I have finished the glucose tolerance test, and, as expected, it sucked. If any of you out there can avoid this thing, do so.
Of course, it wouldn’t be my life if there weren’t hoards of glitches related to my medical care. I arrived at the lab around 8am after fasting for twelve hours. The waiting room was not just packed but overflowing. I signed in, looked around for a seat, didn’t find one (and, big surprise, people don’t give pregnant women their seats these days), and thus took a seat on a bench in the atrium of the building outside the door where the other overflow patients were going.
I have to admit the atrium was far more appealing than the stuffy waiting room. It’s open and airy and filled with plants. As I sat there, I watched moms trying to keep their cute kids entertained while they waited. However, one mom came in with her own mom and her three kids–one who was around two, the other two who were twins and likely about 7-8 months old. She was taking her one-hour glucose screen and was visibly pregnant again–and really horrible in so many ways (she was one of those people who has a loud pop song for her ring tone and whose phone rings literally every thirty seconds). It’s strange how the frustrations of TTC can stick with a person even when she is pregnant, but they do, and I found myself infuriated with this woman (who was threatening to “whoop” her two-year-old for not standing still) for being so damn fertile and not seeming to be grateful for what she had. I hate feeling that, but I did, and it seemed no matter where I was for the hour she was there, she and flagrant fertility were right next to me.
After waiting far too long without being called in, I went back into the waiting room to see if I could make any progress, especially considering I was going to be there another three hours AND because the aforementioned trashy woman got her orange drink as soon as she showed up. They wanted me to sit down again, but I told the nice women at the desk that I would be there for three hours and that I wondered if I could just make sure they had my paperwork so that maybe possibly perhaps we could get me started. Lo and behold, my ever-so-efficient doctor’s office had not faxed over the order. I was standing there for seemingly no reason. I don’t think I need to mention here just how unsurprised I was considering the administrative issues that have been at work with this place since day one. Calling the doctor’s office didn’t help; they weren’t open until 9am, so I asked what I should do–if I should come back another day, wait around, etc. My patience had worn very thin, and I was starting to tear up. I was mad and frustrated and embarrassed. Luckily these women took pity on me and started me up without the order. Now I could add incredibly grateful to my long list of emotions.
Now, the drink for the screening wasn’t too horrid. It wasn’t anything I would normally drink, but it was tolerable and just sweet and reminded me of koolaid or flat orange soda. This one, on the other hadn, contained significantly more glucose and was like chilled orange syrup. I had my fasting blood drawn, and then I had to sit where I was and drink the stuff quickly. It was awful, and I couldn’t choke it down fast enough.
After another four phone calls to my doctor’s office, I finally got the medical records person on the line. She tried to tell me I would have to wait, but when I told her the test had already begun, that they were demanding the paperwork, and that it was supposed to have been faxed three days ago, she finally yelled, “Fine! I’ll do it!” and hung up on me. At least it was done and I wasn’t going to have to leave and drink the syrup again.
I did get lucky in one department: The phlebotomist who took my blood today was quite nice. She easily found my vein, and she was very gentle. As a result, we were able to use the vein all four times, and I didn’t so much as wince until the fourth draw. I think the second hour was probably the worst. I was terribly thirsty, and they wouldn’t let me drink so much as a sip of water. I was also getting very hungry and was lightheaded as a result. While I had finally gotten a seat in the waiting room, it was packed, and people in packed rooms tend to smell bad. It wasn’t pretty, and there were a few moments when I wasn’t sure I could take it anymore.
There were a few saving graces: I did bring a good book. It’s one that J just finished reading: The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch. It is written by a professor who knows he will be dead of pancreatic cancer within just a few months, and it’s about his “Last Lecture” but also the legacy of life lessons he hopes to leave for his children. It is beautiful and funny and inspiring, and it made me put the day into perspective. I also came equipped with music, which I did listen to for awhile, not to mention I had a particularly active Egghead to keep me company.
Once I was finished, and the phlebotomist had wished me a “good lunch,” I had a snack, and made the half-hour drive home. My wife took me out for Mexican food as soon as I arrived, and promptly brought me home and laid me down for a nap with Cleo the cat. And that, my friends, was my glucose torture test. Now I wait to see how I did.