This May Feel Cold

Thumbnail: Holter monitor

I’m lying down, naked from the waist up, gig­gling uncon­trol­lably. The nurse damp­ens some tis­sue with rub­bing alco­hol, and rubs down my tor­so method­i­cal­ly. I feel it evap­o­rat­ing off my skin, star­ing at the ceil­ing, unsure of any­where else I could appro­pri­ate­ly keep my eyes. Suddenly, there’s a sharply drag­ging pain on a small area, and I see her mak­ing quick, short arm move­ments in one direction.

Ow, what is that?”, I ask jovial­ly. I’m still gig­gling, a result of my ner­vous­ness. She picks up on this.

It’s sand­pa­per. Haven’t you ever been exfoliated?”

The sand­pa­per removes the dead skin, mak­ing the elec­trodes stick better.

Are you telling me that this is going to make my chest glow, and reduce the appear­ance of any lines and wrinkles?”

She play­ful­ly returns, “On these five spots, yes.”

Afterwards, I’m told to sign a form with a short expla­na­tion on what is being done, that acknowl­edges my understanding.

Holter mon­i­tor­ing pro­vides a con­tin­u­ous record­ing of heart rhythm dur­ing nor­mal activ­i­ty. There is no dis­com­fort asso­ci­at­ed with the test.

I’m giv­en a jour­nal to record any abnor­mal heart­beats, whether it’s a skipped beat, an extra beat, or an irreg­u­lar beat, but for the 24 hours that I’m wear­ing this device, I don’t write in it once. It’s a guess­ing game for them, to sort out the what’s nor­mal and what’s not. After any test they do, urine, blood, stool, holter, they say the same thing: we’ll call you if any­thing shows up in the results.

They always say, no news is good news.

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