One Last Story Before Bed

This whole #Plague business is actually reminding me of my second summer working as a Camp Counselor.  That year, during the last week of camp when we all had the really young kids (aka the kids that require the most attention and work).  All of our cabins were full.

Well, the very first day of camp that week, my cabin was enjoying one of my favorite activities; running barefoot through the sprinklers around the activity field and throwing a frisbee around.  Seriously, I love it.  It is so fun and carefree.

Anyway, right as we were turning the sprinklers off and lining up to go to lunch, I noticed that my nose was a little stuffy and I had an itch at the back of my throat.  Now, I have terrible allergies, so I really wouldn’t have thought anything of it had it not been for two of my coworkers (both from different cabins) report that they weren’t feeling well the day before.

By that night, I was sick as a dog.  I had lost my voice completely, which was a bummer since it was my coworker’s night off, which meant that I had to be the one to get the girls ready for bed by light’s out.  This particular group of girls also insisted on a bedtime story every night.  I don’t remember what I read them, but it was probably the most pitiful story they’d ever heard.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think it was The 12 Dancing Princesses.  But I digress.

By the next day, at least one counselor from each cabin had been stricken with what we officially dubbed “The All Saints Epidemic.”  (All Saints was the name of my camp).  The funny thing (and blessing, when you think about it) was that every sick person was from a different cabin, and none of our co-counselors got it (there were two counselors per cabin).  That was just about the only good thing about it, though.  Well that, and none of our campers got sick, which was a flat out miracle.

Our poor camp nurse was overrun with sick counselors.  She insisted that what we all really needed was to stay inside and stay in bed, but there was absolutely no way any of us could do that.  We had the most campers we’d had that summer AND they were all young, like kindergarten to third grade young.  So, instead of assigning us all to bed rest, she pumped us all full of Sudafed and Robitussin.  She was so dedicated that she even made personal deliveries throughout the day.

At the end of one day about halfway through the week, she ran out of Robitussin (that was supposed to last us the entire summer) and had to make a run into town to the nearest Wal-Mart (30 minutes away) to get us some more.  I actually got the very last of the old bottle and she told me not to even bother with the little cup and let me drain the bottle, just like a pirate throwing back a bottle of rum.

Along with taking care of all those kids, I also had waterfront duty that summer, so it was my job to be down at the lake, run the buddy board, ring the Everyone Out of the Water Bell, etc…  One day, though, I was so sick and medicated that I fell asleep right on the bench next to the bell.  I am a very self-conscious person.  I NEVER fall asleep in public, especially in the middle of the day.  Well, not unless I have jet lag, but that’s a different story.  But thanks to that dumb illness and the drugs I was out.  That was probably the lowest point in the illness for me.

Somehow, we all made it through the week, and I even got to partake in a mud fight.  I didn’t care how sick I was, I was not about to miss out on that!  However, the illness lasted at least a week after camp ended, making that almost a full two weeks.  I didn’t end up going to the doctor, because each day I thought, “Surely, I’ll feel better tomorrow.”  HA.  One of my co-workers (the one I suspect started it all) did, however, and she was diagnosed with a very bad case of bronchitis.  I’m guessing that’s what we all had, but to me, it will forever be known as The All Saints Epidemic.  And it was awful.

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