There was a woman I saw at clinic one day, whom I was meeting for the very first time. We had asked her to come in to see me, due to some very alarming results in her blood work. She had what we call, severe microcytic hypo chromic anemia ( fancy term for saying that her anemia was indeed very very bad and she may actually need a transfusion).
Anemia is not uncommon among women but, in this woman, it was especially dangerous. What complicated things for her was her heart condition, one in which the first chamber of the heart, the atria, doesn’t quite squeeze to the rhythm of the right drum and causes a whole lot of havoc . In a heart like that, not having enough blood, makes it work harder, which can lead to heart failure.
So here we are chatting, she sat before me normal as ever, laughing and interactive. This, I thought, could not possibly be the same woman that I read about a few hours ago. But then the difficult conversation began, and indeed she found her self having some episodes of feeling her heart beat fast, and overall feeling very fatigued on a daily basis. Hadn’t felt like fainting, but I knew that this was a very frail vessel before me and something must be done.
This whole episode brought me to realizing that, the human body can cope with very crappy circumstances, and will try to work things out for as long as it can… but it usually has to be a slow fade.
For anyone to get to a place where they are functioning on such low blood counts it has to happen like the setting of the sun, like a small leak in the roof …
That night, as I went home and thought about the day, this story suck in my mind so vividly … How is it, that a small change happens, and the body accommodates to survive? if the condition worsens, the body works harder else where to make up for the deficit. And so on, until you find your self here with a failing heart and not enough blood.
My eyes widened and my lips parted incredulous to the realization that, this patient had been an answer to one of my questions. This woman symbolized how I’ve been living life. Realizing that she was me, and I her… We were one and the same standing before each other as mirrors body with soul. And even though i was the “physician” (heal thyself! — wanted to shout) perhaps she was luckier than I, for her condition was tangible and in some way could easily be observed, healed.
But me… I’ve been living in the shadows.
There’s a facade of a healthy body that hides a failing soul, a defeated spirit and a impoverished mind.
The scarcity mindset applies for me even here. Not accepting the shadows, the texture of my existence. Wanting rather to ignore the racing heart and the chronic fatigue … .
I am in need of transfusion of soul water, the veins of my creativity collapsed, the cell count of prayer/community/rest critically low. My soul fails, even as my body persists
With a failing heart and not enough blood.