Article from the 11/20/2015 Catalina Islander

Since I became Catalina's "Greeter", having started working for the Catalina Chamber Of Commerce on March 10, 2014, meeting cruise ships and many cross channel boats, I have answered 39,842 questions.

These are some of the more interesting questions/comments that I have heard from the visitors coming off the boats:
"Where is your train?"  The cruise ship captain had just blown the ship's horn.
"I heard that women are not allowed to give birth on the Island!  Are people allowed to die here?"
"Here I am stuck in Avalon and I wanted to go to Catalina Island!"
"Is this all the town there is!?!"
"The 'Halloween Parade' was GREAT, but where did they import all of these kids?"

I have often heard that except for experiencing child birth, passing a kidney stone is the most painful experience anyone can withstand.  I can't compare the two, having never giving birth, but in 1978, I had already passed approximately 10 kidney stones.  For those of you have had this "special occasion", I don't need to describe it.  If you haven't had the honor of passing a kidney stone, let's just say it feels like a red hot poker has been jabbed in your lower side and slowly cutting its way down your side.

For some reason, my stones always seemed to pass very early in the morning.  So was this case this particular morning when, at around 3:30, I fell out of bed with the sudden pain to my left side.  I knew what it was and so I immediately called the hospital and asked them to send an ambulance, STAT!!!  Because I had been taking care of my invalid father, I asked that the ambulance NOT have its sirens and lights going as I didn't want to wake up Dad or the neighbors and having them think that something terrible had happened to Dad.  I told them that I would be on the porch; ready to go!  OF COURSE, five minutes later, with lights flashing, and sirens going off, the ambulance appeared!  I saw lights being turned on around the block, so I ran to the ambulance, jumped in the front seat, thanked them for following my request, and told them to get me to the hospital as quickly as possible!

When I arrived, the first thing that they did was have Joe Quinn, the radiation tech  put me under the machine and took some pictures.  A few minutes later he came out to inform me that I was passing a "very large" stone and that the ER doctor should be notified as soon as possible.  The doctor, who will remain nameless, was immediately called and told of the situation.  He had been "partying" the night before in the Casino and so said that he wouldn't be making any plans to come to the hospital until he did his "rounds" at 8AM.  THAT WAS 4 HOURS AWAY!

The nurse on call was very sorry to have to tell me the news and said that she couldn't even give me an aspirin without a doctor's approval.  It was now time for me to take over. I told them to contact a nurse's aid, who had taken care of Dad in the past, to please be there by 7AM, when he usually woke up.  I explained to the nurse that within an hour, the pain was going to be so intense that I will be screaming my fool head off!  I told them that I had better be put in a room as far away as possible from the other patients as I was going to be putting on quite a scene.

It was decided to put me in the maternity room.  I laid in bed with the pain getting increasingly worse when a "candy striper" (we don't have them anymore) came in and told me that she wanted to help and had an idea.  "How about if I put you in the stirrups and lift your legs up as far as possible.  Maybe that will relieve the pain!"  I explained to her as calmly as I could  that gravity was not involved in passing kidney stones, but pressure.  She looked so intent on doing "something" that I figured, "What worse could happen?"  I soon found out!  She kept raising my legs higher and higher until all that was on the hospital bed was my neck on the pillow.  "How does that feel?" she innocently asked.  "Well, I have to admit that right now the pain in my neck is far more severe than my kidney and so I guess that your plan worked.  But NOW I am experiencing TWO MAJOR PAINS!"  (HOW DO WOMEN DO THIS!"!  THEY ARE STRONGER THAN MEN!!!

I insisted that I be let back down in the bed and I gave the young lady strict orders NOT to come within striking distance of me as I will soon be in such pain that I will not be responsible for what I do to ANYONE or ANYTHING in this room!  She then left and I REALLY started screaming!

As promised, the doctor arrived hours later and came into my room immediately.  He took a look at the x-ray and my sweaty body and said, "You poor guy.  That must have really been an ordeal!"  I COULD HAVE KILLED HIM!!!!  He then told the nurse to quickly give me an injection of morphine and get me into one of the regular patient rooms.

I soon started feeling much less pain and realized that the stone would hopefully soon be passing on its own.  I immediately fell asleep.  Some hours later I awoke and realized that I was sharing the room with someone I knew.  I asked him how he was doing.  "HOW AM I DOING!?!  I DIDN'T GET ANY SLEEP LAST NIGHT AND I DOUBT THAT ANYONE ELSE IN THE HOSPITAL DID EITHER!!!  DIDN'T YOU HEAR THE SCREAMING!?!"  I was still pretty groggy and said, "What screaming?"  "WHAT SCREAMING!?!  YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE DEAF NOT TO HEAR THE SCREAMING COMING FROM THE MATERNITY WARD!  THAT WOMAN MUST HAVE BEEN THE UGLIEST WOMEN ALIVE!  HER VOICE WAS SO DEEP THAT I IMAGINED HER HAVING A BEARD!  THE REALLY SAD PART IS THAT SHE GAVE BIRTH TO WHAT HAS TO BE THE UGLIEST BABY ON THE PLANET!!!"  

I laid there trying put this whole evening into perspective and then it suddenly hit me.  "Don't worry!  I was that 'UGLY WOMAN' and as far as I know, I didn't produce a child!  He stared at me in complete shock, until I told him the story.  He was too tired to respond, but simply went to sleep!

I passed stones annually for another 10 years, but still look back on this one particular incident on Catalina and when I "gave birth".  I wonder what the kid would have looked like!