Fun With Gestational Diabetes

Because dealing with the last trimester of pregnancy isn’t fun enough, in two out of three of my pregnancies I’ve gotten stuck with the hilarious diagnosis of gestational diabetes. I had it when I was pregnant with Lily. It was so mild that my blood sugar numbers never broke 100 two hours after eating (they should be between 60-120) even if I cheated. I know there is more to gestational diabetes than the baby’s end weight, but Lily ended up being 6 lbs, 9 oz– not exactly macrosomic.

I didn’t have gestational diabetes with Rose but they told me I had to be “careful” and watch my carbs. I was not careful. I watched myself eat carbs. Rose was born exactly one OUNCE heavier than Lily at 6 lbs, 10 oz. I WAS suspicious that I didn’t really have any blood sugar problems, but then I failed the 3-hour test again this time… just barely, but it’s still failed and now I’m going through another round of ridiculous diet.

The diet technically isn’t that bad, but it feels so binding. In my little world, I like something high carb in the morning– fruit or cereal or, um, cake– and something low carb for dinner– meat with vegetables. With gestational diabetes, I’m never supposed to eat fruit for breakfast, but I have to eat 60 g of carbs for dinner– the equivalent of 4 slices of bread. It turns my food world upside down! Further annoying is the fact that I am supposed to snack constantly on 15-30 g carbs PLUS a protein. I find it nearly impossible to find snacks with protein in them, eat snacks like this 3 times a day and not gain 8 zillion pounds. I’m always hearing from people who lost weight while they were on the GD diet. This baffles me.

ANYWAY, among many many other annoyances, this phone log of what happened when I went hunting for glucose testing supply sort of encapsulates the insanely infuriating time I’ve had working with my nutritionists, medical supply companies and my insurance company– three different aspects of health care I hate very very much. These calls happened because my nutritionist told me ON A FRIDAY that I needed to contact my insurance company AND my doctor to get testing supplies by the weekend. My glucose meter came with only 10 testing strips and lancets to test 4 times a day. She sent me home with only these supplies and the request that I keep a food log this week with my glucose numbers so I can come in for another appointment next week and she can make sure the diet is working. She TOLD ME I’d probably have to order from a supply company. On a Friday. And sent me home with 10 test strips/lancets. I guess the nutritionist thinks Star Trek transporters have been invented?

The phone log:

*Phone Call #1– Insurance Company. They gave me 3 numbers to testing supply companies.

*Phone Call #2– Test Supply Company #1. Gave me a number to a regional branch.

*Phone Call #3– Test Supply Company #1b. Gave me a number to a local branch.

*Phone Call #4– Test Supply Company #1c. Wrong number. I am done messing with Test Supply Company #1.

*Phone Call #5– Test Supply Company #2. I got the ball rolling only to get a call back (Phone Call #6) that they don’t carry my testing supplies, but they could give me a NEW GLUCOSE METER! OMG, Don’t I want a new one? No. No I don’t. I just got a new meter that day. I’m not paying for it twice even if it’s “free”. I was trained on THIS meter and lancer (I’ve always found the needles tricky) and don’t feel like learning a new one. Also, how can it be “free”? Is my insurance company going to pay for two glucose meters on the same day? Sick of this. Maybe I can get it locally.

*Phone Call #7– My Local Pharmacy. a) do they carry my test supplies?! Yes! b) Do they take my insurance? Depends on my insurance policy, but they have worked with my company before.

*Phone Call #8– Insurance Company. Can I do this at My Local Pharmacy instead? I COULD, but it’s not the cost effective way and I NEED to try a supply company first or they won’t cover me. SERIOUSLY. WHY?!

*Phone Call #9– Test Supply Company #3. Carries my supplies, but don’t I want a NEW glucose meter? The one I got today was subpar! They can give me one for free!!! WTF?!!! Why does everyone want to give me a new glucose meter? What sort of kickback are they getting from THAT? I said no. They need my doctor’s name, number, fax number. I have to call them back.

*Phone Call #10-15– Doctor’s office/x5 because busy signal. Confirm fax number.

*Phone Call #16– Test Supply Company #3. Oh, and do I have the doctor’s address? No. It’s not information you asked for, assholes. Get supplies confirmed, but it will take 24-48 business hours to process my order and then 2-3 business days to ship, which means I probably won’t get supplies for a week. I have TEN strips and lancets here to test 4x/day. WTF?

*Phone Call #17– Diabetes Education Center. Left message asking WTF they want me to do with only 10 test strips/lancets. That appointment in a week is worthless if they don’t know what my effing blood sugar is. Should we delay the appointment a week? I left this message at 11 am.

#Phone Call #18– Nutritionist calls me back at 4:30 pm, 5.5 hours after I left a message for her. The office is closing in 30 minutes, but I need to hurry hurry hurry to get there right away to pick up some test strips even though I live 20 minutes away and have two small children here, one of whom is asleep. OMG come right now! NOW! Or send someone! WHAT IF I CAN’T TEST FOR ONE DAY?! Oh, and by the way, why don’t I just reuse the lancets? I can use just one a day! SERIOUSLY? Doesn’t that sound like an infection waiting to happen?

Keep in mind it took them like 2 weeks to get me in to the nutritionist after I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with Lily and it’s been less than a week since I was diagnosed with this pregnancy. I know how to count my carbs and follow the diet (especially now that they gave me TWO ADDITIONAL HOURS of diabetes education even after I told them I’ve been on the diet before). And, based on the first day of testing, my blood sugar isn’t breaking 100 when it needs to be under 120. I can not drop everything to be where they want when they want me there. I tell them I can’t get there until Monday.

They tell me I need to come in first thing Monday morning for testing supplies OR send someone (who is this magical person who has free time first thing Monday morning? Do I have a staff of lackeys that can just drive 20 minutes away whenever I so beckon them?) to get them for me.

I will be there AFTER dance class MONDAY AFTERNOON because you know what? No. Just no. Also, my kid is coming with me to the next appointment. And no, I can’t just find a baby-sitter at 2 pm on Tuesday afternoon when I live 3.5 hours from my family, I’m a stay at home mom and my husband works. What world do these nutritionists live in and how do I get them out of mine?

Stupid GD. I hope it never happens to any of you. And I especially hope it doesn’t balloon into Type 2 Diabetes because as far as I can tell after two rounds of this, nutritionists are the most dreaded of the health care professionals.



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2 Responses to Fun With Gestational Diabetes

  1. Can't Hear in the Dark

    The reason that the meters are “free” is because the companies give a rebate on them. The meters are the printers and the test strips are the ink. They make so much dosh from the test strips they can give the meters out for free. The pharmacies these days just handle the rebates for you, which is why the stuff is offered to you “free”.

    The meter I like is the one that comes with a USB stick. It automatically stores it from the meter, and it automatically transfers it and tracks it for you on your computer, you don’t have to manually do anything after the initial software download. You don’t have to carry a cable around and plug it in, the USB stick is always there. It’s the Bayer Contour. There’s a One Touch (I think) that has a cable to transfer information, but it’s not as convenient as the Contour.

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