holoholo photo

A Loose Screw

I haven’t written a blog about my leg in two and a half years, so please bear with me as I live through some of this process again.

Lately, I have been telling people I have a screw loose. The reactions I get are somewhere between “tell me something I don’t know,” and “tell me something I didn’t know.” It has finally gotten my attention enough that I felt it was time to go to the doctor’s office and have it looked at.

The only discomfort I have these days is centered around my ankle. Soreness, stiffness, and throbbing, I only have the pain from time to time, and it is usually after a hike, a long walk, or busy day at work. Considering all I have been through since May of 2011, it really isn’t the end of the world to put up with a little pain from time to time.

Thursday I had an appointment with my savior, Doctor Jefferey “Kimo” Harpstrite at his office over on O’ahu in the big city of Honolulu. When you live on the “outer” islands, Honolulu is “the city.”

The flight.

Although the flight over to O’ahu was quick and easy, something quite unexpected happened to me while in the air. I found myself speaking and listening to my flight neighbor (not a common practice for me). This engaging, intelligent woman is a student at a Maui high school and was on her way to speak at a conference of teachers regarding women in technology (you heard correctly, a student speaking to teachers). It was a pleasure to hear her share her experiences and positivity with me and it really gave me hope for the younger generation. Not only because she has direction and goals she has set out to achieve, but more importantly she engaged with a stranger and was able to carry on a conversation without pulling out her cell phone or earbuds.

When the Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant came by with complimentary Island Maid pog juice containers (that’s pineapple, orange, guava for you mainlanders), she beamed with excitement. She was quick to share with me that this was her favorite part of the flight. She asked for a juice, so I followed suit and asked for one as well. When the attendant handed the container of juice to me, I placed it on her seat tray. You would have thought I had just given her a puppy. She lit up with joy. It amazes me that one simple act of kindness can do so much for some people. She may have been really happy, but the truth was it really made my day.

As we deboarded the plane, I asked the flight attendant for an extra juice and was able to catch up to my flight friend and slip the container into her hand as I said goodbye. As I walked ahead of her and her chaperone I heard her say it was the best day ever!

How could you not love a reaction like that?


Dr. Harpstrite has moved offices since my last visit to him, so first order of business was to find his office, sign in, and wait. Within moments after signing in, I was called to go get x-rays of my leg. Less than ten minutes after the x-rays were taken, I was in the examination room waiting to see the doc. Shiny new office, faster service, what’s not to love?


Screwed. A photo of a screenshot of an x-ray of my left leg.

Doctor Harpstrite came in and we talked about my leg. I told him I thought the screw in my leg, down by my ankle might be working its way back out of my tibia. He showed me the x-rays and assured me that this wasn’t the case (so yes, the loose screw was all in my head). The screw just above my ankle is just so close to the surface that it has less muscle around it and can be felt easier through my skin. Relieved, to hear that, we then discussed options for the next course of action.

Feel free to read these options in an informative follow-along blog, found here.

X-ray of my left leg.

X-ray of my left leg with a really attractive cameraman in the reflection.

My next appointment is at the end of June, where the good doctor and myself will solve any future discomfort in one fell swoop. You will have to stay tuned to find out how it ends. A surgical cliffhanger, I love it.

The flight home.

The Honolulu International Airport at eleven in the morning was a disaster. The check-in and TSA lines were out the door. People were angry, unaware, and some were just plain rude. I was actually concerned I would miss my flight, but when I showed up to the gate, they had been delayed quite a bit, so pre-boarding had not even begun.

Once on the plane, the exact opposite from my first flight happened to me. I sat next to a young woman who had her camera phone out and ready as well as her texting fingers until we taxied onto the runway. After that it was in with the earbuds, on with the music and goodbye to the rest of the world. I got to read some more of my book, which was nice, but I missed the conversation and company of my morning flight friend.

Landing on Maui is always a treat. Not the actual landing part, with our wind gusts it always makes for a little white-knuckle excitement, but the arrival at the airport and the smell of tropical air as you step off the jetway. I’m not sure that feeling is possible at any other airport than at OGG. It feels like home, and what a great feeling that is.