Friday, June 13, 2008


[Photograph of a gray bricky CardioNet heart monitor, larger than user's hand.]

One of the new joys of the new heart monitor (finally got one, yes I did, after the noticeable symptoms went away) is that you have to carry a small plastic brick around with you everywhere you go that beeps continually if you disconnect it to go swimming or take a bath and can only be silenced for about a minute at a time. This little brick, which is in addition to the sensor you put in a pocket or clip to your belt, uses cell phone technology to transmit information to the call center and has an advantage over other heart monitors in that you don't have to have access to a land line and thus run into trouble if you're out of the house or office for a long time. The disadvantages are many:
-imagine you're a 50-year old overweight male in middle administration at a company that has fired people with health problems or who are older and that you have to start carrying one of these around to meetings. They don't fit in a pocket, not at all.
-post spine surgery, no fun. Too heavy to carry around.
-people who have other injuries/disabilities, or use crutches or canes? What are you thinking, people?
-for workers in health professions, construction, teaching, food services, sales, it's impractical to carry one of these around.
-it's difficult to keep up with, even for someone relatively inactive. While they claim to have a range of 10-20 feet, they don't and mine beeps at me if I get more than 5 feet from it.
-we're in the suburbs, and it gets poor cell phone reception everywhere. What about when we go out of town or travel?

With current technologies, CardioNet could easily figure out how to make this cell phone technology cell phone sized.

Another joy of heart monitoring that I noticed the last time I wore one is that if you don't wear thick clothing you look like you have extra nipples in the wrong places. When I first discovered this, I wanted to catch up to the smirkers once I figured out why they were staring at that spot and show them, "See, see? It's not what you think it is!" And don't even think about going to an airport, especially if scanning is involved.

This monitor, though, doesn't have a button that you can accidentally push, as LifeWatch does, transmitting the sound of three recordings of your irregular heartbeat in a very loud way to your coworkers.

So my resting heart rate's been 120 all evening. Fun. Why do I keep craving salt and chicken and chicken broth? What did my bone donor eat, anyway?


Blindlemon53 said...

Cardio Not is right! The sensor is so huge is looks like you're packing heat under your clothes -not a good thing for a teacher like me. What if it starts beeping loudly during a class because the battery is dying or the monitor is losing its charge, or because it's otherwise unhappy and needs to be comforted?

I'm an active person, so I got into the habit of wearing the monitor on my waistband while at home. That way, I didn't have to carry the plastic brick around with me, or deal with its seemingly endless beeping if I got too far from its baby, the sensor.

One day I was carrying a heavy load of laundry around in a basket. The sensor must have slipped off my waistband accidentally, and -you guessed it- into the washing machine it went. By the time I discovered it was missing two minutes later, the thing was ruined. Oh, no! Now I have to deal with the monitoring people! What's going to happen? Am I in big trouble? ARRGHHHHHH! This thing could give me a heart attack!

FridaWrites said...

Oh, I hope you don't have to wear it a long time--I had to wear it about a month. It's ironic--the stress of it can cause trouble. Once I hit the replay button on another monitor accidentally in front of a room full of people, and it shrieked out my irregular heartrate for several minutes. Talk about red faced!