Time spent in the hospital laboratory: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Phlebotomists who attempted to draw my blood: three
Individual needle sticks: six
Vials successfully drawn: two
Gestational diabetes tests completed: zero
Crying your way out of the hospital: priceless
Needless to say, it was not a great morning.
To set the stage, let’s remember that I haven’t eaten anything since 9:00 last night, nor have I had any water this morning.
I arrived just before 9:00AM and found a rather crowded waiting room at the lab, and it appeared there was only one phelbotomist working. Great. At 9:45, I was finally called for my first blood draw: a fasting blood sugar. Though phlebotomist #1 went for the (more painful) back of my right hand, she did get it on the first try. She said they’d do a quick test of my blood to make sure it was OK to give me the drink, and they’d call me back to drink it. I asked if I could drink water, knowing how much harder the blood draws are if you’re dehydrated, and she said only little sips. Awesome.
At 10:30, they finally had me drink the nasty orange soda. I was scheduled to get blood drawn at 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30. I have a stash of food with me, waiting for the test to be over so I can finally eat again. I sit back out in the waiting room and do a little crocheting and reading.
At 11:30, I walked in for the 1-hour draw. Phlebotomist #2 tries the back of my left hand with no success. She gets phlebotomist #3, who tries both arms. No dice. I’ve now been told I have the “worst veins ever.” #3 asks if I’ve had water and why I’m dehydrated. I’m livid. All of the sticks, combined with no food and pregnancy hormones, means that I’m now in tears. Phlebotomist #1 comes back and gets the blood from the exact same spot as her first draw: back of my right hand. Extra painful, but 25 minutes after it was supposed to be drawn, it’s finally done. I’m already getting concerned that this is a timed test and that the delay in draws will mess things up, but they brush off my concern.
I only have about 30 minutes until my next draw. I go outside to call my husband and vent/cry a little. He’s as sympathetic as can be, and says if the next draw goes as badly, I should just call it a day. He felt pretty badly for me, and would honestly come and do the test for me if he could.
At 12:30 (my face still splotchy from crying, and getting a little woozy from lack of eating), I went in for the 2-hour draw. Phlebotomist #2 is now the only guy on duty, everyone else is at lunch. He is clearly not excited to see me again, having been defeated the first time we met. He tried again, this time with two tourniquets (fun!), and still no dice. Even he seemed at a loss.
By this point, I’ve been at the hospital nearly four hours and have only accomplished a fasting and 1-hour blood sugar. I was done. I just couldn’t handle one more failed needle stick, one more comment about my terrible, small veins. I was, of course, crying again. And this was just to get the 2-hour reading, forget about the 3-hour. I told #3 I was done, and I got up and left for home.
I usually try to be somewhat stoic for medical procedures. I don’t want to be the baby, the complainer, or the chicken. But I was at the end of my rope. I’ll go on the GD diet if I have to, but I just cannot do this test again.
At this point, of course, there was no way I was going to work for the rest of the day. It was already near 1pm, and I was a wreck. There’s not a lot going on, so I knew I wouldn’t be too sorely missed. But it certainly felt like a complete waste of a day. No GD test completed, no work. Just a crappy morning. Alas…