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Thursday, February 11, 2010


Yet another rather eventful day in the ongoing saga of my health. This morning I was scheduled to meet with my sleep specialist, Dr. Ray, with the latest results taken from the onboard computer of my CPAP machine. Kim and I got up earlier than usual to compensate for the extra time it takes to clean up, shave, dress, and to load and unload the cripple. The appointment was set for 9:30 AM and we literally rolled into the waiting room about 9:28 AM.

First Dr. Ray's nurse came in with the "machine that goes bing" (to quote Monthy Python's sketch from "Meaning of Life") and she hooked me up for blood pressure readings and for pulse. BP came in too high - 137 over 107 I think it was - and the heart rate came in too low at between 41 and 47 beats per minute. Average is around 60 so I am told.

Then Doctor Ray comes in with the bad news that the CPAP machine is not working the way it should and I must re-schedule for another sleep over at the skeep clinic for further diagnosis. This is unhappy news all round, but I accept it at face value and we leave the clinic - after first going upstairs and complaining to the woman who puts on casts about how mine is cutting into my leg right below the knee. She adds some "mole skin" around the top edge and tells me to come back tomorrow if it hasn't helped.

We decide to head over to the near by restaurant run by one of my former students from years ago. Just as Kim is wheeling me into the restaurant, my cell phone rings and it is a nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital who has just received orders from my primary physican to report immediately to Sacred Heart Hospital. Someone has squealed on me and the doctor does not like either of the readings concerning pulse and blood pressure and wants me to report to EEG, EKG for a heart holter.

I tell her not until we have had something to eat and agree to be there by 12:15 PM. All through lunch I grouse about how if it ain't one damn thing it's another and if they think that I'm going to miss tomorrow afternoon's gig in Melrose/Mindoro they are sadly mistaken.

Kim drops me off in a hospital wheel chair after lunch while she finds parking. I go into registration and start ranting to the poor receptionist that I will not be checked into the hospital and miss a gig tomorrow and I demand to talk to my doctor's nurse. I will die performing rather than miss one of the few gigs to come my way in months! Kim comes in near the end of my tirade and apologizes for her hubby's rude demeanor.

She gets me away from the reception desk and tells me to cool it and that she will field the call from the doctor's nurse. And she does, maintaining her cool, collected self and finally near the end of the conversation she looks towards me and gives me the thumbs up.

We go up to EEG. EKG to find out what the hell a "heart holter" is. A heart holter, it turns out, is a small electronic device which hangs in a pouch that is strapped to your chest with all those electrode thingies taking data for 24 hours.

According to google:

During a heart Holter monitor study, the patient wears a monitor (Heart Holter) that records electrical activity of their heart (similarly to the recording of an electrocardiogram). This usually occurs for 24 hours, while at the same time the patient also records a diary of their activity. Health care providers then analyze the recording, tabulate a report of the heart’s activity, and correlate irregular heart activity with the entries of the patient’s diary.

So tonight I may not turn on the electric blanket as it will screw with the readings. But I don't have to be checked into the hospital, nor will I be forced to miss my gig as we will have turned the damn thing in just before we leave.

If it ain't one damn thing, it's another!


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