Pin Cushion

During my last doctor’s visit, my doctor asked me to get an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) any time before my next appointment. I initially thought it was just another blood test, but she told me to carve out half a day for the test. Here’s how the test went:


10:00 PM: last food intake.

12:00 midnight: last drink of water.


7:15 AM: left for St. Luke’s BGC.

7:50 AM: we arrived at the hospital and parked our car.

8:00 AM: we arrived at the Pathology section and get a number to process and pay for the test (about Php 1,500.00/USD 33.00).

8:30 AM: our number gets called and our test is processed. They gave me another number for the blood extraction queue.

8:46 AM: first blood extraction. The attendant double checked if I fasted. After she extracted the blood from my right arm (about a vile), she initially said that we were good. I was given a sheet of paper with instructions (come back after one hour for another blood extraction and another hour after that for the last blood extraction, don’t be late, and not to eat or drink anything in between any of the blood extractions).But I saw the bottle of orange juice next to me and I asked if I was supposed to take it with me and drink it (I remembered my doctor and mom friends mentioning that I would have to drink something). She looked frazzled, I think she forgot. She shook the bottle, opened it, and said (in Filipino):

“Ah. Yes, Ma’am. Please drink it all here.”

So I sat back down and drank the juice. It tasted kind of frizzy and the sweetness of the juice is kind of off, but I gulped it all down pretty easily because I was very thirsty and hungry.

8:46-9:40 AM: I was on my way out of the blood extraction area when I noticed that the instructions she wrote down were contradictory. It said that I should come back after an hour, but she wrote that my next extractions were at 10:46 AM and 11:46 AM. When I clarified this with her, she realized her mistake, crossed out the first thing she wrote, and wrote down 9:46 and 10:46.When I finally reached the waiting area, I was feeling kind of woozy. I felt like my heart was beating faster than usual. Maybe it was all the sugar in one go? But after a while, that went away. I sat in the waiting area with Mikey and I played my games on my iPad.

9:40 AM: second blood extraction. I went to the blood extraction counter and showed them the paper with instructions. They seated me in one of their blood extraction booths immediately (I didn’t need to get a new queue number). As soon as I sat down, the same attendant asked me if I threw up. I answered:

“No, but…”

I was trying to explain that I got a bit dizzy, but before I could say anything she said (in Filipino):

“OK. Good. Don’t throw up. If you did throw up we would have to repeat the entire process. Including the fasting and you would have to pay again.”

Um. Okay. Thanks for telling me after the one hour wait and not before. After telling me this, she did the second blood extraction. She couldn’t find a vein in my left arm, so she got blood from my right arm again.

9:50-10:40 AM: I was feeling kind of sad because of the multiple pokings and because I was kind of hungry again. But Mikey sent me funny SnapChats from the toilet, so that cheered me up.

10:40 AM: third blood extraction. A new attendant did the final blood extraction. He asked me if I threw up before he did anything. I said no. I initially gave him my right arm first. But he said he would try the left arm this time. For some reason, it hurt more and it took longer. When he stuck the needle in, he told me to breathe deeply many times. I thought it was over already so I looked down. When I looked down, there was no blood in the vile yet. So he had to wiggle the needle a little bit. Finally, he said it was over.

We were done with the OGTT before 11:00 AM. Just in time for a quick snack and to meet Mikey’s jaw doctor at 11:30. By 12 noon, we were driving away from the hospital and on our way to a proper lunch!

The results should’ve been out by 3:00 PM that same day, but we didn’t wait for it anymore. They automatically furnish your doctor with the results, so I’ll just wait to hear from her.

Overall, apart from being poked three times, it wasn’t too bad. But here are my tips for future OGGT takers:

  • Take someone with you during the OGTT! It’s a good time to bond with your husband/partner because it’s basically 2.5-3 hours of waiting and doing nothing.
  • If you can’t bring anyone, keep yourself entertained with your book/iPad. You can even catch up on some work while waiting!
  • Try to do the test in the morning. It’s easier to fast when you’re asleep than when you’re awake. A friend of mine tried to take the test after fasting all day at work. When she got to the hospital at 4:00 PM, they couldn’t take her in anymore because the pathology section was closing at 6 PM and they wouldn’t be able to get all the extractions needed. I’ve also heard of cases where they refuse to do the test because of over-fasting (fasting over 12 hours).
  • Try to do the test on a weekday. The hospital seems more chaotic over the weekend. I did mine on a Monday morning and my first attendant made several mistakes. I can’t imagine what she would’ve been like if she had more patients to serve.

I hope we get good results when we see the doctor next week! But I’m mastering the art of not worrying when there’s nothing I can really do about it (it’s a very hard art to master).



2 thoughts on “Pin Cushion

  1. […] the first week of July. I was nervous leading up to the visit because she would be explaining the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) results and we would have to ask for permission to go on our trip. The results were negative! No […]


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