Why I had to wear a holter monitor
Here’s recap in case you missed the article I posted two weeks ago. Back in December, I was getting weird heart palpitations. I didn’t think anything of it until it became a regular thing. As a healthy 41 year old I had never experienced these odd beats before. This is when I got worried. After the fourth day of getting the palpitations, I decided to go to the walk-in doctor. He sent me to the hospital to get an ECG done. 7 hours waiting in the emergency room, and a couple of tests and blood taken, the emergency doctor advised I should get a holter monitor so they can check on the activity of my heart in a regular 24-hour period. I got mine on Monday, and took it off yesterday afternoon. From 4.00pm – 4.00pm, Here’s what happened.
But first, what exactly is a holter monitor?
Good question. I wasn’t familiar with it until recently. Apparently, everyone that is older has gone through this process. According to Medical News Today;
“A Holter monitoring device measures a person’s heartbeat for 24 hours. A small, battery-powered electrocardiogram (ECG) device is attached to the body. This monitor a person’s heart as they go about their daily activities. When people report symptoms of heart problems, doctors often use ECGs to help diagnose the issue.”
Wearing the holter monitor
The holter monitor meeting was Monday at the London Cardiac Institute. The visit was painless. I arrived really early, thinking they’d be able to squeeze me in before my scheduled appointment time. They did not, but that wasn’t a big deal. The nurse advised me of a few key notes to remember – not to shower with it on, to use my diary and what to do when removing the device. She stuck on a few stickers, stuck on the wires and gave me a fanny-pack like contraption to carry around the monitor in. I walked out not looking like I’m wearing a mini-computer underneath my shirt. And from what I saw, no one else did that came walking out from the office. The holter monitor is super small and easy to hide.
The potty was the toughest part
I wanted to make the time I was wearing the holter monitor as stress free as possible. To do this, I caught up on a lot of work over the weekend and did as much of other stuff around the pad so I didn’t need to lay a finger for twenty-four hours.
When the time came when I needed to go, I really NEEDED to go. But how am I supposed to do this? See, the power cord is situated by my waist. This meant sitting down whilst going to the washroom would mean that the cord would get soiled. I had to hold the power cord in a certain way so it wouldn’t get dirty. This meant for a very uncomfortable positioning and as a result of, my arm needs a good massage. After tricky manoeuvring, it was a successful mission. Just not a mission that I wanted to do a lot.
Sleep wasn’t so comfy
The next tricky part would be sleeping. I sleep on both sides. Turning all night long. I had to make a (sub)-conscience effort to not turn on my left side where the monitor was. It worked but the pager-like device still go in my way, not to mention the cords on my chest that made it really hard to do anything with my arms being on my body. (I like to cross my arms when I sleep.) I took a pill and headed to bed just after 11pm. Just like the washroom, I was trying to put off sleeping for as long as I could. Even with the sleeping pill, my night was full of scratching, half-dreams, and insomnia. All in all, I had maybe 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Thankful I only need to wear the holter monitor for 24 hours
All in all, the whole process wasn’t as bad as I thought. It just really needed to get used to. By the 22 hour mark, I was ready to take a shower and sleep. I was counting down the minutes and seconds. Waiting for 4pm to hit and as soon as it did, the holter monitor came off. I stuck it in a plastic bag to be returned to the office and jumped right in the shower.
Now, I wait to see if anything spikes their interest and they call me in. I guess, no news is good news. I just really hope I don’t need to wear it again. A day was long enough for me. While I was waiting for my name to be called Monday afternoon, I saw a couple of older gentlemen walk in and they needed to wear it for 48 hours and a week, respectively. I don’t want to do that.
As I mentioned in my original article about my heart palpitations, listen to your body. It doesn’t matter how crazy it might sound to a trained professional, it’s your body and you know what it does. If you find it doing something it usually doesn’t do, get it checked out. The slight discomfort of wearing a holter monitor for a pesky 24-hours is worth it if it means it’ll save a life.