I am a 14-year returning resident to Kaua‘i and 17 years out here in Hawai‘i.
Having just completed my 14-day quarantine on June 22, I was eager to get back to beach life, seeing friends and rejuvenating my life.
I had been 2.5 yrs on Maui and nine months in the bitter cold that is Denver. Moving back in the midst of COVID-19 hasn’t been an easy journey, but I had purchased my ticket back on March 8 right before the proverbial doodoo hit the fan. Monitoring everything from Denver, I left on June 8.
One June 28, I decided to venture down to Secret Beach. I had done the looming steep incline up and down a few times, but it had been about 10 years,
It was gorgeous day, can see Kilauea Lighthouse, the ocean was an azure blue. I was home and I was so incredibly happy. I started down the path, doing OK as I approached the last 10 feet or so. I decided to take the part of the path that had some makeshift stepping stones down to the beach.
I went one, two, three, snap. As my foot landed on the sand, my ankle broke and was dangling off my limb. I was at the bottom, under the shade of the tree, my back to the earth. I sat there, taking in the beauty of Secret Beach, realizing what just happened, and I then called for help.
There were folks coming and going from the beach as well as the path, so I managed to stop a sweet couple, Travis and Jenny, along with their toddler. Travis went to the top of the path, as cell-phone reception is sketchy there, to call 911, and Jenny stayed with me.
About 45 minutes later, the EMTs and AMR guys were there, having the paved, 911 driveway to come down to. I was relieved this happened at the bottom and not midway down the path.
Jenny talked with me, assuring me that it would be all OK. She even knew some of the EMTs. I noticed that where I was at and where the vehicles were, there’s a huge gulch that is created by high tide or runoff when it rains. Luckily it was dry. I wondered how I was to get from where I was sitting to the ambulance. Six incredibly-trained, kind and professional men reassured me, told me all the steps they were going to take to help me.
They put on a makeshift splint, had me wiggle into this big, tarp-like gurney they used to carry me across that gulch, and up the steep other side without dropping me. Smoothly getting me in that ambulance was a feat of steady and stable assurance that gave me a sense that I was in excellent hands.
The gentlemen that were with AMR told me everything that was happening on our drive, what they were doing to me or for me, and got me to Wilcox. Many of the EMTs know my landlords, and that was the reminder that “I was lucky to live Kaua‘i.”
While I am fully aware of what gets said about tourists who end up having to utilize our resources because of bad decisions, I am someone who just had this misfortune of landing on my foot in just the right position with enough of an impact that snapped my ankle, and proved to me accidents do happen. Mine certainly wasn’t life-and-death, but I am grateful that we have these resources.
I have two pins and a plate holding my right ankle together. The ER doctor, Dr. Johnson, Dr. Rule and the staff of Wilcox Hospital are kind professionals who really are eager to help you and give you quality health care. At least that was my experience.
My deepest heartfelt thanks to Travis and Jenny, wherever you are. My undying admiration and deepest aloha to the men of the Kaua‘i Fire Department and American Medical Response for rescuing me. My father was a volunteer fireman back in the 1960s on the mainland, and I knew that day, in particular, he was there watching over me.
Mahalo nui loa.
Faith Harding is a resident of Kilauea.