Everything Beautiful is Difficult

In Matt's Musings, Travel, Travelling with Type 1 diabetes
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I didn’t write that title. Socrates did. Quite a few years ago and I am not sure what he was referring to but I like it. Imagine if Socrates had a Twitter account.

This trip is beautiful. Just the idea of it is beautiful. And the places we will see and feel and smell will be beautiful. Driving up Highway 1 with my arm out the window and the Waifs playing will be beautiful. But yesterday was difficult. Like doubled over on the nature strip vomiting kind of difficult. I don’t think Socrates had that in mind when he penned that thought.

It started two days ago. We have been staying over the other side of town with the in-laws. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed at 6am at Mel’s parents house and all I could think of is “Why are we actually doing this?”. Leaving for the other side of town in the dark to continue the endless washing and cleaning and scrubbing that is needed to get a lived in house ready for rental. Cleaning a house from top to bottom is a brutal thankless task that stretches out like an Antarctic wasteland in front of you. You finish one room and another looms all full of nooks an crannies and dust balls the size of your head. Moving sofas that haven’t been moved for years and the kids squeal with glee to find toys and treasures they had considered lost forever.

So we set off and go hard without stopping, sweating our way from dawn to dusk only stopping for the occasional cup of tea. I came back a little wobbly and then woke up on Wednesday with something akin to sea sickness. If I stood up the world would spin and nausea would sweep over me. I pushed on, making the trip across town with my eyes closed. Got to our house and was so bad I had to sleep curled up in an empty room while Mel cleaned and mopped and scrubbed. An interrupted trip to the doctor confirmed a viral infection of the inner ear. Probably a result of the last two months relentless working and planning and burning the midnight oil. So a wasted day was spent curled up in the foetal position feeling useless while Mel worked.

The diabetes is just another added dimension. Not only the sickness but on top you have to worry that your sugars don’t plummet too far. So you cant eat but you need to eat, you cant drink but you need to drink. You are spending all your energy staying up right and the mental energy to worry about your blood glucose levels just seems all too hard.

I awoke today well enough to push on (God love Stemazine), we hit the other side of town and now finally the house is nearing completion. Mel and I actually feel like we can see the end, that tantalising light. We can almost feel the car going into first gear down our little street as I press play on my IPod with those all important first few songs…..

So in the way of all great, beautiful journeys we have already had a set back. Not a major one in the grand scheme of things. What’s one day amongst 546.  We leave Saturday not Friday, so just wanted to let you all know. I just keep repeating Socrates to myself over and over. “”Everything beautiful is difficult”.

But at 11:35am yesterday as I was bent double in indignity by the side of the road vomiting I felt like telling Socrates he could stick his new age self-help psychobabble in his pipe and smoke it.


  1. Safe travels our dear friends – Matt, I hope you’re feeling OK, I also hope there is plenty of INXS to be played along your journey…!
    We will no doubt be in touch before we touch down in sunny Darwin, can’t wait!
    Travel safe

  2. Crash and burn. Oh Matt! It had to happen i s’pose. All that build up taking it’s toll. We’ll be thinking of you 5 tomorrow. Fan-f-in-tastic folk on the adventure of a lifetime! Crunch all the gears to doubly burn it in your memory and add cheese. Everything’s better with cheese. Lotsa love to you all! X

  3. OK. This is where wife/daughters able to do sugar measurements come in. Bottom line is just 2 things: 1. avoid low sugars (so you need to adjust insulin dose down and get glucose in to you), and 2. avoid ketosis (when not enough insulin on board so glucose does not get in to cells, energy starts to come from fat breakdown, produces acid excess, takes 2 or 3days to develop and cause illness) and that is done by having insulin. That’s it. Between those two the team has knowledge and control at the prick of a finger. And just a phone call away, even from Novosibirsk.

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