The bestselling, critically acclaimed author of A Nurse’s Story and The Making of a Nurse is back to describe her experiences as a summer camp nurse.
After years of working in intensive care units caring for critically ill people, nurse Tilda Shalof now turns her attention to healthy patients — the kids at summer camp. In this reminiscence of six summers at a variety of camps, Shalof opens a window into the world that is a utopia for the vast majority of children, the proverbial “happy campers,” but sometimes also a place of intense misery for a few.
Throughout the summers, as kids troop through the infirmary with a variety of ordinary — as well as some quite extraordinary — complaints, Shalof describes how she assesses, diagnoses, and treats them all, from pesky lice infestations and scratchy bug bites, to broken arms and severe accidents. But Shalof finds that more often than not, she is treating the psychological maladies. She befriends kids from families going through bitter divorces, girls with eating disorders, a camper who attempts suicide in a desperate plea to be sent home, a teenager grieving the recent death of his father. Whatever the problem or concern, it is to the camp nurse that kids — and counsellors — go for help.
These anecdotes are told in a light-hearted tone, full of good humour and lots of laughs. Shalof’s stories are wildly entertaining and will satisfy the twinges of nostalgia every parent feels when sending their kids away to camp.
"...provides a rare fly-on-the-infirmary-wall view of a Canadian rite of passage — as well as a postcard of modern childhood. . . . The book also provides a glimpse into an underappreciated profession."
"...sheds lights on what goes on . . . when kids leave the confines of their urban neighbourhoods for the great outdoors."
— The Sault Star
"You won't be aware of the passage of time while reading this book . . . a treasure of a memoir."
— Shelf Life
Tilda Shalof is an intensive care unit nurse with twenty years of experience in Israel, New York, and Canada. She lives in Toronto.