As soon as the tripping ladies left I sat down to document my findings in my office notes. Then I pulled the tripping first aid packs down off the filing cabinet where it had laid since the tripping boys had returned. They were still filthy and beat up looking. I needed to get to work.
I laid the kits on the exam table and zipped them open. I found the zip lock bag with the list of required supplies. I set about checking for used supplies and replenishing them. I added a lot of band aids — those levels were very low. I added more moleskin and gauze. I refilled the acetaminophen bottle, added a new tube of antibiotic cream, and more q-tips. I made sure there was alcohol swabs and then I located the epinephrine pens. I checked the expiry dates just to make sure they were not past due. We were good to go.
For what it was worth I wiped down the inside and the outside covers of the kits with a lot of cleaner solution. Pretty pointless but it made me feel better. I zipped the two kits up and then sat them on the exam table. I put a little note on top. “Trippers kits all ready to go. Note: Mallory has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. Epi pens are inside,” and signed my name with a smiley face as an extra added touch.
I wiped down the counter and then began to set out the dinner time meds. I heard a gentle knock at the door. I looked up to find Mitch with his hand on Drew’s shoulder.
“Hey Drew! What’s up dude? Not feeling well?” I asked as I noticed his slumped shoulders and the pout on his face. Mitch frowned.
“It’s the worst kinda sick ever!” Drew’s face scrunched up and he started to quietly cry.
OH SNAP! Diarrhea! The Norwalk virus had made it to camp! I should have known it. Help me Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Camp was gonna be a disaster this week. Just when the campers were getting so good at washing their hands too. I took a deep breath.
“You have a bad case of the squirts, Drew?” I asked him gently.
Drew looked up at me in mid cry.
“No Nurse Anne! Not the squirts!”
“You have been barfing?” I asked, a little confused, as I started to pull open the cabinet to get the thermometer. I mean diarrhea is definitely the worst kinda sick, no?
“No. No barfing either.” Drew shook his head dejectedly. I motioned for him to sit down in the chair. As he did so, I sat down too, leaned forward with my forearms on my thighs.
“Well what is it little guy?” I asked softly.
“The worst kinda sick is homesick, Nurse Anne.” Drew told me with the most mournful little face. “I’m so homesick,” he whispered and began to sob.
“Oops. Sorry Anne. I was sure he meant diarrhea too when he told me he was sick and needed to see you.” I looked up at Mitch. He rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders
“Drew,” I said as I gently rubbed his shoulder, “there is no cure for homesickness in the health office. I can tell you that with certainty. The cure is within you. Did you know that?”
Drew, with his face buried in his hands, shook his head.
“It’s true. Only you can cure your homesickness. You have the capabilities. Do you know how to do that?”
Drew shook his head again and then wiped his face with his hands. Mitch grabbed him some tissues and gave them to Drew. He buried his face in the tissues.
“Have fun. Just like you have been doing all last week. The leading expert says it’s impossible to have fun and be homesick at the same time. When those feelings start to creep in, just think about all the fun things that are planned for this week.”
“I will try,” Drew responded and then blew his nose loudly. He stood and gazed up at the cabinets of medicine. “There is not one pill that will help me?”
“No buddy. Nothing that I can give you. It’s up to you.” I rubbed Drew’s back.
“OK.” Drew wiped the last of the tears away and tossed the tissues into the garbage can. “Thanks anyways,” he said as he walked out of the office. I looked back at Mitch who was standing there looking intently at me.
“There is a leading expert in homesickness?” Mitch tilted his head and whispered.
I gave Mitch a cheesy smile and nodded.
“Oh. I see.” Mitch pointed at me, softly laughed and followed Drew out of the office.
“Hey Drew,” I heard Mitch as the two started down the stairwell, “have you ever heard the diarrhea song? I can sing it for you. It goes like this: When you’re sliding into first and your pants begin to burst…diarrhea. When you’re sliding into two and your pants are filled with goo…diarrhea.”
As the stairwell door gently closed I could hear the fading sounds of Drew’s laughter.