I recently vacationed in my mother’s homeland of Iceland. This country, known as the Land of Ice and Fire, is dynamic with an ever-changing landscape, which grows at nearly the same rate it erodes. Geothermal and seismic activity along with strong winds create a harsh environment, which requires its inhabitants to withstand rugged conditions. The Vikings have a reputation for being fierce, savage, exacting, and cut-throat warriors. These qualities were necessary to surviving the extreme conditions that are Iceland.
While these characteristics from their ancestors have carried over into the makeup of modern-day Icelanders, they are also some of the warmest and most generous people you will meet. My family in Iceland has been some of the biggest supporters in helping me engage in a full and adventurous life. Following my accident, my family came together and offered incredible support in countless ways. As time has passed, that support has been unwavering. Now that I am stronger and in better health, I ventured to my ancestral land.
Naturally, due to my situation, I require more accommodations than most when I travel. When we arrive at hotels, my family and I do not get to relax and decompress as most weary travelers typically do. There is a lot of work to be done rearranging the room and setting everything up to accommodate VOCSN next to the bed, ringing up some sort of hook system to take my sterile water bag, and finding space for the wheelchair and extra batteries to charge. This time, however, our relatives had everything I needed and more ready upon our arrival. Exhausted from an overnight flight, I found a bedroom already set up with a hospital bed that had a perfect shelf for VOCSN right next to it. To top it all off, rather than having to make do with nasty hotel blankets, I could cuddle up with a special Icelandic down comforter, placed conveniently for me, just like the one I sleep with at home. These accommodations were made with the assistance of several of my Icelandic relatives’ friends, many of whom we have never met, who let them borrow beds and cars to make our stay comfortable.
Being in Iceland reminded me of the fortitude of my ancestors and made me contemplate whether centuries-old Viking qualities are what allows me to endure life’s challenges. Survival required resilience and resourcefulness, both traits I have found to be valuable assets in coping with my injury. In addition to the innate strength of Vikings, the demands of their lifestyle did not diminish their humanity, as they are also incredibly affectionate, kind, and community-focused. As much fun as we had experiencing Iceland itself, what made the trip truly enjoyable was the incredible hospitality bestowed upon us by the people of Iceland.
The views expressed by Loa are not necessarily the view of the Ventec Life Systems, its members or the clinical board. These blog posts are the personal experiences of Loa. The blog posts are not intended to provide clinical advice or training related to VOCSN. Always consult a physician or trained clinician prior to using VOCSN. Please refer to the VOCSN Clinical and Technical Manual for detailed instructions, including indications and contraindications for use. VOCSN is available by prescription only.