Five leads better than one?

With the recent release of iOS 12.4 and watchOS 5.3 in Canada, single-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs)i are now available for every Bob and Doug McKenzie in the Great White North, just as they’ve been for ‘Muricans for the last four months.

But so what, hoser ? Who needs that shit anyways ?

Well, according to the federalis,ii about 1 in 12 (or 2.4 million) Canadian adults age 20 and over live with diagnosed heart disease, and very hour, about 12 Canadian adults age 20 and over with diagnosed heart disease die. And that’s just the diagnosed ones!

Despite what would comfortably be considered “athletic,” my resting heart rate of 50bpm might sound healthy enough but that’s still only one of several cardiac health metrics. Of course there’s blood pressure to consider, and I’m fine in that department too, but that still leaves regularities or irregularities in rhythm. Now whether or not I have full-blown atrial fibrillation, let’s just say that a consistent beat rate isn’t my heart’s strong suit, at least unless it’s exercising. Also, heart disease runs in my familyiii and so The Girl is somewhat concerned that her fit ass sex machine of a sugar daddy husband might drop dead at any minute. How to appease her ? How to put her mind at ease that I’m far more likely to die from an acute injury in the line of duty sport than anything else ? Thusly!

Five leads

As you can see in this less-than-romantic photo taken in the bathroom at my office, after concurring that I do frequently experience “palpitations,” my physician signed off on a 24-hour ECG complete with five leads and a handy dandy holster. Under a baggy streetwear OAMC shirt (with Rothko-esque motif on the back, naturally) and Paul Smith track jacket, you’d hardly know it was there. Well, you wouldn’t, but I certainly did. If only slightly. Mostly during sleep, really. And then again when it came time to take it off… Taking off the five-lead ECG, I felt like Morpheus ripping apart his handcuffs and tearing off his ECG/EEG leads as the sprinklers rained down during his escape from Agent Smith’s interrogation. Those round suckers were glued on good! Mind you, no one shot me in the calf right after I took them off, but the surgical tape from my five-lead ECG did leave some pretty gnarly residue that took probably thirty minutes of scrubbing in the shower to came off. So that’s something.

Anyways, it’ll be a few days/weeks before I get the results back, but worst case scenario is I get a “Cheney” implanted or something.iv The way I figure it, biology buffers itself pretty well and only needs intervention in the direst of circumstances, and I really have yet to experience anything resembling “dire.”v None of this “pre-hypertensive” predatory pharmacology bullshit for me, thank you very mucho.

Also, I tried the Apple Watch ECG app and it said that everything was hunky-dory (emphasis on the hunk), and are five leads really going to refute Steve’s ghost ?

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  1. ECGs are also known as Elektrokardiographies, or EKGs.
  2. Also known as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
  3. The Uncle Peter for whom I’m named, apparently a giant of a man with hands the size of baseball gloves who’d eat an entire loaf of bread and a pound of bacon for breakfast everyday before farming until dinnertime, dropped dead from a heart attack while driving his tractor along the side of the highway one summer’s day, about two years before I was born. His brother, my Gido, also had a number of heart attacks, though Gido was closer to medical help each time and was fortunate enough to survive into his 80’s. Needless to say, I wasn’t joking when I said that my liver is my best organ. The rest of them are pretty iffy!
  4. Best case scenario ? I’m diagnosed with the ultra-rare condition known colloquially as Great Heart (Cor superba), rarely seen in the wild outside the likes of Alex Ovechkin, and the local university asks to study my beating red gem.
  5. One “breakdown” about six years ago notwithstanding, but that particular episode can very reasonably be chalked up too much caffeine, too much alcohol, too much life change all at once, and not enough to do all day after I semi-retired-slash-went-on-unpaid-sabbatical. It’s a slightly longer story than that, but suffice to say that a combined intervention by my loving parents and the discovery of the IRC channel formerly known as #bitcoin-assets were enough to right my floundering ship by giving me something to do and something to believe in, respectively. I owe both a yuuuge debt of gratitude for the incredibly fortunate position I’m in today.

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