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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