Camino 04 — Tee Minus One: The Road to Santiago, Redux

Last year’s ascend across the Pyrenees happened in pouring rain. It seems that this year won’t be any different, which is par for the course and might mean another hot and dry crossing of the Meseta, the Spanish desert highlands.

My backpack weighs nine kilos without water, which is a “little” above the recommended weight limit of ten percent of body weight, but pretty far below Army regulations. Someone, somewhere, might scold me, but that, too worked well last year, and will help acclimatize faster. Later down the road, as my legs get stronger again and my feet remember how not to hurt in the evenings, it will lighten due to consumables being consumed.

St. Jean Pied de Port. Last year, May 31st 2017

Part of this walk isn’t just about seeing the Way once more. I need time to decompress, yes, and I am doing this to find the time and peace of mind to make decisions about my future, but I am also watching my health.

As some might already know, I had a little bit (not the first) scare a few days ago. My physician (no, I am not a “heal thyself” kind of guy) almost didn’t want to let me walk. for some reason, I pushed a 11.3 HBA1c. For reference, 4-6 is normal, 6 and more is diabetic, anything above 10 is dangerous as all hell. Now, I have always been teetering on the brink of pre-diabetes, but a HBA1c of 11 means pretty much that I am headed towards Insulin land. If, well, if this was normal. The HBA is the body’s personal long term glucose memory. It’s not a spur of the moment value, and being that high means I’ve been pushing glucose values of around 400mg/dl (70 is about normal) for a longer time. Only, checking right away, I was showing slightly elevated but generally non-critical values.

So I am a walking cyborg this time. A continuous blood glucose monitor checks me out, trying to find out what makes me go into those highs. My fingers look a little bit like steak tartare, but it’s all for science. I’ll also check my weight, which — because I don’t think absolute numbers should be the be-all-end-all — I’ll just state as “100” and will change accordingly when and if I get to weigh myself.

So, tomorrow I’ll arrive in Bayonne, take a train to St. Jean on Sunday, and we (yes, I’ll use “we,” not in the royal form but because I’d love it if y’all would come with me) will ascend to Orisson on Monday. Pictures will be here, select ones on Flickr, and an album on Google Photos is about to be created.

Until then, Ultreïa et Suseïa, I <3 you guys, and have an amazing Friday!

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