Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sugar High

I can imagine the conversation that went on between the two doctors who thought of the glucose tolerance test. I don't think they were really thinking of their patient's health when they did so.

Dr. #1: Hey, I have an idea of how we can test for diabetes!
Dr. #2: What's that?
Dr. #1: We can have them not eat any sugar all day and then give them a drink with more sugar than anyone could possibly take in one sitting...
Dr. #2: Oh, and then we can poke them with needles and drain their blood!
Dr. #1: Yeah, yeah! And then we can watch as they get sick!

What kind of sick doctors were those?

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I had to get the 1-hour glucose screen done to see if I'm at risk for gestational diabetes. They forgot to have me do it last month, so they asked me to do it we did, the day after our 28 week check up.

The instructions were to avoid all forms of sugar all day: fruit, juice, jam, etc. I then had a choice of one of two meals: eggs and toast for breakfast or meat and vegetables for lunch.

I had lunch. Two hours later I found myself at the hospital, trying to communicate with some very gossipy nurses (who were all much more interested in gossiping than in helping me out).

They gave me an orange drink that tasted like Fanta, only super sweet--like pop isn't super sweet already. I had five minutes to drink it. No problemo, I thought. But then I noticed that it was carbonated so that meant I had to battle the hiccups while trying to drink in a very limited time frame.

I read the bottle between sips:
Take only under the direction of a physician.
May cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or fainting.

Man, those doctors sure were sick. Who gives someone enough sugar in one sitting that it can only be safely taken under the direction of a physician? And why would anyone want to drink so much sugar that they have any of the symptoms listed?

The first nurse had told me to come up to the desk after I had finished drinking it and they would have someone draw my "initial" blood. Apparently her shift ended while I was drinking because there was a new lady at the desk when I went up there and she told me that I didn't need any initial blood work done.

So I sat in my chair for an hour. Andrew read "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" while I, at Andrew's insistence, began the third Harry Potter novel (I haven't even read the first one yet...)

Then a nurse came out and called my name. I looked all around for the nurse. It took me about two minutes until I spotted a short male nurse jumping up and down and waving his arms.

He was nice enough, but I think he was fairly new at his job.

I'm actually not sure if the reason it hurt so bad was because the nurse did a terrible job of sticking me, or if it is simply because I have 50% more blood coursing through my body. Either way, when we left, I was holding my arm and almost crying.

"Why are you holding your arm?" Andrew, who again didn't accompany me into the lab because he is terrified of needles, asked, "You didn't do that last time."

"Because it hurts." I answered shortly. I wasn't feeling too well.

By the time we got home I was ready for a nap. I felt like I had just eaten all of my Halloween candy in one sitting. In my family, Halloween candy usually lasts all year, so I don't even know how that would feel, but I think I have a pretty good idea now.

I took a nap and woke up feeling even worse. Eeww...I never wanted to see sugar ever again. I went out into the living room and lay down on the floor in the fetal position.

"Are you alright?" Andrew asked.

"Yes," I lied.

"Are you sure?" he probed.

"No," I said.

Andrew made me a quesadilla and then left for work. I ate and then got ready to go to yoga. Maybe that would make me feel better.

I then experienced some of the symptoms that I read on the bottle. I won't go into details, but we'll just say that I felt much better a few minutes later.

I left for yoga. It was canceled. No one had told me, so when I got there, no one was there. That was fine with me because I didn't feel too great anyway. I went home and did the same thing I had done just a few minutes before.

Instead of yoga, I attempted to clean the kitchen but my arm was pounding and it hurt to straighten it or lift anything with it.

So, instead of cleaning the kitchen, I phoned Andrew and asked when he could come home and take care of me.

I had killed enough time doing who knows what that he was already on his way home, hurray!

Andrew came home and made me dinner and rubbed my back and played with my hair. I'm so spoiled, I know.

While he was doing the dishes (see the part about my being spoiled), I decided to take off my bandage. I assure you that, although it doesn't look that bad in the picture, it looked pretty gruesome last night.

No wonder my arm hurt. It was all swollen and purple and had three little needle entrances in it.

Let's just say that Andrew and I both are hoping that I passed this test so that we don't have to go in and take the more intensive glucose screen. I really don't know if I'm up to having my blood drawn three times in one day. After all, I only have two arms.


  1. Nancy I feel your pain. I have super small veins that are very deep and roll. While I'm a pregnant a good phlebotomist can get me on the first try. An average or bad one...well it is not a fun day. One time when I was pregnant with Ezra they must have poked me 1/2 dozen times in each arm. It took so long they had to call upstairs to tell them I was going to be late for my appointment because they just couldn't find a vein. Finally after three nurses had tried using a variety of blood letting techniques they had success. When I went upstairs to have my blood pressure taken the nurse said, "FORGET IT." You'll bleed out like a sive. Lovely :)

  2. Nancy, wow I remember doing all of my blood work for the glucose crap too. For some reason while I was pregnant any kind of blood work made me so sick as well. Now I am ok, but then it was bad too. Some nurses have to poke me multiple times as well to get my veins. A good thing to do if you have to get more stuff done is to drink a lot of water the night before and the morning of. Being well hydrated makes a huge difference on whether or not they have to poke you for a second, third, or even fourth time.

    oh, and I am getting there with the blog. a two year old makes it hard to sit for a while (which it takes me) to publish a post.

  3. Nancy, poor you! That sounds like a terrible experience. I guess I was lucky. In Syria, they did it first thing in the morning so I really only had to miss breakfast. And I don't remember the stuff tasting that bad, either. Maybe all that Squeeze-drinking got me used to it (did we have Squeeze in Jordan??).

  4. Hey Nancy! That's aweful! I guess my sugar tolerance (at least when I was pregnant) was way high, because I remember that orange stuff and I drank it down so fast... Well, maybe I was just trying to get it over with quick or something, I don't remember now. I've never had blood taken except when I was pregnant, and it really wasn't fun. Hopefully you don't have to do it any more?!

  5. I never had to have that test thank goodness! Hope you are feeling better!

  6. That sounds awful. I hate getting my blood drawn. The few times that I have donated blood something always goes wrong. I have them poke me multiple times in both arms just for a little blood. I also had a nurse run up to after I was done and tell me to immediately lie on the floor. I looked at her with confusion and she in a panick said that I was green. Those are just a few examples of blood drawing experiences. So I can totally sympathize with you about the pain. I actually had one nurse blow a vein and she said that my arm might be bruised the next day, for about 5 weeks I had a bruise that went from above my elbow to the middle of my forearm. It was like 6 or 7 inches long. It was huge!!! Anyway I hope you don't have to do that again.

  7. Yuck! I'm supposed to have a glucose tolerance test (but the long one) but I keep not doing it because a) it probably won't tell me anything I don't already know and b) if I ate that much sugar it would make me sick for the next week or two!! It is just not worth it. So... I will not go back to the same doctor again. :) Good thing I switched insurances, I don't have to. Until maybe someday when I'm in your situation and they force me too. :)

  8. Well this comment is quite late but I didn't know about your blog back in the day. Or I forgot that I knew about it... Hmmm In any case. I had to do the 2/3 hour test. (It seems like it was 20 I was there for so long. They didn't tell me ahead of time that I'd be there for hours and I didn't bring anything with which to entertain myself.) That drink was VILE. I barely had it down in time. Drinking it any faster would have resulted in fizzy, super sweet vomit. I HATE that test. And after all that, turns out I'm not diabetic! (Lol I really am glad I'm not. It runs in the family and I'm pre-diabetic or something like that.) All that torture for nothing!