

“Did someone lose an eye?”

“No but I am worried he might lose his vision if I don’t get this kid in to see a doctor.”

“Geez. That sounds horrible.”

“You got that right. I feel so badly that I didn’t see this kid last night when it happened.” I frowned and shook my head at my mistake in not assessing the situation more thoroughly. It made me feel sick and nervous for Tim. I teared up.

“Try not to beat yourself up. Weren’t you busy last night too?”

“Ya. Digging glass out of a foot for over an hour. I completely forgot about this kid with bug spray in his eye. Turns out the bug spray had DEET in it. I really screwed up.”

“Sounds like you need an assistant.”

“That’s the truth!”

“Also, remember Anne, you are a volunteer. OK? You are trying to do your best in a situation where you are stretched thin, it’s not your area of expertise, you are an hour from the nearest emergency room, in the middle of the woods with the most basic supplies. Cut yourself some slack, OK?” Himself said and gave me a hug. “I think you are doing great, considering.” He said as he kissed the top of my head. I hugged him back.

“Thank you. I appreciate it. I’m just not sure Tim’s parents will be as understanding.” I said as I considered, with much trepidation, how that meeting might go. Ugh. This had to be the worst job ever. Or maybe it was more accurate to say that I was terrible at it? What was I thinking taking this volunteer job?!

Me as a camp nurse!


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