Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Four Tiny Cups

Her chin is quivering before she even walks in the door.

"Hi there, lovey. What's going on?"

"My toe hurts." Her words are barely perceptible, save for me watching her lips move.

"Your toe hurts? That's no good. Let's do your ibuprofen and see if that helps."

She's nine, but the size of a seven-year-old, and she ripped her toe open on the beach the other day. I will grant her that it probably hurts, but the quivering chin and brimming eyes seem to be about more than a banged-up toe. She takes her medicine like a champ, but the minute I brush her hair away from her face, the tears overflow.

We sit, my arms around her as she sobs on my lap. She nods emphatically when I say things like, "It's hard to be away from home, isn't it?" and "Camp is fun, but the first few days are really tough to get used to."

Eventually, she sips some ice water and we listen to three Bruno Mars songs on my phone until she's humming along the tiniest bit. We agree to write a letter to her parents this afternoon, and we talk about how much fun swimming will be tomorrow when we take the bandage off her toe. I piggyback her to her cabin and tell her I'll see her in three hours for some Tylenol.

This time, she's limp-running in through the door.

"I need four tiny cups! Please!"

"Well, sure you do. What are you guys doing in arts and crafts?"

"We're making a moose out of leaves and twigs and the cups will be his feet okay thanks for the cups bye!"

And she's off. And the Tylenol is long forgotten, and I can't wait to see this moose-creation with cups for hooves and twigs for antlers and leaves for fur.

Sometimes I miss midwifery, but all day every day, I love this job. Even in the moments when I hate it, I still love it (I know that makes no sense.). Being a camp nurse is like nothing I could have ever imagined, but so much better than I could have ever predicted.