Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Is it broken? (the heart rate monitor, not the system!)

Last week I went to the doctor because I couldn't get rid of an infection; it required anti-biotics. I rarely use them, as I don't want to assist in the creation of super viruses, but sometimes they are necessary. But that's not the story here…

After going through the Covid-19 verbal questions and sitting in the appropriately spaced waiting room, the nurse called my name and escorted me back to the preliminary screening area where they check your weight, height, pulse, temperature, and who knows what else those things monitor now. Anyway, the pulse monitor said my pulse was 55, which is high for me, but I suffer from "white coat syndrome," which is a fancy term for the fact that I get elevated blood pressure, faster pulse, and all the rest of the stuff related to stress, when I visit a doctor. But that pulse caused the nurse to look at me and ask in somewhat alarmed voice, "Do you normally have a low pulse?" I assured her that my resting pulse was actually lower than that (about 45–50). She shook her head, readjusted the finger monitor, and then, because it didn't change, she manually checked my pulse. In an unbelieving tone, she said, "Hnh. It's correct."

OK, I thought it was humorous. Your mileage may vary. But I guess it just shows that clinics aren't used to getting healthy people—or maybe there just aren't enough of us left anymore? After all, they say that 2/3 of the people in the US are overweight and 1/2 of those are obese. There's no way that someone carrying around all that extra weight will have a pulse rate below 60!

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