We decided to go paddle boarding Monday morning. It was my idea, and though I am terrified of being out in the ocean, I was genuinely excited and looking forward to it. I had been paddle boarding a handful of times before and didn't plan to venture too far from shore, so I thought it'd be ok.
We had the paddle boards delivered to our place, and after a cozy morning of sipping coffee on our deck listening to the birds and watching the geckos, set off for Makena Landing Park. It was perfect paddle boarding weather and sea - we couldn't have asked for anything better! We took off on our boards and as soon as we paddled past the cove, I knew I wouldn't last. I get sea sick, along with every other kind of sick, but the thought of getting sea sick on a paddle board simply never even occurred to me. It makes sense, yeah, even though the ocean was as calm as it would ever be, but the thought had never crossed my mind. I quickly paddled my way back to shore and sat there with my head down for quite some time, trying to wait out the dizziness. I could tell Stephen was disappointed, and I didn't blame him, though there was nothing I could do to make the situation better for either of us. Eventually, and reluctantly, he ventured back out on his own and got to explore more of the coast, while I sat on the beach trying to convince myself I could go back out and maybe not make it worse (at this point I didn't expect it to get any better!)
After awhile, I decided maybe I could swim and be ok - that hadn't affected me the previous days - so I swam out in the surf and requested Stephen carry me on his back once we were out far enough that I could no longer reach ;) (This part of the story is worth writing down!) That's when we came across sea turtles! There were at least four of them swimming around the rocks by the shore where Stephen and I had begun to adventure - one, the largest Stephen has ever seen. The waves were coming in pretty hard in that area, so we found a rock to perch ourselves on and the turtles kept swimming past in search of food. One pretty strong wave came in, pushing us forward and almost off the rock, and then created an equally strong pull back out to the ocean that brought the turtle with it. We were precariously placed on this rock and this incredibly large sea turtle was being pulled toward us by the waves, right at my chest level. I love sea turtles and was giddy like a school girl to be swimming near them, but when that one came toward me with the force of the wave and was inches from knocking me off my rock into tall surf where I couldn't touch, I freaked out! I lunged in the opposite direction (stinging my foot on a sea urchin as I pushed off the rock) dunking an unsuspecting Stephen under the waves just in time to make a path for the turtle. I might have screamed, too. Stephen couldn't stop laughing, despite having been mauled by his wife, and I couldn't get my heart rate to slow down!
We swam around the rocks for quite a bit longer, keeping a larger gap between us and the turtles (for fear of what, I don't know. I know they're gentle animals but I was so terrified to get too close!). Eventually I joined Stephen on his paddle board and lied the entire time that I was feeling ok, but I knew it meant a lot to him to be able to go out together like we'd planned.
I thought I was feeling alright (at least not any worse than I had been) so we took a walk down the road where we discovered a beautiful church and cemetery and then drove as far south as the road would take us to the lava fields of Kings Highway. I don't know if it was the drive south, the lingering dizziness from paddle boarding, or maybe even a combination of both, plus Sunday's drive to and from Haleakala and the plane ride there - I just couldn't shake it. We wandered a little way down the path and I was so slow, constantly tripping. It was taking so much effort just to keep my eyes open and the dizziness was made worse by my constant need to look down to make sure I didn't trip over the lava. I felt awful having to call our second activity of the day quits. "We are only here for a few days and I have to go and get sick, ruining our trip."
We went home where I took a cold shower, filled my stomach and took a nap. When I awoke, I didn't feel any better. If anything, I felt worse. It was actually painful, how dizzy I was. Standing up, laying down, eyes open or shut, it didn't matter. I was spinning, the room was stationary and there was nothing I could do about it. Stephen went to the store for drugs and decided after they hadn't kicked in that he could do a vertigo test on me to see if that's what it was. Sure enough, I had vertigo. So we spent the rest of the night lying the on the bed performing all these crazy maneuvers to rid me of my vertigo. (I don't know what I would have done had Stephen not been a doctor!) I was in so much pain, so uncomfortable, uncontrollably crying, being rolled around on the bed by Stephen who was so hot in that damn house, hungry and holding back his hangry as well as holding back my hair as I sat hunched over the toilet. It was thee most unromantic setting you could imagine. Comical, now. But awful, during.
Just after sunset I started to feel like maybe the procedures were working. Apparently, the more you do them the better you start to feel, so we had been at it for a while in hopes of eventually solving the problem. We were able to walk down to grab a late dinner from the grocery store and eat on the cool porch of our place before watching a movie snuggled in bed.
It was far from the ideal day. So very far. But looking back, I'm able to see that while I would never wish to redo that day, it did serve its purpose. It's easy to love someone when it's all sunshine and butterflies while childless in Hawaii. That's what I was hoping for and expecting and God threw us a curve ball to keep us on our toes. It's not always easy - life or marriage - and it's not always fun. We had been fighting all day - upset, hurt, disappointed, self-conscious, angry, selfish, in pain - but God used that to fuel our conversations during our remaining days and to better understand and love each other as an outcome. It's easy to love when things are going "right". It's much harder to love when you're dealing with vertigo on vacation. But we did love.
^^ A lot of the pictures we took in Hawaii were for Uriah - our rental car, a pretty flower, a heart shaped rock, a crab, the turtles and ^^ this tree!