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Tim’s Parker’s 15 minutes of fame – at least in the diabetes community – began in March when he learned that he had been the purchaser of Medtronic’s one millionth continuous glucose monitoring sensor.
Medtronic, proud of the moment and eager to honor Parker, plans to whisk him down to its Northridge, Calif., manufacturing plant later this summer and give him a VIP tour of the facility.
For Parker, Medtronic’s recognition is icing on the cake. He says he’s already gotten what he has wanted from the company’s combination continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump (the Paradigm system), which he has used for two years. Diagnosed 11 years ago as a type 1, and having used a pump for seven years, Parker is a San Jose-based computer hardware engineer who appreciates it when technology does a fine job of delivering the goods.
“In my case,” says Parker, “I use CGM as a tool to know when I should check.” He has programmed the unit to sound an alarm whenever his levels approach 70 at the lower end or 250 at the upper. In the meantime, he can read built-in arrows that indicate if he is trending slowly or quickly: one arrow means little change; two arrows mean quick, great change. A history bar graph lets him see what is a typical trend for him. “I don’t need to check randomly anymore, which me gives a greater sense of control and freedom.”
Less Fear of Hypoglycemia
He is especially thankful that the system has helped him regain the ability to detect lows. “Before I started using the unit, I would often drop to 40 or 45 – with all of the worries and concerns that such a low reading would cause. Now, because I’ve set the warning alarm to go off at 70, I can check on a low reading and have plenty of time to remedy it.”
Long term, CGM has become a welcome educational tool for Parker. “Because the unit has helped me learn how specific foods affect me, I can eat whatever I want in moderation.”
In fact, one revelation it gave him was about one of his favorite foods. “I like peanut butter and would eat it in the evening, then take a reading three hours later before going to bed. The readings showed that it had had no apparent effect on me, yet I’d wake up the next morning at 240. The meter allowed me to learn that peanut butter didn’t affect me until the fourth hour – when I was already asleep – which is when it would make me spike.”
Parker also relies on his Paradigm unit to keep alert to changes while he engages in sports. “I’m pretty active in my spare time. I snowboard in winter, and windsurf and kayak on San Francisco Bay.” When he’s up for a little excitement, Parker drives over the hills from San Jose, drops his kayak into the Pacific and works his way through waves that began their journey thousands of miles to the west.
Apr 16, 2008
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.