Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Confessions Of A Glucola Wimp

I've been through a few medical things in my 31 years, 364 days. I've been wrapped in a body cast for a back brace. I've survived two root canals. I've given birth twice. I've fallen down steps. A lot. I've had my wisdom teeth taken out. I've had surgery following a miscarriage that my body didn't take care of on its own. I've had my stomach blown with air during a different surgery that also took three incisions to complete. I've been through an exam so painful the doctor said it causes other women to pass out....and I barely lost a tear.

But mention the glucose tolerance test and I will run. I hate the glucose tolerance test.

Somewhere around week 28 of your pregnancy, obstetricians decided it would be great fun to make women drink a sugar loaded liquid, called glucola, and see how the body reacts. (They claim they are testing for gestational diabetes.) Maybe they even hide cameras and watch. Such a cruel test. It is a powerful birth control method, though...No more kids if I have to drink that stuff again.

The first time I took the test, I was naive. They told me it would taste like orange soda, a little flat. No problem, I thought. I can manage that. Somebody, however, left out the word 'concentrate'. It's more like orange soda concentrate - before they add the carbonated water. It's sick. But I got it down and survived the test. The next day they called to tell me I'd failed. FAILED? How could that be? The nurse said it didn't necessarily mean anything, but I would have to come back for a longer test. In other words, a larger drink and more arm pricks.

As before, I fasted through the evening, went to the hospital early, and drank the super-sized cup of goo on an empty stomach. Immediately I began to feel it course through my body. It ran down every artery to the tip of every limb and raced back over and over and over again. I started rocking back and forth with nausea. Thinking it might be wise to walk around and distract my brain from what was happening, I hurried toward the elevator. Unsure of the hospital layout, I headed down to the main lobby. As the doors opened, I smelled the morning coffee brewing at the snack shop.

That's all it took. In seconds I ran for the bathroom, and effectively ended the glucose test. Exhausted and disgusted, I went back to the lab to let them know what had happened. I thought that would be it, but the next day the nurse called to schedule another glucose screening. The big one - again!! I was horrified, but she said the doctor really needed these results. So, because I am a rule follower, I went again. This time Michael went with me and helped distract me just enough. I held it down and in the end...the results came back completely normal.

Hmph. All that and I was fine.

Fast forward three years to my second pregnancy. I dreaded the glucose test from the moment I saw the double pink lines. Maybe, I hoped beyond hope, there's a better way by now. But it was not to be. And the glucose test is not one you can opt out of. I think the doctor would tie me up and force it down my throat if I refused. I didn't. Instead, I voluntarily showed up to shock my body with glucola.

Otherwise known as speed.

This time I could not hold still. My arms shook. My legs shook. I was constantly moving or swaying. I could've set a record for knee bouncing per second. Or speed talking. Or rapid eye movements. I had ADD till that stuff wore off and it was awful.

As 28 weeks has approached with pregnancy number three, I have alternately worried about and denied the upcoming glucose tolerance test. When the doctor mentioned it a few months back, I tentatively asked if they had come up with any other way of doing that test yet. To my great surprise, she paused, and said yes.

Yes? Seriously? I nearly cried with relief. If it hadn't been weird I would've jumped down from the table and given her a hug.

Instead of drinking the sugar goo, I took the test as if I were already a diabetic patient who couldn't tolerate sugar. I fasted the night before, and then had a normal breakfast. Two hours later they measured my blood again. Other than feeling a lack of energy, it was easy! As I left my appointment, the doctor said they would have the results the next day, but that they would only call if there was a problem.

"Well, in that case,"I teased, "I'm going home and unplug the phone." She laughed and said that wouldn't work.

This morning, the phone rang and the caller ID indicated it was my doctors office. My heart sank. Mentally I prepared for the results and started talking myself into believing that I could handle the gross drink. When they connected me with the nurse, however, she said my results were in and .... NORMAL!! They just wanted to call and let me know. They didn't have to do that. Certainly not less than 24 hours after I'd taken the test. I told her she made my day and she laughed.

And then she told me not to go out and eat a bunch of donuts now. ; )


MomBrose said...

Yay! I had the 3 hour test with Reagan and can attest to how AWFUL it is! I wish I had been given an alternative with my later pregnancies but they haven't advanced that far out here yet :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Julie!
Trust you have had good day.