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Crohn’s and Camp

For the first time in five years, I am able to return to my childhood camp. I have been going to camp for the last twenty-five years. Every summer, my parents would sign me up and I met all my best friends at the camp called Briarwood. Through my other posts, I have described how I had gotten Listeria. This happened on July 4th 2007, during my 17th year at camp. I missed that whole Summer, and the whole entire 2008 Summer. When I became healthy enough to work again, I took a job with a private school which required me to work all year round.

Finally, I am able to teach in a public school district. This allows me to have my summers off, and return to my favorite camp called Briarwood. This summer is my first one back since 2007. Although I know camp like the back of my hand, I was very nervous to return.

Although I speak a lot about how you shouldn’t let Crohn’s take over your life, I will have to admit, that it is easier said than done. Well before the first day of camp, which was on June 20th, I had to prepare months and months for the big day. For starters, I called the owner of my camp to explain what I was concerned about. I wanted him to be aware of everything, so that there were no surprises.

I knew that he would assign me to be a counselor for a boys group. I wanted him to make sure that it was “OK” for me to be able to leave the group when I had to use the bathroom. It’s like teaching, you can’t leave kids alone.   Mike assured me that he will have an assistant counselor working with me, so that the campers would never be left unsupervised.

That was a big stress off my shoulders. The next step was to figure out where the bathrooms were in comparison to where I would be at camp. I actually drove up to camp a few days before they started to turn in some paperwork. While there, I went and checked out the bathroom situation. They were fine, but it make me feel better to just see them, and see them working. It’s a peace of mind you know?

The last thing that I needed to be sure of was the hydration piece. I used to go a couple of hours without any water. Things change when you have IBD, because you have to stay hydrated, especially in the heat. So I went out and bought a nice cooler for my water with a handle. This way, I have water with me at all times. With all my bases covered, I was ready to go to camp.

Actually the night before, I could not sleep. I was excited to return to my childhood summer home. I was excited for people to see me healthy, eager, and having fun at camp. I just got to listen to my body, stay hydrated and for once… SMILE!


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