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DALLAS (CBSFDW.COM) – Four years ago, then 7-year-old Carson Wedding was clearly feeling under the weather. Her mother, Melinda Wedding recalls that “she was lethargic, she was sleepy, she was thirsty.” But, what the family thought was a winter cold, was instead a life changing diagnosis for the entire family: juvenile diabetes.
“Now, you’re going to measure everything you eat, you’re going to do these tests 5,6,7 times a day. You’re going to wake up in the middle of the night to do these tests,” says her Dad, James Wedding. “And if you do this wrong, bad things will happen.”
“You don’t think about what you’re eating,” adds Melinda, “you just pick it up and put it in your mouth. Every time someone with Type 1 diabetes touches food, they have to think about the consequences… it changes everything.”
Now, technology created by parents of juvenile diabetics is changing the way worried parents can watch blood sugar levels… remotely. Instantly. With a watch.
Carson is now 11 and in middle school. Her watch is bright blue. “It’s already up and running, so I can just look at it if I need to.” The watch tells time—and it also tells her parents that her blood sugar level is under control. Melinda will get an alarm if Carson’s blood sugar gets too low or too high… and she can watch the crisis fade as her ‘growing up’ daughter gets some juice or insulin to get her levels under control. And in the appearance conscious world of middle school, it’s easier for her, too.
“I don’t have to pull out a bunch of equipment in class,” says Carson, “I can spend more time finding angels on triangles, or writing essays.” And like a typical 6th grader, at that thought, she dissolves into giggles.
And that normalcy, parents say, it what makes the system great. Called ‘Nightscout’, with an internet connection, the program instantly transmits readings from the patient’s CGM, continuous glucose monitor. The system can also work with the phone alone, or with a tablet. But, the watch is always attached, inconspicuous, and the information is instant.
“She always had the monitor,” says James,” but with the addition of the phone, now wherever Carson is, you have that information right here, as he points to the watch, down the block or around the world.”
The Weddings called the parents who developed the program “brilliant.” They got involved to help other parents navigate the techy-how-to and get their own systems up and running. The app is free. Parents need only provide a smartphone and compatible watch. The Weddings estimate that the entire kit can get up and running for less than $150. And they’re especially thrilled that the project is driven by Type 1 parents.
“We’re not waiting,” says James emphatically. “We’re not waiting for the FDA. We’re not waiting for the manufacturers… we’re going to develop the tools we need to live a normal life.”
“There are parents in the group who say this is the first time we’ve been able to go on a date night in a decade,” says the couple in unison… with Melinda adding, “because we finally have a way to help our caregivers take care of our child. It is priceless.”
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