This week, it seemed all of our patients required blood transfusions. They came in with similar symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath on exertion (SOB or dyspnea), headaches, and low hemoglobins, however, the causes of anemia vary. Anemia is a common side effect of chemotherapy, but renal disease, and nutritional malabsorption can cause anemia too. Then, there is the anemia caused by a leakage of blood from the capillaries in the gastrointestinal tract. Insidious and slow, it takes awhile before the patient is aware of the onset of fatigue, shortness of breath on exertion, and headaches.
I thought of this slow- leaking anemia the other day when a colleague mentioned that last week she had “hit the wall” and could not add one more request to her list of commitments. It’s a metaphor describing the creative depletion artists, nurses, and most people feel when we lose control of our protective boundaries; when we forget to say “not today” to the ” just one more simple request” from someone needing our talents, our skill, our time; taking us away from our studios, our breaks, and the activities which nourish and renew our souls.
I am learning I don’t have to catch every ball that’s thrown to me. I know it’s about choices. But I hate to turn away new experiences and opportunities, so instead of “no” I’ve learned to say, “not today.”
I like to keep the door open….
Disclaimer: This post is not intended to dispense medical advice. If you suspect that you or someone you know has anemia, consult with a Licensed Medical Practitioner (LMP) for diagnosis and treatment.