Category Archives: Food

In which I battle tourists, check-in machines, and Honolulu traffic.


Another loooong day yesterday. Up betimes and off to collect my taxi vouchers at the clinic, then to KOA for the flight to Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines seems to be playing a mean game with me: check-in is half an hour before a flight, but no matter when I get to the airport the automated check-in/boarding-pass device says I’m too late to check in and I should either see an agent or book another flight. I then turn to the people at the porter’s desk, who check me in easily. Even yesterday, when the check-in lines were stuffed with (excuse me, please) rude, smelly, ignorant tourists lugging over-stuffed suitcases who refused to let me through to the check-in machines, half of which, as usual, were broken. The machines can’t check luggage, they can only dispense boarding passes. More than one sign tells them that. Can they read? No. Do they care? No. Even when I explain politely that I am taking a medical flight and must check in immediately? No. These soon-to-be-airborne assholes do not partake of the spirit of aloha.

I make an exception for the Asian tourists, mostly because they are in the hands of competent guides who do read the signs and who have taken care of the paperwork beforehand. Blessings upon them.

I was seated among a group of people who tossed about the kind of pseudo-cranky wisecracks you hear among co-workers. Turns out they were part of the advance filming crew for Wheel of Fortune, taking pretty background shots of the Big Island, and now headed home (the woman beside me was counting hours until she could fall into her own bed).

At Honolulu airport, I called for an Eco-cab, as instructed. Kaiser Permanente’s current slogan is “Thrive” and apparently they follow this advice themselves, since Eco-cab’s cars are all Priuses (Prii?). But the waiting area for these cabs is the smoking section, so perhaps it all balances out.

Honolulu traffic sucks donkey dork. We got on the freeway at mid-morning and it reminded me of the I80 – I880 interchange in Oakland, headed for the Bay Bridge — in other words, a damned nightmare. It didn’t help that by then I had not eaten since about 7:00 the night before and I could feel my blood-sugar level crawling around my toe-nails, trying to find a way out. But we did get to Hawai’i Advanced Imaging in one exasperated piece. I tipped the cabbie and went inside and checked in, nice and early. Which didn’t help. They are on a rigorous schedule, so I spent over an hour in the waiting room, sipping ¬†free water (thank god for water) and reading, and watching daytime t.v., a mixture of talk shows and cooking shows, the last of which constituted torture.

Got called in, blood sugar tested, injected with radioactive glucose, and another hour’s wait for the stuff to penetrate my sugar-starved system. Since I have a port in my chest, and now had radioactive stuff coursing around my system, did this mean I was part Iron Man and part Godzilla, and would soon be duking it out with myself? I settled back to wait, but instead found part of the third Pirates of the Caribbean to watch. Much better than cooking shows.

Then into the Machine, a combo CT and PET scanner, followed by half an hour of immobility as the bed slid back and forth through the machine. At the end of this, bless them, they gave me a chilled bottle of orange juice and a couple of Nutri-bars, and I called Eco-cab and back we went to the airport, amid more nightmare traffic but this time, at least, the check-in machines didn’t give me a hard time about time.

The minute you get through security for inter-island flights at Honolulu Airport, you are aimed right at a Panda Express. Panda Express food sucks, the absolute worst of steam-table Chinese cooking, but I couldn’t resist. The only Schezwan dish on offer was chicken with peanuts, so I got some of that, and some orange chicken, and some white rice, and stuffed it down. I regretted this even as I did so. Why hadn’t I held out for something with authentic food? Because hunger had driven the last vestige of common sense from my head.

Mostly inter-island traffic on this flight, many headed home at the end of the week, so a far more relaxed bunch. Smooth flight, into the car, and down the two-lane highway to home, which I reached in time to pour a drink, watch some recorded Bill Maher, and crawl into bed with my pets piled around me.

I’m hoping they have the PET scan report early next week. I’m supposed to see a nutritionist (at my request) next week, and who knows that other medical adventures lie in wait. I’ll keep you posted.

Local produce.


From friends who own a coffee farm and orchards. above Honaunau. The lumpy yellow things are how lemons grow here; tangelos, bananas, oranges, onions, avocadoes …

According to recent stories in the news, Hawai’i imports over 90% of its food, which is a pretty awful situation. There’s legislation being introduced to encourage more local food production, including canning and preservation. I’ve been buying Hawai’ian beef and local eggs, and this weekend I start seriously hitting the farmers’ markets — or maybe I’ll wait until after I’ve eaten my way through that pile of fruit.