the worst day of my pregnancy, part two

all of this took like an hour, & i still had a three-hour glucose test ahead of me. so i went back down to the lab & drank my horrible drink. i got lemon-lime flavor this time, which was even more disgusting than the tropical punch. i tried to curl up in the waiting room & read “the new yorker,” but i had a much worse reaction to the drink this time & felt really nauseous. after almost an hour, i asked the receptionist what would happen if i just couldn’t do the test. by that point, i hadn’t eaten anything in twelve hours & hello! i have a three-pound infant living inside of me! i am hungry all the time! i surprised myself by starting to cry. i am really not big on the public crying–or the private crying, for that matter. the sugar was just really fucking with me. she offered me a private room–“it doesn’t have a TV, but you could lay down.” considering that the TV was tuned to “sesame street” & all i could think was, “oh my god, what if this blood pressure situation kills my baby & after all of this time being pregnant, i don’t even have a kid at the end of it,” i was MORE THAN HAPPY to get away from the TV. she set me up with a glass of water & warm blankets & i managed to power through the rest of the test (which is a blood draw every hour on the hour to see how my body is synthesizing the glucose load). someone told me afterward that it’s best to walk around between blood draws because the activity lowers blood sugar, & my napping will probably make me fail (ie, be diagnosed with gestational diabetes), but i don’t even care. i’m already being monitored weekly for hypertension. it seems like the big threat with gestational diabetes is that it can make the baby extra-big or extra-small. but my baby’s size is already being checked on a weekly basis, so who the fuck cares if i have gestational diabetes? i have bigger fish to fry at the moment.

by the time the third blood draw rolled around, i was feeling a lot better physically. & luckily, blood & needles don’t freak me out at all, so i was free to go. i drove home & laid into some motherfucking lunch. i started feeling really headache-y, probably because it was like 3pm by this point & i hadn’t had any coffee. i didn’t want to get back in the car & drive to the pharmacy to pick up my blood pressure medication & cuff, but i knew i had to get groceries anyway, & jared is still on the east coast doing research, so off i went.

the pharmacist gave me the cuff but told me they had not received a call about any medication for me. i told him that i’d been instructed to request a large cuff, because a too small/too tight cuff will cause false high readings & freak everyone out. he confirmed that he was giving me the large cuff. obvs my insurance paid for nothing, because i don’t have any prescription drug coverage, & he told me i could get the cuff processed through the hospital pharmacy & billed to medicare as a “medical device,” but it was only $20 so whatever. i just paid out of pocket. then i called my ob’s office to ask about the medication. i did my grocery shopping & sucked down a latte & waited for them to call me back.

when i got out to the car, it occurred to me to check the size of the cuff before i left. sure enough, it was medium, not large. i went back inside & waited in line. perhaps uncharitably to all the other people who clearly have health issues, considering that they were in line at a pharmacy, i was getting grumpy that no one was letting my big fat pregnant self cut them in line. eventually it was my turn & i explained the sitch, only to be informed that the pharmacy doesn’t stock blood pressure kits with large cuffs, & that i’d have to buy the other size separately. & they had none in stock, so they’d have to special order it. & it would cost me another $20. correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t this kind of obviously a form of discrimination against larger people? supposedly larger people are at higher risk of heart disease to begin with–so let’s charge them double for this medical device that can help them monitor the situation? FUCKED UP. i asked for my money back & then surprised myself again by bursting into tears. to the point that some burn-out an aisle over sidled up to me & was all, “listen, how much are you short by? i’ll cover you.” & some woman behind me in line cried out, “god bless you, sweetheart, it WILL GET BETTER!” thanks, random nice people of lawrence, kansas. sorry if i freaked you out.

the pharmacist grimly tendered my refund & i shuffled back out to my car as fast as i could. i wanted to just cry there for a while, but it was pretty warm out & my trunk was full of, like, yogurt & fresh green beans. so i drove home & stuffed all the perishables into the fridge & then called jared, who was thankfully just getting out of the archive. i cried & cried & explained all the fucked upness of the day, & then my obstetrician’s office called again & told me that the pharmacy had my medication ready & the medical arts building on the hospital campus had my large adult blood pressure cuff & was ready to process it through my medicare. & then medical arts called me & asked if i wanted them to deliver it. & jared said, “i wish i was there to help you with all of this,” & i gradually started to feel better.

jared will be back in about two weeks. no sense having him come back just because i am being referred for medication & extra monitoring. he can go with me to all the biophysical profiles, & if i start showing signs of fetal or maternal distress–yeah, my doctor will probably want to induce. the only real cure for gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia is to get the baby out. but my kidneys & liver & still handling everything well, so hopefully we can leave the baby in for as long as possible so it will be fully baked. NO ONE is happy that i am showing symptoms like this at only 28 or 29 weeks, but…it is what it is, i guess. i am basically throwing my to-do lists out the window & just devoting myself to trying to stay relatively healthy for the next couple of months. i just want a healthy baby born as close to full-term as possible, nothing else really matters right now. baby is jumping all around right now to underscore this point. keep wiggling, baby!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. jesschecking says:

    Hey,

    I haven’t had the chance to read your blog in quite some time, so forgive me if you have already talked about this, but if I may ask: why are you on Medicare? I’m currently on it for a disability, and am wanting to get pregnant. I was just curious how much it was helping to defray costs. Also, you said you have no prescription drug coverage – are you not eligible for Medicare Part D? I have great rx coverage through AARP (and no I’m not a “senior” – I’m only 34). Feel free to e-mail me about this. Thanks!

    1. ciara says:

      you can follow some tags & sleuth around on the blog a little & find numerous places where i have written about being disabled, which is why i’m on medicare. i’m eligible for part D but just keep forgetting to apply during the window, & don’t usually need many prescriptions so it’s not a big deal to pay for the few i have used out of pocket. if you have medicare too, then you are aware that it’s just health insurance, so it pays for all the usual things that health insurance pays for, including prenatal care. it remains to be seen how much of the actual delivery it will pay for, but it’s helped quite a bit in defraying the costs of prenatal care & especially labwork. example: an ultrasound usually costs around $450. once medicare is done working its mojo, i have only been charged $45. since i have eleven of them scheduled in the next few months, that’s still a lot of money–but better than paying full cost.

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