I’ve just put my contact lenses back in, freshened up, donned real clothing (if yoga pants count) for the first time this week. Essentially I’ve finally returned from the land of the living dead after nearly a week long battle with Influenza A.
No, no, no, no, no!
If you’re a mom, or a mom with an outside job, too, you know how it is: Getting sick is NOT part of the “to do” list. We might sense it coming on, feeling a bit queasy, tired, fuzzy in the brain. But we mount an instant internal denial campaign that goes, “I cannot get sick. I won’t get sick. I am NOT getting sick.”
This works for a good long while, several hours, maybe even a whole day. Then the white flag is inevitably raised with the devastating acknowledgement that, “Oh my gosh, I’m sick!”
That was me this past week. And as always there’s simply never a convenient time to get the flu.
I was busy with the typical Go-Go-Go that is every mom’s lot and every career woman’s juggling act, too. When the bug finally won out it was doubly hard to just let myself rest since there’s always so much on the real “to do” list — the one that doesn’t include getting sick.
But at some point I gave in and realized that rest, sleep, maybe some TV and magazines, perhaps some Chicken Soup and waiting out the high fever, aches and pains, and feeling of utter helplessness was the only way to go. Then of course there was the necessary call to my own mom — talk about an “I want my my mommy” moment. I don’t think we ever outgrow those when we feel sick.
Tucking in and getting better
Of course this reminded me of being at camp, how inevitably someone gets sick during camp and what it’s like to get some kind of virus when you’re away from the creature comforts of home. That’s when the mom vibe of every woman involved with a camper — Jr. Counselors, Counselors, Unit Heads, Department Heads, JC Moms, Me, my mom, the Infirmary staff — goes into high gear to make the ill feel loved, comforted, protected.
Our Infirmary is so great I almost fantasized about being there this past week and being completely taken care of!
Sure it’s “just an Infirmary” like any other Infirmary, and they don’t really do anything out of the ordinary that any other Infirmary wouldn’t do. But somehow it just feels special anyway because there’s this warm feeling that they’re trying to nurse you back to health just as soon as possible because they know how much you long to get back to camp life — just like I longed to get back to my life (and my to do list), this week.
The nurses bring meals down on trays to anyone who’s sick and needs to stay there, and tent mates and camp friends come visit as long as the person isn’t contagious. If so, friends might drop a handmade card or some little token to the convalescent as a way to cheer them along. It’s very sweet.
Our goal is always to get the camper back into the normal routine of camp life as soon as possible so we always hope that campers don’t have to stay too long, even if it is a sweet place to rest! We have an awesome professional medical staff and are always really grateful for all their hard work.
Last year Garrett remodeled the interior of the Infirmary and built a whole new, larger bathroom and re-did some of the examining room as well. It’s more efficient and better designed now, so it’s a lot more functional and our medical staff is very happy with it!
On the mend
Now that I’m feeling better and am ready to get back to work, am looking again at my to do list and getting on with things, it’s time for the most important post-sick thing of all: Being grateful that I’m well again. A virus really takes it out of you and reminds us of the awesome power of health and life and yet the vulnerability that comes with feeling unwell.
I’m so thankful to be back on my feet, back at the keyboard, back to conscious, standing-upright mommying, and back to plans for camp. After all, it’s only 198 days away! 😉
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls