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Monday, August 23, 2004

Piece of my heart

I have never felt more like a cyborg in my entire life! According to the Cyborg Name Generator, T.O.N.I. stands for Technician Optimized for Nocturnal Infiltration; whatever that means.

So here I am with my first ever Ambulatory Electrocardiograph strapped up to my torso. Six electrodes coming out of a small battery-powered recorder are attached to various parts of my chest and upped abdomen to monitor the electrical activity of my heart while I supposedly go about my usual daily activities.

It feels a little weird to have all these wires around my body, but in some ways it's not too different from times when I spent hours on end in radio studios with headphones or some other wireless monitoring devices on me.

This holter monitor will record about 100,000 heartbeats in 24 hours and is designed to detect any other problems with my heart, either related to the WPW syndrome we discovered earlier this month, or the leak in the valve on my left ventricle, which was detected during last week's echocardiograph.

Much of the dizziness I felt before last week has now all but subsided since I started taking the daily beta-blocker pill prescribed by my doctor. The advantage of ambulatory monitoring is that the heart can be monitored during normal daily activities. Apparently, many heart problems occur only during certain activities, such as exercise, eating, sex, emotional stress, bowel movements, or even sleeping. A continuous 24-hour recording is much more likely to detect any irregular heartbeats that occur during these activities.

I was also given a diary to record any symptoms...and I'm actually starting to feel slightly dizzy, so I guess I'll just go note that in the diary now. I'll blog some more about all this tomorrow after the holter comes off.

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