Monday, December 15, 2014

i can't live without you tell me what am i supposed to do about it

this is a story of betrayal.

last week i went in for my routine glucose test to check if i had gestational diabetes. i had read so much about "the awful-disgusting-horrible-too-sweet-drink" that they give you an hour before drawing blood that i was bracing myself for the worst.

of course, i have always been an avid believer that there is no such thing as too sweet, that saying that something had too much sugar was like saying something was made by a unicorn-leprechaun hybrid - that is to say, ridiculous. i was the person that could eat an entire bag of candy corn (not something i am overly proud of) and still reach my hand in when it was finished looking for more, while people around me had made silly claims of sugar rushes and headaches and buzzing something or other caused by too much sugar less than halfway into the bag. i had a sweet tooth before i had milk teeth, and most of the things i hid from my parents during my childhood were directly related to stuffing sugar into my mouth. if my house was on fire, there are many things that i would let burn to save the candy. despite my general fear of commitment, i have remained committed and loyal to sugar my entire life. i thought that meant something.

so when i drank the orange drink they gave me, i was partly pleasantly surprised and partly not surprised at all that i didn't hate it. that, in fact, i thought it was pretty good. it tasted just like flat orange soda, something i have had many, many times in my life. i rolled my eyes at the drama queens that came before me, waited out my hour, let them pull out two vials of blood, and then went home. i figured that was that.

but it wasn't. the next morning i got a call from my doctor saying that i had failed the one-hour test and needed to go back in to take the three-hour test. (the cut-off was 135 and i was at 136, which is the worst kind of failing. like getting an 89 at school.) i would need to fast for this one, but they thought i should pass it easy. so the following day (friday) i went in to the lab, slightly nauseous from not eating, with a book and a readiness to pass. they took the first blood test to get my sugar levels fasting, and then gave me another drink. red, this time. it had double the amount of sugar as the orange drink, they told me, so i gulped it down. it tasted fine, even if it did drink more like maple syrup than fruit punch. and then i was told that i was not allowed to leave the waiting room for the next three hours, and i settled down with my book to wait.

about forty minutes into my wait, the blood-drawing lady (what are they called again?) came out to check on me "because that was a lot of sugar i just drank on an empty stomach." i assured her that i had a ridiculously high tolerance for sugar and that i was fine. she gave a look and told me to come get her when i wasn't feeling well. i just shook my head and went back to reading. for ten minutes. until out of nowhere i broke into a cold sweat, was suddenly tremendously nauseous and super dizzy and light-headed, and was hit with the dreaded knowledge that i was either going to faint or throw up all over the waiting room because there was no one at the front desk and i had no idea where the bathrooms were. there was one other guy there that kept giving me worried looks, but moved a few more seats away from me instead of asking if i was okay. thankfully, i did neither, and ended up being taken to lie down in a back room. a few minutes after that, they came to take the second blood test. and after sitting up for less than two minutes while they drew another vial of blood (side note: i do not understand why they had to draw vials of blood for this test. if you were just checking my sugar levels couldn't we have just finger pricked at the end of every hour?) my vision started to fade to black, and i was quickly told to lay down before i passed out and just wait for it to get through my system.

"i don't understand," i said. "i'm never like this."
"it's the sugar. that was a lot of sugar to drink on an empty stomach. it's normal," she said again.
and i was too dizzy to argue that it wasn't normal, not for me.

it took an hour of feeling like complete crap before it "got through my system." an hour when i thought multiple times that maybe going alone to this was stupid, and i should probably call someone to drive me home afterwards. an hour with no one to talk to and nothing to do but dwell on the fact that, after twenty-six years of love and loyalty, sugar had betrayed me. there was no way around it.

by the time i got the third blood test, i was starting to feel better. after that, i was able to pull out my book and read for the last hour. when they came in for the fourth and final blood test, i was back to normal, just starving and left haunted by the knowledge that there is such a thing as too much sugar and it is nowhere near as cool as a unicorn-leprechaun hybrid that bakes.

(alternate ending: i was looking forward to sitting in my car and eating the peanut butter crackers i had brought with me, but when i walked into the parking lot there was a lady freaking out because her car wouldn't start, and she had a one year old asleep in her car seat and a mother on crutches who didn't speak any english with her, and she couldn't reach anyone to come help her. i always have jumper cables in my car, but she had a weird car so we had to get two other people to come help us jump it. and it was a huge ordeal and i ended up leaving the parking lot over half an hour later still hungry.)

*Disease - Matchbox 20


  1. Two of my three coworkers were pregnant last year, and both of them have given me horror stories of this glucose test. The three hour test sounds awful. One of the girls is the type to eat anything and everything she wants during pregnancy. She passed the 1 hour test with flying colors. The other had been monitoring everything she ate meticulously, and had been cutting out sugar since she found out she was pregnant. She had to take the 3 hour test, and only barely passed it. They monitored her closely the whole pregnancy afterward. Just goes to show, all previous expectations of your body go out the window when a baby comes into the picture. I'm glad you survived! ;)

    1. I started my pregnancy eating healthy. Somewhere towards the end of the first trimester, though, I kind of decided to just eat what I wanted. Thankfully, I passed the three hour test as well, but there was a moment of fear when I looked at the GD diet and thought, "there is no way I can do this." Seriously, though, everything you think you know about your body is completely irrelevant the minute you get the positive test result.