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That axe, I hated it with passion. First of all, it was too heavy and the handle was too big so it made my hand sore anytime I used it. “I did not sign up for this” were words I uttered almost every minute while I was using the axe. But it couldn’t withdraw just because of an axe. “This axe is not going to stop me from having fun, it’s summer and I’m going to have all the fun I can.” I said to myself on the first day of summer camp after I learnt the axe was going to be my companion for the next month.
The summer camp was to last for a month in one of the forests in Alaska. During the summer camp chores were divided in between the fifteen of us. Some were supposed to work in groups to set up and tents and look for food. I was in the with two other girls, my best friend Annie and Jess, our new friend. Our duty was to look for wood for fire to keep us warm. We had chats during the evenings at the fireplace, some told jokes and stories to keep us entertained. On the third day in summer camp, Annie, Jess and I went out to look for wood. Fortunately, we found a log about 0.5 miles from our tent site. But we had to split the log into pieces so we could be able to transport it to the campsite because it was too heavy. We took turns in the splitting of the wood. “Jess, so how is your school like, do you like it?” I asked.
“Well, it’s fun. You just have to deal with the crappy and annoying teachers,”she replied in a low voice.
She was the kind of person of person who is shy at first but will get very comfortable and crazy with you if they feel they could trust you. I could tell because that’s just the way my best friend Annie is.
“At least your school is fun, our school is boring,” I said. “And we have to deal with crappy lunch” Annie added.
“How big is your school” she asked.
“Very small”, I replied.
“Well at least the teachers have enough time for you”.
“Yeah that the only advantage”, I retorted. “Annie, how are things working out between you and Adrian”, I asked. I know I wasn’t suppose to talk about Adrian with Annie in Jess’ presence but Jess was was the kind of person I felt I could trust so we talked about it anyway. They had been having problems in their relationship lately so I wanted to find out if she needed my advice.
“Well it’s pretty bad. He’s been a control freak lately and I think he’s cheating on me with Kaitlyn the girl in our history class. Honestly I want to quit this relationship but there is something holding me back and I don’t know what it is.”
Kaitlyn, that girl has dated almost every guy in our school. “I would be highly disappointed in him if he’s dating Kaitlyn.
“If you can’t quit the relationship then it’s probably because you still love him. I think you should talk to him and see where you stand”, I advised.
“Anyways let’s change the subject and talk about something important”, Annie said. So your relationship is not…. I yelled in a way I hadn’t yelled before for and then I was quite I couldn’t even talk. “On my God!” Annie screamed in shock. The pain was excruciating and there was blood everywhere. I couldn’t feel my left foot. I saw it lying on the ground next to me. The axe was very sharp and it had accidentally slipped of my hands when I was splitting the wood. It had chopped off my left foot and now I couldn’t do anything. “I’m going to get help just stay calm”, she said as she ran off towards our tent site. Annie on the other hand did not know what to do. She sat by my side trying to calm me down. She then started to scream help me!, someone’s hurt, help! I started to feel dizzy, I had never experienced this kind of pain in my life. Death is better than this pain I said to myself as I lay on the ground.
I woke up a few hours later in the tent with people around me. Annie was on the left side with tears in her eyes. She wore a frustrated look and there were tears in her eyes but smiled at me when she realized I was awake.
“How are you feeling” she asked.
“Bad” I replied.
“She’s awake, she’s awake Mrs. Blankson, she’s awake” I heard someone screaming outside the tent.“Really” our team leader said with a little bit of excitement in her voice.
“How are you feeling” she asked as she walked up to me.
“Terrible”I said in a low voice. And then I saw the ironic smile on Sharon’s face.
“What’s funny?” I asked in an aggravated voice.
“Nothing” she said, “I’m just glad that you’re awake. We were scared that you had gone into a coma because you lost a lot of blood. Oh Estel, am sorry you have to go through this because you were fetching wood to keep us warm. How will our soccer team cope without you. You were one of our best. So sad you can’t play now because you lost a foot.”
Yeah right,am sure you are I thought to myself. It’s not even been a day and she had written me off as a disabled person. I bet she is very happy now because she could take my spot in the soccer team something she had always wanted it and hated me because I had it.
“Ok so when am I leaving this place?. I am disabled and need medical attention, I gave Sharon a hard look as the words disabled spilled out of my mouth.
“Maybe tomorrow” our counselor said.
“What! I want to leave now”.This summer camp has been the worst thing that ever happened to me and I wanted to leave that place so bad. “I didn’t come here to lose my leg, I came here to have fun and since I can’t do that anymore so I want to leave and I mean now.” The pain was unbearable but I endured it because I didn’t want anyone to feel pity for me.
“There’s a problem she said, we are in the middle of nowhere and I don’t have network connection on my phone so I can’t make a call for you to be taken to the hospital. We didn’t anticipate that anyone will be injured so we didn’t put plans in place for that. Fortunately, the delivery guy is scheduled to bring us some supplies tomorrow so he can take you along with him or call for an ambulance when he gets to town”.
“Oh Lord help me, am I going to die here?
She left without saying a word. The look on her face said it all. She was scared, probably of losing her job or a possible lawsuit after I left there. How could you organize a camping without making plans for emergencies.
I expected to delivery guy to show up the next morning around ten o’clock but he didn’t, mid-day and night came but there was no sign of him. Tensions were rising, I don’t know how death feels but I felt like I was dying as the minutes passed. I don’t even know why they picked Mrs Blankson as our caretaker. She had very little knowledge about camping life and did nothing when the delivery guy didn’t show up. All she did was to sit and tap her feet.
“You are here doing nothing while someone lies in pain and agony. What kind of person are you?” Annie yelled at Mrs. Blankson.
“I can’t call for help and our only source of help the the delivery guy didn’t show up; what do you expect me to do?”
“You are or caretaker and your job is to know what to do when the need arises, you can’t just sit here and tap your feet. What’s your use if you don’t know what to do?”
“Shut up little girl what do you know” Annie had touched a nerve and Mrs. Blankson wouldn’t let it lie low. “Look here its not my fault that your friend injured got injured she should have paid attention when she was splitting the wood. I have done what I could possibly do. I can’t walk fifteen miles to the closest town to get help. Why don’t you do something Miss Knowitall.”
“Okay, I’m going to walk fifteen miles to the closest town if that is what it takes to save my friend’s life and no one is going to stop me or tell me I can’t leave because I have no permission to do so”.
There is a rule that once you’re at the campsite you cannot leave without the company of an adult or without permission. Doing so could land you into serious trouble like a disqualification from future camping trips but Annie was ready to face the consequences for my sake.
After the confrontation Annie had with our caretaker outside the tent, I asked to talk to her to try to convince her not to do so because it was dangerous to go out there alone.
“I can’t let you walk fifteen miles to town alone it’s dangerous”
“Estel you can’t stop me, look at you. You need medical attention as soon as possible. I can’t live with myself if something happens to you.”
“Nothing is going to happen to me. Why don’t you wait till tomorrow, if the guy doesn’t show up then we can think of another way out besides walking fifteen miles to town.”
“ Okay but only till tomorrow morning and am going to walk fifteen miles if that is what it takes, you have no say whatsoever.
“Yes mom”, I said as she inspected my leg.
I woke up around 10:00 AM to loud noises outside the campsite. Annie walked into the room with excitement on her face. She got me ready for the fifteen mile journey while the guy waited outside. She got me into the car with the help of the delivery guy and sat in the front seat of the truck.
“Where are you going?”, I asked. To the hospital with you, what you thought I was going to let you go alone. Camping is going to be boring without you so I figured I’d leave with you. I gave her a puzzled look. “What with that face.”
“Nothing” I said
We got to the nearest town about an hour later. The town was underdeveloped and only had a clinic which had only one doctor. The doctor did not have the expertise to conduct a surgery and even if they he did they did not have the needed equipment for that. I had to be taken a county hospital which was a about a three-hour-drive. One of the nurses made a call to the county hospital.
Hi am calling from the Osburn clinic. We have an emergency. A girl chopped her foot off with an axe while camping and she needs medical attention as soon as possible…. But she needs medical attention right now, she is in critical condition. I’m afraid she might not make it because she has lost a lot of blood. She really needs help, please try your best to get a medical team here immediately.
“Are they on their way”, Annie asked with anxiety in her voice.
“The nurse I talked to said it might take a while because they were are very busy at the moment.”
What!, did you tell her it was an emergency?
“Yes I did, you were here with me. Were you listening to the conversation”
“I’m sorry that was a stupid question. It just that she’s being through a lot and I’m worried about her.”
“I understand how you, let’s pray they get here early” she said as she rubbed Annie who was on the verge of breakdown on the shoulder.
A helicopter came about an hour later I was rushed to the hospital by air. My injury had been infected due to exposure and the doctors said it could have serious effects if it wasn’t amputated a little higher. I had to undergo surgery the same day. It was difficult for my parents especially my mom to make that decision but I convinced them I had already lost my feet anyway so losing part of my leg for my health wasn’t any big deal. It took me about two months to recover after the surgery and I was able to use a prosthetic leg after that. And here I am today, alive and in good health with you guys my wonderful friends.
“Oh my God, that must been hell. I’m so glad you were able to make it. A friend a said at school said after I told her about what I did last summer.