I went to the health office to get prepped for the incoming trippers. I set out a couple of pencils, the jar of tongue depressors (for the squirmy tongues that can’t lay flat), otoscope covers, a flashlight and my stethoscope. I checked the light on the otoscope and the flashlight. All systems go.
I heard the group tromping down the hall with Marcy leading the way.
“Did anyone have further questions about how to identify Black Bear scat? No? OK, now we will pay a visit to Nurse Anne. She will check everyone out to make sure that you are all healthy specimens before we go to dinner and then we will practice our portaging. Fun, eh?”
Marcy came around the corner as I leaned against the door jamb, arms crossed, casually awaiting my victims. Following behind Marcy were six teen aged girls. Girls? I was temporarily stunned. Like it didn’t compute. I had assumed it would be six boys tripping. I quickly gathered my wits.
“Everyone say ‘Hello’ to Nurse Anne!” Marcy sang as she held her arms out wide and then bent in a bow towards me.
“Hello Nurse Anne!” The six campers shouted.They rivaled the Navy Seals club in their enthusiasm.
“Hello ladies! I hear that you are planning a week out in the forest. Are you excited?”
“Yah!” The girls shouted.
“Have any of you done the trip before?” Four of the girls raised their hands. “And you are back for more?” I asked a little incredulous.
“Oh ya! Tripping is so amazing!” Brianna, a petite fourteen year old, told me. “This is my third trip. I LOVE it!”
“You LOVE carrying a canoe on your head, your food on your back, using a kybo in the woods, identifying animal scat, bear proofing your food, not washing your hair or having a shower, and wearing the same outfit all week long?”
“Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” Brianna responded with an enormous grin and the three other experienced trippers nodded their agreement.
“I just don’t get it. I guess I need to try this tripping myself someday, cuz I am just not seeing the attraction.”
“You should Anne. We always can use adult volunteers on the trips!” Marcy nudged me with her elbow.
“I will have to think about that!” I smiled at Marcy as she handed me the stack of tripper medical forms. “Ladies, let’s do this!” I clapped my hands.
One at a time I had the trippers in and checked their scalps for ‘special friends’, ears for inflammation, their throats for any redness or swelling, their skin for abrasions or rashes and finally questioned them about recent illnesses and daily medications. Just like the other campers, some had a brought along a bag ‘o pills for various ailments. None of these medications were life threatening except for Mallory who had a peanut allergy.
“How bad is your peanut allergy?” I asked as I referred to her medical form. It was noted there is LARGE CAPITAL LETTERS. Hard to miss.
“Once I ate peanut butter when I was nine, and my throat got so swollen I was not able to swallow my own spit.”
“OK! That’s pretty significant! Good thing you chose a ‘peanut free’ camp, right?!” I smiled reassuringly as a small shiver rose up my back. “You will have an epi pen on you at all times in a fanny pack and there will be two epi pens in the first aid kit as back up.” I made a mental note to check for two epi pens in the tripper first aid kit.
“I like that plan,” Mallory smiled.
Plenty of insurance. I liked that too.