I’m not a light packer, but I am an efficient packer, in that I can fit a week’s worth of clothes, diabetes supplies, and travel needs (laptop, sundries, phone, etc.) into a carry-on bag. I hate checking luggage. But for this last trip, the total time away was ten days (and included several days at a conference with “real shoes’ and ‘real dresses’ instead of casual clothes), so I had to buckle and check a bag.
But I still kept all my essentials (meds and technology) in the roller carry-on bag, to protect my diabetes supplies from the cold of the cargo hold and the possibility of being lost. See? Responsible-ish.
Which is why it sort of sucked when, as Chris and I were putting in the code to enter the building of the apartment we had rented in Paris, a box truck rolled by at the same time as a guy on a bicycle. And in the chaos, my carry-on bag pitched into the sidewalk and was run over by the truck.
“Oh,” I said, kind of casually, watching as the first set of the truck wheels crunched over the handle of my bag, crushing it.
“Oh shit,” I said, less casually as the bag pivoted a little bit and the truck wheels further obliterated the handle, coming so, so close to smushing the contents of my bag.
“Bag got run over,” I said to Chris, half in disbelief and half channeling a neanderthal. We both stared at it, and realized at the same time that my pump supplies, bottles of insulin (Humalog and Levemir), test strips, back-up meter, and all my insulin pens were in that bag. Along with my laptop. I immediately, and thankfully, thought about social media and how, even in a foreign country, I could hopefully connect with other PWD and borrow enough insulin and test strips to hold me until I was able to claim a stash of my own.
Nothing to do but drag the broken soldier into the apartment and asses the damage. Miraculously, the truck only destroyed the elongated handle of the bag and dented the very top of it, leaving everything inside still assembled. (Because my worst fear would be disassemble.) My week’s worth of diabetes supplies were safe.
And it dawned on me that even the best laid plans can still become a big, fat mess. Because even though I had packed enough supplies to brace me for a broken bottle of insulin, or gaffed up pump, or lost meter, I hadn’t split those supplies into more than one bag, leaving everything I needed to sustain my life in one, vulnerable spot.
“Good thing it didn’t smash the bag,” I said, pulling out my laptop and inspecting it for damage. “My laptop would have been destroyed. Oh, and all my insulin. Both needed for my nerdy survival, right?”
Lesson learned: Next frigging time, I’m splitting my supplies. And steering clear of traffic.