I checked my Fitbit today. A watch that spies on me. A gift. I’ve been happy to have it because it counts my steps, monitors my sleep patterns and tracks my average resting heart rate. It even provides the time of day on demand. Which isn’t that often because I have an internal clock that’s reliable to within a few minutes.
I’ve been confidently supplying my bio-data to the Fitbit corporation since December 2018. They used to be known as Healthy Metrics Research Inc which tells you what they set out to do.
I learned today that Fitbit hasn’t been keeping up its end of the bargain since May 24 past. That’s a date that might not mean much to you but it’s our wedding anniversary. We were at home, I called it Ruby Sunday and we did as little as pandemic insists. I have no record of my resting heart rate since our 40th wedding anniversary.
This isn’t very important in the scheme of things except that I was purposefully not looking at the data while I was gaining weight. Today was going to be the great reveal. I’d weigh myself and look at how BPM might vary in proportion to the fat I carry.
I was proud of not sneak-peeking for eight weeks and as I opened the app on my phone, I realised I was a week premature. I would have stopped except that the Fitbit app wasn’t active. It requested a password after which it revealed it hadn’t been syncing for weeks. I felt betrayed. Weird but there it is, a petty betrayal.
Suspicious of my Fitbit, I wondered if my Fitbit had become as communicative as our toaster out of spite because I had turned my Fitbit emails over to spam. I know that the spam filtering worked against them because I stopped seeing the weekly reports and other junk nags that might have warned me of the disconnect.
Something changed in the Fitbit orbit. Some opt in that I hadn’t implemented perhaps? Annoying.
I’m disappointed not to have the data recorded for use as an indicator of my health. I know it’s just a proxy rather than diagnostic. I didn’t know it was unreliable, the app that it is.
As a small digression, I should say that the idea of having a tracking app that wasn’t working isn’t novel. It’s been frustrating great minds for this whole pandemic. Mind you, I’ve read that hardly anyone inside China has this problem. A consequence of which, some might think, could be that the authorities are free to hunt for slogans like ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ that are the alleged mark of secessionist and subversive thoughts, perhaps thoughts that are in breach of recent laws. Best enjoy your freedoms before the trackers start looking into your thoughts.
‘If you are so angry that you can hardly control your feelings, you are asked to leave your home and to walk in a straight line through the landscape outside until your anger has left you. You then mark the point at which your anger is released with the stick in the snow. In this way, the length, or the strength, of one’s rage is measured. The most sensible thing that you can do if you are angry – a condition where our reptilian brain rules our decisions – is to walk for a while away from the object of your anger.’ – Walking (2018) by Erling Kaage in which he describes a valuable lesson in an Inuit tradition.
Our eating discipline has weakened across the pandemic. We favour a vegetarian diet and have worked very hard to continue to eat healthy foods. That is to say I associate meat eaters with poor health; I grieve the animals, I regret the cholesterol and I worry about a future where disease worse than Covid might jump from edible animal to eating animal. We may be at the top of a food chain where we are but meek husbands pretending to be brave predators. I used to hunt and I knew there was risk. My brother nearly shot me in error. A gun discharged in error. I shot an owl in error. The last cause me to put the guns away and I have only discharged weapons four times since.
The pandemic brought baking back into our lives. It’s a slippery slope and I believe sourdough bread was the start. Long distance walking was off the schedule too.
When we each had a couple of squares of chocolate last night, I thought, this is bad. We had nachos for lunch today. And more chocolate this evening. These two luxuries weren’t on the radar let alone in the cupboard as recently as May.
What food gets bought is dictated by the lability of chemotherapy. Nausea changes the appetite. Smell and taste vary by the hour. Mood swings and the lack of sleep are a double helix of indecision. The cramps and the back pain suppress desire, introduce cravings for sodium and magnesium salts. Any shopping list needs to cover a spectrum of potential interests available on demand, on the whim of the minute. Pineapple. Cinnamon cereals. Spice. White bread. Caprices of appetite can be salved by caprese salads. Which means we eat things we shouldn’t. And when we shouldn’t.
The chemotherapy is working so I don’t really care about the trivial failures of a Fitbit, my trivial weight gain or any trivial isolations. Life is the priority.
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