I am 15 years old and do come from one of the villages within the catchment area of Atutur hospital about 6 km away. I happen to come from the family where both parents are carriers of sickle cell disease/trait. We are three children in the family: one is a girl and the two of us are boys. I am the eldest boy –a carrier and my youngest sister too is a carrier. The second born is a known sickler of 10 years. I was told that sickle cell disease affects the blood and it is a hereditary condition that is passed on from the parent to the child.
I always feel challenged with my brother in that he gets many attacks of pain full crises where he is often frequented to the hospital trying to save his life. Whenever he goes to the hospital as Atutur is the nearest, he is often subjected to intravenous fluids and pain killers i.e. both oral and injectables where he has ever had marked improvement.
According to the health professionals, they say these children of sickle cell crisis are prone to crisis because their blood is fragile and can easily break down. Besides during blood circulation in the small vessels, it tends to clump up making it get stack in some parts of the body. The patient therefore feels a lot of pain in such parts. So the purpose of the fluids is to flash off the clamped blood and normalise the flow there by reducing the pain. However, it has been so tasking managing this patient and you find that health workers have to struggle a lot to save life.
Regard less of the above positive responses; recently I ended up being disturbed with the unbecoming situation my brother had passed through in that – on 6th September 2016, he got an attack followed by becoming very weak to walk by himself. And it was quite late when the mother learnt that he was sick as she had been educated on how to check for anaemia.
In the clinic she attended, it was found that the boy’s tongue looked like a white paper and was crying a lot and the breathing was not proper. This challenged me a lot as I could not do anything at home. The mother then rushed to the hospital where emergency investigation was done and on seeing the clinician who said, the HB results was 2.7. This was too severe that called emergency transfusion with blood. Grouping and cross matching was done and the boy was found to be group A+. Fortunately blood group A+ was available in the laboratory fridge, was issued and the patient transferred in the ward where a nurse was got present waiting. A canular was fixed successful then blood was connected and it started dripping very well until it got over. As the blood was flowing, my brother started gaining and could open up his eyes freely. I knew that life had been saved and after the BT the patient was now well i.e. life had been restored. Following this scenario I felt its worthy saying blood is really very necessary and important in the treatment and management of patient with sickle cell disease.
My mother’s experience is that it’s not the first time she witnesses this kind of amazing happening where life is restored with just blood transfusion in case of severe anaemia. As she had frequented in hospital, it could consider that other women also brought their children more so those who are sickles; who could come in a bad situation but some would end up surviving by just a transfusion as others would end up dying.
I must thank the health team who have always worked very hard in life saving. My prayer is God gives them more knowledge and skill to manage sickle cell disease patients. Blood transfusion, a remedy to save lives.