I am certainly not wishing this on anyone, but a five-night stay in Maui Memorial Medical Center is a unique and memorable experience.
For example, the patient on the other side of the curtain dividing my accommodations was a 91-year-old Filipino man, who was attended by his frail wife, also 91, and by their children and spouses, not to mention swarms of grandchildren. I can tell you with near certainty that the word for Grandpa in Tagalog is ta-ta (TAH-tah).
And could there be another place in the country where nurses will consistently check your bodily functions by asking, “You shee-shee today? What about doo-doo?” Both terms of Japanese origin are commonly used with local toddlers of all ethnicities. Oh … and with adults in hospitals, too.
There is a famous breakfast dish here in the Islands call a loco moco. Concocted in proper local style, start with three scoops of sticky white rice. (How else you going eat dis wid chopsticks, bruddah?) On top of the rice goes a large hamburger paddy. Cover that with lots of brown gravy, and top everything off with a fried egg. Trust me: you’ll skip lunch.
A loco moco was a breakfast option on the hospital menu one of the mornings of my incarceration. I ate very little during my stay, but I had to see what the dietiticians at the hospital would do to the traditional loco moco. AARRGH! One scoop of brown rice topped with brown gravy, no burger, and the sorriest most overcooked fried egg I’ve ever seen. It was not a loco moco, no matter what they chose to call it!
Finally, it was my unique privilege to observe the remarkable Nurse Donna in action. A 25-year veteran, she was overseeing Marie, a young nurse who was tending to my needs—administering medications, recording my “vitals”, checking my dressings. If Marie gets Nurse Donna’s blessing—and I feel sure she will—she will sure as hell have earned her stripes.