Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ice, Elevate, and Call 911?

Destination: National Hoops Basketball Camp
Total Miles: 10 miles
Total Cost: priceless

Last summer I had the unique opportunity to be the camp nurse for basketball camp to some 40-odd teenage boys in Wisconsin. (For last year's trips, check out the links under June 2012. And for last year's camp video highlights, click here)

Registration Form
This summer, I was presented with a similar opportunity with the same camp, however, the camp was held at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC...just 10 miles from my house.

There were over 80 teenagers registered to attend camp, which started on Monday, August the time the last campers checked in, we had 50 teenage "ballers" from all over.

Being a Neonatal ICU nurse has it's pros...and cons...I'm a little more familiar with patients who weigh less than 13 pounds and can't talk back. But after managing last year's bunch, I was confident this year would be smoother. ('was' being the operative word)

Of the ten counselors, one was unable to attend the meeting Monday morning during which my cellular number was given...guess which counselor was the first to have problems? yup.

I learned at breakfast on Tuesday morning that one of the campers had decided to call 9-1-1 around 0200 and then inform his counselor he wasn't feeling they rode the ambulance to the ER.

The counselor now has my number programed into his cellular device.

The teenager was ok...until Tuesday night...I got a call as I was finishing up a blog post on Colorado and turning off the lights. The kid's mother wanted him to leave with his team right then because he wasn't feeling well. So, at midnightish, I headed over to the guys' dormitories to have a chat with both the camper and his mother. My NICU training came in very handy in speaking with the mother, and she agreed to allow him to stay for at least another 24 hours. I ended up staying out until past 0100 purchasing a water bottle and some snacks for the camper.

Nap time the next day was obliterated by a sweet camper whose eye started swelling (randomly) at lunch...and got progressively worse during nap time. After placing a few messages to some medical friends of mine, I opted to take him to a doctor's office to get checked out. We got some meds on board, and he was feeling better by the end of the day.

Being tired by the time we reached the room late that night, my roommate (the camp secretary extraordinaire, Kristen) and I opted to go to sleep...which was more wishful thinking. By 0200, my phone was going off...the camper who called 9-1-1?

He had called them again without telling his counselor. Again. The counselor assured me that they would be ok and that he would contact me if they needed me to come get them from the ER. I tossed and turned for over an hour before drifting off into a fitful sleep. Only to be reawakened at 0400 by another text. The kid had been diagnosed with a pretty serious condition, but the doctor opted not to keep the camper overnight. And by breakfast time, the camper and his friends had left without saying a word. Sigh.

This year, it was the popular thing (that all the 'cool' kids did) to have a bag of ice and sit on the sidelines with the nurse.

At least, that's how it seemed.

If only they could have all coordinated when they wanted ice...instead, I got my exercise in and became VERY familiar with the ice machine by making numerous trips to the ice maker.

Miraculously, by the time the competitions and tournaments came around, the sidelines were cleared.

Laugh. Out. Loud.

I love them. Each and every one. They all grew, both in basketball skills and in their relationships with God. The services were a huge blessing. I was able to sing a couple times and enjoyed joining voices with other staff members to sing praises to God.

Kristen and I had a wonderful time being exhausted together...we drank WAY too much Starbucks, and we probably had too much fun watching the skits and games.

Overall, it was a very stretching and profitable week.

I will admit, I teared up when Friday night awards' ceremony came. Pastor Mike introduced the staff members to those in attendance, and those crazy campers gave a standing them (and their scores of ice bags!)!

This year was significantly different from last year, but I learned so much and know that God is continuing His work in both the campers and in me.

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
~Jesus  (Matthew 11:28)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Home Away from Home

Third and final installment of this year's Colorado trip.

(no drum rolls, please!)

Let me tell you: This was a memorable trip.

Not that every trip isn't memorable or noteworthy, but this one was quintessential road-tripping with Charise.

Why, you ask? Because it was not only to one of my favorite places, nor just because of the randomness and occasional spontaneity, but mainly because it involved hanging out with a valued friend who understands my nursing humor, enjoys the random and spontaneous, and seeks to serve the Lord.

So...Monday and Tuesday.

Monday, we lolled about in the morning trying to decide what to do. The weather had been a bit iffy, so we decided to hold off on going to Elitch Gardens and instead tour the capitol building in Denver. We rode the light rail in to downtown and took a bus from Union Station to a block from the capitol.

Not only was the capitol open for tours, but it was also the week of the quilting contest! We were able to enjoy some 300+ quilts hanging on display throughout the building.

The tour was enjoyable, and I would highly recommend taking the tour! We were able to sit in the galleries of both the House and Senate...which were not in session (they only meet for so many months out of the year). We also learned about the unique architecture of the capitol...the rose onyx found throughout the building is the only rose onyx in the world to date. They did not realize that they were mining the entirety of the stone until it was gone and none could be found elsewhere.

For lunch, we decided to branch out and try an Indian restaurant located in a food court a level below the 16th Street mall. Saucy Bombay. We were extremely impressed and stuffed ourselves with the delicious food! I had a rice, chicken, chickpea combo smothered in a mild tiki masala sauce (complete with an iced Indian chai tea).

After some unsuccessful shopping (mostly because we were so tired from everything we had done the week before), we hit up a modern coffee shop, Ink!, where we enjoyed some massively huge (and delicious) iced beverages. All I know is that the guy behind the counter thought I would like the white-chocolate-almond-coffee-something-or-other...and he was spot on!

Monday night, I took the kids to Yogurtland (tradition!) where we splurged on some new flavors of fro-yo.

Tuesday was my day to head home...but not before we took a "little" 14,240 feet above sea level drive up the highest paved road in America! Up Mount Evans we went, this time with enough gas to make it to the top and back.

Literally, every single turn we made was more breathtaking the last...we stopped several times to take pictures of scenery. I found some mountain goats at the very tippy-top peak! Hooray for wildlife!!! We enjoyed hiking a little ways past Summit Lake, which is where we met a man who resides in Charleston and is a Clemson random.

The top was SOOOO windy, and I was extremely thankful that Caroline had packed some down-winter coats for us to wear. We took a few random pictures at the top, then wound our way back down the mountain (stopping to take a picture of the marmot we passed!). The beauty of God's creation is overwhelming at that altitude!

It was with mixed emotions that we drove back, picked up my luggage, and headed to the airport. I love coming's one of the best parts of traveling...but I do not like leaving a place where I feel at home.

The plane ride to Chicago was uneventful...I met a very polite gentleman who talked the entire flight back about his travels (you people think I like to travel? this retired air force veteran just takes off to places all over...including New Zealand...because he can). I enjoyed hearing his adventurous tales and since we had both ridden the train from Durango to Silverton in the past week, we had at least one shared story.

There were plenty of empty seats on my flight from Chicago to Greenville, and while I chit-chatted with the man at the end of my row, I was able to rest some. Stepping out into the muggy South Carolina weather, seeing Mr. Darcy and my dad ready to pick me up, and going home were an excellent way to end my trip.

All in all...I love Colorado and my friends there.

And yes.

I'm already planning my next trip out to colorful Colorado!




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sniftly Dancing Off Into The Canyon

(for trip info, refer to yesterday's post)

Yes. Sniftly.

On our bus ride from Silverton to Durango, we had a most colorful Coloradan guide and driver who drove like me, spoke about the scenery and history like my dad (the driver is a history teacher like my father), and has the sense of humor like a nurse! She is to be credited with inventing the word "snifty."

As far as "dancing of into the canyon," the phrase belongs to the National Park Service tour guide at Mesa Verde. Being as that there were no fences or guard rails or walls to prevent people from waltzing off...BUT I DIGRESS!!!!


You all have no clue what Mesa Verde is or why I was there or anything. Let me rewind and start at the beginning of Friday.


As I have explained previously, my friend and I are very similar in our love of adventures and randomness. It's great to have things planned, but flexibility is key to an exciting trip.

So, with a whole morning on Friday open to whatever, we (mostly Caroline who is more familiar with Colorado) searched for something that would fit into our time frame.

Cue Mesa Verde.

Having heard of the cliff dwelling Native American Indians, I was excited about having the opportunity to view the dwellings...not to mention actually going into one of them!

We woke up super early and headed a little more westward. Part of the excitement of the drive was passing (and turning around to pass again) a brown bear. Which, my sources tell me, is a rare find. I have begun to dispair of ever seeing any wildlife in Colorado after making it out three summers in a row and only catching a glimpse of a coyote (and hearing about the numerous "elk" and "deer" and "antelopes" that abound in Colorado).
This trip could be deemed a success solely on the wildlife I was able to see! Deer, antelope, a bear, a "chipmunk," a marmot, and even some mountain goats (found at the very tippy top of Mount Evans, a fourteener!!!)...

Anyway, even though we only had half a day to see as much as we could at Mesa Verde, Caroline bought tickets to see BOTH the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace. We stopped at the Lodge to pick up some breakfast and hot chocolate before hiking down to the Spruce Tree House.

Which was quite the hike (considering we were in flip-flops...a mistake we remedied for the other two dwellings).

We learned much about the culture of the Indians who built the cliff dwellings in the 1200s. I was able to practice grinding, and we enjoyed climbing three-story tall ladders.

The tour guides were fantastic (even if the one had a bit too many mentions about "community" etc), and we came away with knowledge about the cliff dwellers that made us both appreciate the conveniences of the modern day and also the sacrifices of the people who first settled there.

To our enjoyment, we met several other people in our tour groups and had some interesting discussions about various things (not limited to: Colorado, South Carolina, the Utah Jazz, and living in Germany).

We had to head home by lunch time, and (due to the amazing driving abilities of the nurses present) barely made it to the Garden of the Gods at sunset.

Saturday and Sunday were well-spent days, though I regret I did not take any pictures either day.

Saturday, I was invited to attend a family reunion at the cabin (where I thoroughly enjoyed meeting several of Caroline's extended family). While we were only there for a few short hours, I enjoyed relearning how to use a four-wheeler, meeting Caroline's adorable niece, and fellowshipping with my Colorado family.

That afternoon, Caroline and I headed to a singles' activity at a family friends' house. The plan was to stay long enough to eat some ribs and then head home...several hours later...we enjoyed fellowshipping so much that we ended up staying until well after dark. I was able to make some new friends, play a few games, and just enjoy talking with people around my age that have the same focus in life.

Sunday, I was able to divide my time equally between Caroline's church and her parents'. I enjoyed both services and (again) meeting new people.

Monday and Tuesday were adventures in and of themselves, and I will be sure to post again soon about the last couple days I had in Colorado.

Until then :)