Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Tolerance for Glucose: Better Than My Tolerance for Needles

So the thing is that when you're pregnant, sometime between 24 and 28 weeks, you have to make an appointment for a glucose tolerance test.  This test determines how your body is handling your blood sugar levels and whether you might have gestational diabetes.

Sometimes this is performed at your doctor's office.  In my case (because of my insurance) it was performed at a medical lab. 

Since there were needles involved, I made David take the afternoon off work and accompany me to the lab to hold my hand during the blood draw.  (Dear David's School District, Thank you for letting him take time off to hand-hold his high-maintenance wife who has trouble managing her freakish phobias.)

My doctor's office gave me the small bottle of liquid to drink.  It is deceptive in that it looks smaller than it really is.  The bottle is short and fat.  I had the choice between fruit punch, lemon-lime, and orange.  I chose orange because someone told me that it tasted kind of like the orange drink you can get at McDonald's and I loved that stuff when I was a kid.

It does taste a little bit like it, for the first swallow or two, but it gets increasingly gross from there.

So anyway, I took this glucose-spiked-orange-flavored liquid with me to the appointment.  The idea is that I could have drunk it ahead of time, but they have to draw your blood exactly an hour after you finish the drink in order to do their test.  So I figured since I had no idea whether they were on schedule or not, I should probably wait and drink it when I got there. 

It was a good thing I waited because the receptionist told me she had to watch me drink it, which made me feel like she was my probation officer and I was being drug-tested to see if I'd be able to keep my baby or have to give her up to social services.

I was a little anxious about this test because I knew that if I failed it, I'd have to come back and have a longer appointment (3 hours instead of one) and more blood draws (more needles!).  So I started freaking out when I read the side of the bottle that said I should have fasted before drinking it.

My doctor didn't say anything about me needing to fast before this glucose test.

Also, my test was at 1:30 in the afternoon.  There is no way I could have made it through the morning without eating.  I most definitely would have passed out thinking about the needle bit.

The receptionist rolled her eyes when I said that my doctor didn't mention fasting and said, "Oh, honey, they never do!"  I would assume that meant that fasting wasn't that big of a deal.  But the receptionist thought otherwise.  She quizzed me on what I'd eaten that day.

"I had a fruit smoothie at 7:30am and then an egg and cheese sandwich at 11:30am."

She stared at me and said, "Well, it's not a good idea to drink sugar when you're going to come and drink sugar."

I refrained from commenting, but I wanted to say something like, "Listen, b*tch!  I am trying to get enough fricking protein for this baby to have a super smart brain or whatever this protein is supposed to do for her and I do not need your shit about drinking a fruit smoothie on a day when I am just a little freaked out about the whole needle issue."

A nurse finally called my name, and we went back to the room where there was a chair.  I sat down but I know I was acting weird and fidgety.  I told her that I'm not very good with needles.

"What does that mean?"

"It means that sometimes I faint.  Like, a lot of times."

"Do you need to lie down now?"

"Um, it would probably be a good idea."

So we went to another room where she had me lie down.  The bench/bed thing had a dirty pillow on it, which horrified me, but the nurse moved it so I didn't have to lie on it.  Still, I wonder if she put it back later?

At least the dirty pillow helped take my mind off the needle situation.  I laid down on the bench/bed and stared at the wall and practiced abdominal breathing while tightly clenching David's hand.  The nurse distracted me by asking about the due date and whether it was a boy or a girl.

It's a blessing that I have huge and protrusive veins, which, while relatively unattractive, make blood draws pretty easy.  It was still sick and disgusting in the way it always is when a needle pierces your skin and sucks blood out of your vein, but I managed not to pass out.  What a victory.

Since that day, I've been waiting to hear from doctor's office about the test results.  And yesterday afternoon, I got the phone call!  My glucose levels and whatever other blood-things they tested for were all normal. 

Sigh of relief.  I get to keep the baby.  And there should be no more needles for a while.


  1. I am so glad your test came back OK! I had to do the longer glucose test--its all-night fasting and about (five? six) blood draws over many, many hours. It took most of the day when I did it. And everything was fine.

    I enjoy reading this blog. I wish all my friends had them so that when it felt too late to call but I wanted all the details, I could just check.


  2. That test STINKS. I didn't know about the fasting either. The first time I had a whole wheat english muffin and passed. The second time I had a big old plate of waffles and did NOT pass. This time I knew to fast. What a pain! And that drink is disgusting, no two ways about it.

  3. Perhaps if you'd call your fruit smoothy a protein shake, the nurse would have been impressed instead of disgusted!