July 10, 2012

What Motivates You?

Mountain Village Camp Building
(Linda Meikle photo)

You know this summer (2012) I'm a camp nurse (RN) at the Easter Seal Camp near Idaho Springs, Colorado. (Frequent postings on Facebook and my camp blog.)  There are two of us, and sometimes we wish there were ten. And, sometimes we share taking a long break from camp. My posting today is related to a day in the life of a nurse at camp. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for everyone here. 

When my husband comes to visit me (no, it's not a jail), he says that being here is a different world than at home 40 miles away near Denver. Well, there's no time for TV and never enough sleep. It's chilly at night and slightly cold in the early mornings. There are two horses and two donkeys down at the barn. There's a pool that I've been in only once and that was for a group photo shoot. (Don't ask... Besides having to get into the pool for a photo shoot, they forget to get a photographer with a camera. But, like I said, Don't ask.)

The whole camp changes every week. On Friday at noon every camper checks out, and I make a mad dash down the mountain for home!  On Sunday at 1 p.m, they literally open the gates and the new week of campers pour in. Medication check-in is a tedious, precise, time-consuming process that backs up the wait line for hours. We are on a speed course to get it all checked in and recorded by 6 p.m. when first meds have to be given at mealtime.

During the night when I'm on call, I get a knock on my bedroom door for a sick camper, or someone who has a bug bite that's itching, or someone asking if they can sleep in our sick bay because their cabin is too noisy. This morning I got a radio call for help because a camper had been "throwing up all night". I asked why they waited all night to call me and they said he wasn't that sick - just throwing up. When I found him, he was sitting on the floor in front of the commode asking if he could have some chocolate milk. ( I said yes...)

Communication up here is a constant chatter on walkie talkie radios even if the person who wants to talk to you is standing outside the door. Everybody has one. Everybody enjoys talking on them. The nurses must have an ear to the radio 100% of the time. I 'sleep' with the walkie talkie, a cell phone, and a cordless phone on my pillow. It's the squelching that keeps waking me up. All I need is my ham radio, and I'd be a happy electronic camper/nurse!
The meals aren't bad. Dave is the cook except on Fridays. He sets a plate for me on the back of the stove because I can't eat until the other nurse and I have finished passing all the medications to the campers. I assure you there is not a morsel left by the time we're done with med pass. So, the salad is limp and hot. The over cooked vegetables are shriveled and dry. The entree is unidentifiable. Dessert has disappeared. Juice is gone to the last drop.  I didn't want bread and butter anyway. And, I've lost about 10 pounds. So, it's not all bad. LOL

We're working on ways to speed up the med pass (start earlier), so the meals can be hot and juicy. But, Dave is really nice to save a  plate on the back of the stove.

The directorship has changed since I got here. The nice lady director moved back to Pittsburgh to help take care of her mother. The current director is all about hugs and sharing the love. He so dearly wants to be the full time director, but I don't think a decision has been made. I'll be long gone before that is worked out.
I've been interrupted four times since I started writing this, and my computer has gone to sleep while I checked the foot of a camper whose braces had been applied backward this morning. A few red spots that I think will be gone by morning. I switched out a dry oxygen tank. (Always a slight hebe jebe for me.) A feeding pump wouldn't 'prime', and the last camper showed up for bedtime meds.

It's time for my 10 p.m. date call to loving hubby who waits patiently for me at home, so I'll get to the point of this  letter.

"What motivates you?"  is a question that the assistant director here said he asks during interviews for camp staff. It's a question that is haunting me a little because this can be taken many ways. 

I ask if this means what motivates me to get out of bed in the morning? Or, write a second book? Or, head out to Geocache when there's work to be done? Get a college degree when I already have a good one? Keep the house clean and laundry done? Or, what motivates me to quit a job that is unsatisfactory, and how do I find a new one?

Someone said it's the fact that the business of life insists that you get going. 

I'll venture to suggest that what motivates me is feeling appreciated.

I often remind myself that when we need others to make us feel good about ourselves, we are really missing the point. I believe that we should get our 'strength', 'motivation', or fulfillment from helping others, but it really originates from that innate within part that connects with the universe.

Try it and see if you feel better next time you feel unmotivated and listless. You are a part of the enormous universe of life and you are here for a purpose. That  is not writing a book, building a house, or getting a degree. Our purpose is to make our world a little better because we were there.

Now there's a knock on the door. Someone is here asking for Pepto Bismol, and someone else wants to borrow the golf cart. I don't think they ever sleep around here! Although, this morning at 0730 when I radioed for assistance with 16 crates of new meds, I got no answer.
Just now, I set the Pepto Bismol on the desk and told the counselor to spread the word that it's there and not to wake me up for a dose of Pepto Bismol.

Time to call hubby and then I'm turning out the cabin lights. Maybe they will get the hint.  ha ha

Take Care on the Journey,

Linda's E-mail: bestnurse@usa.com