We made it home from our special summer adventure in Hawaii and jumped right back into the work/summer school/therapy routine again. It so easy to get swept up in the flurry of “to dos” so the challenge now is to hang on to a little of the laid-back aloha spirit and keep that spirit alive this summer whether we’re in a doctor’s office, working on a house project or shopping for groceries. ;)
We are so grateful! We’ve never attempted a trip like this before. Before Rudy was born, our vacation time was used to visit our parents back in Kansas and Texas. Since Rudy’s birth, our summer vacations have been limited to small-scale road trip destinations within California with the exception of Rudy’s Wish Trip (organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation) and a rented-RV trip to Kansas to see my dad in the last months of his battle with brain cancer. With Wilson heading off to college and the dynamic of our family’s daily life changing in the months ahead, it seemed like the right time for a big family trip.
When Rolf and I started to brainstorm several months ago, we entertained the thought of finding care for Rudy at home allowing us a very different experience with just the big kids but when we ran the idea by the big sibs they quickly protested and said we couldn’t go without Rudy! :) And so began the hard work of organizing logistics that fit Rudy’s special needs…ordering oxygen and enteral supplies for delivery on Oahu and Maui, renting vehicles big enough to haul Rudy’s wheelchair, getting the airline-required doctor letters of release for travel with O2 concentrator, gathering information on the hospitals near our accomodations, making sure the activities we signed up for were wheelchair accessible, etc,etc,etc. None of it rocket science but definitely enough extra work in pre-planning that could cause one to think twice about going on such a trip.
Rolf and I had what we affectionately call “the honeymoon from hell” in Hawaii that we’ve wanted to redeem for a couple of decades now and our kids, Oma & Gma Jo have never been to Hawaii so we were all were pretty excited to experience new adventures and make some special memories together!! Rolf did a great job of organizing an itinerary that included a few family outings, a special experience for each of the big kids and a good balance of down time at a condo right on the water. Rudy’s body had a hard time adjusting to the heat and humidity of the islands so he spent a good bit of his time indoors initially which made our condo location ideal…allowing him to enjoy the beautiful view and the big sibs’ fun water play from the comfort of the air-conditioned condo! :)
We started our adventure with 3 days in Oahu where we visited the USS Arizona Memorial, where Olivia got to swim with dolphins and where the big boys got to go parasailing…
En route from LAX to Honolulu!
Vacation Roomies Gma Jo and Oma!
USS Arizona Memorial
“Thumbs up” from Rudy
While at Pearl Harbor, Rolf and the big boys toured the “Mighty Mo” aka USS Missouri.
Some good ol’ fashioned sibling fun in the hotel pool…
Thanks to current “rubber sleeve” technology in cast covers, Rudy got to go swimming too!
…And this is pretty much the view of every picture he took with the underwater camera. Ha Ha
Bucket List Dolphin Swim? Check!
Rudy just couldn’t stay awake long enough to watch Olivia swim with the dolphins :(
Sea Life Park in Oahu…such a pretty locale.
We didn’t get a picture of the boys parasailing but Wilson did capture Max getting blasted and almost swept away by this wave!
And the gals enjoyed a lei-making class!
After a whirlwind three days in Waikiki, we packed up and flew to Maui where we planted some roots for a week…
Day 4 – Our flight over to Maui.
Sadly, Olivia caught a fever and felt pretty awful on our travel day so she, Rolf and Rudy stayed home from the luau scheduled our first night in Maui :(.
The big boys were good sports and participated in the “Keiki Hula” solely for a photo op! Ha Ha
Chillin’ off the lanai…
One of many beautiful sunsets from our condo…ah, lovely.
Max the grill master.
Rolf’s big treat was getting to step off the lanai and SUP anytime he wanted…thanks to a little El Nino, our side of the island enjoyed unusual swells for this time of year. Rolf was a happy camper!
He also made arrangements with a local dude he met online to do a downwind run to Kihei…thankfully the guy was a legit SUPer or this could have been the last picture we have of Rolf.
The road to Hana was a long and winding day trip but it definitely lived up to it’s reputation for being the most beautiful drive on the island!
A last minute add on to the itinerary was a helicopter tour…Rudy and I hung back at the condo but the rest of the crew enjoyed this “once-in-a-lifetime” experience!
Rudy’s been working on “self care” in OT so while the others were out flying the friendly skies, I gave Rudy the tube of sunscreen and asked him to put it on…ha, ha! Not bad Rudy!
Although we played hard during the day, the evenings were reserved for hanging out on the lanai for impromptu ukulele concerts.
Shhhh, I don’t think we were supposed to sit on it but there was a carousel horse in the middle of our condo!
I LOVE pineapple bowls for some reason…I got a small one on our honeymoon and use it all the time…this one in our condo is the biggest one I’ve ever seen! Ha
There were a lot of activities Rudy couldn’t do on this trip but snorkeling wasn’t one of them…we took a family cruise out to Molokini and a sea turtle cove to snorkel and Rudy joined us on the second snorkel stop!
1st stop, Molokini crater…
Then it was Rudy’s turn!!!!
Getting ready to launch!
One, two, three, GO!
Woo Hoo!! Family snorkel pic!
Olivia’s underwater selfie.
Rudy loved his snorkel float!
Rudy’s view of the fish!
The fish’s view of Rudy!
Never thought our little half-heart would swim in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Maui!
Travel day back to the Mainland…Hawaiian Style!
We got to L.A. early Sunday morning and said goodbye to Oma at LAX where she caught a flight back home to Alabama. Rudy started summer school at 7:45am the following morning…kind of a rude awakening for us but he was happy to see his friends and Nurse Viviana again! While Rudy was in school, Livy, Wilson and I took Gma Jo to the airport for her flight back to Kansas and after school, we all took Rudy to his ortho appt to get his cast removed!! Keeping the spirit of the islands alive, we had an impromptu “castaway” party right there in the doctor’s office…
“There ain’t no party like a ‘Castaway’ Party …..ooo, ooo, ooo!!”
The next day we headed to Dr. Harake’s for Rudy’s routine check-up and Rudy was being “Mr. Helpful” during his echo exam…Steady, Rudy, steady!
Rudy’s O2 sats were pretty low – low 70s – (he typically sats in the low 80s) so we’ll keep an eye on that as it could be a bad sign but everything else checked out okay. No change in his heart size/function. He was pretty tuckered out this week so I suspect it’ll take his body a few days to settle back to his normal baselines…I think we all may be experiencing a little vacation wear and tear, perhaps, but I think everyone would agree that our trip was well worth it! :) Aloha Friends!