To be sick or not to be sick…….

I have had a sore throat off and on for about two months. I hesitated going to the doctor because I have many days of slight sore throats due to allergies, ( allergic to some plants in paradise, mildew and the volcanic vog) and asthma. Yesterday I woke early and decided to go to the local urgent care to check out this throat. You guessed it…..Strep.

I am home today on sick leave, not because I feel too sick to go to the office, but because if  you tell someone you have strep, it sounds like you have the plague,  not to mention that others don’t want to catch it.   So even in Paradise, we have to call in sick and take “horse pills” and rest.  I don’t have air conditioning, we rely on the tradewinds for that, but this house design was built for mainlanders I  am guessing. No windows facing the ocean breezes, and small windows at that.

I will return to work tomorrow. Humidity, allergens, and much work to do in the office  require it.  But for today,  Chico has a playmate, I am typing, and there is a slight breeze coming in my home office window. Most of all there is SUN today! This is the Hilo side, if you know what that means.

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What is a road trip?

A road trip on the Big Island is an all day journey from Hilo to Kona or if you have a lot of time on your hands it is around the island in one day. Hilo is about a two hour drive from Kona over Saddle Road, now called Daniel K. Inouye Highway. Saddle Road lies  between two huge volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. If you haven’t been across it for awhile there are new improvements at the “rest stop” called Mauna Kea Park, including remodeled bathrooms and a new climbing structure for kids. The air is still fresh and invigorating, often in the mid 50’s compared to in the 80’s down at sea level.

I drove over to Kona on Saddle Road last week, first road trip in a couple months! I usually refer to this trip as my “Costco Run”. There is only one Costco on this island and it is located in Kona. A must is to bring a cooler, as anything cold will be spoiled by the time I reach home. Have you tried “Island Lava”, a baker’s brittle with Lilikoi flavor? It is so ono (delicious) that I polished off a bag in three days!  Anyone have a recipe for this treat to make at home, please share!

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Don’t jump!

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Life is funny but you have to look for the humor. Laughter is a great stress buster so find something funny in your life!  When I can’t sleep I often watch reruns of I Love Lucy or Mike and Molly.  Just listening to the dialog for a few minutes usually has me chuckling over Lucy’s antics, or Mike’s mother’s hateful comments.

Feeling down or depressed is normal for most of us at times. If you feel “too low” and your world seems dark, as if the sun has hid itself, it’s time to reach out for help from your family, friends or physician. Most communities have a Crisis Hotline you can call and someone will come visit you in person within a few hours. In Hawaii the phone number to Crisis Line of Hawaii is 1-800-753-6879.  I used to work as a Crisis Therapist and this service can help if you are on the edge. If you call, now is not the time to say you are feeling OK. Remember your worst feelings and let all that out on the phone to the Crisis Line. They can’t help you if you are feeling fine.

The main point is Suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem, so take action before all the lights go out. You mean the world to your loved ones and turning the lights out will pain them for the rest of their lives.  Life is good and you are only a few days or weeks from feeling better!

But Why?

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Aloha,  my name is Caryn or Kalena depending on  what you choose. I am a middle age family therapist living and working on the Big Island of Hawaii.  But Why?  Because maybe I can.  We have a saying here……”If can, can. If No can, No can.”   I moved back to Hawaii from the mainland twenty three years ago to see ” if can”, and I’m still here, so yes, can.

Paradise you say.   Yes, Hawaii is beautiful and there is so much to love. Hawaii is my home and has been for most of my life. I have normal challenges daily like you. The cost of living in Paradise is high, although the Big Island is less expensive than Oahu. We have bugs, rain, humidity, yearly hurricane threats, lava flows, earthquakes……the list goes on. Did I say bugs?  Yes, but I’ll save that for another post.

I have a twelve pound dog named Chico. He is half Chihuahua and half “poi dog”, meaning undetermined paternal parentage. He threw up today on the carpet after I fed him cottage cheese. I let Chico out one night to pee then forgot about him while I was on the phone with my mother for forty five minutes. The result? Poor little dog was gored by a wild pig and had to undergo two surgeries. Paradise yes, but also normal life. img_0057img_0149