Officer Mark Parrott’s beat with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department keeps him in top physical shape, so he knew something was wrong when his health took a dramatic turn.
“I started having increased thirst, increased urination and I noticed weight loss after that,” Parrott says. “It progressed for almost a week and I lost close to 10 pounds.”
Parrott could access OurHealth’s MyClinic network with no co-pay through his employer benefits with the City of Charlotte, so he scheduled an appointment at MyClinic @ Wilkinson Blvd.
Parrott’s symptoms were common indicators for diabetes, so the clinic staff performed a hemoglobin A1c test to check his blood sugar. The results were shocking — his A1c was upwards of 11. An A1c of 6.5 and above indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic, and Parrott was initially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
His provider started him on oral medication, and Parrott began checking his blood sugar daily, but his symptoms didn’t improve much. On a return visit, his provider recommended he meet with Lynn Campbell, a Certified Diabetes Educator with OurHealth.
After their first meeting together, Campbell recommended that Parrott be referred to Dr. Charles Upchurch, a Charlotte-based endocrinologist, where further testing confirmed that Parrott actually had Type 1 diabetes.
“He was awesome and got me on the path that I needed to be on for medication and checking my blood sugar,” Parrott says. “He wanted me to remain meeting with the diabetes educator, so I stuck with Lynn at OurHealth.”
Getting Back on Track
Campbell helped Parrott develop his diabetes self-management skills, which included taking insulin shots with each meal and monitoring his carb intake to control his blood sugar. Within a few days, he started to feel better, and after a few weeks he returned to his normal weight, but his A1c still hovered around 9.
That’s when Parrott saw an ad for the FreeStyle Libre Sensor, a device that attaches to the skin and monitors blood glucose 24/7. He mentioned the device to Dr. Upchurch and Campbell, and with their blessing, began using the Libre Sensor.
“That has helped a lot with me being able to provide accurate numbers to Lynn because before I was just pricking my finger 6 to 8 times a day, and it might have been during a low period or a high period,” Parrott says.
Within a few weeks of using the Libre Sensor, Parrott says his A1c dropped to 6.5. “The doctor thought that was excellent for only having diabetes for a little over a year,” he says.
Today, Parrott says he feels as good as he did before the symptoms began, and his only issue now involves the occasional dizziness that occurs when his blood sugar level drops. When he’s on patrol, Campbell suggested Parrott keep fast-acting glucose tablets on hand to bring his blood sugar back up.
“I’ve actually had to use them a number of times because sometimes it gets so low and you have nothing available to you to bring it up,” he says.
Parrott says he feels grateful to have the clinic benefit and wonders how long he would have waited for treatment if he didn’t have the option.
“In all honestly, I would have waited until I found a doctor available to take me if it had not been for the fact that OurHealth has no co-pay for me.”
-by Mike LaFollette