Day 1 minus three weeks....
I felt fine. No elevator dropping beneath my feet. No cold-clammy sweats. No shaking hands. I should be unconscious. No blinding head ache. No cloudy thoughts. Must be a bad reading.
I re-check. Now 34. I should be unconscious. “Babe,” I call out to my wife, trying to keep my voice very, very calm as I reach for my emergency candy. “You know where my Glucagon Emergency Kit is, right?” I should be unconscious.
That was the moment I decided to buy a Guardian RT.
What is the Guardian?
First some back ground on the Guardian. Approved by the FDA in August, Medtronic’s newest coup is a true continuous glucose monitor. We’ll dig into even the tiniest detail of the system later on, but in a nut shell you wear an infusion-set-like sensor that is attached to a small transmitter that is taped onto your body. The transmitter wirelessly sends data to a pager sized monitor that can be up to six feet away.
The Guardian checks your BG every five minutes and alerts you if you are high or low. If I had been wearing a Guardian three weeks ago I would never have had a BG of 35. I would have been warned when I went below 80. I would have intervened earlier. I would not have scared the shit out of myself and my wife.
If that weren’t reason enough to own a Guardian, the icing on the cake is the data. Wearing a Guardian you have access to the entire continuum of your sugar readings. You can see the exact pattern of your sugars over a day, a week, a month. You can see exactly what that Pizza did to you. With finger sticks you can only guess were your sugars are between checks. You go to bed at 114. You wake up and 109. But where were you at 2 am? Now you can know. Now you can fine tune your basal rates and boluses to a degree unimaginable a few years ago. They finally made a crystal ball that really works. Welcome to the magical world of high-tech!
So why wouldn’t every diabetic want to own one? Price of course. FDA approval doesn’t grant insurance coverage. Everyone at Medtronic assures me that getting the insurance companies on board is job #1. Availability is another issue. Medtronic has only rolled out the Guardian in seven cities in the United States. So you gotta pay for it, and you gotta live in one of those cites. Or you gotta do what I did. My mother paid for it and I took a trip on an airplane...
When I first went looking for info on the Guardian I could find precious little except from the manufacturer or from sites that ran the Medtronic press release. That didn’t stop me, my mind was made up. But it would have been nice to know more. As it turns out I’ll one of the first 50 diabetics wearing and using the Guardian in the real world. Now I’ve got a place to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. So stick with me as the adventure unfolds.....