Jul. 17th, 2011

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
A personal pulse oximeter is the best gadget ever invented, judging by the last two weeks in my family, anyway.

I bought it to monitor my asthma but it hasn't told me a darn thing about that yet--I'm always at 98 or 99 percent. Either this means I am fine, or that it's not very sensitive--there are expensive ones that the hospital calibrates for you but I don't have a serious enough case of asthma to go that route (yet anyway).

But! It helped us to decide, in a timely fashion, to send one elder family member to the hospital because of a slow heartbeat (they are now recovering nicely after some chemical tinkering). And when it showed my pulse as a way-too-high 108 yesterday, I was able to add that to some other symptoms (Charley horses HURT like whoa! I had kinda forgotten until the other night) and figured out what's been causing my recent fatigue. A couple of bananas and a gatorade later, I seem to have enough potassium in my system to function within normal parameters, for today anyway. (I'll be seeing the doctor tomorrow).

Anyway, it's a small gadget that shines a light through your finger and measures how dark your blood is, as well as taking your pulse, and it costs about $35. You can get one at any drug store that sells medical supplies. If you can spare the money, I definitely recommend it for anyone with non-critical but pesky heart & lung situations, particularly if there is more than one person in your family answering that description. (Critical situations probably call for the more expensive models, unfortunately, because they're a lot more accurate, particularly on the blood oxygen count).

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