Glucose Tolerance Test: What to expect!

I just received my second appointment *urgh* to get this test redone in a few weeks and suffice to say I’m not looking forward to it!

Thanks to my dodgy bowels (Thank you coeliac disease!!), I’m at a higher risk of developing diabetes – and presumably gestational diabetes too, as I was called into the Obstetrics clinic to get tested early at only 16 and a bit weeks pregnant. I kinda had an idea of what the test consisted of, but I underestimated how looooong it would take and how wiped-out I would feel afterwards.

I knew I’d be starving (which is a given because I NEED my breakfast or I feel like I’ll faint) but silly me never thought to book the day off work and convinced myself that nobody ever died from missing one meal.

I had to fast from midnight the night before (easy as I was deep in slumber by that point anyway) and arrived at the hospital just before 8:30 a.m. the next morning. There were a few other pregnant ladies waiting to get tested too so I just grabbed the first chair I happened upon and awaited the call to get the blood test – one blood test…or so I thought!

Needles don’t bother me, I’m good at distracting myself when I have to get this kind of thing done and the nurse was an absolute pro – so quick and efficient! Never felt a thing. Straight after the first blood test she hands me a full cup of the glucose drink, tells me to pretend it’s vodka and nudges me to down it in one, like we’re all having a night out at the bar.

She needn’t tell me twice. I quickly throw the concoction down my gullet, feel myself gag at the aftertaste and go back to my seat. As I sat I thought about the finger-prick device diabetics use to measure blood sugar levels and stupidly thought that this is how my morning was going to go. A quick finger prick in like 20 minutes and I’ll be on my way… no? Haha!! I wish!

I sat…and sat…and sat, yawning and shifting in my seat that was becoming harder by the second, my back aching with the desire to go back to my cosy bed.

Finally, an HOUR later the nurse returns and calls me back to her blood-taking booth and I now have to get blood drawn from my arm opposite to the one before. Again, she was super quick and so pleasant but I was starting to desperately want to get out of there as every moment seemed to drag for eternity.

‘Ok, you can go back to your seat!’ she chirps. What? I can’t go yet?!

Again, the minutes ticked by like days and I was starting to lose the will to live (bearing in mind I was suffering from mind-numbing headaches during those weeks too so it all felt ever so over dramatic).

Over an hour had painfully dragged by again before the lovely nurse finally returned.

‘Now, would you like to come back over here please?’ She gestures towards the booth. Again?? I’ll have no blood left!! Did I mention I used to be anaemic?! I will be by the time this is over! I huffed. Fook this – I want to go home.

She asks me which arm I’d prefer to get the blood drawn from this time and I limply lay out my left, feeling like it wouldn’t make one ounce of difference anyway. My poor abused arms!

She takes the third, and thankfully final, vial and assures me that if I don’t hear from her before 6 p.m. that day it’s good news. (She did phone me at half five – scaring the shit out of me – to tell me my test was clear but that I’ll need to get retested at a later date due to being a coeliac)

As soon as she’d pulled the needle from my vein for the final time I zipped my coat back up, flew down to the hospital shop, grabbed a gluten-free egg sandwich and ate it so quick I nearly choked. Then, I rushed to work. I caught the odd glance at myself in the work loos during the rest of that day and honestly looked like a walking corpse. I even had to keep reapplying my lippy to cover up my lips that had turned the pastiest shade of white – not very glamorous at all.

Suffice to say – I was glad when that day drew to a close and I could return to my even cosier than usual bed!

What I’ve learned for the next time!

  1. Bring a book – Out-of-date, crappy women’s magazines don’t stimulate anything but my irritation.
  2. Book the day off work! Being a martyr and thinking that just ’cause I’m preggers doesn’t mean I can’t truck on like a full-steam-ahead bull is silly. I need to respect myself and when I’m tired, I can – and should! – lie down. I’m not being lazy or weak – I’m carrying human life inside me for flip sake!
  3. Bring headphones. Probably once every ten minutes I kicked myself for not being able to listen to relaxing music – or even to stream YouTube videos on my phone to make time go faster!
  4. Bring a small cushion  – Or even a scarf that can be folded up to make those awful hospital seats less numbing to the rear.
  5. Have a tasty snack pre-made – That grossly over-priced, hospital sandwich tasted like crap. It served it’s purpose but I should have had something rustled up the night before waiting for me in my car – with a nice hot cup of tea!

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