Good news for anyone who’s not up-to-date on their hemoglobin A1c tests (a simple blood test that gives an idea of your average blood glucose levels over the previous three months): in honor of diabetes awareness month, Walgreens is giving them away for free. Click here for more information, including a store locator — but make sure to call ahead: the tests are taking place at one-day clinics and are not available all the time.
I’m personally psyched because I have an endocrinologist’s appointment this Friday and had thought I was going to have to do my usual routine — go to Quest Diagnostics in Oakland’s Chinatown and wait in a room full of coughing people to have my blood drawn. Totally miserable — not to mention an excellent way to pick up swine flu. I’m also assuming that the Walgreens A1c tests don’t actually require a needle in the arm — if they’re anything like the machine that my endocrinologist had in NYC, it’s a simple finger prick, and the whole thing only takes about 7 minutes. God, I loved that A1c machine.
Have no idea what I’m talking about? Here’s more information on the A1c, courtesy of WebMD.
Update: Shortly after I wrote the draft of this post, I looked at the order form my endocrinologist gave me the last time I saw him and noticed that he also wanted me to have my TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels tested. You know, because I — like many type 1 diabetics — have a high risk of developing thyroid disease? (Which, needless to say, would suck.) Anyway, that meant I couldn’t take advantage of Walgreens’ special machine after all — and had to go to Quest for a full-on blood draw. The upside: if you show up at the clinic at 4:30, there is no line and, therefore, less of a chance of picking up H1N1 in the waiting room. The downside: if you then intend to go to a 6pm kickboxing class, you are at much higher risk of having your puncture wound reopen during pushups, resulting in the need for a new band-aid and making the teacher ask, loudly, whether they have a liability form from you on file.