One of my memorable days on Conserver was the day I took a short cut to the berthing area.
As a newlywed my wife Thayes and I had very little in the way of furniture. She had been renting a furnished house and I was a single sailor when we married. We had just moved into our quarters at Navy housing in Pearl City. I was granted special liberty to be home with my wife because our personal effects had arrived and were being delivered. They consisted primarily of clothes, kitchen utensils, linens and such, all my stereo equipment and both of our record collections. Not much really, but they were things we missed and would help make our house a bit more homey. The few furniture items we had were loaners provided by PWC.
I had duty the night before. My special liberty started after morning quarters that memorable day in October 1974. Operations Department held quarters on the port side of the main deck near the bow. As soon as QMC Larose dismissed us, I headed for the berthing area to change and get ready to hit the beach. The shortest route was down the forward hatch on the starboard side that led to the armory then aft. It had drizzled early that morning, the hatch had been left open and the ladder treads were slippery.. I stepped over the hatch coaming and that’s the last thing I remember until I came to at the bottom of the ladder.
Doc Hansen swathed my head in bandages to stop the blood flow from a gash on the back of my head. I forget whether I walked to the ambulance that had been called or was transported to it in a stokes stretcher. I had a short ambulance ride to the Medical Clinic near the Makalapa gate where I got eleven stitches. Someone from the ship had called my wife to tell her what had happened and where I was taken. When she got into the ER recovery area I was a mess. Dried blood all over my hair and on my dungaree shirt. They observed me for an hour, prescribed 24 hours of bed rest and some pain killers then released me to my wife.
First thing I did when I got home was take a nap. It lasted only until the shipment came. It was time to open the boxes and find the stereo equipment that had been dearly missed for months. Neither stitches nor the throbbing headache were going to keep me from setting up my stereo system and listening to some tunes.