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Learning it the Hard Way
I like to do things the hard way. I like to do my work the hard way, and I like to learn the hard way. The harder, the better.
Only then, I didn’t realize this is my mentality when I was eleven years old. One morning during my second year of camp, I woke up with a cold. I felt all stuffy and sick. On my way to breakfast, I stopped at the nurse. She gave me some sort of gross cold medicine, and sent me on my way.
I remember sitting inside during kayaking because it was pouring. Later that day, I remember being so cold I was shaking, even though it was almost 90 degrees outside. I hid under my blanket during free time. At lunch, I had half a peanut butter sandwich. I forced it down my throat to keep the single piece of bacon in my stomach company.
Eventually, it was time for riding. Silly eleven year old me.
I felt awful, but took Missy’s reins and led her to the ring. I must have fixed the girth and stirrups and someone must have given me a leg up, but the next thing I remember doing was sitting on Missy’s back.
It was hot. I was wearing jeans. I hadn’t had anything to eat all day. I was sick. My vision started to get blurry. “A- ” I don’t remember her name. “I don’t feel good. I’m getting dizzy.”
I heard her yell to the other ring, “Radio the infirmary please!”
And the next thing I know, I’m in her arms, and someone is taking my helmet off. I had fallen off Missy. Later I was told I slammed by back against the ground. She carried me to the gate, which I unlocked. Then she carried me down to the barn and put me in “The Chair.” She told me that I had fainted off Missy, and that my back hit the ground really hard. I never felt it.
“The Chair” was for the director, Jo, only. She told me to sit in it and drink. Eventually, the nurses came down to the barn and told me I was dehydrated. I then drank six water bottles of water in the next half hour. I sat in the chair, feeling almost completely better. My nose was clearing up, and I felt awake. I kept drinking. Soon, the bell rang. I went back to the cabin, almost proud, that I had fainted off a horse.
The nurses wanted to see me before dinner. My counselor, Beth, walked me over. They were talking, and I started to feel sick. I threw up in front of the entire camp. Go eleven year old me.
Beth and a nurse walked me over to the infirmary. I laid in one of the beds. Beth went to get me Doggy, my stuffed animal. After she left again for dinner, I was laying alone in the infirmary. It was weird. Everything looked so empty. The entire camp was at dinner, except for me.
Because I had had so much to drink, I busied myself by going to the bathroom about every 15 minutes for a couple of hours. I did feel a little bit better though. How sick could I possibly be? I was at camp!
The nurses eventually came back. One of them asked me how I felt about dogs. She let me play with her dogs for a while. A few of my friends came by to say hi. Then the bell rang for evening program.
The entire camp quieted down again. The nurses were sitting in Adirondack chairs outside. Soon a camp wide game of capture the flag started. I sat with them and watched. They gave me an ice pop.
I sat back and relaxed until the end of evening program. Campers and counselors came for evening meds around 9:00 pm. One of the counselors walked me back to my cabin. My counselors told me I could climb into bed without brushing my teeth and changing into pajamas. I decided to go brush my teeth anyway. I feel asleep quickly that night.
I learned never to get on a horse when I don’t feel well. I bring my water bottle to the ring when it’s hot out. I know that I can faint off a horse (as odd as it sounds). I still do get on a horse when I don’t feel well (but instead of actually riding, I just walk around bareback). I learned that my body does have limits- and I learned it all the hard way.