11 October 2011
I went to the doctor’s office last week for my glucose screening, which is a routine test given to pregnant women that has, for whatever reason, acquired near-mythic status. In the past, you apparently had to drink a thick, syrupy, super-sweet concoction, which (understandably) went over none too well with women suffering from persistent nausea and morning sickness. What I was given, however, resembled nothing more fiendish than an open can of Sunkist that had been put back in the fridge for a few hours — maybe more like a generic orange soda, which comes out of the two-liter with the sweetness levels somehow off and tasting preemptively flat — so the dreaded glucose drink of doom ended up being something of an anticlimax.
I still prefer the alternate name “glucose challenge” for the test, because it makes me feel like I really tried hard and accomplished something through adversity. A challenge! Of drinking 12 ounces of flat orange pop in five minutes! And I did it! And all, as you can see hints of in the photo above, in the ridiculous waiting room populated by chandeliers and overstuffed couches covered in pewter-colored velvet!
The second part of the Glucose Challenge involves waiting an hour before a blood test. I’m going to be really sorry when I finish the copy of Little Dorrit that I’ve been working my way through in between dissertation novels, sundry library books, and sundry other library books about how to keep small humans alive once they’re out of the womb; Dickens is episodic enough to keep my interest, but long enough to ensure that I will almost certainly not run out of reading material during even the most interminable lines and waits. (Hello, DMVs! Hi, 20,000-mile dealership car service!)
One thing that I am consistently ill-prepared for, though, is the keen interest that medical staff now have in collecting samples of my bodily fluids. Blood samples are no problem, but it’s the inevitable request for a urine sample that catches me off-guard. I’ve spent most of my life believing that going to the bathroom before I leave the house is a good thing, but it turns out that it’s also a hard and now-inconvenient habit to break. At best, I have to chug down a bunch of water at the doctor’s office and wait impatiently for it to work its way through. While waiting my hour during the Glucose Challenge, however, I was explicitly forbidden to have anything else to drink after the flat Sunkist, which made for a series of progressively more and more ridiculous conversations between me and the nurse on duty.
“Do you think you could give me a sample now?” she’d ask sweetly.
“Maybe, uh, in about another ten minutes?” I’d reply weakly, silently willing my urinary system to move faster.
We repeated this exchange several times, until — 55 minutes into the testing period — I triumphantly left a sample container (read: be-Sharpied plastic cup) in what I can’t help but think of as the Pee Hatch in the restroom.
This news was greeted with a reception so warm, I’ve only seen its match among the parents of potty-training toddlers.
But now that I’ve officially cleared my Glucose Challenge, I really need to start remembering to carry around a bottle of water with me, in addition to the Dickens.