Saturday, 25 August 2012

24 hours heart monitoring

The CT scan I had a few weeks ago has fortunately come back clear. It doesn't explain the accident but it's good to know I have a healthy head.

At the same time I was also referred for 24 heart monitoring. So, a few weeks ago I visited yet another department at our local hospital. I was wired up to a machine for several minutes while they ran some basic tests and asked some basic questions, do I get dizzy spells or feel faint, do I have palpitations etc. etc, to each I answered 'no'. Then they stuck 3 pads to my chest and sent me home for 24 hours attached to a portable monitor. The unit hung from a strap around my neck and I had a small booklet in which I was to make a note if I had any feelings in my heart that were note worthy. I couldn't think what I would be noting as I had never had any issues with my heart but the doctors wanted everything checking out so I was happy to oblige.

I was to do everything I normally do while wearing the unit, except have a shower. It was cumbersome with 3 thickish, long wires stuffed up my jumper and the unit felt quite heavy around my neck, but it was only for 24 hours. It was Friday lunchtime so, after picking a sandwich up from the hospital restaurant I returned to work. 

Now, a little on the hospital restaurant. It's at the head of the corridor to the cardiology department and has leaflets and posters outside about cholesterol reducing. So, you would think there would be a variety of low fat foods available - oh no. I eventually managed to find a sandwich that would do, but I was totally disappointed in the choice - how ironic.

Anyway, back at work the monitor didn't bother me too much and after a while I managed to forget it was hanging around my neck. We had deliberately not made plans to go out that night and so the next hurdle would be trying to sleep attached to the cables - and it wasn't easy for me. After a restless night I spent Saturday morning clock watching, hardly able to wait for the 24 hours to come to an end. Eventually the time came for me to peel off the pads holding the wires in place and I could bag the unit up for returning to the hospital for analysis on the Monday morning. 

On my way to work I drove by the hospital and took the unit back to the cardiology dept along with a blank record card. I didn't have any 'off feelings' from my heart, never had and hadn't expected to have any just by being hooked up to a monitor. The receptionist confirmed my blank card was intentional and after I said yes, I left to start the wait for yet another letter not to arrive. 

After 4 weeks of no call back to the hospital, I finally began to relax and feel that I would never be able to explain the accident but at least I'd been fully checked out, which was no bad thing.

Then it happened, week 5 - I got a letter telling me they wanted me back to have another monitor fitted - this time for 48 hours. Suddenly I got concerned again. Friends tried to re-assure me they were just double checking before discharging me - but I wasn't convinced. I went back to the hospital the following day and was once more fitted with sticky pads, wires and the unit around my neck. I explained that due to the osteoarthritis in my neck I found having the unit hanging there uncomfortable, so he said I could carry it in the pocket of my jeans as long as the cables were not pulled taut. And so 48 hours began.

It was 48 hours that would change my life significantly.



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