AT Newsletter Volume 36, July 2023

Technology Sets the Pace
This month's article is near and dear to my heart - quite literally. Earlier this month I added a new technology to my stack and it is easily my favorite. Before we talk about the new technology I'd like to share the journey I took to get there.

I've been an Apple Watch user/fan for many years now. There are many alternatives but since my family is "all-in" on the Apple environment it made the most sense. I must admit many of the "apps" are very gimmicky and not super useful. However, there are many apps that I use on a regular basis. "Alerts" are probably my personal favorite. It is great to simply glance at my watch to see if the tap-tap on my wrist is important or something that can be ignored. I use the workout and other health trackers almost everyday. The heart rate monitor connects directly to several devices (that could be an entire other article) and provides instant feedback during workouts. The HR monitor is where the journey begins.

Several years ago I was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat (basically skipping beats). For all you medical experts it is called a "Right Bundle Branch Block". After extensive testing I received the "all clear". Everything was working just fine until earlier this year when I began to experience "light headedness" periodically.  This is where the Apple Watch shined. I was able to show the Cardiologist how my HR would drop below 50 when this happened. All that data was available from my phone and could be sent to the medical staff. Unfortunately, we still did not know why this was happening. Several weeks ago after a more "severe" dizzy spell, we decided to head to the ER (even though I had a Holter monitor, a device you wear that records your heart activity in great detail, scheduled for the following week). This was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. After keeping me overnight for observations, they found the source of the problem - a heart block - my electrical system was having problems. The next morning I was introduced to my new favorite technology - a Pacemaker.

For obvious reasons I love this device. First and foremost, it is making my heart function properly.   However the data/tech person in me is absolutely fascinated by this amazing technology. First, it is tiny, about the size of a half-dollar. The battery life is amazing - it will last 10-13 years. What other device can go that long with out being charged? The data it captures and the connectivity is incredible. Each night it connects to a small device (think cell phone sized) and sends all the data it collects to the manufacturer which is then shared with my medical staff. During my first follow-up visit I was quite impressed as the "device nurse" rattled off usage data and then proceeded to manually adjust my HR to test the device. Okay I have to admit that was a bit unnerving!

The advances in medical technology are absolutely amazing. Did I think I would have a pacemaker at this age - nope! But I'm quite happy to welcome this new technology into my life.