Just after the start of my children’s school year, when Indian summer still insisted on the revelation of clavicles and skin, I wore a Holter monitor out into the world. For those unfamiliar with a Holter, it’s a portable EKG worn 24/7, except while showering, that assesses the relative health of a malfunctioning heart and turns its wearer into a walking cyborg.
An electrode just to the right of the upper sternum peeked out of summer-weight shirts, impossible to hide. (The other three electrodes were more discreetly glued directly under the left nipple, under the left armpit and on the left side of the lower torso, between naval and hip.) Wires attached to these electrodes hung down between my shirt and pants. A cellphone-like event-recorder had to be worn in a DEFCON-nerd-level leather holster attached to my belt, both to keep it near the battery-operated recording device, worn like an oversized pendant on a black lanyard around the neck and to have it immediately accessible to press the “record event” button whenever a new heart episode occurred, which during my month-long monitoring was approximately one-10th of my waking and sleeping hours. Pressing this button would elicit a loud doorbell chime, which I could not mute during meetings at work or while sitting in a theater, so I skipped the recording of those palpitations, which probably messed with the data.