June 19th Is World Sickle Cell Day
June 19th is known as Juneteenth, but this day is also very important in my house for another reason. It's World Sickle Cell Day!
I don't have Sickle Cell Disease or Sickle Cell trait but my wife has Sickle Cell. It's really a life-changing disease. If you've never heard of Sickle Cell, it's a blood disorder that's inherited and caused by a defect that causes the red blood cells to be abnormally shaped. A lot of people with Sike Cell Disease experience this horrible uncontrollable pain called Vaso-occlusive crisis. I remember back in college when I experienced my then-girlfriend go through a Sickle Cell Crisis. It was eye-opening. I've never heard of Sickel Cell until I met her and through being with her I've learned so much about this strong group of people.
Sickle Cell is not a disease you can see. Most people with the disease have hot spots where they commonly have a crisis. This could be their legs, their back, their arms or any other part of the body. The worst part about Sickle Cell is that when you go to the ER to get relief for the crisis pain, the doctors are hesitant to give out medicine. One or two things happen, either the doctors don't know much about Sickle Cell Disease, or they assume the patient is a drug abuser. It's really unbelievable until it happens right before your eyes. In college, we were on a band trip hours away from our school and my wife had a sickle cell crisis after we finished performing. She was rushed to the hospital and we ended up staying at the hospital for about 3 days. This could've easily been quicker but they would not give her the meds needed to soothe the pain. Typically, strong meds like Tylenol with Codeine, and morphine are the things that work with my wife's sickle cell crisis. You can see it in their eyes, they never want t give her the needed meds at first. We end up being in the hospital for days trying meds they think will work until finally they give in and give her the strong meds. It just sucks because she's in pain for days non stop while they "Test" these meds on her. It's really irritating.
I encourage everyone to get tested for Sickle Cell Disease. If mostly affects black people and a lot of us have little knowledge about it. You can visit Conquering the Curve for information on Sickle Cell. They supply resources and education materials on Sickle Cell Disease.