Camp Nurse: My Adventures at Summer Camp

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9781607146179: Camp Nurse: My Adventures at Summer Camp

Ah, summer camp. It’s an experience we remember vividly; a time of food fights and cabin raids, first kisses and bittersweet heartbreaks, endless days of sun and fun away from parents. But there’s one person who has a take on camp unlike anyone else: the camp nurse.

Camp Nurse reveals what it’s like to be the person kids turn to for help, comfort, and advice. Throughout nurse Tilda Shalof’s six summers at camp, kids troop through the infirmary with a variety of ordinary—as well as some extraordinary—complaints, questions, and ailments, including the symptom endemic to every summer camp: homesickness. Along the way she discovers it’s often the emotional boo-boos that need more attention than the bug bites, poison ivy, and scrapes and scratches that come with the territory.

Camp Nurse is funny, entertaining, insightful, and above all heartwarming. It’s filled with all the twinges of nostalgia one expects to get when remembering long-ago summers at camp.

Praise for Tilda Shalof’s other books:

“A cracking good read.”

– Quill & Quire

“The best-seller no one can put down.”

– Montreal Gazette

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About the Author:

Tilda Shalof, RN, BScN, CNCC (c), is an intensive care unit nurse with twenty years of experience in Israel, New York, and Canada. Her first book, A Nurse’s Story: Life, Death, and In-Between in an Intensive Care Unit, was a bestseller that received rave reviews. She lives with her husband and two sons in Toronto.

The bestselling author’s first two books about her experiences as an ICU nurse sold more than 60,000 copies in the US and Canada.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

The Treatment For Nature Deficit Disorder


“There’s been an accident — someone’s bleeding to death! Come quickly!”

Those were the first words I heard when I arrived at Camp Na-Gee-La. I had just turned in the driveway when I was greeted by this call to action from a frantic young man wearing only swimming trunks. I parked my car, grabbed my first-aid kit, and with my two sons on my heels, followed him through a thicket of trees to where his injured friend lay, also in bathing trunks, bleeding from a large, nasty gash on his knee. A pool of dark blood was spreading on the ground beside him. I was unfazed by the sight, and even my kids were calm. They were used to Mom handling emergencies. It’s what I do for a living.

While I assessed the wound I asked him his name.

“It’s Zack, and I’m gushing blood!”

Dripping, yes, oozing, maybe, but definitely not gushing. I knew exactly what to do. I took the blue-and-white beach towel still draped around Zack’s neck and pressed down on the wound to staunch the bleeding.

“Ahh, not my Toronto Maple Leafs towel!” Zack looked at his knee, winced, and looked away. “Am I hemorrhaging?”

“Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty more blood,” I reassured him. In the intensive care unit (ICU) where I’ve worked for the past twenty-two years, I’d seen mattresses filled with blood. I’d cared for patients whose blood poured onto the floor at my feet, blood that I sloshed around in as we worked to save their lives. This was nothing.

“How did this happen?” I asked. Zack said he’d tripped while running through the forest on the way back from the lagoon. I glanced at the flip-flops he was wearing. Not the best choice of footwear. After a few minutes, the bleeding stopped. I cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide from my first-aid kit and bandaged it.

“You’ll have to go to the hospital for stitches,” I told him once I’d helped him to his feet. A deep, jagged gash like this would need stitches in order for it to heal. “When was your last tetanus shot?” I asked. Zack hadn’t a clue.

“Is it really bad?” he whimpered.

“You’re going to be just fine. Are you a counsellor at the camp?”

He nodded. His friend, who’d been watching anxiously from the sidelines, now stepped forward to introduce himself.

“Hi, I’m Mike, the camp director. You must be Tilda, our nurse.”

Camp director? He looked more like my kids’ teenaged babysitter. When we’d spoken on the phone, he’d seemed older than this gawky kid, still with traces of acne and a boyish grin. Mike had told me he was doing a graduate degree in political science at the University of Toronto, so I knew he had to be in his early twenties, but he looked about sixteen.

“Welcome to Camp Na-Gee-La!” Mike said. I reached out to shake his hand, but he pulled me into a hug instead. “Good thing you arrived when you did. Man, I was freaking out.”

I looked around. We were deep in the wilderness of beautiful, green Northern Ontario at a “Youth-Leading-Youth Summer Camp Dedicated to Creating a Better Society with Equality and Justice for All!” That was its motto. I was pumped, eager for my new role as camp nurse in charge of the health and safety of about a hundred children, and their teenage counsellors, too. Apparently I was already on duty.
From the Hardcover edition.

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