Friday, January 05, 2007

The Bad Kind of Fasting

Yesterday I performed an awful rite of passage.

I have a family history of gestational diabetes. Most pregnant women have to drink a glucose drink at some point in their pregnancy to make sure they don’t have gestational diabetes. I always fail this first test, which means I have to do a three hour fasting test. You need to avoid sugars for 1-2 days before the test. That’s followed by fasting for 12 hours before going in for the test (water is allowed.) They draw your blood to check your sugar level and then you must drink another glucose drink. This time it was lime and it was beyond terrible. It was like green Nyquil, only exponentially sweeter. For a girl who prefers bitter diet cokes, the lime was a trial all its own.

Every hour, for the next three hours, you return to the lab where they again draw your blood. I had one good phlebotomist and one bad, so my arm looks a little beat up today. During this process you are still not allowed to eat, or to drink more than a mouthful of water.

By the third time, I was feeling, uh, out of it. I hadn’t eaten a spoonful in sixteen hours. I began to crave chips and salsa with a chaser of Brown Cow chocolate yogurt. As soon as the vampires took my last sample I drove straight way to Good Earth. I opened the salsa in the parking lot. I didn’t think I could function any more without getting something inside immediately. I thought I felt a little better so I started to drive back to work. Then I started feeling...curious.

Do you ever have a feeling, while driving, that you really shouldn’t be driving?

Things started spinning and the colors saturated into the most brilliant shades, my eyes started closing involuntarily. I had to pull over and soon. The chips and salsa weren’t cutting it; this called for the gastronomic equivalent of a defibrillator. I choose a Maverick: orange juice, straight up, and two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Within a few minutes I felt well enough to drive again. I got back to work and drank a lot of water.

I was borderline with El Guille. I was able to avoid actual gestational diabetes by watching what I ate and completely removing sugars/refined flours from my diet. I knew I could do it again with this one if I needed to.

Today I found out that not only am I not diabetic, I wasn’t even close to borderline. I passed the test with flying colors. I am so happy, for both of us (was that cheesy?)

To celebrate, we had for dinner what we like to refer to as the four basic food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.


undefined said...

Allow me to relate: I've had that experience twice. The first was the day after I suddenly became so dizzy that I literally had to hold the wall with both hands to walk. I fainted for the only time in my life when I finally made it to the couch. I drove myself to the doctor the next day and she said "wait, you drove here?" several times before telling me I had a viral inner ear infection, handing me a prescription for motion sickness pills, and reluctantly letting me walk back to my car. The second was the result of a little thing I and my doctor call the cluster headache. That resulted in two weeks of a steroid to which I had terrible reactions, 2 Alleve twice a day for pain management, migraine pills as needed, and a strict hypoglycemic diet that lasted longer than I would've liked and not as long as it should have. My point: I'm really, REALLY glad your driving experience was solved and that you could enjoy all the best and most important foods for dinner.

Anonymous said...

Gestational diabetes with #1, none with #2 but I am hypoglycemic. You make funny story :o)

~j. said...

Is there sugar in syrup?

Azúcar said...

If there isn't then I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins!

compulsive writer said...

Love your four food groups.

I've almost blacked out a couple times like that while pregnant--luckily never while I was driving.

There's nothing quite like a good phlebotomist.

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous that you got to eat Krispy Kremes and orange juice! Just the idea of it sets me all a-tingle.

Azúcar said...

It was like heroin.

I never drink juice. The complete sugar rush from pure, undiluted fructose combined with the sucrose in the glaze and simple carb centers; I'm telling you, it was an experience.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the test ended up going well, but what a freakin' pain in the butt!

Mel said...

I'm glad everything is okay!

I hate those glucose drinks. The krispy kreme sounds good though!

Anonymous said...

In my day they called it Type A diabetes. I had a vampire not a phlebotomist taking the blood. I tried to tell her it was impossible to get a vein in my left arm but she wouldn't listen and ended up making it a purple mess until she sheepishly took it all (eight times?) out of my right arm.
In that day they feed you before you left. How scary to have that experience while you were driving.

Anonymous said...

~J - then yes!

Azucar - CONGRATS!!!

...and the yellow ones don't stop.

My favorite scene is when he's singing in the women's locker room and she tells him to leave...hehehe

wendysue said...

Hey, maybe instead of the nasty glucose drink, they could offer 6 Krispy Kremes?? I would be all over that.

Anonymous said...


Glad you got good results after having to suffer so.

Good phlebotomists can be hard to come by. I don't give blood anymore because I haven't had much luck in the past, since the phlebotomists couldn't stick me right. I'd leave with nothing but a bruised up arm, and no blood given.

Anonymous said...

wow...Krispy Kremes? You were pretty desperate. Why don't you like juice?

I think my favorite is when Buddy says "Look at YOU!!!" to Miles Finch as he is running down the conference table.

My sister says that before she hugs anyone.

Anonymous said...

What did the pioneer women do that were diabetic? Were there even diabetic pioneer women? Did they just die from their diabetes? Did they make dutch oven krispy kremes? wow.

Azúcar said...

A table on Diabetic onset from the late 19th early 20th century:

Age group at onset: Survival rates
under 10: seldom more than 1.5 or 2 years.
10 to 19: seldom more than 2 to 4 years.
20 to 30: 4 to 6 years, occasionally even 10 years, but seldom longer.
30 to 45: 10 to 15 years or even longer.
over 45: 15, 20 or even 30 years, although more than 20 years is exceptional.

They were able to deduce the amount of sugar passed and able to determine if the amount was high. In fact, diabetes was often called saccharine diabetes, sugar disease, or sugar sickness.

As early as the 1820s, physicians noticed that some women had diabetic symptoms that only appeared during pregnancy and then resolved post-partum. While there were some diabetic diets in vogue (including low carb varieties) it's doubtful how wide-spread the information would have been.

Even though obesity is a risk factor, and fewer pioneer women were obese, there are other risk factors. A family history, undiagnosed previous onset diabetes, and then simply the inability of some of pregnant bodies to properly metabolize glucose, would have been more likely causal scenarios.

Women who had GD would have had much larger babies than normal. The larger babies had a bigger chance of getting stuck in the birth canal leading to higher mortality rates for both mother and child. Another complication, higher rate of stillbirth.

So, we already know that pregnancy and childbirth were risky for pioneer women to begin with. It's my opinion that un-diagnosed GD was just another part of those higher rates of complications they experienced across the board.

lisa v. clark said...

I had to have that test with all 4 pregnancies and every single time I would ask if I could just eat a king-sized Snickers instead of drinking the syrup because it had the same amount of sugar/sucrose/whatever. They always laugh like it's a joke--which is funny because I don't joke about food. I went into labor--my very first contractions--when I was driving. That was fun. Now I know I should have pulled over for Krispy Kreme. . .

Azúcar said...

I just realized that the historian in me came out during that last answer. You can graduate the girl, but you can't take the degree out of her.

T- Oh, I love juice, it's just that it's too strong for everyday imbibing. It doesn't seem worth it to drink that much calorically. It's better for me to just eat the orange. If I do drink juice I usually water it down a great deal.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info on pioneer women.. I seriously think about them a lot.. especially lately since I received the Martin Handcart Company book for Christmas. I dream about pioneers.