Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hawaii Trip, Day 5: ER Revisited, and the beach

 Instead of heading to church like we planned, we went to find an ER.  We ended up going back to Waihiawa.  I wasn't feeling well that way, and I could pop my leg laceration like a zit, which wasn't a good sign.  My leg was also tight and very painful.

Seeing this first thing was the morning's highlight. 

  The tail feathers stood 6' high!

 A random shot of the cliffs behind the condo.

 Sure enough, my leg was infected.  They took out the stitches and told me to keep it covered with gauze... it just needed to drain.   I had them XRay it to make sure nothing was broken, but it was ok in that respect.

 Look how happy I am to be at the ER!  (Not!)  I had a fever and just wanted to sleep.
 When we got back to the condo (that mass of towers there in the pic), after getting a few antibiotics, I slept for three hours.  I kept jolting awake, gasping, dreaming that I was falling again.

 The condo is simple and cute.  It had a great view.

 Finally, I felt better and we headed to the beach so that the Captain could swim.
 This time we found the peacock in the tree.
 It was a bit stormy along the beach, but the weather in Hawaii changes every half mile, so we continued on to the end of the road at Kaena park beach. It was perfect.

The Captain played in the water.

We both wished I could join him, but I was told not to play in the ocean with open wounds.  Also, did I mention I didn't feel well?  Infections do that to a person.

 I read a book and watched.
 I got to take pictures like this.

 Then he settled down next to me and we watched the sun set.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hawaii Day 4: Drive around the island

 This day we left our cozy little cabana on the North Shore to settle on the West Shore up in Makaha.  We didn't have any plans other than visiting the Laie Temple, which we did really early.
 A cloudy sunrise from the temple.

 This is what my hand looked like.  It really hurt.  I didn't like shaking hands with anyone at the temple.
 And here's my lovely mug that day.  I guess it does look like a birth mark.  I should've gotten matching eyeshadow.
My leg was still swollen and it hurt to walk.
The Laie temple is heavenly.

We visited our friends from Washington, who moved to Hawaii, the Dooleys.

And we make brief visits to the beaches down the East/Windward coast.

The stunning windward mountains.

 We walked out onto these lava rocks in the surf.  I'll admit, the fear of falling again was still strong with me. The Captain held my elbow like a true gentleman and seemed to enjoy taking care of me. 

The blow hole was pretty cool to see.  I was glad I didn't have to walk far to see it.  I kept ibuprofen on me at all times, and I could tell when it was wearing off.  I went through 100 pills in six days.  Did I mention how head injuries hurt?
We stopped after this to watch some surfers, but they must not have been very impressive because I took neither picture nor video.  We got to our condo in Makaha late and crashed. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 3: The injury . .Viewer Discretion is Advised

Day 3
24 May 2015

I was excited for this day.  Snorkeling in the morning, Pearl Harbor in the afternoon (although we were feeling more like swimming all day).  I was excited to finally be in the water (Looking back, I kick myself for waiting until Day 3).   Our snorkeling guide was Erik, our cabana landlord/family of a friend.

 So this was an accidental picture, but it's my last with normal eyebrows.  I was taking a picture of Shark's Cove, where we were about to go snorkeling.  We'd already snorkeled a few miles away, and this was our second spot.  
Shark's Cove.  It's really pretty.  To be honest, I was apprehensive looking out at those rocks.  I had a small scratch on my hand from our last snorkel spot, and that was from my intentionally grabbing the reef to pull myself underwater.  I knew they were sharp, (although I hadn't fully grasped how slippery they were) and I just had that feeling.  (I've asked myself since then, was that feeling a prompting by the Spirit not to go?  Or was it just a warning that something was going to happen?  Oh, if I'm really honest, I'll admit I had that apprehensive feeling about our trip to Hawaii in general.  I'm only glad that whatever happened, happened to me and not my kids.)

But I liked snorkeling, and I wanted to do more of that more than I wanted to be afraid of the rocks.  So on we went, making our way down the rocks to the waterline.

[Enter accident rock picture here. . . anybody in Hawaii want to go get one for me?  Message me and I'll tell you where to look.]
I'm a confident hiker.  I mean, I hiked an entire mountainside using only fallen trees as my walkway, so I have an appreciation for good footwork.  And I've walked on wet rocks before. I remember watching where I was placing my feet as we stepped across the rocks.  My last image before my fall is a spot on the other boulder where I wanted to step because it looked like it had good grip. But the next thing I know, and without any sensation of falling (which I'm grateful for-- that is the stuff of nightmares) I hit the other boulder with my face and a thud like a drum, and it felt like my head was going to explode.

But pain like that, and like labor pain, gives me focus.  It's like there's a part of me that takes over and, well, I get nice or funny or both.

I used my hands to get to my feet, but I kept my eyes closed against the brilliant pain that was my face.  Once I was on my feet, I put my face in my hands and focused. My head pounded.  I remember Erik scrambling back to me.  He told me we needed to go.  I didn't want to.  I wanted to go snorkeling.  No I didn't, I realized. There's blood dripping through my hands and my head hurts; this felt like something from a book.  I turned my face up to him and asked, "How's my face?"  He told me later that he tried really hard at this moment to stay calm for my sake. (I feel bad for him that he probably has this image of me indelibly imprinted in his memory--Sorry, Erik!)   I remember the sound of his voice more than his words, but I think he told me we need to get to a doctor fast.  I asked him if I was going to need plastic surgery, and his answer was iffy.  I laugh now to think about it because he was trying not to let on that I had a hole in my face. 

The Captain was picking his way toward me (my feet are harder than his. . . he calls himself a tenderfoot) and I was so glad to collapse into his arms.  I didn't want to walk.  But I had to.  We had to get back to the truck, and that involved climbing up six feet of rock at some point.  But before that, Erik told me to take off the rash guard shirt he'd let me wear and press it against my face.  I couldn't tell at that point how much of my face was injured-- it felt as if it was the entire right side, so that's where I pressed it.  I got my bearings on my feet a bit and we moved back the way we came.

An older couple watched with gaping mouths as I limped by.  I made some joke about how I have good insurance.  That was around the time we were stepping up the 6 foot ledge up to the level of the truck.  I don't know how I did that.

The truck was a welcome relief because I really wanted to sit down.  I knew I shouldn't sleep, as much as I wanted to, so I started talking.  The Captain and I know each other (11 years marriage does that for people), but Erik I did not know.  So I started asking him questions.  I laugh to remember his response to my first question, "So Erik, how did you meet your wife?" He paused and let out a little breath as if he couldn't believe I'd just asked him that, "Really?"  "Yes, I love stories, and it will help me deal with my pain." So I grilled hi and he complied. Just like during the labor of my second daughter, as long as someone was talking, I didn't notice the pain, but as soon as there's a pause, it nearly drowned me.  Did I mention I love stories?

I told the Captain he'd better document this.
 And this is me after I fell, walking into the Waihiawa ER.  My head hurt real bad.
Erik, our snorkeling guide/cabana land lord/ ER finder/family of friend, with his adorable baby.
And now for the wound reveal!
It's best viewed on a big screen, if you can take it.

Here goes!
The triage picture.  I didn't have to stay long here, of course.

 Accompanied by a salad-plate-sized scrape that turned into a nice bruise.  It took over a month to heal up and not be tender.

 My right arm and hand was scraped up just a bit; this was the first to heal.  I was carrying our snorkeling gear in my left hand, and it came out unscathed.

 My left leg. This was the most painful, don't ask me why.  It hurt that day, and over the next few days would only hurt more.

Ready for a close-up?

 A closeup of the cleaned wound.  It damaged the supraorbital nerve, which comes out the end of the eyebrow and goes back across the top of the head, servicing the forehead and scalp with sensation.  I didn't realize that I'd damaged this nerve until the next day when I noticed it was still numb even though the lidocaine had surely worn off.  As of now, almost a month later, I have a good deal of sensation back (its return feels like the pulling of hair), but not total.  In some places I have pain sensation but not pressure, or visa versa.  I imagine I would have been in a lot more pain had my nerve not been damaged.

It turns out that once I came in and was injected with lidocaine, a bunch of other people in more urgent condition than I came in.  So we waited a good two point five hours (and I needed more lidocaine) before I got sewn up.  All this time, I quizzed Erik, and we swapped parenting epithets, and we talked church stuff.  It was good times.  I cannot differentiate when I heard which stories (and I told him I would remember everything, which I do pretty well, but only in pictures, not necessarily in coherent stories).  I remember telling him to keep talking as I was getting stitched, but I mostly remember Jay massaging my hands and feet.  

 Two stitches in my left leg.

Eleven stitches and lots of glue on my forehead.  The cute surfer doctor didn't clean off the blood before he doused it in superglue, so the blood in the glue made it look a lot stranger than it otherwise might have. 

After our nearly four hours at the ER, Erik asked me where I wanted to go for lunch.  I told him I wanted a  shrimp from a shrimp truck, so he took us to one that had been featured on some TV show.  I loved the coconut shrimp I had, but I was starting to feel nauseated and worn out.  I just wanted to sleep.  Head wounds do that to a person.

However, back at the cabana, I only slept for an hour.  I was upset that this had happened to me in Hawaii, so I got up and took a walk down the street.  It was a very slow walk.  One lady noticed my injuries and recommended I walk on the sandy beach to develop strength in my ankles.  I thought that was funny; strong ankles didn't do me a lick of good on the reef.

Later, we took a little walk on the beach.

And Erik gave us a tour of the family farm.
 This is a mango tree.

 That evening, we went to a place called Opal Thai for dinner.
A pretty water cup.

I wasn't terribly hungry, but the food was great.  The owner/chef came out and custom-built a three-course meal for us.  We sat close to a couple European gals and their conversation helped buoy me up.  They both thought my eye injury was a birth mark, which I thought was funny.

I was grateful to get home and sleep.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Our Hawaiian Vacation, First Night/ Day 1: Waikiki, Swap Meet, and Laie

 We flew in to Honolulu the evening of April 21st.  Because we had planned on using the more tentative (but free) military flights, we hadn't arranged either a rental car or a hotel for this night, so those things had to be put in order first thing.

To clarify, we didn't end up using Space A flights on the way there.  We had planned on flying out of Travis AFB in California (we rented a car from Utah to California), and at first that looked promising with four flights planned to Honolulu within 18 hours on the 21st.  But when we arrived to try for the first set of flights, the two later flights had gotten pulled and the two flights that morning only had 20 seats total.  Because our sign-up date was only four days earlier, we were low on the list.  We ended up purchasing flights from Oakland to Honolulu for about $200 apiece, which satisfied us.  Our flight from Honolulu to Travis was more guaranteed because our original sign-up date now had us at the top of the list, so we were able to fly back using Space A.

This is one of the first views of the island.  It's of the Western, desert-y Waianae side.  If you look carefully, you can even see a sliver of the tall, white Makaha Towers nestled between two of the distant rolling hills.  That's where we stayed for nights 5-7.

 I find these artificial bays interesting.

 The Captain had a place in mind for dinner in Waikiki, so we found a fair hotel near the coast called the Aqua Oasis.  It was a comfortable suite with a furnished lanai (balcony/porch) and a fabulous bathroom.  We dumped our luggage and headed out to dinner.
 Waikiki has a lot of tall hotels and condos.
 It's also very loud.  Everything is open very late.  The streets are filled with a charming mix of local vendors and 5th avenue-style shops I would never set foot in.  Tourists crowded the crosswalks.  It had been rainy and my cheap flip-flops slipped on the wet pavement.  We were ornery, tired, and hungry:  It was about 9pm there, and our bodies were telling us it was 2am back home, and we hadn't eaten anything since lunch.

Without knowing exactly where we were going, we managed to find the same beach the Captain had enjoyed four years ago. 
 And after enjoying a stroll in the surf, we found the restaurant he so fondly remembered.
 The Hula Grill.  He got pork chops and I got a special with five different sea creatures on it.  It was probably the best meal I've ever had.

Day 1
The next morning, I remember waking to get a drink, but I didn't feel well.  Pretty soon, the world started rolling.  I closed my eyes, and I felt it; I opened them, and my eyes screwed up as the room rolled.  I was experiencing true vertigo, and it was sickening.  The Captain brought me the trash can just in time.  He gave me a blessing and I slept while he wandered the streets.  When I awoke, I pcked at the pineapple he brought for breakfast.  I did feel better, but not sturdy on my feet.  We checked out right at checkout time.

He drove, which means I really didn't feel well, because I love to drive.  We headed to the swap meet at the Stadium for our one-stop souvenir shopping.  My vertigo had dissipated, but I was left feeling light-headed.  As the day went on, I felt better and better, and I was grateful.  One of the things that helped me feel better was this delicious drink:

 A fresh, young coconut!  I couldn't get enough of it!
 When it was empty, he cracked it open for me and I scraped out the flesh.  Yum.  For lunch, we ate at McDonald's, where they have something called a Haupia pie, and that is pretty yummy for fast-food fare!

After our shopping, we gratefully left the city for the beautiful North Shore, where we were staying for the next three nights.
 We drove to Laie to get our tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We also visited some Washington friends and saw the temple. If I could go back and change things, I would have had us go swimming this evening.
But I try hard not to regret anything.

 During our stay at the cabana, I displayed some of the souvenirs I bought at the swap meet.

Hawaii has lots of lizards.  This is the front yard of our cabana.