Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sure, I'd love to not eat for 15 hours, thanks

So I failed the one-hour glucose test for gestational diabetes, which instantly qualified me for the needle extravaganza otherwise known as the three-hour test. "I have to fast for 12 hours?" I said faintly.

Yes, said the nurse, and then we take your blood once an hour for three hours and you still can't eat until after that's done. Just what every pregnant woman wants to hear when they get hungry, oh, once an hour.

And still I might not have flipped out much were it not for the family history of Type II diabetes. GD leads to Type II later on in life for something like two out of three women. Oh great, I thought, I didn't escape after all.

Which is mean really. The family members who have it seem to manage pretty well, between medications and dietary restrictions. Properly managed, it shouldn't wreck your life or even get in the way much.

But still. Type II has the added bonus of being brought on, usually, by weight or diet issues. So I wonder if there isn't the feeling of having failed somehow, of not trying hard enough to be healthy. When people are diagnosed, do they start mentally ticking off every single doughnut or soda or piece of pie they had in the past year, trying to figure out which was the tipping point? Because I did that before I even took the three-hour test.

I grumpily dragged myself into the OB's office, drank the lemon-lime sugar-shock bottle (I hate to admit it, but I didn't think it tasted that bad) and sat in the waiting room and wrote. Yes, I was the freak with the little notebook in the corner. There's a short story I'm working on -- I do write fiction, in the delusion that it will be published someday -- and I figured, why waste three perfectly good hours of writing time when I never get three hours of writing time? Anyhow the magazine selection in the waiting room is weak at best. I read the same one two visits in a row once.

There was another woman there taking the same test and we ended up on the same needle schedule; the nurse would call us both back at once, draw her blood and then draw mine. Funny in a way. Then the nurse would ask me, "How are you doing?" and I'd say, "Well, I'm pretty hungry," because I was on the verge of pretending every object around me was a turkey leg like they do in the cartoons, and she'd say cheerily, "Well, you've got two more drawings to go," which is two more hours if you're keeping count. And I'd grump my way back out to the waiting room.

I wasn't allowed to fall asleep, she said, just so they'd know I hadn't fainted.

A couple other patients came and went -- a young Indian couple with a most adorable toddler, a couple of whitish-haired older women, a younger one in hipper-than-thou jeans -- and my glucose buddy and I stayed, she on her Crackberry, me on my notebook. One of the workers came out from the back and made a snappy comment about how we seemed to be camping out there, or something like that, and I wanted to take an outdated magazine and swat her upside the head with it.

Final insult to injury: The last drawing took forever because my veins decided they'd had it and wouldn't give up any more blood (this was on top of the one-hour test the previous week, in which the woman drawing my blood couldn't get a vein, stuck me again, remembered afterward, oops, forgot to get the hemoglobin!, stuck me again, couldn't find a vein and ended up using a tiny needle on the back of my hand to get it done. She hadn't drawn blood in a while, she said apologetically). So a few extra tries later, we were done and I looked like I had track marks inside my elbow. And I ate the fastest lunch you ever saw in your life.

And the final result was ... normal. Completely normal. Which was a relief, but also a surprise. I really figured I'd flunk this one. I felt a little guilty over all the angst. What, I'm better than my diabetic relatives? I don't deserve to live their life?

Didn't stop me from having celebratory ice cream though.


  1. I am so glad you don't have to deal with that crap dude.

    If they make you do it again, one of my tricks is to get four lottery tickets. Then every hour I scratch one off.

    I am really surprised you didn't have anywhere comfy to hang out. When I got it at lab corp they had a spearate roomm with a tv and recliners.

    No recliners at the RE's, but they let you leave and come bac every hour.

  2. Lottery tickets. Genius.

    I would've been afraid to leave and come back, on account of I would've been driving on no food. I don't deal well with no food.