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Camplife: Pieces From My Camp Journal

As I was finishing up my volunteer week at Camp Woolsey, I signed up for a month long contract to be a camp counsellor for Adelaide. I had about 33 hours "off" with travel to and from camp (twice) and time to clean my gear, repack, and head out to Adelaide for the rest of August.

Before I left for Girl Guide camp, I quit drinking pop. Cold turkey. I had my last Coke Zero on August 4 and knew I would be away for three weeks, which would be the perfect time to stop drinking pop to see if my sides stop hurting so much. I believe the pop is affecting my kidneys, and I can feel the intense pain in my lowers back & sides. I still haven't drank any pop but I do not feel better, my pains in my kidney area is still there, almost daily. ​I returned home from working at Girl Guide camp and I needed several days to recover; I was not sleeping properly and was in constant pain. It hurt to wear shoes when I was working, it was too painful to wear my high-tops, I would wear my sandals or rainboots. When I got home, I cried and slept so much. I couldn't even walk downstairs to my office two floors lower from my bedroom (I barely even went one floor down to the kitchen/living room). I had a medical appointment with my family physician, and she sent me for x-rays; I felt like my feet were broken or fractured. That session at the x-ray department was so hard, I cried in every position the technician placed me into, poor thing was so apologetic during the whole process.


When I was alone at home, in bed trying to recover from camplife; I went into thinking spirals and I fell into a depression again. I felt that I wasn't able to be strong enough for my final year of my Administrative Community Leader term for Community 34. That I was letting people down. I wasn't able to make time to volunteer my ACL role while I was working from 6:45 a.m. to 11 p.m., my downtime I made sure that I did selfcare and rested for that hour and a bit I had off each day. I felt that I was unappreciated by my camp director at Adelaide. She purposely avoided me the last two days when my condition was worsening. I was falling into a very sad state of mind, I had given up precious weeks that I could have been spending with my eldest daughter who was leaving for Italy for a 10 month student exchange. I was at my saddest when I missed her Italian consulate visit in Toronto and her 16th birthday. I was grateful for the support of the Red Shirts (Staff) who had hugs and kind words to help me through and help me find strength.

My mind wasn't clear or sharp during my last few days of work: One morning when I had first session off and my sleep-in morning, I got up and I was making myself breakfast and tea, and I ended up pouring freshly boiled water over my right hand while I was holding the mug for my tea. I didn't react quickly and poured a fair amount that cause a burn more serious than I have ever done before. I went straight to first aid/wellness center for help, but I was brushed aside and told to run cold water on it. I did but it wasn't enough. By lunch time, I was becoming zombie-like because of the intense pain and lack of treatment (besides running cold water on it twice). The camp had some special guests visiting and grading the camp for their Ontario camp status, and the camp director suddenly was sincere and concerned about me, it felt like she didn't want me around the guests because I was unwell and injured; I was rushed into another section of the building, away from the dining hall with the campers and guests, and into a quiet area and was given treatment for my burn, which she said she was concerned about the severity but didn't bring me to the hospital or even wrote a incident report. I had a hard time understanding why I would work so hard, as a volunteer and then as a contract employee for them to mistreat me and not appreciate my dedication to the organization and the camp.


Wednesday afternoon, I gave my notice to the second in command in the director's office, camp director was M.I.A. whenever I needed her that day. I had 24 hours to reflect at Camp Adelaide about my wellness, my life, my roles as volunteer, etc. until the time I was scheduled to be picked up for my weekend off. I was just going home for good. I took the time to encourage the women who were tired and starting to feel the drain. I went to different places I wasn't able to explore before. I said goodbye to my camp, my home. I made peace with the idea that this was my last sunset at Adelaide.


Today, I was falling apart and it broke my heart while I wrote my letter and I gave my notice to the GGC - Ontario Council Deputy Provincial Commissioner, my ACL Advisor, and my Community Planner. I could not continue my role as ACL for C34.

In two days, I go for my CT Scan and I have my follow up with the doctor and specialist. Next month, I start a mindfulness program with a support group: The Mindfulness Solution to Pain.

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