It was six o’clock and dinner time, the first evening of camp with one-hundred-plus active, excited and holy-cow-where-do-they-get-their-energy kids.  My hands- especially the right one-which had been operated on seven month previously to correct two broken fingers as a result of RA inflammation, were hopping screaming pain. 

I had already gulped down my daily allotted dose of prednisone, my stomach-coating pill and my Celebrex and, I was half-a-pill away from closing in on my ‘daily recommended’ pain medication. My cameras- two heavy duty professional SLR’s – mounted with wide angle lens and telephoto lens -had snapped and zoomed, and clicked and pointed and tilted this-a-way-and-that-a-way to make memories galore on the archery field, the baseball diamond, and the T-ball mound. My right knee- apparently r a (I really hate to give this damn disease the recognition of capitals!) likes to manifest itself on one side of the body-so the right knee had swollen to the size of a squishy tennis ball, puffy and inflamed with the efforts of climbing and sliding the rough terrain. But….as I’ve come to intimately know, the key to this disease for me is, Never Give In.  The body may be weak, but my spirit always willing!

So…with the kids tucked into bed-and their lights shut off- I headed to my cabin to enthusiastically kiss my pillow.  When I arrived, some of the others were fast asleep, so I crept in quietly- thanking my lucky stars that my phone had a built in flashlight, because….I had my night stash to set up before I settled in. I don’t know if it is the drugs or the pain, but the angel dust of sleep does not haunt my eyes.  Joey Ramone’s song is my anthem: “Tossing and turning, reeling and a-rocking, Somebody help me please, I’m begging on my knees, I couldn’t sleep at all last night.”  Along with a pile of good books spread across my bed for easy plucking, I tend to eat during the night. All the time. So I have to choose treats that are non-fattening but satiating. And of course, in this setting, bunked up with five other cabin mates, I needed something that was quiet, non-crunchy, and not wrapped in cellophane.

Bring on the gummy worms!


These little guys are great- chewy, quiet, fun and soothing. (I may look grown up but the height masks the inner child!:) Worried that I was going to have pain kickback from the strenuous day, I stuck my plastic green pill box under the blanket under my covers and snapped open the slot with my pain meds. Just to be safe. Safe and ready!

Turning to the wall, and away from the others, I illuminated the pages of my book, quietly sucking on a gummy as the melancholic and haunting call of a loon broke through the silence of the night.

Contrary to my worries mid-afternoon about not being able to make it through the day, sans nap, I had, in fact, made it! And, nobody had any idea of the inner challenges that I’d grappled with. With a quiet but happy heart, I lay my head on the pillow and, to my great surprise, fell asleep- until that is, I heard the scratching of mamma mouse sniffing around for my worms.

Six hours ’til daylight and the Polar Bear swim!

What, was I thinking????