Needing to go to the hospital due to a vaso-occlusive crisis is never ideal or pleasant. As a kid, the idea of going to the hospital was a nightmare to me.
I never really understood the importance of seeking medical attention when I experienced a bad crisis, and I would try to avoid the hospital at all cost. I had long associated hospitals with cannulas, injections, and terrible food, and in my head, the idea of needles was worse than the actual crisis. Why add the pain of a needle sting to the pain of a crisis I’m already experiencing, I wondered.
Also, why would I want to miss the delicious home-cooked meals my mum makes only to eat bland and unfamiliar hospital food?
Following this reasoning, I tried my hardest to appear fine, which never worked. I was clearly in a lot of pain, but I insisted to those around me that I was fine. Thankfully, my parents always noticed when I was lying, and they would literally pick me up, carry me to the car, and drive me to the hospital for treatment.
Now that I’m much older, I wish I could say I’m no longer afraid of needles, that I can afford carry out meals to replace the hospital food, and that I’m better at admitting myself to the hospital as needed. But unfortunately, that isn’t entirely true.
Being admitted to the hospital is such an enormous inconvenience, from the long wait in the emergency room to the disruptions it causes to my daily routines, commitments, and responsibilities. For me, going to the hospital is a last resort.
I understand how serious a crisis is, so if I feel one starting, I do all I can to manage it. If I don’t make any progress, I must consider going to the hospital, because such a crisis could be an indication of something more serious.
It’s important to point out that I have lived in the U.K. my entire life, and I am fortunate to have access to free medical care through the National Health Service. However, this isn’t the case for many others in various parts of the world, including the U.S., and consequently, the cost of healthcare may not always be affordable. This can be yet another hindrance, as even with aid from health insurance policies, the cost may still be too high, and people may opt to stay home and treat themselves to the best of their ability.
Even with all of this in mind, I can still be stubborn about deciding whether to go. Thankfully, I have many people around me who won’t hesitate to decide for me. And once that decision is made, I never regret it, because my health is more important than anything else!
Can you relate? If so, what reasons do you think of when trying to avoid hospitals? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.