Sunday, October 12, 2008

DIY Surgery ?

Just before I came over here to Florida for the winter, I checked my heart monitor and realised it needed new batteries.  Not knowing if the battery had gone in the watch receiver or the chest strap transmitter, I decided to replace both to be on the safe side and to have both in sync, so to speak.

I use the monitor much more here in Florida as I use my bike a lot more - both for exercise and for getting around.  I used to be keen on biking for exercise in Leeds until my 2nd heart attack which came, ironically enough, after I'd biked to my local pharmacy to pick up my 6 months supply of pills for my trip to Florida in 2005.

I came out of the pharmacy, didn't feel too well and in typical style, rode the bike back home and probably had several minor after attacks on the trip !  Way to go !!  I knew what was happening and rang for a taxi to take me to the hospital and the rest is history.

Anyway, I'm now a bit leery about biking unless on a totally flat surface as my heart monitor shows just how much stress is placed on it (the heart, not the monitor) when I go up even a slight incline.  I could just go round and round my estate but that's a bit boring so basically when in Leeds, I just walk for exercise.

Things are different here in Buttonwood Bay as apart from one very slight incline, all the internal roads are as flat as pancakes.....even pancakes I've made !  This and the glorious weather makes biking a joy.  But I still like having my monitor on as the very hot conditions can raise my heart rate too and it's also very easy to stay out too long enjoying the sunshine.

So back to the batteries.  I'd bought this specific monitor about 18 months ago from the same local pharmacy (Lloyds) as it was very cheap at £9.95.  I decided that if the batteries were over £3 or £4 each, I'd just get a new monitor as they were now on sale for £7.95.  Getting the batteries out of the units was no easy task and certainly not as easy as it said it would be in the instructions.

Numerous tiny screws had to be removed and when I slid the cover sideways off the back of the watch, a very thin rubber gasket came off as well and I knew I'd have trouble getting it back on. 
I'd almost decided to simply buy new but I wanted to price the batteries anyway. 

I left things until I went to collect my pills again (I walked  !!) but was annoyed with myself as I'd forgotten to take the old batteries with me.  The pharmacy didn't sell replacement ones anyway and recommended the newsagents a few shops up the road.  I went there and the conversation went like this...................

"Do you sell batteries ?"

"Yes we do.  What kind do you need ?"

"Well I don't know the name or serial number and I've not got one with me but they are for a heart monitor." 

The newsagent looked at me for a few seconds and her brow furrowed.

"You removed the old batteries yourself ?"

"Well yes but like I said, I didn't bring one with me.  I'm thinking of just buying a whole new unit actually if the batteries are too expensive.

More brow furrowing and an even longer stare.

"I can't believe you've done that."

"Well yes they were a bugger to get out and a gasket came out too so I'm not sure I can get it all put back together again anyway."

I thought she was going to faint.

"A heart monitor ?" she said.  "Yes." I said.  "To check my heart rate when I exercise."


"Oh my God I thought you meant...ah.....a......."  

"A pacemaker ?" I asked helpfully.

"YESSSSSSSS" she said, getting the colour back into her cheeks and laughing hysterically.

Maybe I need to stop walking around with a white coat and stethoscope but I still don't see how she confused a monitor with a pacemaker.  I mean everyone knows that when the batteries go on those babies, you're not likely to be calmly standing at a newsagents counter with a supersize Mars bar and a bag of Werther's Originals and asking about replacement batteries.

No, I suspect you'd be sitting very very quietly at home in a soft chair and waiting for the ambulance to take you to hospital.  Not a newsagents.



Jennyta said...

I could actually see that one coming, Ian! But I still laughed. :)

Daphne said...

Very funny, of course: but if I read the bit near the top about your 2nd heart attack again I think I find that your last paragraph is incorrect. On that evidence, YOU would NOT be sitting at home in a soft chair waiting for an ambulance. You'd probably be ringing for a taxi. And if one wasn't available, getting the bus. Sighhhhhhhhh.

Silverback said...

No, not even I would mess about if my pacemaker went on the blink, Daffy. My theoretical one of course.

I'd be on my bike in a flash !

Jay said...

ROFL! And I believe I'm right in saying there would be blood, no? LOL!

How funny! So did you get your replacement batteries? I guess you'll be giving yourself a quick dialysis or something next.

Silverback said...

Jay, I just bought a new unit. Tried it for the first time on my bike ride today and it fits nicely under my skin. you'd hardly know it was there !!

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