Lub-dub Lub-dub

So there’s been radio silence because I thought the afib genie had returned to mess up my heart rhythm and I ended up trying to get somebody to give me an EKG so I could make sure. Most times, I know for certain but once in awhile, it can be hard to discern the neurotic set of palpitations from cardiac anarchy. Neither is terribly dangerous, but if it’s afib, you have to act within 24-48 hours or suffer through a month of turning your blood into weak tea. So I wanted to know quickly whether I was hitting on all cylinders. I went to my medical group’s urgent care facility last night but they were going to send me to the hospital, where I surely would have spent the night going through lots of fuss. So I called a new doctor I was planning to switch to and he was no nonsense: I went to his hospital this morning and if they found I was in afib, he would have plugged me into the wallsocket there and then. Turns out, I didn’t have afib; I was merely neurotic. And that’s good, if embarrassing, news.

But it all made me wish that I could give myself an EKG at home. And I went through Google and, lo and behold, there is such a device: $349 and you USB the data up. There are versions of this that track you all day long and the companies that do it charge thousands of dollars. But here is the Hospital 2.0 version. I wondered whether there was an open-source version. Sure enough: Here’s a homebrew EKG from Scientific American for $60. I can’t wait for the MAKE version with a car battery and tin can.