Originally posted to ydnar.vox.com in September 2006.
Found WiFi at a coffee place in Kailua. After trying a half-dozen seats in the place, one router restart and commiserating with a fellow also lacking internet, I was able to connect. Currently skirting Alamo's 30 minute grace period, 10 miles and one fillup away from the airport.
Getting to see a doctor on Saturday was a giant hassle. Once I was there, it was like I had my own personal medical staff.
I tried 4 methods of finding out where the local hospital/ER was:
- Asking surfer dude watching me grimace and clean out the wound while bleeding all over the sand. He suggested going to Waimea, the opposite direction of where I eventually wanted to be (my bed).
- Looking for blue H for hospital signs on the highway. Failed.
- Calling 411 (information). These guys took the cake. Not only could they not help me, "Sir, what is the name of the hospital you're trying to find?" "Um, no. I'm on vacation and I'm bleeding all over the place. If I knew the name of the hospital, do you think I'd call you?" I was eventually transferred to a supervisor, where it was Same Story, Different Dude. Cingular/whatever, your 411 service is fucking utterly useless. Die.
- Stoned gas station attendant girl who gave me vague directions (I'm sensing a theme here, this wasn't the first set of hand-wavey directions I recieved on this trip) and named a nonexistent town and grubbed the map I produced.
I set off and 10 minutes later I passed an ambulance screaming the other way, so I figured it was close. Eventually, Stoned Girl's directions panned out, and I saw a blue H sign for Hospital: 4 miles. I turned, followed signs for the ER and limped up into...
A locked door. I poked around at a couple other doors, eventually going into what appeared to be an administrative office. I guess I looked lost, because the clerk who saw me kicked into maternal mode real fast. I told her my little foot-stabbing anecdote, and she led me through the locked door.
A male nurse immediately took me over and did the temp/blood pressure drill, medication allergies, etc. I was in shock--no waiting! I'm accustomed to having to wait at least 1-2 hours before getting anyone, much less a doctor's attention.
He said I might need stitches, then we started talking about golf and mountain biking. Where the admin went into Maternal mode, this guy went straight into Buddy mode. He was like the friend everyone has who's just a regular guy, up for anything, and just plain nice. Doctor Okamura was similarly awesome. Not similar as in he was completely different--all business but friendly at the same time. He gave me a choice of stitches or no stitches in a roundabout way. He actually got me to decide based on criterea other than how much pain and time the stitches were going to take (I elected for stitches).
Nurse runs off to get iodine solution and Doc comes back with a big hypo with novicaine and stabs my foot a few times to numb it down. At some point he decides that his original assessment was worse than reality. Despite the meaty slice it looked, it wasn't actually that deep. So no stitches.
Admin comes back and plops down in a chair next to the bed I'm on and interviews me for the insurance/contact information. She actually fills out the whole fucking form, asking me every question. I'm computing the total administrative cost of this in the back of my head at the same time I'm just plain happy to not have to fill out the forms.
Doc, Nurse and Admin make another pass each, and I'm sent home with a stack of bandages, antibiotics, a prescription for more, and advice to stay out of the water for a day or two.
Best hospital visit ever.