Nothing is simple when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and you need surgery – Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal (Cholecystectomy)


ecgOk, here we go again. I knew I shouldn’t have checked the mail.  It’s a letter (no, really??? Colour you shocked!)

The letter says I need to get an electrocardiogram (ECG) before my surgery.

What’s with everyone being all upset about my heart all of a sudden?  Sure, I’ve been complaining of chest pain for years now.  I’m quite used to everyone ignoring it, or muttering ‘costochondritis’ under their breath if anything at all. (By the way I know it’s not costochondritis. I know what costochondritis feels like. This isn’t it.)

Close followers of my facebook page will understand that my heart has been quite stomped on over the last few years, and most definitely broken by the most beautiful, kind man that ever walked the earth.  He didn’t mean it.  Actually, I don’t think he noticed.  This isn’t THAT either.

So now I need to go running around to get an ECG.  I think you all may have noticed that I am not feeling very well lately. I think you may also have noticed that I have been doing rather a lot of running around to medical appointments, scans, bloodwork…all because of this gall bladder surgery and a few areas on my MRI that lit up bright white.

Bright white on a brain MRI is not good, I’ve since found out.  Or it might not be good.  Cos if there’s one thing they definitely know for sure, it’s that they definitely don’t know exactly WHAT the bright white stuff is. But in layman’s terms, it’s areas of dead brain.  Tiny areas, but they are there. Whether that’s from mini strokes or the start of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) they just don’t know.  So we’ll just stick with ‘bright white spots are not good’ cos I’m getting off track here.

My new neurosurgeon, who saw me on such short notice (six hours! That’s quicker than the ER!!!) didn’t feel the need to talk to me much. I’m just the patient.  Why converse with me?  His role is to talk at me.  My role is to listen and obey.  He told me he was worried about strokes, and possible MS.  But he told me NOT to worry.   Because maybe it’s nothing at all.  (Strange, forced grin. Oh yeah, he’s a people person.)

Well, of course not. Why would I worry? That’s what I pay him for.

So I get that he wants blood thinners and a carotid artery ultrasound – that makes sense for strokes.  But he also wants a holter monitor. To check out my heart.

Now my gall bladder surgeon is getting all interested in my heart too.  It’s not usual practice to need an ECG before you get your gall bladder evicted.  It also just adds to the running around I have to do.  We all remember that I have severe rheumatoid arthritis, don’t we?  We all remember that getting around is kinda difficult for me, don’t we?  *sigh*

So what aren’t they telling me? What have I missed in my lab work?  Why are they all suddenly going ‘SHhhhhh…here she comes!  Don’t talk about her heart!!!’

Google tells me that when a patient is having non-cardiac, low risk surgery, surgeons only request an ECG when a patient is intermediate to high risk.  I was told Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (rip out your gallbladder), is low risk.  So if my logic skills are still intact, and I didn’t just stroke out and am in fact now living in the Matrix, they figure I’m an intermediate to high risk.

I wonder how they figure?

I sure didn’t need an ECG before my shoulder surgery.  A much bigger, more complicated surgery!

And if I’m not low risk, well, they might have mentioned that!  I’m a big girl. I’ve got brain lesions. I can take it.

Honestly?  I’m not really concerned. I’m just cranky cos I actually promised myself I was going to do NOTHING tomorrow. I’m tired. I’ve been doing lots of medical…stuff.  When what I really need to do is rest.  And not vomit and all.

Now instead I’m going to have to go get an ECG.  Good times!


  1. Good luck with your test, I hope your surgery also goes well. I had minor surgery last fall for another invisible illness-turns out they found fibroids. Don’t have time to go into detail, but the issue still needs to be resolved…
    I have also had small spots on my MRIs so have met neurologists and so no TNF inhibitors. Take care, I know it’s so complicated.


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