R A-ing-it At Camp

A great lover of children and a champion of young people, it seemed like a wonderful idea to volunteer at a weekend camp for kids and teenagers.

When a friend asked me if, considering the ups and downs of this damn RA, whether I could handle a busy chaotic kids camp weekend, I was taken aback.  I was excited, enthusiastic and honoured to be selected as a volunteer- of course I could do it! N’est pas! N’est pas?

Up early on camp day, I took an extra long, hot hot shower to toast my bones and get my joints working before I hit the road.  A two-hour drive north, I was right on time to meet the bus loads of kids as they pulled through the camp gates, bang on for lunch. Let the fun begin!

Fast forward to the first rotation- archery- and not only had I unpacked my two cameras, three lens and my spiral notebook- I was rummaging deep in my kit bag to find the grit and perseverance I now realized I was going to need big time in order to make it through the 50-plus hour weekend.  Especially when we were only on hour three!  My cameras, professional SLR’s with heavy-duty wide angle lens, felt like ten-pound weights as I moved and zoomed around the groups of kids, catching their expressions, their cartwheels of joy and their effervescent activities.  The problem was, I had a major operation on my right hand- (of course I am right-handed!) several  months ago, to fix tendons broken by severe RA inflammation, and my wrist and fingers were not used to all the schlepping, holding, focusing and shooting.  Neither, I might add, were my knees used to the hilly, up-and-down-up-and-down terrain.

Let the prayerful mantras begin:

Oooh- Ahh – Kumbaya.  Oooh-Ahh-Kumbaya.

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Before dinner, with ten minutes of personal time to sort out our sleep gear, I hustle-limped to my cabin to suss out the situation. Oh no! Oh no!  All of the lower bunks had already been claimed. Between my daily prednisone, sometimes celebrex, weekly injections of methotrexate, (not to mention the biologic injections), sleep to me is like Frank Sinatra’s ‘Stranger in the Night.’

Ooh-Ahh-Kumbaya.  Oooh-Ahh-Kumbaya.

I was trying hard to yoga-calm myself when out of the corner of my eye I spotted an empty bunk bed at the end of the cabin- a bunk bed that was shimmed up right beside the bathroom door.

Who says prayer doesn’t work! And there was to be lots more where that came from as I gently hobbled down a jagged granite hill and into the mess hall for dinner.

Next post:  Making some strategic needed adjustments as I keep the mice, the loons and the hooting night owls company.