Monday, October 30, 2006

A Day Without Drama

...just wouldn’t be a day in the Fauxvert household!

My apologies to my readers for not catching this blog up sooner. It seems like the last few days have been one thing after another. I’ll hit the highlights here.

To begin with, the diabetes issue, while proving to be a royal pain in the ass, has luckily been no worse than that. My fear that my fingers would turn to chopped sirloin from the testing was unfounded, thank goodness. It turns out that the testing is actually fairly easy (though getting the timing right is a pain). There is a little pen device (very similar to a Follistim pen) that holds a teensy little disposable blade (which is so tiny, in fact, that it resembles a needle, and feels like a needle pricking your finger -- which I’ve done a million times while sewing). There is also a little electronic device that reads disposable test strips and tells you what your blood sugar is. You load the pen up with the disposable blade (called a “lancet”), stick it against the side of your finger (I alternate hands so that both sides get a chance to heal), and press a button. It sticks your finger, you say, “Ouchdammit,” then squeeze the finger a little to get a nice little bead of blood, and apply it to the test strip. It reads it, tells you that your blood sugar is acceptable, and thus confirms that you are being a good and responsible citizen and mommy-to-be by eating the most boring diet in the universe and thereby enabling your future children to be born with the regulation single head each, rather than two. (You can see my fetching little companion immediately below:)

Actually, the diet is not so bad. I had panicked that I wasn’t going to gain any weight on the diet, but I have gained a pound in the last couple of weeks, so I’m doing okay there. (Unsweetened peanut butter is okay, so I’ve been eating lots of that!) The nutritionist encouraged me to experiment with my diet (within reason) to see exactly what I can eat and what I can’t. What seems to be on the “no way Jose” list is anything with refined sugar. My body is just not set up to handle ice cream, pie, cookies, or anything similarly sweet at the moment. Fruit juice is also out, since it has a ton of sugar in it. I am allowed to have artificial sweeteners, but I am avoiding them on principle for the duration of the pregnancy. So the only “sweets” I am having are a couple of pieces of fruit each day. (Interestingly, my body also set up a fuss about unsweetened quick-cook oatmeal, which is theoretically on the okay list.)

I’m also not supposed to eat milk products in the morning, since for some reason, many diabetics have difficulty digesting milk early in the day. (I think I could challenge this and get away with it, but I am also supposed to take my prenatal vitamin and iron supplement with no calcium products, so I take my vitamins at breakfast.) I am also supposed to avoid trans-fat types of things, though olive oil is just peachy. (Not literally, no. Peachy olive oil would be fairly disgusting, don’t you think?)

This has resulted in a daily breakfast of two eggs (either fried or boiled) and two slices of whole wheat toast (one decorated with the regulation one teaspoon of butter, the other with a tablespoon of peanut butter). This is not a bad breakfast in and of itself (and our eldest cat -- 17 in September -- has taken to begging for bits of toast with butter, since he is a fiend for any kind of milk product such as cheese or butter). But I’ve been eating this breakfast for close to two weeks now, and it is getting old, old, ooooooold. It’s like the Monty Python skit: “Spam and eggs, eggs and eggs, Spam and Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...” (Although it would be my guess that Spam has too much sugar to be included in the diet.)

However, if I pick the menu carefully, I am able to tolerate some restaurant food. For instance, yesterday I had some salad and an absolutely delicious slice of deep-dish cheese pizza at Zachary’s in Berkeley, and my blood sugar came out at a very respectable 123 (I’m supposed to stay below 140). So I read the papers during breakfast and try to ignore what I’m eating (except for when the cat nudges my hand for his fair share), and concentrate on enjoying my restaurant outings as much as possible.

The timing, as I said, is the real pain. I test my blood four times a day: a fasting test, first thing in the morning; and then after breakfast, lunch and dinner, exactly one hour after each meal. In between the meal itself and the test, I’m supposed to work in a fifteen-minute walk. It was explained to me that exercise makes your body bypass the need for insulin by getting the blood sugar to go directly into the cells that need it, instead of lounging around in your blood and causing problems. And I do see a few points’ difference between when I exercise and when I don’t.

However, since these days I always feel like I’ve chowed down on the Hindenburg right after meals, there are times when that little walk is sheer torture. I end up with a bellyache and thus have to go lie down for some indeterminate time, and this is really adding to one of my major problems these days: I’m getting NOTHING done. Between thinking about what to eat, cooking it, eating it, getting in the prescribed exercise and then the blood test, then worrying about it all again in an hour and a half when it’s time for my between-meals snack, plus the general malaise that comes with carrying around twins that apparently are coming ready-equipped with their own sets of free-weights, I am a totally useless individual these days. (Hah, some would say, “What else is new?” but I’ll pretend to ignore that.)

But the babies are growing, and with any luck they’re a pair of healthy little buggers in there. I’m going to guess that’s worth a certain amount of inconvenience.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann, I am so glad you are managing with the daily blood checks. You have my sympathy, what a pain! I was thrilled to read that you recently got to check out the babies and watch them frolic.. So Thrilled for you!!

12:12 AM  

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