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 room[^2] 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% blockage[^3]. 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.\

First week thoughts on the iPhone 6 plus

There is not a lot remaining that has not been said about the new iPhones. Many great reviews and technical breakdowns have been written.  Instead I wanted to provide my thoughts of the first week with the new device. 

  1. Yes the device is large. Everyday I use it though I feel that it is getting more comfortable for me.
  2. The battery life is amazing.* Under normal conidtions I start my day around 6:45 am with 100% battery on my iPhone 5s.  I usually check mail and listen to podcasts as I drive to work (plugged in during the drive).  I will check twitter multiple times a day and continue to listen to music and podcasts throughout the day.  Email and iMessages are in heavy use.  Throughout the day I would plug the phone in to sip a few minutes of power here and there.  By the time I went to bed I am in the red usually below 10% even after the top-offs.  Using the 6 plus, doing the same activities and not charging I am around 67%.  
  3. It is a two handed device for sure.  Yes you can use it in one hand but it is harder.  One thing that I did not realize is I suck at typing on the 5s period.  One handed, two handed whatever.  For me my speed and accuracy on the keyboard has greatly improved.  Did I give up some typing ability on the go, yes but there are people understanding my emails and messages better now.
  4. By day three holding the 5s in my hands felt comically small.  Beautiful, but it felt more Fisher-Price like.   
  5. Within the last yeat I had to start wearing reading glasses.  Prior to getting them the older iPhone looked clear ennough. When I got the glasses wow what a difference!  Until I was not wearing them and it was painfully hard to use it.  With the Iphone 6 plus It is much easier with or without them.  I appreciate the screen size a lot more. 
  6. I read a lot in my spare time.  I usually use my iPad Retina mini at night.  Often I would leave it in another room and grab the 5s from the nightstand (purely out of laziness) and read on that but it was never enjoyable.  There was always an element of work. If you have to flick 5 screen pages to equal 1 book page it felt like a drag.  In the last seven days I have finished two books just on the iPhone.  The Ipad minis’ days are numbered, most likely in favor of an iPad Air reading around the house. 
  7. There is one thing about the Iphone 6 plus that I did not take into account when I ordered it and that is being self conscious.  Android users have always had several screen size options.  I have seen a lot of the Samsung Note users in stores with large phones.  iPhone users have been limited to a 3.5 or more recently 4″ screens for the last seven years.  Having a larger phone (even the iPhone 6) has made me more aware of those around me and feeling a little odd.  I am sure as more users get newer iPhones and I become more accustom to the device this feeling will fade away.

* Yes I know I am comparing it to a one year old device with 300 charges or more on it and that the internal capacity of the iPhone 6 plus is larger.