It’s official: my husband and I have left the country for a half a year on the road. Our first stop? Iceland, home of ash-spewing volcanoes and a grand total of 300,000 people. (I thought I might have my zero off, but no, it’s true.) The good news: it’s a culture that values public hot tubs. Peter and I have been here for less than 48 hours and have already visited two. And the other good news? The national foods are Icelandic lobster and lamb — both delicious and carb-free. (I also tried a small piece of a local delicacy called hakarl — putrefied shark. It is also presumably free of carbohydrates, but it also happens to be disgusting.) Add in the excessive amount of walking that we’ve been doing and so far, this trip is great for my blood sugar.
It’s not so great, however, for my back: it turns out that packing six months’ worth of diabetes supplies requires carrying an entire separate backpack — filled with everything from insulin and a backup pump to three spare glucometers, syringes, and 7 boxes each of infusion sets and reservoirs. Here’s a photo of me in the Reykjavik airport, after we’d gotten off our red-eye flight (Iceland’s actually only four hours ahead of New York, so technically the jetlag shouldn’t be too bad — but all the flights from New York leave at night, so you automatically lose a night’s sleep).
It’s funny — the photo doesn’t make the bag look so bad. Which, in some senses, it’s not — it’s pretty amazing that that one bag (which I plan on dividing up between three bags, lest someone steal one and leave me screwed) can keep me alive for a half a year. But at the same time, I only have one other bag with me. And it’s not that much bigger. If I didn’t have diabetes, the amount of luggage I have with me would be totally reasonable and uncumbersome (and I might have had the space for more than four pairs of underwear).
So far, though, the hassle is worth it — sure, I had to spend more time on the phone with Blue Shield in the past few weeks than anyone should have to in their lifetime. But you know what? I’m in Reykjavik. This morning I saw a Minke whale. (Tonight I might have the opportunity to eat one — which sounds less appealing.) And at the hot springs, I unhooked my pump, put a cover over the insertion site, and jumped on in. Here goes.