Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good day for a glucose screening

Egypt is lucky that this is only the second time I've "fasted" since moving here. I have only done one fast Friday since October 2006. That was in February this year and I was technically already pregnant, although we hadn't found out yet.

I actually enjoy fast Sunday/Friday, but can't participate fully when I'm playing the role of either incubator or milk cow, which is pretty much what I've been doing since October 2006 onwards.

Today I was "fasting" for my glucose test. I was hoping to sleep in a little, but instead I ended up getting up with Rachel at 6 o'clock in the morning. That meant that I was awake and dealing with her for 3 hours before I went in to the clinic and that I only got around 4 hours of sleep (there was a bug-incident last night and we had to hunt down a big, ugly bug instead of going to sleep) and that I hadn't eaten breakfast yet (since I was fasting).

Culture and language barriers are difficult to deal with under the best of circumstances and I'm usually pretty okay with things. But let's just say that I should not be unleashed when I'm tired, pregnant, and hungry.

Things went alright at the beginning. I left Rachel home with Andrew, since he still can't go on campus, and it was nice to leave the house unencumbered for a change. I hardly had to wait at all to get my blood drawn and the nurse/blood-drawer guy found my vein right away. It was nothing like the blood-draw of 2007.

When he handed me a cup for a urine sample is when things started turning sour. The washroom was occupied so I sat down to wait. There weren't any English magazines, but I found an Italian one. Good thing I took Italian in college so that I wouldn't have to sit idly by while waiting for the washroom to become available.

Finally, the woman who was in there came out. And then she stopped in the hallway, rifled through her backpack, and went back in. She was in for another 10 minutes doing who knows what. The water was on the whole time and I heard a lot of banging around.

Let me clarify that this "washroom" is really just a WC. Toilet, sink, garbage can. That's all that's in there. There isn't a whole lot to do.

She finally came out again and I went in. There was a large BM in the toilet and water splashed all over the toilet seat, the sink, the mirror, the floor.

What I thought: Why can't Arabs use the washroom? It's not hard!

What I did: flushed the toilet and sopped up some water so that I could stop gagging.

What I heard: KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

"Just a minute," I said.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! came the reply.

"I'm in here," I said.


"I'll be done in a minute!"

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! Again with the knocking!

"I said just a minute!"

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! Accompanied by a wiggle of the handle.

"SOMEONE'S IN HERE!!" I half-yelled.

No response. I finished my business and left the bathroom, brushing past an impatient-looking man. I glared. He was Egyptian and really might not speak English, but does that even matter?

If the bathroom door is locked and the light is on and someone inside yells something, it's a pretty safe bet that they heard you knocking. What did he think? That I was yelling, "Come in!" Unlikely. I don't know what he was thinking. I only know what I was thinking and it wasn't very nice.

What I thought: I hope you slip in there. I almost did.

What I did: Dropped my sample off by my blood vial marked "Nasy Hiss" in bold, black letters.

I really, really hope they know that's my blood.

Then I left to walk home. While I was walking I got a bucket of water thrown on me by a car-washing bowab. I just about lost it when he held up his palms like he was helpless.

Right, maalaesh...all you did was throw a bucket of nasty, sudsy, dirty water on me. Some things just can't be helped.

Luckily, this glucose screening was the old fashioned kind where they send you home to eat breakfast, wait two hours, and then come back to have your blood drawn again, so I didn't have to drink that vile sugar stuff that I had to with Rachel. Instead I came home and had a yummy breakfast burrito and took a nap before returning to the clinic to get poked again.

I had to walk past that bowab, who was shaking car covers with his buddy. When I walked by he nodded his head in my direction and said something like,

"That's the woman I threw a bucket of water on this morning."

Then his friend laughed.

I'm not sure exactly what he said because all I understood was woman, water, and morning. I assumed that his little head jerk meant that I was the woman he was referring to.

"What?" I asked in Arabic.

"I'm not speaking Arabic to you, stupid American!" he replied rudely.

Of course I'm not sure that he actually called me stupid because I don't know how to say stupid in Arabic. But I know that he used some sort of mean-sounding adjective between "you" and "American."

"Whatever," I mumbled under my breath. Just because I don't speak Arabic fluently doesn't mean that I'm a complete idiot.

At least my experience at the clinic was more pleasant. I got called in after waiting for only a few minutes and after one poke and a few seconds to fill the vial, I was finished. This blood-drawing guy is amazing. Then I had to do another urine sample. Someone had cleaned up the WC, which was nice. That's not something I'd expect to happen often here, but I'm glad that it happens at the clinic, at least! They might not supply toilet paper, but at least they regularly clean their washroom and always have hand soap!

I walked home a different way so that I wouldn't have to walk past that rude bowab for a fourth time today. And things have been going pretty smoothly. And I don't think that I'll have any side-effects from this glucose test. No vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or fainting for me this time around. I think I like things done the old-fashioned way!


  1. That sounds like a nice experience. (I mean the blood drawing and no syrup, not the nasty bathroom or the mean car wash guy). The glucose test is almost the worst one for pregnancy. Hope they know it's your blood!

  2. I never know what to say when someone knocks on the bathroom door - "umm.....I'm in here....." I always feel stupid. You handled it much better than I would have. :)

  3. Oh man, being pregnant over there would be a totally different experience. That guy who kept knocking on the bathroom door sounds like a complete idiot. Seriously, WHAT could have been going through his mind? You obviously were not inviting him in! Ugh. And the lady who took 10 minutes to take a dump...sounds just like the middle east I know. Good luck with your pregnancy! At least the guy who took your blood was good; Last time, I was at the BYU health center and it was some student-nurse guy who took my blood, and first he didn't get a vein, then he made me use my other arm, but stretch it over my belly so it was on the other armrest (super uncomfortable), and then he finally got the blood but dropped the vial so it fell down under my hips where I was sitting (at least it wasn't open!), and instead of waiting for me to get it for him he just groped down and grabbed it (NOT a comfortable experience!) - oh and blood had gotten all over my arm because he was a moron the way he took out the needle, so instead of cleaning it off, he just rubbed it deeper into my skin with a cotton swab. All in all, I think I'd rather have crappy bathroom experiences than crappy blood experiences, but both are really NOT pleasant!

  4. Yeah, I think that's because there are so many inexperienced nurses in Utah (sorry to any inexperienced nurses out there). My arm was mutilated when I had my glucose test with Rachel--they couldn't find my vein.

    I was like, "It's right there! It's popping out of my arm!"

    The guy who works at the clinic here has been there everyday from like 9:30 AM until 10:00 PM for years, drawing blood. So he's good at what he does. Very good.