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The Ramblings of a Redneck Diva
Friday, July 23, 2004
This is gonna take awhile, part 2
Mood:  hug me
Make sure you're reading these in order, folks...

Okay, so the drive there goes off without a hitch. We have walkie talkies and keep ourselves mega entertained the whole drive, talking about our own church camp and youth group memories, asking each other trivia questions, commenting on billboards, you name it. I made it to Stroud before the eye-crossing exhaustion hit me. Sis drove us in the rest of the way, while I sat in the passenger's seat, unable to sleep, but borderline catatonic, nonetheless.

Sis went as a cook for another church who was in desperate need for one (God bless her willing, helpful heart), but they weren't supposed to arrive till later in the afternoon, so when we hit camp she just went up the hill with us. The look on her face when we entered the cabin was so priceless...which I'm sure the look on my face mimicked it as well. I've stayed in some pretty rough church camp cabins before and this one was definitely in the "rough" category. But it smelled relatively clean and we didn't see rodents or roaches scatter when we opened the door, so I was counting blessings right and left. I had separate cook's quarters, which wasn't the Ritz, but it was workable. I scooted two beds together and made the kids one giant bed and they were ecstatic, claiming this to be one of the best vacations ever. Oh to be a child again... So Heather helped with the unloading and the settling in before I took her to her cabin. Oh if we thought our cabin was rough...her face dropped another 6 or so inches when she saw hers. (She called me later with the news that that particular cabin had had an outbreak of some awful virus that had caused several people in it to be hospitalized. They ended up having to bleach everything down, bless their hearts.)

Sunday night when we were packing my throat started to get this little tickle in it. I figured it was from being up so late and shrugged it off. Monday night it was still scratchy and by Tuesday morning I had no voice. None. It was nothing but a whisper. If you couldn't tell it from the way I write, I love to talk, so not having a voice is a bad thing for me. Plus imagine being the cook in a cabin full of loud teenagers with no voice. But everyone was really sympathetic and the youth really did pay attention well when I'd wave my arms to get their attention. The kitchen wasn't like the one I'd conjured up in my Super Camp Cook fantasies, but it was workable. And I'll have to give all the campers credit, they were WONDERFUL help, pitching in even when it wasn't their turn for KP. My kids were so incredibly well-behaved I was shocked. Not saying I was expecting them to be hellions or anything, but I figured that being away from home I'd be open to more bad behavior. Nope, they were angels. The other sponsors and even the youth did a wonderful job keeping them entertained and occupied while I worked.

Wednesday morning we ended up sending a camper home because her blood sugar when she woke up was 300. The camp dr wasn't comfortable with her being there with out of control sugars, so we had to call her mom. I ended up in the clinic that same morning because in addition to the loss of voice, I woke up with some horrific eye infection and my right eye was nearly swollen shut. He gave me a diagnosis of laryngitis (no duh), some yucky tasting medicine for the throat, with the instructions to rest my voice - ha! - and some antibiotic drops for my eye.

Thursday morning I got up early to make pancakes. Well, the griddle on the stove hadn't been cleaned since oh... roughly 1927. Maybe that's an exaggeration, maybe it's not. It was nasty, regardless. But how else was I going to make 60-some pancakes? I certainly didn't want to do them all in a skillet and I had a breakfast deadline of 8:30. I couldn't control the heat very well, add that to the buildup of grease (and trust me I did try to clean it, people) and we had one smoky cabin. I was crying, Alicia was coughing, we had doors propped open. It was a disaster. I was feeling like a total failure when my cell phone rang. Strange for it to ring at 7am. It was Sis, calling from her cabin at the bottom of the hill: "Kristin, I'm hurting for some reason." From the sound of her voice I knew she was serious. I asked where and when she said her lower back I knew right then and there it was a kidney stone. Our dad passes 4-5 a year, Mom has had two and I've had one. I know about kidney stones. I told her I was coming to get her. She protested, I told her to shut up, big sister was coming down, hush and be ready. I woke up the Sarah and Dedra, the two moms with babies, told them the situation, asked them to watch the kids and I'd call in a bit. When I got to her cabin she looked uncomfortable, but not like she was dying or anything. By the time I got her in my truck she was crying and I knew it was serious. She's a tough cookie and for her to cry...well, let's just say I could feel her pain, having gone through the same thing myself. I got her to the clinic on campus and it was closed until 8. It was 7:45 at this point. She said she'd wait. She was lying on the pavement, leaning over a handrail, sitting on the steps - I mean, this girl was seriously hurting. I felt totally helpless, begging her to just let me take her on to the hospital. Finally the nurse shows up and when I said the words kidney stone she said "Get that girl to the hospital now! The doctor won't be here for another 45 minutes I have nothing stronger than extra strength tylenol in here and that won't do a darn bit of good." I got the directions to the hospital, left the kids' carseats with the nurse and off we flew. I had to take her to Ardmore, which was only about 20 minutes from the camp, but it felt like I was driving to freakin' Egypt. She was so miserable, crying, moaning, writhing, she couldn't get comfortable...oh it was awful. I was praying for her some relief and praying that God would give me a voice because I had phone calls to make and doctors to talk to. About that time my cell phone rang and when I said "hello" I had a voice. Praise the Lord, it was the coolest thing ever. Heather said later that even through all that pain she thought, "God gave her her voice back so she could take care of me." I got her checked in and we proceded to walk the floor of the waiting room. She decided to stop and lean up against a wall. All of the sudden she got a weird look on her face. I asked her what was wrong, expecting her to just drop to the floor or something, but she just said, "It's gone. The pain is gone." Well, mine certainly never quit hurting, so I was perplexed, but we were certainly willing to take any blessing at that point. Anyway, we saw the dr, they started an IV, sent her to CT, gave her some morphine and we waited. The dr came in and said, "I have good news - you have 3 kidney stones." I'd hate to think what his idea of bad news is. She had one on the right, which was the one causing her all the pain. It had moved (which was what it was doing when it hurt so badly) down pretty low and he said he expected her to pass it within a few days. The other two are still up in her left kidney and will make an appearance at a later date, bless her heart. They released her and back to the cabin we went.

I called Mom and Sis called Bub and everyone decided we should come home. We didn't argue. I left her at her cabin to sleep while I went back to mine to pack. My kids were oh so mad at me for making them leave because they were supposed to go fishing with James, the pastor, that night. Oohhh, was I not a popular mom at that point. The whole cabin was preparing to leave for an afternoon at the falls and we'd be gone by the time they got back. The kids were bawling at all the good-byes, I was bawling because my emotions were a little raw by that point, plus I was exhausted and it was a pretty rough afternoon. I took them to the campus bookstore to get some cool "Jesus t-shirts", as they called them, and that seemed to make things better. Plus I told them I'd take them swimming at Auntie's this weekend, promised them Happy Meals at dinner and I may have even alluded to a cash bonus at some point. Hey they were crushed and I was desperate, lol.

I wasn't about to let Sis drive with morphine in her system, so that left me to drive the entire 5 1/2 hours home. That meant driving through Oklahoma City, something I had never done before. I'm just now getting relatively comfortable with Tulsa, for cryin' out loud. But hey, trial by fire is pretty proving sometimes and I really had no other choice. I prayed the kids would sleep through the city and they did. Halleuiah. It was 4:30 when we hit city traffic, but it wasn't too awful bad, but I was glad we didn't hit it at 5. We got home last night about 9 and I was never so glad to see our house in my life. Paul was anxious to see us, as well, because he was on the carport waiting on us. The kids screamed "Daddy!!" when they saw him, the dog barked and we were home.

The Diva has spoken at 6:13 PM CDT

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 8:37 PM CDT

Name: Christina-Marie
Home Page: http://pisces-dreamer.tripod.com/dreams/

Oh, my... I have had some not-so-good experiences at camp. There was the one year when my entire cabin fell into a bed of poison ivy during a hike. There was the next year, when I spent most of the week inside the cabin due to blindness. Well, actually, I couldn't see because I am terribly allegic to mosquito bites and had been bitten around my eye area and my eyes swelled shut. The following year we had to pick my brother up early for some reason supposedly so shameful that to this day my parents haven't told me.

But, sweetheart... this experience takes the cake. I have no idea how you all made it through. Thank the good Lord, I have never had kidney stones, but I have OBSERVED someone with kidney stone pain and just seeing that kind of agony was almost more painful than childbirth.

About your eyes: brew chamomile tea and let it set to room temperature. Use an eye dropper to flush your eyes three times a day. Chamomile is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. With five kids, we have had more than our share of eye injuries, pink eye, etc. Chamomile works for all of them. Just make sure you are using pure chamomile. Typically, chamomile "tea" contains only chamomile flowers, but check labels.

Our oldest is off to camp on Monday. You'd better believe I am praying doubly hard after hearing about your week... lol.

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