Sunday, July 15, 2007

Figures this would happen....

Before I describe yesterday, I'd just like to say that when I discuss sleepaway camp and my kids, it's not just about what they'd like, or whether or not camp is a good thing or a bad thing. The only description I can come up with for how this feels is really pathetic but it's all I've got.

I feel that sleepaway camp is not part of my culture or belief system. My friends who practice other religions or don't believe in consumerism tell me they are surrounded by Christmas everywhere in November and December and it's all they can do to restrain their kids while they beg for presents and Santa. Christmas IS nice, it has lots of wonderful qualities, but it's not part of their belief system, so why should they have to participate in it, or let their kids participate? Are they saying Christmas is bad? Or just that they don't want to do it? Maybe they do their own holidays. Maybe we don't ALL have to raise our kids the same way?

And that is how I feel about sleepaway camp. I am surrounded, bombarded, harangued endlessly in real life about fucking camp. I really do keep a holly jolly smile over my gritted teeth and spout platitudes like "Gee, it's just not something I'm used to," as I pack and label and spend and spend and spend.

I know many of you love it and send your kids away every year, or went away every single year when you were kids. And it's really okay for your families. It is. I don't get it, but you are welcome to do it.

This only becomes a problem when we intermarry. Like when non-sleepaway camp people marry sleepaway camp people, and try to raise kids? Difficult.....

So we leave this morning in the pouring rain for pickup. Mr.C. insisted on leaving at 8 am even though pick up isn't until 2:30 pm and we are 3.5 hours away by car. He wanted to stop for lunch etc, so trooper that I am, I go along with it. Brought the newspapers and my laptop.

No wifi access anywhere of course. Stupid %^$#%&^ bureaucracy can't get it together. I guess they missed that part of rural economic development 101.

We get there, eat lunch for half an hour, and wait for 2 hours in the rain at the pickup point. We were a tiny bit early. Didn't want to linger in the dirty bathroom. So we hung out. Tried to think happy thoughts about all the letters Kaz never sent, and all the promised phone calls I never got from the camp telling me he was really okay. (Okay I got two, but I'd been promised waaay more.)

He came off the bus, and I gave him giant hug, and fell all over myself asking questions and loving him to pieces.

I'd like to say we had a happy ending but I can't. Kaz was acting so strangely as we drove I knew something was wrong. He was so rude to me I wanted to cry, and inattentive, unfocused, red-faced, and just_plain_odd. So I grabbed his medication bag.

And hit the roof.

They only gave him his Concerta for the first few days he was there, there were loads of pills left over, and I'd sent the exact amount needed. Same for his asthma puffers and his allergy meds. Even though I had expressly typed out the Doctors orders describing what he needed to take and when. I spoke to the Camp Director about how dangerous it was for Kaz to be off the meds if he was near a body of water and hand delivered the instructions to the office just to make sure. I spoke to the Camp Doctor and reiterated why he needed to do preventative puffers and how the allergist wanted to ensure he had no more attacks. I also made sure he knew about the allergy meds and the Concerta.

I was crystal clear, verbally and in writing. Meanwhile, the Camp Doctor never even checked that his meds were being given to him. Considering they are a controlled substance, it might have been prudent. The section head lied to me on the phone last Sunday and said he was taking his medication. They violated a Doctor's orders and a parent's orders.

Kaz may or may not have wanted to take them btw, but it's not his decision at this point in his life. He also wants to eat candy bars instead of vegetables, and skip school so he can play Wii all day, but there is a reason 10 year olds need adults to take care of them.

The Director promised me they would take care of my precious living child, and instead they cavalierly put his safety at risk. Children with ADD who are unmedicated face a risk of drowning six times higher than those on medication. And those fuckers took him on a canoe trip on a lake, without medication. In the woods, miles from a hospital, they did not do his asthma puffers.

Can anyone explain to me why I shouldn't sue them?

And you all wonder why I'm hyper vigilant about safety? I swear sometimes I feel like Moms & Dads are the only thing on earth standing between our kids and disaster.

I'm phoning the camp in the morning. I am going to calmly and quietly say some of this, then let them react. I'll let you know what happens.


  1. what an awful shock, aurelia, I'm so sorry. Just a thought, would you be better putting some of this in writing first? Helps you to get it all out, and gives you something to refer back to if you want to take further action. Hope you get some satisfaction (although not sure what they can say to make this better)

  2. You've got to be f&*king kidding me?! I know you're not. That's unfreaking believable. Absolutely unacceptable. I will be totally in awe of you if you remain calm. Honestly, they should be reported to some sort of licensing bureau or child protective services. If they can't properly handle kids with particular medical needs, they should not accept them into their camp. It's a disaster and a tragedy waiting to happen. I'm so glad Kaz is home.

  3. What does your husband think?

    I know I would be livid pissed, but I don't know if there's any grounds for a suit. Is there a contract or an agreement that you had to sign with this camp?

    I'm not a sleepaway camp person either and never have been to one and question whether I'd send my son to one.

    I think you owe the camp executives at least a nice write up in the paper about their complete lack of responsibility...or at least you can tell them that and see what happens.

  4. That is incredibly scary. I've not blogged about this very much but my son is a high functioning autistic on Concerta as well and that situation is just an accident waiting to happen for us as well. I'm glad Kaz was ok but I totally understand how it COULD have been so much worse. I can barely let him ride a bike because I worry so about his safety. I hope the camp is properly apologetic but there's really no excuse for that.

  5. Aurelia, I am so sorry - this is unbelievable. I wouldn't be able to stay calm either. I'd be writing letters and threatening to sue, even if there weren't grounds for a claim. I'd at least scare the shit out of them. Although, we must be able to think of some legitimate grounds. This is completely unacceptable. I would not let them get away with it. I threatened to sue the hospital and several doctors in the middle of cancer treatment because they neglected to report important test results to me. This is just not right. I'm not a sleep away camp person either by the way - we never went as kids.

  6. That's totally fucked up and NOT COOL. What kind of fucking camp is this? Just to give you a reference point... at our camp, we (the staff) were told which kids had meds and at what time. We marched them to the infirmary during "med call" (or at other times, if their meds were on strange schedules) where the nurse gave them their meds and watched them take them. Then the nurse signed off on a chart that said the kid had their meds that day.

    Holy crap, I'd unleash a can of whup-ass on them. And never send my kid to that camp again.

  7. If you can quietly tell them what you've just written, then you are a much better person than I am. My blood pressure shot up as I read each word, and the top of my head is on the verge of popping off. How DARE they put your child at risk like that? That is absolutely inexcusable (but unfortunately, not actionable - your damages are likely too minor). Having said that, I would scream from the rooftops that this is not the place to send your child if you want them to be safe. Only by the grace of G*d did the worst not happen.

  8. My husband and I are both in agreement on what we would do in that situation and it involves legal action for the negligence in the care of your child. Even if it doesn't get to lawsuit territory, it will make the investors and the higher-ups open their eyes and maybe make some changes so that this doesn't happen again.

    Even if you don't get a lawyer on this, at least find a state organization you can file a complaint with so it goes on record and gets people's attention.

  9. Tuesday made a good point. Call the Ontario Camping Association - they're the ones who accredit camps in Ontario, they may be able to do some kind of disciplinary action or something.

  10. I agree with the above. Go higher than the Camp Director so that this doesn't get swept under the rug. What happened (or a better phrase would be: "What didn't happen") is inexcusable. You and Mr. C both deserve an apology and some assurance that a corrective action will be taken to avoid this type of negligence in the future. It is likely the Camp Director will lose his job over this and he probably should. I am not a big camping person either and I don't think I'd send or recommend anyone send their child to this camp ever. Keep us posted on what happens!

  11. I would be livid. I would sickened. I am so sorry this happened. Thank god he is alright.

    I don't do camps (I am not a camp person), but I can relate in that my EvilEx will not give my 5yo his asthma inhaler. He sees them once a week for eight hours. I die a little every week, while they are away.

  12. That is complete and total bullshit. I can't believe they did this. I can't wait to see how you rake them over the coals - I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.

  13. This is the exact kind of crap that I'm fearing as the boys get older. It's one thing when I figure out something that was done to be, but to my boys...incensed doesn't begin to describe the feeling.

    I agree that you might get further with some kind of reporting to an agency. Certainly report the Dr. to the Canadian equivalent of "office of professional conduct." Letting an agency(ies) might be a better option. Let them spend the energy and dollars.

  14. That's appalling. I think you've lots of good advice above. Good luck.

  15. That is shocking. Certainly something where every possible licensing/professional/health & safety etc body should be told what happened - or rather didn't happen. A legal action for negligence would be more difficult (at least here in the uk) as there is no loss/damage (thankfully) but the idiots running the camp should give you your money back and sort their practices out before something happens to someone else.

  16. So what happened?

    I was telling some Canadian friends who are super-camp enthusiasts - as in we are now 30 years old and I still hear camp stories whenever anyone's had a bit to drink - about this last night. They were all shocked and appalled and said you should totally report them to the Camping Association. My one friend, Allie, who worked as a camp counselor from 18-22 also talked about how many parents use camp as the "break period" for the kids' ADD/ADHD drugs. She always thought that was completely irresponsible - to send a child to the woods under the care of 18 year old strangers without his or her medication.

  17. Wow! I can't believe this happened. I'd be furious too. It's interesting that it seems like there is a large population of people that are for sleepaway camp? I wonder if this is a Canada thing? I don't know anyone that ever went to one (other than Girl or Boy Scouts for a week). I think you should raise hell. It sounds like they were extremely unresponsible. Definately not a place I'd like to send my kid.

  18. That's unbelivable! You'd tink with so many kids with allergies and medications any camp would have at least a daily med check. I wonder how many other kids didn't get their meds? And I hope all the kids were as lucky as yours. You ought to contact other parents and raise hell. Good luck!