Deducing My Heart

Deducing My Heart

No, this isn’t a post about love or relationships. My life is slightly more complicated than that right now.

On Friday afternoon, I received a phone call from CardioNet, the company providing the heart monitor I was to wear for two weeks. A nice lady asked me if it had arrived yet. I said it hadn’t, but I had received a UPS notification that it was out for delivery. She said they had provided enough supplies to last for the entire prescription, so I shouldn’t need to buy anything, but to call them if I needed more supplies for some reason or had any questions. I thought it was nice of them to call.

About 45 minutes later, the cats alerted me to the fact that the UPS man was here! (They growl and run away to hide when they hear the truck pull up.) I actually received two packages. One was the salt tablets I had ordered from Amazon, since I quickly realized that trying to consume 5 g of sodium in my diet was going to be impossible for me. The other package was indeed my CardioNet monitor, which I have named Sherlock.

They are not kidding with this thing! That’s a pretty solid little tackle box right there. Opening it up, I came across the following: img_1623

Underneath the 38-page patient education guide, which I did read and found very simple and easy to understand, were the devices themselves: img_1625

Left to right: the sensor with lead wires attached (only three leads this time, yay!), the monitor that receives data from the sensor and then transmits it to CardioNet (who then sends it daily to my cardiologist), and the charging device for the monitor. They recommend charging it daily to make sure it has enough juice. I just charge it at night while I’m sleeping, since the monitor doesn’t have to be physically on my person, just relatively close.

Underneath the quick start instructions on the lid were the supplies, which speak for themselves: img_1624

They recommend changing the battery in the sensor daily and changing the electrodes every other day, rotating the sites to prevent skin irritation.

I decided to shower before hooking myself up, so my skin would be nice and clean. Afterwards, I followed the instructions exactly:

  • Put the sensor around your neck.
  • Attach the leads to the electrodes.
  • Attach the electrodes to your skin (white on right, black on left, red on left rib.)
  • Wait 15 minutes for electrodes to fully adhere to skin.
  • Insert battery into sensor.
  • Turn on monitor and follow instructions to ensure transmission is occurring.

It was transmitting fine, but I immediately got an error alert that the black wire was disconnected. Uh, no it wasn’t. So I tried pushing it down harder. I tried disconnecting and reconnecting the lead to the electrode. I tried taping the electrode down to my skin. I replaced the electrode twice. After messing around with it for about half an hour, it became clear that nothing I did was going to work. The blasted thing was giving me an alert every couple seconds, then would be fine for maybe literally two seconds, then would alert again, and so on. It was most irritating.

So I called customer service. They put my name in a queue to be called back by the next available representative, so I wouldn’t have to sit on hold. I received the call back about 20 minutes later. A really nice man helped me out. He asked me the usual starting questions: did I put lotion on my skin (no), did I use the adhesive remover (no). Then he told me to dig out a secret pack of electrodes they put in every kit. It took me a minute to find them. These electrodes were a little bigger, more like the ones I’ve had on in the hospital. He stayed on the phone with me while I replaced the electrodes and hooked myself back up. BINGO!!! They worked! But since they only supplied two packets of these better electrodes, he put in an order to ship me more to last the two weeks of my monitoring. Unfortunately, they won’t arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday, so I can’t change these electrodes every other day yet since I don’t have enough. It doesn’t matter, my skin will be irritated regardless. (I still have visible outlines of the electrodes from my Holter monitor from two weeks ago.) But at least I can shower with them on, I just need to disconnect from the sensor and monitor first (obviously.) Anyhow, excellent customer service from CardioNet! So whoever the gentleman I spoke to who called me from Minneapolis was, thank you very much, sir!?


So I’m a few days in now. I guess you could say I’m used to Sherlock hanging around. I’ve been wearing my sweater hoodie so I have a pocket to put the monitor in so I don’t have to remember to pick it up and carry it everywhere with me around the house. Sleeping is challenging though. The neck strap for the sensor isn’t long enough, as it was on the Holter monitor, for me to be able to place the sensor next to me on the bed. And even if I removed the sensor from around my neck, the lead wires aren’t long enough for me to be able to set the sensor to the side either. So if I want to roll onto my side or stomach, I have to physically move the sensor into a comfortable spot underneath my shirt. So I haven’t been sleeping well since Friday night.

I’ve recorded multiple events on the monitor, which is really easy to do, since it’s a touchscreen. Lots of lightheadedness, dizziness, and occasional shortness of breath. Hopefully this longer monitoring period provides some more clues (hence, naming the monitor Sherlock ?) as to what’s going on. So the hunt for the cause of my dysautonomia continues.

Am I feeling better? Not particularly. But that’s for another post.


8 thoughts on “Deducing My Heart

  1. I also have cardionet. I have to wear mine for 30 days and hopefully they will see what I’ve been going through since my SVT ablation and problems since October. However I really wish there was something different than having to wear the neck strap! It irritates my neck so much and has caused some scratches. I of course have it on 24/7 except to shower and it’s hard at work since I also have to wear a lanyard. My only issue is the neck strap is so uncomfortable and very irritating to my neck. It took me a week to get used to it but the neck strap is bothersome. I tried doing a search to see if there is another way to wear it however I’ve not found anything as of yet. Also I to have not been sleeping well at all because of having to wake up and rearrange the sensor. I’ve also had the electrodes snap off at night when the wire gets stuck when I roll over. Otherwise I’m happy I received this and hopefully answers what’s happening.

    1. I know what you mean, Cheryl! I wish the neck strap could have been a little longer. Sleep was difficult for me for awhile too, but I got used to it after a week or so. It was especially annoying for me because I prefer to sleep on my stomach, so I’d have to move the sensor over to the side, but not too far because the neck strap was too short, yadda yadda yadda. I hope you get some good results (well, maybe bad results but good so the doctors can see what’s going on!) ?

    1. Haha, I just wanted to get mine over with! I ended up having it on for three weeks, which was more than enough to drive me nuts! Best of luck with yours! ?

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