No Food or Drink Allowed

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Here’s the deal. Last week ("Is It Just Always Something?") I wrote about my thyroid nodule and how I was scheduled to have a biopsy on April 23. That’s today. I’m writing this blog entry following the fine needle aspiration ultrasound biopsy.

So, my intention: blog this week about the biopsy procedure. You know, what I experienced, what I felt — all that good stuff that goes with a hospital visit.

I was going to write about that. I have notes that I took in the radiology waiting room (I was 30 minutes early), and some thoughts about how to tie the procedure into my Type 1 diabetes. It was going to be a pretty good blog entry, especially because it’s been a quiet week for me on the diabetes front. (Nothing like a good thyroid nodule to get a person off the hook for writer’s block!)

But the thyroid biopsy blog entry will have to wait.

I’m home now, having decided to use the noon appointment as an excuse to not go back in to work. The procedure itself was more interesting than it was painful, but I felt that I’d come home and take it easy. After all, I did have six two-inch needles, one after the other, inserted into the nodule (or mass) in my thyroid: The doctor went into my neck above my clavicle, each needle lingering about a minute while the doctor palpated the nodule on my thyroid, all while I was able to watch the needles on the ultrasound screen.

Right now, it feels as if I’ve swallowed something large that won’t go down, and I’m experiencing mild soreness, but nothing major.

That, and I think that the anesthetic messed up my stomach (as it’s done before). Lovely stuff, the human body.

Let’s return, however, to the radiology waiting room at the hospital. I was, as I said, early. I sat there writing my notes for this blog when all of a sudden I feel that twitch of uneasiness in my legs, the slight, nearly imperceptible woozy feeling, that says, Uh-Oh, maybe you should check your blood glucose. I pull my kit out of my backpack and run a check and discover I’m at 90 mg/dl.

Not bad, not dangerous; but if I’m soon going to be called in for a 30-minute procedure, I don’t want to go low. And, typically, if I’m testing over two hours after a meal without having had anything to eat in the interim, then most times when I’m below 120 mg/dl my blood glucose is probably going to be going down rather than up.

But a problem? Nah. I had my backpack, and I’d intentionally thrown some extra white grape juice boxes into it because I knew something like this might happen. So I open my bag, take the straw out of its cellophane wrapper, and prepare to poke it into the foil-covered hole on top. That’s when I hear, “Sir, there’s no food or drink in here; people may be fasting.”

The radiology receptionist.

Well, damn. But did I explain myself? No. Instead I ran through my options, thought about what else I could do. I could leave the waiting area. But wait: I’m waiting for a biopsy. I’m in a waiting room. If I leave the waiting room, I might not hear them call my name. Besides, I’m in a hospital; I have Type 1 diabetes; shouldn’t correcting my blood glucose with Food and/or Drink be allowed? I wasn’t in an operating theater. I wasn’t going to drop Junior Mints into a surgery-in-process.

This is the first time I’ve encountered poo-pooing of diabetes low-blood-glucose correction attempts. So I was silent. Dumbfounded. What did I think about, though? Not only my diabetes. It was the stupidity of her saying “people may be fasting” as the reason to not allow food and drink. Umm, really? So there may be someone who hasn’t eaten since last night, and she might, what, tackle me because I am drinking grape juice?

I’m not opening a sack of McDonald’s in front of all of the people. I’m not slurping on a milkshake and saying “Ha ha ha” to people who can’t enjoy one with me.

I wanted to have a sip of fruit juice to correct a dropping blood glucose level before my thyroid biopsy.

I go back to writing my notes, but now I can only think about what I should do. Do I step into the hallway and slam the juicebox? But what if they call my name? And I don’t want to slam the juicebox. I wanted to sip it for 15 minutes or so. Why should I go stand in a sterile hallway to sip my juice? Am I being punished for my disease?

I decide I’m going to play the diabetes card, much as I don’t want to…

I walk up to the receptionist and lean on the counter, and I say, “How much crap are you going to give me if I have a drink in here? See, I’m a Type 1 diabetic and I’m insulin-dependent, on an insulin pump, and my blood glucose is going low.”

What does she say to me?

“You can take it out into the hallway.”

Well, anxious already about the procedure I’m about to have, and not in my best arguing mode, I simply said, “Oh, OK,” like a good passive boy. Of course, I continued to simmer on the inside. I went into the hallway, drank my juicebox quickly (which I don’t like to do), and then went back in for them to call me.

Now, I’m asking you — because I am really tempted to do so: Should I write the hospital’s comments section about how I was treated? I’ve done this before when I was first diagnosed and treated horribly by a person in billing. I mean, the hospital’s motto is Patients and Families First, and I feel that a policy such as this No Food or Drink thing is not one that has to be or should be strictly enforced. I understand all the reasons for it, but my for-instance is a perfectly good reason to let it slide.

I feel that I was dealing with someone (the receptionist) who can’t find it within herself to bend the rules, who’s Ms. Literal by the Book for everything she does.

I don’t know. It just ticks me off to be treated like rule-breaking high school student.

Suggestions? Thoughts? Has this kind of thing happened to you?

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