Silly though it may seem, I began to think of myself as somewhat of a “heart” professional. After all, conjuring exciting imagery to detail the inner workings of such an enigmatic part of the human anatomy can be challenging.
Turns out…I was wrong. Turns out, I didn’t know diddly about the heart. Not even squat.
Several folks in my family have what we like to call “flopsy” hearts. A few years back my father underwent a quadruple bi-pass, my aunt wears a pacemaker and my sister takes meds to control the beat of her heart. So, when I started experiencing an irregular heartbeat, I wasn’t all that surprised…or even unduly concerned. A few blips here, a small thump there…no big shakes. I’d experienced them before and they had always passed. I felt fine. Besides, I had a Thanksgiving feast to prepare and a house to clean.
But when the flips and thumps ratcheted to a consistent whirr I couldn’t escape, I wondered if something more might be occurring and called my doctor to schedule an appointment.
I love my doctor. Besides being handsome in a swarthy Marcus Welby sort of way, he’s calming, laughs at my sarcastic jokes, and has enough experience I trust his judgment. So when the receptionist told me the soonest I could get in was four days later, I took the appointment…and then spent those next four days trying to convince myself I wasn’t dying.
Perhaps this was it. A heart attack was looming just around the bend. Or maybe a stroke. Did I already have a stroke? Would I even know? What was my phone number? Could I recall the date of my anniversary? Should I take an aspirin? Or not? How about tongue twisters? Could I enunciate with the same dexterity?
Sleep became a distant memory, as did sitting at the computer for extended periods of time (I’m talking like 15 minutes), because each time I remain stationary my heart sputters and chugs like an out of tune engine.
My doctor has reassured me everything is fine. He wrote me a prescription for what grandma likes to call "nerve pills" to ease me down off the ledge of terror (and help me sleep) and has also ordered a battery of tests—one of which includes wearing a holster monitor for twenty-four hours so the cardiologist can figure out what’s going on.
Since I’d never worn a holster monitor before, I didn’t really know what I was in for. And for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure, I thought I would take a moment to debunk a few holster myths…as well as offer a few suggestions.
|I snapped this when the tech left to retrieve more goo.|
1. There is no “holster” involved. Contrary to thinking I’d leave the hospital in a cute gun-slinging ensemble which would match the cowboy boots on my feet (I was being fitted for a holster—stilettos didn’t seem appropriate), a tangle of wires, electrodes and an entire roll of medical tape are now stuck to various parts of my body.
2. There is lots and lots of cold goo involved. Be prepared to be slathered—from waist to shoulder.
3. Wear a pretty bra. The technician will need to thread and then tape several wires between your boobs.
4. Shower before you go. You will not be allowed to bathe while wearing the monitor.
5. Much like the expendable crew member on Star Trek, you will be toting around a small electrical device—either strapped to your belt or in a pocket. Perhaps consider a cute nickname. You may call me Yeoman Fluttering.
6. The technician will not think it’s funny when you compare the little snaps on the electrodes to being “bedazzled”.
Next Monday I go for my first-ever stress test. Not sure what’s involved with that either, but I’ll keep you updated. Off now to plan an outfit. What does one wear to a stress test, anyway?