ARTICLE: "SICKLE CELL" – The Sufferers Story.........By Augustus Bill

I grew up with my parents and two siblings in an old bungalow house somewhere in the neighbourhood of Osha in the commercial city of Onitsha in Anambra State.
Growing up was the most bitter experience I had, not only was I rushed to the hospital monthly, whenever my crisis sets in, I felt strange among my peers.
At the age of 6 I realized I had a terminal illness that could terminate
my existence at any second, I had felt severe pains on my limbs and marrows that morning, the pains were so excruciating like my bones were being sliced with a saw, my temperature was running extremely high like Usain Bolt at his peak. Mum had rushed into my room that morning to find me gnashing in pains. Immediately, she was startled, Dad had already left for work, or maybe he never came home the previous night, I was so young to remember all.
Unlike what mum would do to my other siblings if they were in that condition, go to the drug store and get drugs, she decided to rush me to the hospital. That was all I could remember because I passed out on our way to the hospital.
I was hospitalized for a week under intense medical care, dad visited at intervals, but unlike mum, he showed less care. As young, as I was I could feel the hate in his heart. I did not know why he hated me, I would never know until the day the nurse told me I had a terminal disorder and the implications of that disorder.
"You cells are sickled, the haemoglobin . . ."
The nurse tried to explain, but from all her medical jargons, all I could deduce was that I am suffering from Sickle Cell. That means I was prone to have crisis if I am not managed properly. Moreover, as I could recall from what a friend told me when he visited me in the hospital; the cost of managing my crisis was so exorbitant.
In a space of 7 months Dad had already spent, N210k managing my crisis, I knew he was already tired of my existence. Mum did her best to show me love and care, but in all her love, you could see wrinkled lines of weakness.
I was a complete outcast, my classmates wouldn't pick me for a football game, because they were afraid I would die on the pitch, my teachers got very upset and would register their disgust each time they wanted to spank me, they couldn't spank me because they felt a stroke could kill Me. To everyone I was a walking dead.
The stigma was killing me more than the illness was. I almost gave up. There was no need to continue living in a world already embedded with pain and heath.
I blamed my parents, I hated them for bringing me into the world; I hated them for falling in love; I hated them for getting married even when they knew they were both carriers. They said it was love but that was sheer wickedness, because they were so blind in love that they never thought about the kid they would bring into this world.
Here I am my dying in pain for the ignorance of a man and woman that could have saved me if they just knew their genotype, or never married when they knew they were carriers.
This is a note for intending couples, unless you want to procreate a child that would hang on a thin wire to exist; a child that would be rushed to the hospital bi-weekly, or one that would be hated by the society; unless you want to spend up to N50k on each crisis that can occur twice a month, then know your genotype.
Just like you would know your HIV status before marriage, also know your genotype, save that innocent child from a painful world.
Sickle cell is not a crime, but a disorder, and like every other sickness, a little milk of kindness, love care and support are what the patients need.
[Sponsored By: Association Of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder APLSCD]
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About Ukandu Jerry Paul

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