Cole, my 16 year old, had the wonderful opportunity to go to our stake’s “Camp Helaman” last week. It’s a camp just for those boys 16 and older, and it’s like a mini missionary training center camp. They had devotionals and talks from the Stake Presidency, and other incredible men. They had a wonderful time, with both fun and spiritual experiences. I’m so glad he was able to go on this camp, and very thankful for all the time and preparation that went into making it a success.
When Cole came home on Saturday, I didn’t see him immediately. After his shower, I asked him how the camp was. “Great,” he said casually, “I got some stitches.”
WHATCHUTALKIN BOUT, WILLIS?
“Stitches?” I asked, trying to not sound too alarmed, “What happened?”
He proceeded to tell me how he was doing this ropes course type activity, and one of the challenges was to get across a certain distance only stepping on wooden blocks. Since there were only a certain number of blocks, they would have to be passed back through the line so that everyone could make it across. One of the boys was in the act of tossing a block while Cole was in the act of standing up. That’s when the block and Cole’s head collided.
(gasp from mom at this point)
Stitches in his HEAD? Where? He didn’t look like he’d been injured at all!
Cole calmly told me how he realized he was bleeding and that someone helped him over to President Cosgrave, who is not only a member of the Stake Presidency, but also a family practice physician. “I didn’t like the needle,” Cole said. “He said to take out the top stitches in about 10 days, but the deeper ones will just dissolve.”
Cole missed out on the rest of the ropes course activities that afternoon, but he still enjoyed the rest of the camp.
I guess I should be thankful that I have a very mellow son with no flare for the dramatic. He told me what had happened very matter of factly, so that it didn’t sound like any big deal at all. He lifted up his great mass of bushy teenage hair and I could barely see the stitches.
The next day at church, however, more of the story came out.
After the meeting, one of the leaders came up to me and told me that Cole was quite the talk of the camp over the weekend. “When he came walking up, I couldn’t even tell it was Cole! His whole face was covered with blood!” Oh, joy. I’m glad I wasn’t there. I would most definitely have freaked out. Then, our neighbor came up and told me more of the story. He said that Cole kind of freaked out when he saw the needle that was going to be used to numb the area. Kind neighbor held on to Cole and talked to him, asking about his plans for the rest of the summer. He kept asking him questions and talking to him calmly. He told me that Cole lamented, “Why is it always me that gets hurt or gets sick at these camps?” Yes, he’s gotten sick at camp before, but he’s not the only one. The one time he came home early from a scout camp, he was one of about 1/2 of the scouts who ended up throwing up for days and came home from camp. One other time he got dehydrated, but that’s because he didn’t drink enough. I think he was just feeling sorry for himself in the moment.
Then the Young Men’s president came up to me and said, “I’m sure glad you signed that medical release form!” I asked if any of these men had taken pictures, because once I got over my motherly panic, I think ahead to how I could SO blog about this. I haven’t tracked down any pictures yet, but if I get some, I’ll be sure to post them.
As I thought about this experience, I realized how lucky Cole was. Lucky that the block hit him in the head, and not in the face. His eyes, ears, nose and face are unharmed. He was lucky that there were competent medical professionals there to take care of him. He was lucky that there were caring friends and neighbors to help calm him down and keep him from freaking out. I am lucky that I won’t be seeing a bill from the emergency services provided (at least I hope I won’t). And he’s lucky that he was feeling well enough to stay for the testimony meeting and that night and the rest of the camp. And now he has a great story to tell!