I’ll give you a hint — it’s not constantly freaking out about whether your insulin is cool enough (or, for that matter, whether a fellow hosteller is going to snag it from the communal fridge and hold it for ransom).
It’s all the extra movement. Seriously — I think of myself as a pretty active person, but compared to what I’m like when traveling, my normal life is that of a couch potato. Sure, I exercise regularly — but most of the day I’m just sitting in front of my computer. When I’m traveling, though, I’m walking and moving for much of the day. The result? I can actually have a soft serve ice cream cone. (And as you all know, that is a really pleasant exception to the norm.)
Other interesting diabetes-related observations on the trip so far:
-Frios do not keep very cold if they are not exposed to circulating air. Interestingly, it is difficult to provide a source of circulating air in your backpack. Has anyone figured out a solution to this? I’m worried that in a week from now, my insulin will have denatured and I’ll be screwed.
-it is really, really nice to be untethered once in a while. This morning my pump was due for a change and I was supposed to go swimming. So I decided to do something bold: take off the pump and not change the insertion set until after I got back. I know, crazy, right? Unfortunately, the experiment didn’t go too well — my blood sugar was low when I got in and high when I got out (a combo of a couple of glucose tablets, a delayed rush from breakfast and a lack of a basal for an hour). But wow, was it nice to take a shower afterwards and not have anything attached to my body. I was surprised by how pleasant it was.
-continuous glucometers need to be better designed for hot tubs. I don’t think of myself as someone who often has the chance to go into hot tubs, but Iceland is an exception — there are geothermal pools everywhere you look. As a result, there’s no way I can wear my CGM for this week — the poor sensor would freak out! This has happened to me before — I know it’s supposed to be waterproof, but I just don’t trust it, especially when high temperatures are involved.
Diabetes is definitely an annoying travel companion — I’m already tired of carrying around that damn backpack — but it is inspiring me to try to establish a routine when I get back of taking morning walks. I think it would be very helpful for the rest of the day.
Lastly, I’m enjoying taking pictures of my diabetes equipment in bizarre locations. Here’s me testing my blood sugar next to a naturally warm stream, and another at Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls, where I discovered a pump at the end of the rainbow.