So what is a Holter Monitor and why did Grumpy have to wear one for 72 hours?
Well, a Holter Monitor is a little electronic gizmo that records the electrical activity of your heart 24/7 and requires you to be wired up for that entire period. You carry that gizmo around in a holster under your clothes which is not unlike carrying a handgun, especially since your clothes bulge in that particular area.
Grumpy duly arrived on time at the Norfolk Nuclear Medicine Clinic to get all wired up. The name of this clinic suggested to him some futuristic medical facility with lights flashing and a lot of bells and whistles. The list of procedures they do there is a hodgepodge of high tech wizardry. Really it looked a lot like Iron Man’s lab!
Grumpy wasn’t even surprised when the nurse/technician said, “Jump up on the examining table after you strip to the waist.”
Grumpy has a lot of young females asking him to do this lately. It’s seems to be par for the course once you are kidnapped by the medical system. It’s about as routine as a strip search at the airport without the bending over part, I guess.
Of course, Grumpy was accustomed to the procedure of the “wiring-up”. The young nurse worked on the task with efficiency and grace, even though she looked like she could have still been in high school. She applied the stickies using a different procedure.
First she swept what felt like sandpaper over Grumpy’s skin then “smack” on went the sticky. Grumpy realized that that sandpaper sweep was removing body hair that later could cause a lot of pain and suffering when the stickies are ripped off.
What will they think of next?
The perky nurse explained how this procedure was going to go down. She pointed to a button the gizmo that said “EVENT”. She continued with, “Press this button if you feel any palpitations, have chest pain or any difficulty breathy.”
Hell, girly, if I feel any of that the first button I’m going to press is the “9” in the 911.
Maybe they should rename that button the, “I think I’m having the big one” button – as in the BOB Button for those of you into confounding acronyms.
No matter, Grumpy was wired up (7 wires) and ready to rumble. However, there were concerns, even though the nurse assured the Grumps that, “Yes, Mr. Grumpy, you can do all of your normal activity!”
Think about that for a minute.
No showers for 72 hours.
You must try to sleep with the contraption attached.
Exposing oneself to lightning storms is verboten.
Going out in public might cause some difficulties.
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This last concern was illustrated to Grumpy minutes after he left the clinic. His daughter had driven him to town because the Good Wife needed the Clown Car for work. The plan was, once re-wired; Grumpy would walk over to the Giant Tiger Discount Store and meet up with the Smurf.
Well, upon his arrival, his daughter waved to him from across the store with a, “So you’re all wired up, dad?”
Grumpy’s response was to pull up his T-shirt and show her his stickies, wires and the Gizmo. He didn’t realize that a Senior Lady (Not a Junior Senior like him.) had a line of sight that provided her with a perfect view. The look on her ashen face expressed terror and shock.
I’m sure she thought old Grumpy was some kind of terrorist, wired up with a bomb, and he had some kind of vendetta to enact upon discount stores, maybe because Tigers are an endangered species, or price points piss him off!
I think if Grumpy had pressed the event button (The BOB) this lady would have become incontinent on the spot.
Then, to make matters worse, the first thing The Smurf said when she approached was, “Oh my, dad, you look like your packing heat!”
As it turned out, sleeping was even more of a problem. First of all every time Grumpy rolled over it was like rolling over on a rock. That holstered gizmo nearly broke a rib on several occasions.
He wondered how many times this movement might have accidently pressed the “BOB-EVENT” button. Given it was the middle of the night, the technician reading this data might just wonder what “EVENT” was taking place at this hour and in bed!
And the wires; well, with all the rolling, they could come out of their holding place a splay across his body like rogue spaghetti. Grumpy nearly became entangled in that mess. At one point a wire was wrapped around his package much the same as his experience in Aisle B. One false move and he’d become a soprano (Not the Mafia kind).
Another problem is that when someone moves and is as active as Grumpy sometimes the stickies become unstuck. No matter, Grumpy had a big honking roll of surgical tape left over from his cataract surgery. To save time and frustration, he taped all of those suckers down with long strips of tape.
PROBLEM: Those strips of tape extended beyond the area that was sandpaper buffed. When he removed those stickies it was like torture of the first degree as each chest hair was torn from its socket in succession. Grumpy’s chest now is as wrinkled and smooth as one of those fancy hairless cats.
In public there was always the problem of the dangles. That’s when the excess wire slipped from the holder and slithered down your body to be exposed below your shirt. Grumpy didn’t notice this the first time it happened and was confounded by the fact that everyone who passed him was staring at his crotch.
Indeed, he had the dangles!
Carrying the grandbaby was also problematic. Picking up one year old RYDER-ROO was kind of touchy. Because when his little legs and feet got going they could catch a wire and yank. Pardon the expression, but the pain induced by the stretching skin under the sticky was not unlike the “Titty Twister”; that pinch and twist procedure we did to each other as precocious kids.
Sponge baths were the order of the day. However, washing the head hair took dexterity and patience. Try to wash your hair without getting water on your chest or torso. Grumpy found success at the kitchen sink but the entire process felt like the antics of a magician trying to escape from a strait-jacket.
The second time Grumpy had to wear the Holter Monitor he decide to say, “The HELL with shaving!”
Now going out in public was really a sketchy experience.
Grumpy looked and smelled like a homeless person, both rumpled and crusty. His hair was often askew, sort of Cramer-like from the Seinfeld show. He appeared dangerous because one look at his old tattered T-shirt revealed a bulge that suggested he might be packing heat. Some might consider that he was an undercover cop while others might think he was a hit man.
And, if he had the “dangles”, people in stores would part like the Red Sea as he passed them by. His persistent mumbling about the “Damn stickies” or “Ouch, another Titty Twister!” just added to this image of possible pervert. And, he could clear a building in seconds if he had to reach down and press his “BOB-EVENT” button.
“The perverts got a bomb. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!”
But, in the end, Grumpy survived it all to tell about it here.
So, what were the results of this test you may ask?
As Doctor Kennedy explained, “Your heart has good structure and function (ECHOCARDIOGRAM), the blood flow is great and it reacts well under stress because the heart muscle is good (TREADMILL STRESS TEST), your thyroid and blood work is all good (BLOOD SAMPLE) and you are in good shape for your age (PHYSICAL EXAMINATION). YOUR PROBLEM, MR. GRUMPY, IS ELECTRICAL. YOU’RE WIRING IS A BIT MESSED!
“You are the Jonas Gustavsson (Former Leaf Goalie with irregular heartbeat problems) of Norfolk County. You are THE MONSTER!” Doctor Kennedy added.
It seems as if Grumpy’s heartbeat is irregular about 50% of the time.
Well, I guess Grumpy can take that to the bank. The only problem is that Grumpy is 63 years young and Jonas was a mere 24 years old when he had the problem.
“So, Doc, what can we do about that?” Grumpy asked, thinking the worst.
Dr. Kennedy’s eyes are blank as his medical mind ponders this Grumpy conundrum. He is weighing all the options. He is coming up with the master plan.
“DRUGS!” he finally says. “We’ll treat you condition with drugs! Lots of drugs.”
Well, of course, Grumpy will tell you more about that next time around. Until then try to grow old gracefully but never ever grow up!