My Day at ODAC

Being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, I was sent by my gynae to spend a whole day at the Obstretics Day Care aka ODAC.

I fussed the few days prior to the appointment about what books or things to bring to entertain myself while i eat hospital food. When the nurse called me, i did get a chance to ask what will i be doing there but she only answered with... "Don't worry, we have things for you to do." Hmmm I saw a TV in there.. but what if i dont like the show? I still have practically no idea what i was in for.

But first let me just tell you how homey it was in there.

Mum initially thought that it was at a ward or something... but its more of a... clinic. and No i didnt hafta change to the hospital robe either.

TV and stuffs. Homey if a bit old fashioned (radio, food pyramid, food models... so funny)

Having arrived at 8:10am, i was the first one there. But i was joined by 3 other ladies soon after. They were all indians, one of them a muslim, complete with Purdah and everything! She seems to be new to Singapore and knows little English, so the other Indian native who's stayed here for 8 yrs helped her a bit with translation. I tried to show off my urdu also asking her, "Aap India se ya Pakistan se?" Are you from India or Pakistan? To which she answered the former, to my great disappointment. Like i thought we could have something in common to talk about.

As it turned out, our itinerary for the day was jam packed ok!

First, we learnt how to use the Blood Sugar Level home kit. For that day and two consecutive days each week, we hafta prick our fingers like 7 times a day to get the reading on our blood sugar level directly before and 2 hours after food and just before bedtime. It was scary at first to be poking a needle into myself. (I dont like to inflict injury upon myself unlike somebody i know. *roll eyes*) So much so that the nurse helped by holding on to my finger to apply pressure to finally cause a puncture so blood could ooze out.

After that we were given our bfast first at 9am as we haven't eaten anything since 12midnight.

Skimmed Milk, Kway Teow Soup with minced chicken, carrots and long beans and clear soup.

If you know me, i DONT DRINK MILK. I can only take strawberry / choc flavoured milk which is a BIG NO NO for diabetics. To make things worse this was SKIMMED milk. The kind nurse then added some cocoa powder (which is a natural one and contains no added sugar) as well as 1 teeny weeny tablet of Equal artificial sweetener. It was still horrible but i had no other choice but to down it. For the dear baby. *shudder*

Afterwards, we had a session with a dietician. She went thru with us all the OK and NOT ok food for us. I was jumping for joy when she said that Coke Light, Coke Zero, Pepsi light are all permissible to a limit of a can a day. WEEEEEHOOOOOOOOOO.... at least something to appease my aching heart (or rather tummy and throat) that's grieving the loss of cakes, chocolates and ice creams that this pregnancy has had me craving for.

I felt so sorry for two of the other ladies and their paymaster. It was very difficult for them to comprehend what the Chinese dietician is explaining with her correct English but punctuated with a lot of "hor"s and all, that i feel they could hardly benefit from this $371 (subsidised for residents, could be double for non-residents!) session.

We break for tea which was another cup of milk (ERGhhhhhhhhhh) and 3 packets of wholemeal biscuits. Very dry and lacklustre. just gobbled them up for the sake of munching.
Then we proceeded on to sample Meal plans and an indvd one-on-one with the dietician to specify what we can eat in accordance to all the existing supplements and recommendations from the gynae.
Some of the things i learnt are:
  1. It's better for us to take small meals and shorter intervals of 2 - 3hours. This is so that our blood sugar levels won't fluctuate erratically which is not good for the baby's system.
  2. Vitagens and Yakults are surprisingly disallowed! I thought they would be good since they contain probiotics. but apparently too sweet i guess.
  3. Milk can be replaced with Yoghurt but not cheese. Diabetic flavoured yoghurts are available in the brand Yoghlait or something. Hafta check this out.
  4. 1 snack = 1 fruit = 1 milk. So i bluntly told the dietician that i already intended to substitute the milk for fruits. And so she suggested i buy Caltrate (calcium tablets) to supplement my and baby's 1600mg a day need for calcium! *faint* PLease no more pills, please! Already I'm delaying to start on Obimin cos its too FREAKINGLY HUMONGOUS!
  5. Diabetes is not so much about salt as it is about sugar. Starchy foods will convert into sugar. This includes starchy vege which are ROOT veges like potatoes, carrots, tapioca and the like. In other words, potato chips are a No No but twisties and nachos are prolly alright. LOL
  6. Oil seemed innocent enough on the surface. However, oil makes the sugar in our blood stays longer than necessary. Avoid fried stuffs!
Finally, LUNCH TIME!

Rice, Chicken curry (?), long beans, apple and carrot soup.

I was the only one to start my meal with fruit. Even the kind nurse ate her fruit last. Hmmm contemplated telling her the virtues of eating ur fruit first but decided against it. I'm here to learn after all, not to teach. haha.

There were two other ladies who joined us for lunch that day. They were on the machine earlier i think. They are, i think, already diabetic when they got pregnant. I felt sorry for these two malay ladies also. They are rather obese. I could smell their insecurities as well as mine when i started to fear i might turn just like them in the future. God saves us all. Sad to say that yes, statistics show that the Malay and Indian communities here in Singapore are more prone to such chronic illness.

After lunch, we were told to go for a walk. Walking, the best form of exercise for pregnant ladies, is helpful in bringing down your BSL as u burn calories. Naughty me did some shopping in between 3 tawafs / rounds around the hospital building. I got 2 maternity dresses and rented 2 books. tsk tsk tsk I even dropped by the Patient Education Centre to ask if i could start my classes early to no avail.

After lunch, it was the nurse's turn to talk. Madam Zuraily is very very nice though. She made sure we were all comfy and spoke at our level. Mostly, she was like a caring mother to us. Among other things, she explained what GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus) is all about and how it could affect us and the baby. Like finally! All my questions were answered!

For the longest time, I had no clue what is this insulin that everybody's talking about does. She explained (w/o us having asked her) that insulin helps to transport the sugar in our intestines into our bloodstream. Lack of insulin will result into excessive blood sent to the kidney. Too much would result in kidney failures and then the blood will pass out in our urine. I hope i've got it right! haha

A person with family history of diabetes is a likely candidate for GDM. However, just about any pregger could get it. This is because when we are pregnant, our body releases a certain feminine hormone. Some generates more than others and it could lead to some disturbance to the smooth function of this insulin. Likewise, u'll be diagnosed with GDM.

Now, what will it do the baby inside of us? Two things. It can either make the baby very big or very small.

Very big because if sugar = energy = growth. If we keep feeding him/her with sugar he will keep growing bigger and bigger than is appropriate. When it's become too big, it'll be very very difficult for us to push the baby out normally.

Too small because when we eat too much cakes and sweets *moan* the PLACENTA will grow and grow until it becomes old, mature and die before the baby is even out. And placenta, as we know, is the one who sends food to the baby. When it dies, baby will not be getting anymore food. Hence, become small.

Now what happens AFTER we give birth? Well normally, after giving birth, the production of that feminine hormone mentioned above will reduce significantly and most of the time, our condition will stabilise and GDM will go away. That is why 6 weeks after giving birth, we will need to do another Glucose test to determine whether or not we still have it.

I felt sad for two ladies. their BSL had been esp high despite the strict hospital diet that we had for the day. After food, our BSL should read between 5.5 - 7, whereas theirs were 8 and above. This prompted the nurse to contact their gynae to advise further action. Luckily for one of them, she was just required to monitor a bit more, but for the other, she was ordered to start on insulin injections. On the tummy! Can you imagine? Me i'm already scared to put a pin on my fingers what more if i were asked to inject MYSELF with an actual NEEDLE into the TUMMY. *faint* *jelly legs*

Thankfully my own readings for the day even if it was out was less than 0.5 out of range. so i was just asked to monitor for 2 consecutive days in a week and then hand in the chart to my gynae on next visit.

On the whole, I am very very very satisfied with my day at ODAC. I'm soo happy i've learnt what my condition is really about. I mean.. reading and actually having someone explain it to us face to face ready to answer any Qns are really two different experiences altogether. On the other hand, I felt cheated that the gynae from polyclinic had really downplayed what GDM is all about. Humph.

Can't wait for my next appointment! We will be doing another ultrasound scan. Yay yay!!

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2 glasses of Juice:

Zaihan said...

Odd. My mum always have high blood pressure (darah tinggi), whenever she bore my brothers and sisters.

but you have kinda high sugar levels.. you better watch out on your sugar intake... not just pregnants and post birth.. i mean forever.. haha

don't want me friend to have diabeetes..

Jussaemon said...

All thru 7 of you huh. A Woman Warrior she is. Damn if you dont appreciate her! :P

eeee forever? a donut every 2 days is ok lah. no need forever. cheh.

Are you saying u dont wanna be friends with diabetics?! *squint eyes*