Apple Watch and Heart Rate Monitoring

A year ago, I had a cardiac event – not a heart attack. Several stories have been written about how people have worn an Apple Watch and had their lives saved. While I did not experience atrial fibrillation the ability to monitor my overall heart rate, I credit to getting proper treatment.

I have two little dogs that I walk every night. The distance varies every night, sometimes it’s a mile, often it’s more – depends on how tired their short legs are. I have been walking them every night for years for their benefit and my health. I use my Apple watch to track my steps and generally also pay attention to my walking heart rate and then the recovery time after.

During our usual routine walk, I noticed a little acid reflux, and when I got back in the house, I had 2 Tums, and 10 minutes later, I felt fine. The following day the walk was uneventful. On Saturday, we were doing our walk, and I had that same discomfort. It felt like acid reflux very high up in my throat. I followed the same process as a few days prior and waited my ten minutes. I also noticed my heart rate had returned to normal as it always does. But something did not feel right. My heart rate actually increased well above what I was used to after the walks.

A quick check of the internet to review my symptoms and everything either did not apply, or I could explain way. 1

Jaw Pain – No Back Pain – No Chest pain around the heart – No Sweating – Yes but I had just walked 2 miles in the thick fog Arm pain – Yes but slight and I had been playing guitar for 6 hours that day so again explainable My wife was out, so I called and mentioned how I was feeling, and I was going to go to the ER to get checked out. She agreed and commented that it was very atypical of me so I should follow my gut.

I drove myself to the Emergency room2 Before I walked into the ER, I rechecked my pulse, and it was back to normal. I contemplated turning around but decided to go in. I was brought into an exam room, and some quick tests showed I did not have a heart attack. I would need a more extensive analysis at another hospital to rule out anything else. During the procedure, they inserted a catheter in my right arm and directed it to my heart. The doctor injected some dye, and it could not have been any clearer. It might as well have been Godzilla walking down 5th avenue. On closer inspection, they were able to determine it was a blood clot in my right coronary artery that was causing a 98% blockage3. They were able to quickly dissolve the blood clot and insert a stent at the same time to make sure the artery remained open. From the time I was wheeled into the time the procedure was over was about 21 minutes.

It has been a year now, and I feel great! Except for those two instances of “heartburn,” I was feeling fine before. I have done a few things to improve my health, and there is always more to do. I am lucky, and I think tracking my overall health through the Apple Watch made me more aware and paid more attention to my body.

1. NOTE: Your diagnosis from the internet will always be death – or cancer, better to skip this step.

2. Driving myself to the ER instead of calling 911 was not a smart idea. Thinking you are Iron Man is also not recommended.

3. I was awake during the procedure (it was painless), and I was able to see the blockage on the screen as clear as day.

Reflecting on a loss

Sunday night the world lost another wonderful person and I personally lost a good friend. The wife of my best friend passed away.

Anyone that ever met this woman had their life transformed in ways that I am not even sure they fully understand or are aware of. An artist, a techer, a spirtual person, a wife, a step mom were just a few of her many roles.

This person transformed my life in so many ways its not even funny.
She could talk you off the ledge with a simple word or two.
She could calm your anxiety and fear with a personal story of her expereinces She could alter your thinking with a small phrase. She could give you encouragement with a smile.
She had the most wonderful laugh. She was a healer.

More than once I went through difficult personals times and she was always there to offer me encouragement, help point out another perspective (you cant see the forest through the trees) and give guidance without judgement.

I have not been a particularly religious man for some time. In the past I had been put off by some that claim a new age spirtuality and were only providing lip service to a fad or phase they were in.

This person personified spirituality and let me know what it means. For that and everything else I am eternally greatful. Will I miss this person – yes but I am one person. Will the world miss out more from her gifts – YES!

I write this as my own personal reflection of the wonder of this individual. Even though I am sad for the loss I do not mourn her passing – I celebrate her life and the gifts she gave to me and others. She may not be physically with us anymore, but because of her I throughly believe that here spirit and soul lives on.

Thank you DMBC

Love always

Finding pace and peace with rituals

Last week Micheal Schecter from A Better Mess wrote a post called Find the Ritual In Your Routine. I have been thinking a lot about that piece. I have mostly been thinking about my own habits and the affect they have on me. What I have found with some habits is they have a similar result on me as the Getting Things Done Methodology. A quieter brain. If I don’t have to think about them they do not bounce around and produce undue anxiety.

Michael is right about how the routines can be heavy but my thought is there can be some huge benefits in terms of the routine.

Our routines can weigh on us. At first their consistency can be a comfort, but over time it tends to grow into something we dread. You can try shaking things up, but inevitably many aspects of our lives become routine.

Some of my habits/routines:

  • Carry habit: iPhone in left front pocket, keys in right front pocket, wallet in right rear and field notes in the left. Maintaining this “habit” prevents me from worrying were things are. Also prevents that TSA-like pat down we all give ourselves when we are looking to see if we have everything before we leave the house.
  • Setting up a landing zone: This is a simple place where when you get home from work you dump all your stuff in your pockets. This way I always know where it is.
  • Coffee habit: I almost always get a grade quad Starbucks ristretto Americano with vanilla in it(sorry @marcoament). The odd thing here is when I place the top on the cup I make sure the pour spout is 180 degrees opposite the cup seam. This way when I grab the coffee in the car I can use my fingers to make sure I know where the spout is before I raise it to my mouth. Preventing a hot mess in my lap.
  • Coffee Habit #2: I usually get coffee 2x a day. Morning and afternoon. Part of the process of getting coffee gets me out of my head and allows for a temporary change of scenery. While many might find this distracting, this generally allows me to step away from the work at hand and think about it differently for a few minutes.

These are silly examples. Perhaps OCD like ways to tame your mind to allow you to focus on other things, or maybe they are just nuts. I think everyone has routines, and I am willing to bet no two are exactly alike. But the key thing is:

I agree with Michael in the value of separating the items into have and want items. Trying to find the balance is the difficulty I suspect many of us go through.

photo credit: pierofix via photo pin cc