I love going to girl’s camp. It is one of the best things ever, in my humble opinion. Next to sliced bread that is. I have been to camp for the past three years, and plan on going for the next 56. Someday I see myself old, wrinkled like a prune, and hunched over with my walker, inching my way up the hill. A walker will be a handy thing to have with you at camp, because just think of all the useful things you could hang from it. Scissors, toilet paper, air freshener, flashlight, visor, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bag of chocolate, sharpie, goodness the possibilities are endless. I’ll be a walking Mary Poppins bag, which makes me smile to think of it.
I got to thinking there are many ways in which a hospital stay is just like going to Girls Camp. Let me see if I can name a few of them:
1. Sleeping accommodations. My lovely faded, well worn, beloved camp cot. It has served me well for three years. So much better than an air mattress that leaves you feeling flat. Much easier to sit on while you put on your shoes in the morning. Not as good as my bed at home, but so much better than the lumpy, bumpy, hard ground.
2. Showers. Even though there are showers at camp and the hospital, I am one of those people who feel a bit uncomfortable about showering when strangers are around and there is no lock on the door. I prefer to shower in my own bathroom and what is four days anyway. Be a man.
3. Food. Something about being away from home and not having to do the cooking makes food taste better. Why is that? And even if the food doesn’t taste so good one meal, you can always fill any empty space in your stomach with snacks. A whole week of not being in charge of what’s for dinner, heaven.
4. Snacks. There is no situation I can think of that is not made better with the right snacks. Whether it is a 20 hour car ride, a week with no shower at camp, or round the clock hospital vigils, having the proper snacks can make or break the situation. Personally, I am a fan of the following: peanut m&ms, sweedish fish, barbeque Pringles, sugar cookies, chocolate in any form, chex mix, salty peanut granola bars, ritz crackers with cheese in a can, and twizlers. I am sure there is more, but my mouth is watering and my brain can’t function properly right now.
5. Friends. No matter what uncomfortableness you have to go through, when you suffer together, it just doesn’t seem as bad. So at camp it is nice to have the other leaders to commiserate with, and here at the hospital I have made several new friends. Amazing how that happens. And besides my new hospital friends, I have my real life Vegas friends, my long distance family friends, and my blogging friends. It just doesn’t get any better than that
6. People who think they are going to die. I have seen it several times at camp, girls who think they will die without cell service and the ability to text for a whole week and they proceed to whine, moan, and share their misery with the rest of us. And in the hospital there are the occasional patients who feel it necessary to whine, moan, and scream out in pain every few minutes, just to make sure everyone knows they are suffering and that they don’t suffer alone.
7. Missing home makes coming back all the sweeter. It is always good to miss the people and things in your life every once in a while just so you don’t take them for granted. And it is good for the people at home to realize that they CAN find things without your help and maybe even feed themselves so they don’t waste away into nothingness. Sometimes they gain a greater appreciation for all that mothers do, when mothers are not there to do it.
8. Paper Towels. I don’t know how it is possible that most every time I go to the bathroom at camp or the hospital, the paper towels are gone and I am forced to resort to air drying. What is up with that? Is there some sort of paper towel gremlin that always runs ahead of me to make sure the dispenser is empty? Well, Mr. PT gremlin, if your entire life’s mission is bent on annoying me, mission accomplished.
In other ways the hospital is not like girls camp. These include the following.
1. No one at the hospital is interested in singing camp songs with me. Camp songs are my most favoritest part of camp. What this place needs is an enthusiastic rendition of Fried Ham or one of my personal favs Princess Pat. No one wants to hold hands around the nurse station and belt out Kumbaya. What is wrong with these people? Don’t they know that music is the best medicine? Just ask Mary Poppins, she knows. And a spoonful of sugar doesn’t hurt either. If I were in charge of hospitals, I would definitely make singing mandatory. No food or pain meds for you unless you join the sing along. So what if you are on a ventilator, show some sickness spirit people.
2. There are way more trees and nature at girls camp. And dirt, there is lots and lots of dirt there. You really get to soak in all that outdoors fresh air goodness. It all does something for the soul. Hospitals are so antiseptic. It is a wonder anything can live and thrive in such an environment. It sucks your soul slowly away. Hear that hospital, you are a soul sucker.
3. On the other hand, you do get cell service at the hospital, which has been my lifeline to the outside world. One point for hospitals.
4. Also hospitals have chefs, cleaning crews, laundry departments, and basically about 200 people doing all the stuff that we have to do at camp and I will have to do at home. You know it takes a village to cure a sick person at the hospital, but once you go home all it takes is a mother.
All in all, there are good things and bad things about camp and hospitals. It is sometimes nice to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.