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LET’S STOP THE SICKLE CELL CYCLE…

We found ourselves at LASUTH early in the year via another hospital referral. Thought I had unburdened for January by hurriedly paying up my kids school fees in December. Life!

So, I was sitting at the reception area. Wifey and son were with the doctors in the examination room. As I busied myself with my phone in wait, a loud shrill jolted me to attention.

A teenage girl, visibly in excruciating pains, was weeping at the far end of the bench I was sitting on. She had just been brought in. So much was her anguish that she reeled in discomfort, turning on the seat from one position to the other, grabbing intermittently at her knees, ankles, thighs, elbows and shoulders

Standing directly opposite her, stomping her feet on the floor with hands clamped on her head, crying too, was her mother.

Taking a closer look at the girl, I immediately could decipher the problem.

“Madam, is it a crisis? Is she a Sickle Cell Victim?” I asked the mother.

“Yes o. Yes. God help me oo.” She wailed in response, prancing at the same spot.

“I’m sorry about this, madam. But you shouldn’t be doing this in her presence.” I said to her, trying to make her stop her uninspiring display, as I moved over to the distraught girl.

“You will be fine, dear.” I consoled. “Look at me. I’m a SCD victim too and I have been able to come this far by God’s grace and determination. You will pull through this and live long to declare the good work of God. Just believe and be strong…” And on I went mumbling words of encouragement to soothe her.

She looked up wincing in pains with tears cascading down her cheeks and stared at me in the face like someone trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together. She slowly wrapped her arms around me in an embrace, as I kept speaking. Then, she let go after what seemed like eternity and placed her head on my laps, sobbing, as I stroked her gently. I was the only one in the room who could feel her pains and hear her heartache; a pain I know so well but find no words to describe.

Minutes later, I got up, went to her mother, who was a bit calmer now and introduced myself. I proceeded to meet the nurse in charge to propel her to hasten up her admission process.

Soon after, her file was ready. I joined the mother in helping the girl up, who was still weeping. We supported her on both sides as we gradually starting leading her up the stairs for a bed space.

Just then, wifey came out to pass me an information on what needed to be bought urgently and beheld me in the situation. I had to excuse myself but requested to have a discussion with the girl’s mother later on.

Much later, when I was back at the reception area, the mother came down and we chatted at length. I gave her some tips and recommended drugs as well that could prevent her daughter having a crisis regularly. She lightened up and we parted ways.

This is the plight of Sickle Cell Victims and the anxiety of their parents during a crisis. Although victims are now crossing the mortality rubicon for the disorder with improved healthcare and good management, nevertheless, every crisis comes with its own complications and uncertainty.

So, why would you want to choose this type of life for yourself as a parent or for your children? Stats show that about or over 400 babies are born with sickle cell disease in Nigeria, every day, making ours the country with the highest population of the disorder in the world. The ignorance and indifference to the scourge in this country is worrisome.

I have heard of cases of couples who knew they were genetically incompatible but went ahead to cohabit out of love. It’s also common knowledge that some religious folks, who have no genetical business being together take the fatal leap into marriage based on faith. To compound these, is even the sheer ignorance on the subject matter by majority of people going into dating, courtship or marriage.

To stop the breeding cycle of SCD children, it’s vital for everyone to know their genotype and their partner’s before getting involved in any form of intimate romantic relationship. Parents must also ensure their children know their genotype from primary school and help them understand the compatibility dynamics.

KNOW YOUR GENOTYPE TODAY. Let’s spread the word together. Join hands with us as we push to roll back the SCD breeding cycle.

– I’m Tayo Faloye.

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