Glucose Test

So I took my glucose test this morning, and now that I’ve devoured a sesame bagel with cream cheese and a decaf iced latte, I am reemerging into the world of the mostly coherent. What’s a glucose test, you ask? Well…

Most pregnant women are given a glucose test between their 24th and 28th week to check for gestational diabetes. The concept is pretty easy – you fast for 12 hours, consume a controlled amount of sugar and 1 hour later have your blood drawn to check your blood sugar levels. Piece of cake, right?

And largely it is. The trick is to go first thing in the morning, so you don’t have to suffer through being pregnant, awake, and not allowed to eat for 12 hours (at best I can go about 4 hours without feeling either starved or faint, but even that’s pushing it these days). And by first thing in the morning I do mean first thing – a concept my husband didn’t fully get his head around this morning as I waited for him to finish his coffee, check his email, make a few phone calls and pay a few bills before dropping me off at the hospital. He’s had a tough week so I didn’t want to hurry things, but waking up without immediately putting food in my system is a recipe for queasiness and I was very ready to have the whole ordeal over with and tuck into breakfast. So needless to say I was feeling a bit wonky as I headed into the hospital.

And then a game of departmental ping pong began. Check in at front desk and get sent to Pre-Lab. Pre-Lab hands me what looks like orange fanta in the sort of bottle you would expect to find filled with insulin in a diabetic’s fridge and a Styrofoam cup, inform me that I have 5 to 10 minutes to consume the beverage and send me to the lobby to drink up. The stuff doesn’t taste too bad (like super-market knock off orange soda with an odd aftertaste) and it was served cold, so I guzzle it down in about 4 minutes and head back to Pre-Lab. They hand me back my paperwork and tell me to go back to the front desk to register. The front desk takes my paperwork, tells me to sit down and says my name will be called.

This morning the lobby is all octogenarians and pregnant ladies with “sodas” in hand, so I wait for about 20 minutes for my name to be called. This isn’t outrageous or anything, but the Pre-Lab folks never told me how the glucose test would go down, so I grow progressively more nervous that they need to take my blood at both the hour and half hour mark, and my mind wanders to how little I want to be informed by a head shaking nurse that I’ve missed the testing window while doing god know’s what in the lobby and that I’ll have to return tomorrow and start over. I take comfort in the fact that the pregnant lady who showed up after me is still waiting for registration as well, and the nurses can’t possibly have forgotten about both of us, so I must be okay.

Registration calls me in, updates my insurance info, and even pre-registers me for my delivery in October. Sweet! The woman informs me that there will be a $200 co-pay for the delivery, and I think to myself that I’ve spent more money on a pair of shoes than I will out of pocket on the hospital fees for delivering my first child (not counting nightly stay fees but whatever). Not a bad deal! She sends me on my way and so it’s back to Pre-Lab to tell them I am all set. They tell me to wait in the lobby and that they’ll call me when they are ready.

I attempt to read the Time article on Nelson Mandela but I only make it through Joel Stein’s quips about getting vetted to be vice president and then rest my head against the wall behind my chair. The sugar rush never came but the subsequent crash feels like it’s hitting hard and I just want a piece of toast and a nap. I feel wonky.

Pre-Lab announces my name and it’s into a chair that seems like a higher version of the desks from public school where the writing surface folds down in front of you. The nurse is kind enough to ask which arm I prefer – a blessing since my right arm has refused to yield blood since I was about four despite many an overly confident attempt by scores of nurses during my illness-riddled childhood. I roll up my left sleeve and present my arm while proceeding to close my eyes and bite down slightly on my clenched right fist. The nurse is mercifully swift and the pin prick is mild. The vial fills, the needle is removed, I confirm that it is my name on the sticker she adheres to the sample and I’m sent on my way. All in, the whole ordeal took about an hour. Not bad.

I walk to the office fantasizing about the snack I’ll be purchasing from the coffee shop and note that it may not be the most prudent move in the world to walk a half mile in the July heat after blood work and no breakfast in all my pregnant wonkiness, but I don’t feel faint and I don’t really have another option anyway.

And now I’m writing this instead of doing work (despite my having showed up to the office almost two hours late), waiting for the magically power of cream cheese to return my powers of reason. I should hear about my results at my next doctor’s appointment, but I’m not nervous. If there is any mercy in this world I will not be at risk for gestational diabetes. The turkey and beer fast is bad enough – if they take away ice cream and cup cakes I don’t think I’ll make it.


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