Yesterday I went to my doctor for a follow-up to my ER visit. The good news is that all of the tests done in the ER came out fine. The EKG, the blood work, the blood pressure and blood sugar were all normal. So, whatever is going on with me, most likely, has nothing to do with my heart. But, my doctor explained to me that all of those tests are snapshots. They just show a moment in time. She wanted to set me up with a twenty-four hour cardiac monitor so we could definitively rule out heart issues.
I agreed. I’d also like to rule out any heart issues and who am I to argue with a trained professional. She said she would send a tech in to fit me with a Holter. Only what I heard was halter. I figured it was going to be some kind of vest or undergarment that I would wear under my clothes, something I could ignore. It turns out that Holter is the name of the guy that invented the device. It’s a little box, which I think is a recording device, with five wires connected to five electrodes. Those electrodes were attached to me with stickers (as if I didn’t lose enough body hair in the ER). Once it was hooked up, I asked what I was supposed to do and I was told to just go about my normal activities, just pretend it’s not even there. The one caveat is that I had to make sure not to get the electrodes wet, so no showering for me.
I realized before I even got to my car that there was no way to ignore the Holter. Every time I turned or bent my torso, I could feel the tug of the stickers. When I got in my car, there was no good place to put the seat belt. I had to keep my daughter at arm’s length as she likes to climb and pull and tug on everything. She was very understanding and even conscientious. She kept making me lift up my shirt to check that all of the stickers were still in place. I didn’t get much sleep at all. I’m not used to sleeping while connected to a box by a bunch of wires. Plus, I was afraid that I would unstick something if I moved too much, so I propped myself up and spent half the night staring at the ceiling. Today was uneventful. I stayed home (no need to expose my co-workers to my un-showered state). After the agony of removing the stickers, I dropped the Holter back at the doctor’s office and now I have to wait for the findings.
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been relatively healthy. This whole experience has been new for me. And one question that kept running through my mind today is, “What do doctors think normal people do all day?” Is there any way the machine gathered useful information as it kept me from behaving normally? I guess I just have to trust my doctor. It’s a good thing I really don’t think there’s anything serious going on or I would have been completely freaked out all day.