Monday, May 5, 2008

May May MS Camp Day 2 - may 5, 2008

The schedules change from year to year to try to keep some variety for campers. Sunday all the campers arrived and this year I was part of the welcoming committee greeting campers as they came in for the week. Most of the independent campers (independent meaning they can get around by themselves) drove here by themselves. I was the Valet car guy; parking cars out o f the way in the field.

Since the arrivals were staggered, I had plenty of time to get to know some of my fellow volunteers better. This is a tiny world. I realized so many connections. One to my old next door nieghbor Jane who rode with me in the River Road Run a couple of years ago. Lisa, who is not only a trainer for care giving dogs, "helper dogs" is also vice president of the MN hosta association. So, that is one of the many connections I have made by talking to all the people here.

One of the schedule changes was the first night of camp. Last year, while I don't remember what was on the agenda, this year, we had a cabin sharing session. First with the volunteers. MS Camp is 29 years old. One of the volunteers, Dave has been volunteering for 26 years. In addition to being a kind, helping person, he loves the environment at MS Camp. It is some wonderful people helping other people.

Pat really made me think about what a positive environment the MS Society has created here at camp. Throughout the year, he has so many things to worry about. When he comes to camp, this week at MS Camp he does not have to worry about anything. Besides the number of years people have been coming to camp, and the enjoyment, fellowship, education and sharing about MS, many of these campers spouse's and caregivers are thrilled to have a week off as well. Funny how this effort by the MS Society brings help, relief, and support to so many people struggling with the devastating effects of MS.

Now after hearing about that some what "taglined" sentence. "Fighting to end the devasting effects of MS. Come to camp. While there is hardly any negativity here at camp, believe me, this disease is or can be devastating. From not being able to eat by yourself, to losing your cognitive abilities. It is devastating. It is one thing to see someone in a wheel chair who you can see what the disease has done to them. Rick, however, looks normal, talks normal, walks normal, but MS has taken away his cognitive abilities. None of which are obvious, in fact, I would still debate there are any issues with him. Perhaps you need more than a week to see those devastating effects of MS.

Camp is a powerful thing for many people. I am glad I am here. The only reason it is easier here at year 2, is that I now belong to a new family. Being part of a family brings all sorts of things to consider, but the most important is a common understanding, respect, love, likes, dislikes, and you know, family stuff.

Keep an eye out for my next posts on a healthy balance, and MS and Doug's arm chair politics.

This is MYMS.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

New Camp 2008

I have been telling people that I am not looking forward to camp this year. Last year, I was not looking forward to it because I had no idea what to expect. This year, I knew exactly what to expect, so that is why I was not looking forward to it.

Upon arrival at Camp Courage, I fell right back into it. Seeing all of my past friends I made last year (volunteers) and actually many more. I think we have more volunteers this year. My negative energy quickly turned to eagerness to get the week started. Our training we all get was a welcome review not only for me a 1 year vetran, but the volunteers of 20 years as well.

This year we learned how to take better care of ourselves with transfers of campers and how not to hurt ourselves. I learned that the nursing profession has surpassed injuries and loss time accidents than the construction industry. Health care is actually a dangerous business for caregivers. The training was great for anyone who cares for anyone else.

My greatest challenge so far at camp was snoring. 3:15 am my fellow volunteers are louder than the nearby freight trains near the camp. At 11am campers will begin to arrive. Tonight, I remember, and I am told that the snoring will be even worse.

This is mymsdouglyon Sunday Morning at MS Camp 2008.