“Hang on,” I said to Father Brian and I turned back to Ben.
Dagnabbit! I had screwed up again! I was awash with heavy feelings of defeat. I bent over Ben’s firmly anchored sliver. With grim determination I grabbed hold of the end of it with the tweezers. Ben grimaced as I pulled it free.
“OK buddy. I got it.” I said as I held the sliver up to his eyes to examine. “Now go wash your hands thoroughly.” I patted Ben on the shoulder.
“Thanks Nurse Anne,” Ben whispered to me, hopped off the examination table and left.
I looked at my note that Father Brian held up in front of me and gently took it from his fingers. The smiley face I drew on the bottom of the note seemed to mock me now. “You think you are so cute! Well, you’re not. You’re incompetent!”
“The counselors have their medical forms. Mallory’s peanut allergy is noted in obvious capital letters on the form. She has an epinephrine pen in a fanny pack and two back ups in the first aid kit. Plus we ARE a peanut free camp.” I argued.
“We are just not sure that the tripping leaders were fully aware. Our concern is if the group stops at a drive through or if one of the kids has smuggled in something, it could be a disaster.”
“There is no way to communicate to them?”
“They have a satellite phone for emergency use. They only turn it on when they need it and to check in mid-week.” Marcy explained. “There is no way for us to call them.”
“And they are already dropped off in the park?”
“Yes. Muddy was the driver and he…” Father Brian stopped to glance at his watch, “will likely be on his way back. We can question him when he returns, but I am not sure we will get the answer we need.”
“Mary and Joseph! Now what?” I asked.
“The only thing I can think of is trying to catch up to them in the park.” Father Brian said solemnly.
“How would we do that?” I looked at Father Brian and Marcy.
“I would take a counselor, a canoe, a few days worth of food and follow their directions. We have an advantage in that we know their exact route and which lakes they will be camping on each night. Hopefully with just the two of us we could catch up to the group pretty quickly.”
Blank stare. “Seriously?” I was astonished. “That sounds like a test of stamina.”
“For sure. But, we need to ensure Mallory’s safety.”
“Agreed. That is the top priority.” I shook my head. “I am so sorry. I really screwed up.” I said as I sighed and looked at my note. Just a simple piece of tape to hold the note down would probably have been sufficient to avoid this debacle. Tape for Pete’s sake!
“Actually, I screwed up, Anne.” Marcy sadly admitted. “It’s part of my job as tripping leader to go through the medical forms with the trip leaders, and I totally forgot about it.” Marcy looked on the verge of tears.
The holes in the piece of cheese had lined up again.