So the girls are gone for a week at camp. This is the same idyllic riverside, tree-lined, semi-rustic site where Madeleine's camped four years running. This is the first year Sarah's been old enough for the big-kid version that lasts longer than 36 hours.
And for you who are keeping score at home, this is also the year that Sarah's been in and out of hospitals; had more blood draws than any character in the much-hyped but still inane Twilight series; set a record for the most X-rays and ultrasounds followed by the longest MRI followed by the longest bone scan; lost seven pounds from her already slight frame in six weeks; started treatment and back to ballet in the same month.
Sarah's a trouper.
Me, not so much.
I typed a full page of instructions for the on-site RN. I put her medication and a spendy ear thermometer in a gallon-sized zipper lock bag and taped the instructions to the inside of the bag.
I turned in said instructions, which were as wordy as you'd expect from me and yet made more (I hope) clear with the use of bullet points and strategic repetition (avoiding parenthetical statements so as not to confuse the nurse!).
I double-checked with the camp director. I was reassured to be followed by a mom whose child has severe asthma. (Misery does prefer company.) I asked at drop-off to speak with the nurse.
"She's not here yet. I'll just set these aside and she'll make sure to follow your [overly explanatory] written directions." The director wrote Sarah's full name on the bag with a permanent marker. And moved it aside on the stack. I was dismissed.
Oh. Well, I knew there was a reason I was so thorough in my instructions. And a written word can hardly be misinterpreted as easily as can a spoken exchange. Right?
I think I'm right. Because when I called this morning for a report from the nurse (my note detailed under which circumstances she should call me) I was told that "we don't have a nurse this year."
"I can put you through to the first aid girl."
And, gentle readers, it gets so much worse. The first aid girl appeared, if I am any judge of voice age, to be 14 at the oldest. She assured me that Sarah is doing "just great!!!!" and "taking her temp every night! with lots of her friends?! right before bed?!?! and writing it down, like you said!!!!!"
(I swear to you I could hear the extra punctuation in this child's voice.)
Right after she told me how "great!!!" Sarah is, she told me that Sarah's temp on Sunday night was 86.5 and on Monday night it was 87.1. Roughly the temperature of the muggy June air. Not even within 10 points of the range I specified as "normal" for Sarah.
Breathe in. Breathe out. The child does not know how to point the thermometer into the ear. Breathe again before you speak. Then put the keys in the ignition and drive directly to camp.
Discover that Sarah's cabin mother is a Licensed Practical Nurse and more than capable of administering meds and taking a temperature every 24 hours. More importantly, discover that cabin mom is a real-life mom and likely to call me if she needs to.
Discover that the "first aid girl" is indeed 14 years old and is more than capable of placing a band-aid (mostly) on a scraped kneee. (But she has her CPR certificate ("!!!") which was probably a good thing because I practically needed resuscitation after my 45-minute panicked drive to camp).
Discover that handing over one's child to the care of others is best not left to a one-page typed explanation.
(Note to self for next year: Ask around for new camp. Preferably one in which they wrap the children in a little more cotton wool. And maybe where they keep a little extra cot for me.)