Part of the fun of vacation is having choices to either do something or do nothing but relax, and that is never more true than when we go camping. And so after breakfast (which Bridget did not get up for, even after three attempts saying she didn't feel well) we were discussing our options for what to do. Molly and I were swinging in the hammock, and my husband was teasing her betting her $5 that she could not be quiet for 20 minutes. About 11 minutes into the bet (and the resulting silence), all of a sudden Molly started screaming, saying that a bee stung her in the eye. Gavin ran to the camp store to find out where the nearest doc in the box was and I grabbed some ice for Molly's eye and tried to calm her down.
Gavin ran to us and said we needed to get in the car because the clinic at the bottom of the mountain closed at noon. It was 11:30AM. Bridget, pale herself, climbed into the car and we headed down the mountain at breakneck speed. Molly had never been stung before and since I have a brother who is very allergic to bee stings, we were very concerned that she may have a reaction. Besides, we were not sure yet where, exactly she had been stung. Her eye was already swelling shut and she had what looked less like a sting and more like a scrape about an inch from her right eye.
After what seemed like an eternity, we pulled into the (very full) parking lot at the Blue Ridge Medical Center, a sight for sore eyes, literally as well as figuratively. We walked in and there were people waiting in chairs and a line at the in-house pharmacy, two phones were ringing and people came in behind us. We decided since Bridget was not feeling well and we had risked our lives, we would see if they could see her as well. Luckily for us, the fast-thinking Sue Mathes, CTF Campground owner had called ahead, but there were two sets of paperwork to fill out, and while I was pulling out insurance cards and filling out forms they were ready to take Molly so Gavin went with her and I stayed with Bridget who was frantically looking for a bathroom. After she retched on their carpet (still looking for the bathroom), they also took her back. I cannot say enough about all of the staff at BRMC. From the people at the front desk to the nurses, to the doctors who saw the girls to the pharmacist they were all about helping our daughters. Even another lady in the waiting room (a patient) helped her when she was sick! The attitude there was more like the country doctors of old than the medical mills we so often have today. With six children, I am sure you aren't surprised that I have spent my share of time in hospitals, urgent care facilities and doctor's offices, and from the beginning to the end of this experience, I was incredibly impressed with their patient-centered approach.
I wish I had the name of every person who helped us that day so I could thank them, but I have to thank Dr. Lois Alderfer who treated Molly - she gave her Benadryl right away and sent us on our way with an epi-pen and by the time I saw her Molly's eye was already looking much better and she was even cracking jokes! Bridget was seen by Dr. Stephen Willing, who diagnosed her with strep throat, and worked around her recently discovered allergy to penicillin. When we were leaving, the nurse told us that he had been in the movie Evan Almighty, which was filmed in nearby Crozet (we are definitely renting that movie!) Over an hour and a half after their normal closing time, we headed out to pickup some OTC medicine the doctors recommended and to grab some Gatorade and soup for Bridget who was still feeling very puny.
So what to do? Pack up and go home or stay and let everyone take the day to recover? We left it up to the patients, and they voted to stay (Bridget didn't think that she could take the car ride without being sick), so we pumped their medicine in them, gave them both cold drinks, and fussed over them. Bridget retired to the tent to sleep and I read in the hammock (Molly would not get back in) and played a speed card tournament with Molly and Gavin. Bridget finally emerged from the tent at about 5:30 to have some Gatorade and crackers, which I took as a good sign (especially since she had thrown up her first dose of zithromax) and we even played a game around the campfire. I did make my venison stew, but I still won't share the recipe since I was too distracted to write down ingredient amounts or preparation steps, however I will give you a tip for some great and easy dumplings that I used in the stew.
So of all the things that we had planned to do, there was some relaxation (before and after the adrenaline rush), some good food, beautiful scenery (even if some of it went by really fast!), and an experience that demonstrated to us the kindness of strangers as well as the flexibility and adaptability of our family under pressure. We had a great meal, we shared the birthday of little Jonathan at the campground whom we have known since he was a bump on his mom's belly, I finished a book, we made a reservation to stay in one of the cabins in two weeks (a miracle in itself, since October is prime leaf season, but a cancellation came in while we were there) and we even met a movie star ! All in all, still not a bad weekend in the mountains!
My "Prescription" for Easy, Delicious Dumplings
1 small box or bag of biscuit mix (Jiffy or Martha White)
1/2 cup milk2-3 ounces crumbled goat cheese with herbs
Stir together the mix and milk, until just combined. Stir in crumbled cheese until just combined. Drop by tablespoons into simmering stew and cover. Let simmer with stew for 10-15 minutes and serves. These dumplings are light and flavorful, a great compliment to any fall soup or stew.