There is no doubt in my mind that the practitioners in the world of medicine really want to help. At least all the doctors and nurses I have run into have been kind and helpful. However, as I sit here tonight I have 7 probes attached to my body and they itch like hell. On one of my recent rides to the stop of Smithfield Canyon I pegged my heart rate and couldn’t get it back down as quickly as I would have liked to. My legs were great, but my heart just wasn’t up to it. I was seeing around 190-199 beats per minute and after the ride noticed a max of 211. My chest actually hurt and I could feel my heart jarring the rest of my body. I wasn’t about to stop so I finished and at the top I almost puked. Fun stuff.
My back has been hurting so I go see the doctor. I figure since I am there I will ask him lots of cycling questions and ask about my heart. He is helpful and answers all my questions and gives me good advice (he is a hard core cyclist). Then he sends me off to get xrays for my back and to get a heart probe – thus the stupid electrodes taped to my chest.
This is the part that sucks. For all the money this is going to cost me I end up with a piece of crap technology, tape all over me, a partially shaved chest, and a constant burning sensation on my skin that makes me wish I could tear all the hair right off my body.
I go in today and am helped by a very nice young lady. She is a college student. I imagine they pay her 7 or 8 bucks an hour. When I get the bill I bet it will be 60 or more and hour. She tells me that she has to shave parts of my chest to stick on these stupid probes and that I have to wear the thing for 24 hours. She then takes a dry razor and runs it across my chest. Now if you are paying 60 bucks an hour or even 60 bucks to go to a barber to get your face shaved you will get a sweet deal. They will use an old world brush and very carefully remove the hair from your face. Go to the hospital pay more and you get some college kid running a cheap disposable razor across your body leaving a rash that makes 2nd degree burns look enjoyable. Now you’d think that with all that hair they would have you stand up, shake it off – remove it somehow. Nope they just tape it right on there. Ever had a hair cut and had some of the hair slip down your back? Ever have a barber tape all that hair onto you? You would never return to a place with service like this, but we accept this Soviet era world because hey its medicine and that’s just how it is right? Lame.
Next she tapes 7 probes to my chest but only after running sand paper over my freshly shaved chest. (I’m sure that stuff costs 20 bucks and is no different then what you buy at Home Depot). This does not feel good. Then they stick probes on you that have salt in them. I know it helps conduct signals, bla bla, but I am pretty sure this method was originally devised as a torture device. She then attached a bunch of wires that look like something directly from my Electrical Engineering labs. They are thick and long and she has to then tape those all over my chest – shaven and unshaven parts this time which is stupid since the tape just sticks to the hair and pulls it right out then the tape isn’t stuck to anything and is free to roam around inside your clothes like those little black beetle things in The Mummy. After that I am forced to carry a large ugly box bigger than my iPhone to which all these probes attach. In the rest of the world this is a prototype. This product is what the engineers come up with and run tests with, but the customer never sees because no one in their right mind would buy this big ugly, painful piece of sh@#$. In the medical industry this is a completed product that costs $2500. I have a Polar CS600. I use it all the time. You only need to wear a small chest strap – no shaving required. It is wireless and the computer is tiny and light. I’ll bet it is as accurate as this stupid torture probe. If they added a function that monitors heart rhythm it would be superior in every way and my CS600 gives me watts. Oh and the CS600 costs $700.
The medical industry gets away with this crap – including the make the patient miserable part because they answer to no one. I have a choice when I buy my bike computer, but I don’t when I need medical attention. I am sure GE builds this probe for cheap. The electronics required to monitor a heart signal are well known and don’t require a genius engineer to design. They build it to the minimum required level and then stop – they could care less about user experience because they don’t have to.
I know you will say that they have to deal with the potential for malpractice and yes they do. Which is another thing that is wrong but I’ll save that for later.
The point is that I itch like crazy and I blame GE and a bad shave for it.