24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor

Ghostbusters? Spaceman? Space Cadet maybe? This little thing would keep me entertained for a whole 24 hours!

Ghostbusters? Spaceman? Space Cadet maybe? This little thing would keep me entertained for a whole 24 hours!

I left hospital on Monday with a big green plastic bag. In it was contained two five litre containers (so about a gallon each) and a little blue device with ‘Spacelabs’ on it.

The two containers are for filling with (ahem) urine. Yes, urine. They are for collecting 48 hours’ worth. I started yesterday morning, so by now I’m on my second container. I’m glad I didn’t need to go more often!

Spacelabs 90207

Spacelabs 90207

It’s a bit of a task to remember to “go” into the container, but I’ve managed it so far. The bottles are primed with an acid preservative, and there’s a warning not to urinate directly into the container.  That could have been painful!

The Spacelabs thing is an “Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor”. It comes in a soft blue pouch that is fastened to your belt or to the belt supplied with it. A black air tube is connected to the cuff that is fitted to your arm.

All I had to do was to flick the switch at the bottom an turn it on. When I did, it made a gurgling sound, then beeped and came up with an error code. Had I broken it already? Anyhow, I whizzed back to the hospital and swapped it with a replacement.

So for the last 24 hours I’ve been hounded every twenty minutes with the machine bleeping at me, and blowing my arm up. At night from 10 o’clock it didn’t bleep, and took my blood pressure every hour, until 6 o’clock in the morning when it bleeped at me again and restarted the “every 20 minute” routine. To save waking my lovely wife all through the night, I slept in the spare room. It’s a good job I did – she’d have thrown it through the window!

A yet to be filled container. Notice the "Corrosive" label!

A yet to be filled container. Notice the "Corrosive" label!

It’s funny, they disable the bleeping sound at night. As if that makes a jot of difference at all. Every hour on the hour in the night, the thing whirred and blew up my arm waking me up after just falling asleep (or so it seemed). A few times it repeated attempts to take a reading.

Needless to say my wife had a brilliant night sleep, away from my snoring. I woke up, really tired, to encounter a big plastic container to wee into. Hey I’m not complaining – it’s all part of the experience!

So tomorrow I will return to the hospital with a much heavier green plastic bag with two full gallon containers, and a little Spacelabs unit that didn’t get hurled through a window (this time, anyhow!).

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