Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sometimes I Feel Like a Junkie

I've been monitoring my blood sugar levels since Monday. So far they are staying at normal levels, with two outliers: 53 after yesterday's breakfast, and 126 after Tuesday's lunch. I'm a live science fair experiment!

I am walking around the city with lancets (tiny needles), strips that suck up the blood, and a sharps bottle for the used lancets. My doula and any one else looking at our table in the Liberty Marketplace witnessed the following ritual on Tuesday:

Unzip little black case
Remove digital monitor and finger pricker device from case
Insert fresh strip into monitor
Insert fresh lancet into pricker
Massage finger to fill with blood
Prick finger
Squeeze until enough blood comes out
Place strip in droplet wait for reading
Discard used strip and lancet
Return all paraphanalia to little black case

I felt like I should have been in an abandoned brownstone, sitting between Willie BoBo and Johnny ShakesALot in the stairwell while they smoke their crack. But la doula and I were talking, it was time for me to take the reading, and it was a good education for the both of us. No one called the cops on me, so I live to prick myself another day...

You're probably wondering why I didn't get up and go to a bathroom to do this in private. I need to normalize the process for myself. I have nothing to be ashamed of, and public bathrooms are dirty. There is not enough bloodletting to be considered a biohazard. I have to do this four times a day, regardless of where I am. I can't condition myself to test myself only in a bathroom.

What is difficult is eating so often at work. It's less of a problem at home because the kitchen is right there and no one is interrupting me while I eat. If I eat the right amount I get sleepy. If I eat too little my blood sugar is low and I have a headache and feel lightheaded and shaky. And I have to prepare lunch and snacks before I leave the house based on the guidelines put forth by the nutritionist.

The real hard part is creating a balanced meal on the run when you're broke, and eating leftovers for days. I could eat leftovers before I got pregnant no problem. Now the thought of having the same thing over and over doesn't inspire hunger. And when you are broke you don't have the luxury of being a picky eater.

The results of Tuesday's visit are my motivation. Right now the baby is 5lbs, only five days ahead on the growth schedule; the doctor said at this point the size is not at all alarming. I can do the best I can to keep that under control by planning out these meals.

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