>So... I didn't plan to log on again until later this week, but then again, I also didn't plan to fall off of a slippery rock and land on a very angry sea urchin, which showed its displeasure by lodging dozens of barbed spines into the bottom of my right foot and toes on my left tootsie, rendering me unable to walk without lots o' pain. (Wow, that was a long sentence.)

To save a couple hundred bucks, Husband and I decided to hike a two mile trail that descends 1300 feet to the Capt. Cook Monument instead of booking a snorkeling excursion. (We also were excited for the hike.) Everything began hunky dory. We found the trail (an abandoned dirt road) easily and handled the rocky trail well. It took about 90 minutes to reach the beach, which was already crowded with kayaks and boat tours. As we stripped off our sweaty pants and t-shirts to our bathing suits, we overheard a kayak guide tell his clients that he was a registered nurse. I asked him the best way into the water, and he suggested walking down the lava rocks.

The problem with the lava rocks, I discovered, is that the ones in the water are covered with moss or whatever and slippery as fuck. As I attempted to gingerly step into the water, I slipped off the rock. My feet got caught on a very rocky bottom and my water shoes came off. Then I felt a horrific stinging. I managed to pull myself onto the dry rock pile and discovered many spines sticking out of my feet.

Long story short, Husband went to look for the nurse guide and I crawled onto shore. Clearly there was no way I could walk back up the trail, so I called 911. After an extremely surreal conversation (the dispatcher didn't entirely believe where I was or how I got there, but this could partially be because I claimed stepped on a sea anonomae while I was SCUBA diving), she said she'd send a rescue crew. Then the nurse tour guide appeared and used his first aid kit to pick the remaining spines out of my feet. He said that there is nothing I could do about the barbs, which are made of calcium, and would remain in my skin until they were absorbed. I mentioned that I called 911 and he said the Coast Guard boat shouldn't be too long.

We sat around a while longer and then a Coast Guard guy called me on my cell phone to explain where the helicopter would pick me up. Yes. Helicopter. Seriously. For reasons I cannot understand, they decided to send a helicopter. I explained that I only needed help getting out and probably a helicopter was excessive, but he said that's what they decided to send. This involved hiking back a little ways on the path, which was not fun.

Even less cool, there was no room for Husband. The poor man had to hike two miles uphill alone after I was evacuated. I felt like crap about the whole thing. First, I ruin his chance to snorkel by falling on a sea urchin. Then, he has to hike back alone to meet me in the hospital. And it started to rain. Oy.

So, long story long, I was choppered out and met by an ambulance. I repeatedly told the rescue and EMT guys how mortified I was that they had to waste their time and resources just because I couldn't hike back. The EMT guys were not only cheerful, but adorable, and told me that they were glad I needed help since they were bored. At the hospital, I soaked my feet in vinegar. Husband eventually arrived, and I was relieved that he got off the trail safely. A doctor came in and took a cursory look at my many punctures and barbs and told me I had no infection. I was also told that the ink from the spine may never go away completely, hence my potential new series of tattoos.

That was my last day in Hawaii. Hopefully, the guy at my hotel who told me that the pain goes away in a few days will be right because otherwise the rest of the trip is going to suck for poor Husband since I can't hike until the pain is a little less, which is very upsetting.

Merry Christmas! (Mele Kalikemaka!)