Freedom, NH—GlassHospital has migrated to the White Mountains to escape summer’s heat. The Mrs./Dr. and I tag team as volunteers helping staff the Camp Infirmary at our kids’ summer camp.
The best part about it* (other than the pure air and getting to spy on our kids a bit) is waking up early every day for a bike ride or swim across the lake with one of the fitness-crazy camp directors. Early exercise makes the rest of the day a snap–and makes each day feel healthier. Sometimes I even get to play “Danish Longball” on the quad or toss a frisbee around–something I spent four years of college working on.
In my regular practice I don’t doctor to children, so it’s nice for me to see kids (very healthy ones here, for the most part) for a few days a year to remember what it’s like. The kids here are getting the most out of their experience–running around, hiking, playing, making lifelong friends–all in an electronics-free environment. They are blessed to be able to take part.
Naturally, when kids play, sometimes there are injuries. For the second year in a row we saw a broken collarbone on the first day of the annual color war between the Green & White teams. On both occasions the kids involved soldiered on, doing whatever activities they could (cracker-eating, whistling, singing, cheering, etc.) without the use of an arm. Each time their parents offered to bring them home, but the kids, true to camp spirit, wanted to wring every minute out of their summertime experiences.
I worked at a university health service for five years, and the thing about camp that’s most similar to that is the difference in how kids approach their health and the ‘health care system.’ Some kids take charge of their health and use the infirmary staff to evaluate and inform them and then share in the decisions around treatment. Others, still in their parents’ protective bubble, rely on their parents-in-absentia (and by extension, us) to make decisions for them.
There’s no right or wrong here, just interesting to see the differences in approach, attitude, emotional makeup and constitution of some wonderful kids.
*Special thanks to Paula, Lizz, Shane, & Kristi.