Sunday, July 19, 2009

Farewell First Session

Our First Session here at camp ended a few days ago. It was the usual flurry of activity and tearful good-byes. For me, that last week was particularly interesting.

Every session, we have Lobster and Steak night which, as the name suggests, is a dinner consisting of lobster and steak. A camper named Raelyn is deathly allergic to lobster so I arranged a special dinner for her and several of her good friends. We had our own table complete with flowers and mood music on a deck overlooking the beautiful river. It was a charming evening, starting with "family" prayer and ending with some silly dancing.

Lobster night is rather stressful for me, with the weight of what could happen if I am not extremely careful. So I was deeply relieved when dinner ended with no incidents. 2 hours later, I was fully engrossed in judging camper skits when Raelyn came to me. "Kez, I'm starting to get hives on my legs and my throat is getting tight. It feels exactly the same as 5 years ago when I went into anaphylactic shock and my heart stopped beating."

In less than 10 minutes, I had dosed her with benadryl and was driving to the ER with her, epi pens in hand and an ambulance on its way to meet us halfway. Holding her, checking her breathing and her heart rate, and praying to myself, "God, please don't let this sweet camper die on my watch!"

Long story short, we made it to the ER before she went fully anaphylactic. After a few hours and some IV drugs, they sent us home. My next 48 hours were spent quarantined in the infirmary with a recovering Raelyn while the staff and campers completely sterilized camp and themselves. We believe Rae got contaminated from one of the director's little children kissing her and from her counselor drawing on her face with a marker that she kept licking to moisten. For about a week, Raelyn continued to wheeze and feel weak, but by the end of the session, she was fully healthy. Thank God!

Another patient who spent a period in the infirmary was my friend Hannah's little brother, Andrew. He came down with a horrible unproductive cough. He felt fine, but the cough was keeping him and most of his cabin awake, so he spent a night with me. Isn't he adorable?

I did eventually run out of sick campers so I got to join in the final activities such as beach day...

...and Freeport day where all our European campers go crazy at Abercrombie and Fitch, Ralph Lauren, and the Nike store. I spent the day with a few Mainers instead, eating enormous ice creams, exploring the town, and modeling pink polos.

We finished with a banquet and award ceremony where I gave my campers awards such as "MVP: Muddiest Valuable Player" for Daniel who spent more time diving or being knocked over during sports than he actually spent playing, and "Better Late than Never" for my buddy Alex who arrived a week late. I didn't get to give my brother an award, but next session, I will fight off the guy counselors and claim him for myself.


Chops said...

Nice pics! You even got Barnabas dressed up pretty.

Bernie said...


Corpsman Lin (Easter Sunday)says: "GREAT JOB!" on the anaphylactic treatment. You sound just like her with "Not on my watch!"

We're very happy that you got your money. We got stuck tight when the Navy took two months to pay her.

You're in our prayers. Working on new ways to help you and other.

May God bless you and your children,