Sickle Cell Disease

This was written by @rhaiharnah.
I checked everywhere on the internet for a picture for this post. I couldn’t find anyone good enough. Which is one of the reasons I posted this late.

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The most vivid childhood memory I have is of excruciating pain and crying real hard while my mum massaged my aching joints that were red like the hot tomatoes boiling on the stove.

The tips of my fingers were also much like small round peppers,hot and burning like them. I was screaming like I had been possessed and grabbing my hands and legs as my fair skin turned red all over. It was 3am in the middle of the night and father had been out of town on a trip he’d return from with gifts to lavish on me,his only child. His pride.

Mother had been frantic,rushing into my room. Confusion replacing panic as she saw me battling with my tender joints. That had been the longest night of my life,staying up as mother applied balms on my limbs and kept wake in tears till morning.

The doctors made it better. They pierced me with needles and poured bags of sterile water into my skin till the pain receded and I slipped into sleep. I woke up to hear mother and the doctors murmuring,she with a pained look on her face. I wondered why she was still sad,my joints were no longer red and the pain was gone. I did not know at the time. My turmoil had only just begun.

Father and Mother watched me like a hawk from then on. Making me eat so many vegetables and meat,feeding me pills at the breakfast table. They watched my every move and sheltered my very existence. I was like an egg,and I did not understand really why.

The monster returned the year I turned 5. I caught a small cold from a friend in school,and by evening,I was tomatoes again. Screaming and clawing at my chest as it seemed as if a boulder was crushing down my chest. It hurt so much I can not describe and I found myself in the hospital again.

This time,the doctors took me into a room with flooding lights and took out all the blood in my body and replaced it with new,so father explained. I was so much in awe of my situation.. And so baffled too. What was wrong with me?

Tablets became a staple diet. Lots of tablets in varying colors and those vegetables I hated became my daily poison. The hospital visits became more frequent as my immune system succumbed to ,what I later found out, infection upon infection. Sore throats,Ear infections, rashes, drug reactions. I continued to grow taller ; pale and thin like the pine trees I saw on television at christmas. I became so exhausted on very mild work and had my bones ache in the cold season.

I knew then I wasn’t normal,as I continued to miss school and couldn’t do what my friends could. I sat out most of the sports events and stayed indoors out of school. The strain of my illness was getting to my parents as I watched their love for each other morph into obligation towards me and my health.

It was then I decided to ask questions. I was a sickly child. Sickle cell disease,the google page called it and so did the parents confirm. I had a defective blood component that caused my red blood cells to change their shape and cause me all forms of crises. It was not curable.

One day,I woke up with a heaviness on the left side of my body. My body felt so light and I could not get out of bed.. I tried to scream out for mother but I found my mouth could not utter the words I ordered it. I passed out from the panic and the banging headache dancing in my skull…

I was only 10 years old. It was the end of my innocence. I spent 3months in the hospital recuperating from the loss of function in my slow legs. Recovering from the stroke that had stolen some part of my cognition. I watched also as the parents looked at me and I thought I saw a blend of guilt and blame in their eyes. They had tried so hard to make me and I had come as a sickly empty vacuum. Troubling them and taking away their love,their happiness.

I had just had a cerebral event,a hemispheric stroke and it was unlikely that I would gain complete function of my legs. I cried that night and wished I was never born. I developed so much resentment for my parents too. For making me. I blamed them for gambling my future with love.

That was 3 years ago.

Now, I sit in this hospital bed and I have lost count of how many times I’ve done this. This time,they put a long syringe into my peehole and drew so much blood I thought I would faint from it. Priapism had robbed me of the last figment of respect I had. The psychiatrist says I am depressed. I have not received any visitors,but for mother since I got back from surgery where they put a metallic shunt in my genitalia. I am tired of it. Of All of it.

I pick the syringe by the bed and slowly draw from the morphine vial I had pilfered from the nurses tray while she was not looking. I leave the bed for the first time in 3days and limp without my braces to the adjoining bath. In the tub,I quietly lay and generously infuse the drug into my veins. It dances with my blood and I watch as everything blurs around me. I close my eyes and I think I see clouds part for me as a guiding light warms my toes.

This was the end. No more pain. I can feel the calm deep in my ailing bones. And let it all go.

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2 thoughts on “Sickle Cell Disease

  1. keep the faith my friend. I know sickle cell can be hard to deal with at times. I am fighting the good fight with you and I try to raise money for research whereever possiblelp raise funds. I actually have a text to donate campaign to help raise money. Simply text CURES to 30333 – keep your head up

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