Do volunteers get sick days?

I’m not supposed to be at home, writing this blog post. I was meant to be on the trail, leading a Friends of the Smokies hike to Charlies Bunion today.

I had made my sandwich–peanut butter and peach slices–, cut up an apple and took some trail mix. I even had a package of dark chocolate to offer my hikers. Water, map and knee bandage, I was ready.

At about 8 pm, or so, I started getting queasy. That was followed by violent vomiting. I don’t vomit very often, so I wondered what I had eaten, or was it something worse?

About an hour later, Lenny, my husband, had the same problem. In a way, I felt better that he was vomiting as well and blamed it on our shrimp dinner. I had bought the shrimp at a reputable natural food store. Let’s just say that I was glad that we have two bathrooms.

By 10:30 pm, it was obvious that I wasn’t going anywhere the next day. I called Holly D., NC Director of FOTS and explained that she would have to step in. To make matters worse, Anna Lee Z., the new NC outreach communications person, would be leading her first hike by herself. We scouted the hike together a couple of weeks ago, and I know that she did a great job but, still, it must have been an anxious time. See the picture above during happier times.

In addition to leading the hike, I had scheduled a bunch of engagements that would cross a personal organizer’s eyes:

*provide a shuttle to three Carolina Mountain Club members,

*give Anna Lee some material to pass on to Brent, now working in the Tennessee,

*meet Lori at Newfound Gap, one of two directors of the Smokies 900M, and return a couple of heavy boxes.

All of those meetings had to be unraveled or dealt with, along with the hike.

I’ve been involved with the Classic Hikes of the Smokies since 2010. I’ve never missed a hike, scouting a hike or a meeting. This is one of my several “day jobs”, now that I no longer have to punch a clock. I schedule everything around these commitments, obviously everything but getting sick.

So I ask: Do volunteers get sick days? And what do I do with an old peanut butter sandwich?

PS I called the Asheville Health Department and reported the incident. They took it seriously.


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