I failed my one-hour gestational diabetes screening test, by the tiniest of margins. I was upset, not just because I failed, but because the follow-up test, the three-hour test, sounded so miserable.
For the one-hour test, you go in, drink a small bottle of, basically, flat orange soda, go about your business for an hour, and then go back for a blood test. No fasting, no fuss.
But that’s a screening test. It doesn’t have to be super accurate, just good enough to scoop in all the possible gestational diabetics in its net. The three hour test is the diagnostic test. For this one, you have to go in first thing in the morning, no breakfast, get baseline blood drawn before taking your glucose drink, then get blood drawn every three hours.
It started out ok. The nurse who did my first blood test was sweet as can be, and kept complimenting my skin. “Your hands are so soft,” she said, “even through these gloves I can feel it.” It bordered on stalker creepy, but came down on the side of adorable.
After the baseline blood test, she gave me the glucose drink. It was the exact same size as the drink for the first test, but contained twice as much glucose. Kool-aid, but with twice as much sugar. It was as disgusting as it sounds.
Already starting to feel hungry, I settled down in the lightest part of the hospital lobby for my first hour wait. There seemed to be a piano playing somewhere, and an old lady sitting near me was swaying. A woman was carefully and methodically dusting every leaf on the huge ficus tree. It was calm and quiet.
And then suddenly it was 9:00, and the place went crazy. By the time I got back to the same area after my second blood test, the lobby was really crowded. A man who was either blind or crazy or both sat down right next to me, and immediately began emptying the contents of his insulated lunch box, muttering, “aw man, aw man, aw MAN.” Eventually, he wandered off in search of his lost medication. He was replaced by a series of people with disturbing, guttural coughs.
After two hours, I was hungry, and starting to feel pretty icky. The guttural coughing people left, and a new crazy lady showed up with many friendly questions, like, “What are you reading? What’s your name?” Delighted to have an excuse to move away, I stood up to go get my third blood test and she noticed the bump. “You’re having a baby? When is it due? My daughter was born in June!” (points at deranged looking young woman standing near concierge) “You’re so small! You’re so cute! What’s your name?”
An older eastern European man sitting next to her looked up when she started asking about the baby. “Is boy cub?” he asked, pointing at my belly. “Good. Very good.”
Back in the lobby for the last hour of waiting between blood tests, I was dismayed to find the crazy lady still there, because now, I knew, she thought of us as friends. She started right up. “Do you have pets? You look like a pet person!” I tell her we have two cats. A second crazy lady, a few seats down mutters, “Hmmph. Cats. I hate cats. I like puppies.” First crazy lady: “I have six dogs!” Second crazy lady: “Well, aren’t you just the humane society.”
And that was the last straw. I quietly picked up my things and inched away, vowing to hide in the stairwell until my last blood draw.
No word yet on whether I’ve got the ‘beetis. At least I don’t have pleurisy. That’s what I thought I had when I made an emergency doctors appointment yesterday because of crushing chest pain. Turns out, it’s a pulled muscle. A muscle I pulled…watching TV? Quilting? Checking my email?
My friend Julie pointed out that all this is just practice for the hours and hours I’m going to be spending in hospital lobbies and doctors offices in years to come, once Perquackey starts putting peanuts in his nose and whatever other mischief little boys get up to. Can’t wait.