Some of you know that I am susceptible to hypoglycemia, where my blood sugar drops really low in a short amount of time. I got my diagnosis in 1997, so this year, actually this month, is my tenth anniversary. Strictly by knowing what I have and eating at proper intervals, I cannot remember a single time in ten years where I’ve had a bad incident.
So how did I get my diagnosis? I took a standard glucose tolerance test at the UBC hospital. I fasted for 8 hours beforehand. The test starts in them morning. First they take a sample of blood. They make you drink something that tastes like Orange Crush. Then you wait. They force you to stay at the hospital. You can’t eat or drink anything. You can’t do exercise. You can sit and read.
Every hour on the hour, the nurse came in to take another sample of blood. They alternate arms because the test can take up to eight hours and that’s a lot to ask of you veins.
Anyways, that’s not the point of this post. I was so bored during the entire time. I brought a book with me but I quickly lost interest. Instead, I began looking at the reading material in the room. It was pretty typical of a medical facility. There were some MacLeans. A few Readers Digests. A sprinkling of People magazines. I spotted a New Yorker. An Economist was poking out from underneath a pile. A smattering of US Weekly kept me entertained.
Then I noticed something different. There was a catalogue in amongst the magazines. It was a women’s swimwear catalogue. It was unlike any swimwear catalogue I’d ever seen. Who ever made these swimsuits, it was geared towards fashion-impaired and extremely modest women. As I flipped through the pages, I saw garish, floral print, one-piece suits on “real-sized” models in their 30s. Think moo-moo swimwear. It didn’t say “Swimsuits for Republicans” on the cover but it could have. What type of woman would buy these things?
As I finished thumbing through the catalogue, I kept wondering why the hell was this catalogue in here with the rest of the magazines? Maybe someone brought it in by accident with a stack of other magazines? I couldn’t figure it out, so I picked up another US Weekly where I quickly discovered where Brad and Gwyneth had vacationed recently.
By now, we were several hours into the test, so my mind was in this low-blood sugar induced haze. It was hard to think properly. Then, I looked up from my magazine and stared at the walls. My mind churned for a bit more. I was in the laboratory section of the UBC Hospital. I was sitting in a room for people that came to the lab. People came to the lab for tests. I myself was sitting in a chair with an armrest designed to make giving blood easier. The room had a small bathroom with a built-in shelf for containers. People came to the lab to pee in a cup in that bathroom. In a bit of a daze, I looked at the sharps next to me, the empty, sterilized cups, the rubber tubing, and the bathroom with the shelf.
People came to this room to give their body fluids for testing.
Then I realized I forgotten about one other fluid they sometimes test. It was a fluid that only men can make. I looked at the row of sterile specimen cups on the table next to me. Then I looked at the bathroom in front of me. Finally, I saw the swimsuit catalogue again.
It made somewhat sense though. The UBC hospital does testing for almost everything and that includes fertility for men. I shook my head though. Whoever thought that catalogue was going to do the trick was greatly mistaken. The models in that catalogue were far from “spankerific”. It was like if your high school cafeteria lady decided to put on a bathing suit.
I quickly decided if I had to give a sample, looking at those ladies would probably hamper the operation rather than help it. Then I wondered what type of guy would actually get aroused by that catalogue? Probably an older guy perhaps? Even then… still… man… floral print?
My thoughts trailed off as my blood sugar began to drop like a rock. In minutes I began to sweat and the shakes began. I called out for the nurse. She rushed in to take one last vial of blood. I was then given the ok to eat. It took me about 30 seconds to drain a can of Coke I had brought with me.
I haven’t been back to that room since.