How to Be a Good Friend to Someone With Sickle Cell
Friendships are beautiful and make life much more meaningful. I love being in the company of friends. They have been a blessing in many ways, especially when it comes to my health.
For a long time, I didn’t talk to my friends about my health. I kept all my health matters private, telling people only on a need-to-know basis.
However, when I decided to start sharing more and raising awareness about sickle cell disease, it was only natural that I first told those closest to me.
When I started sharing more about my health, I expected nothing in return. It was just FYI. Thankfully, I received no negative responses.
Some shrugged it off and continued treating me the same, which I appreciated because it showed that having sickle cell wouldn’t change the way others viewed me as a friend.
To my surprise, most of my friends became increasingly proactive about my health. I can’t thank them enough for the things they did.
If you have a friend with sickle cell disease or another chronic condition and you’re wondering what you can do to help, I recommend the following tips.
Don’t make us feel like a burden
Dealing with sickle cell disease is a full-time job. It requires 24/7 attention, and if I have a crisis or other complication, my plans change in an instant.
I frequently must abandon my plans to focus solely on looking after myself. This may be inconvenient for those closest to me. However, my friends have been very understanding.
I have had to cancel plans on many occasions because of my health, and my friends have completely changed their own plans to look after me. I would never ask them to do so, because I think I’m being a burden. But they make me feel like anything but a burden.
When I initially told friends I have sickle cell disease, many weren’t familiar with it. Some said they’d heard of sickle cell or had a relative with it, but they didn’t know what having the condition entailed. So, I briefly explained.
Many started asking me questions about my health. Additionally, they would do further reading, then discuss it with me. I felt touched by this, because it showed they wanted to be involved with every aspect of my life.
The physical aspects of sickle cell can be lonely, but my friends do all they can to share the burden. They constantly check up on me, accompany me to my appointments and transfusions, make sure I am drinking enough water during the day, and expect me to call them whenever I experience a crisis, no matter the time of day or night.
This is all very reassuring, because although my friends don’t experience the physical hardships of sickle cell disease, they make themselves available whenever I need them.
How do your friends help you deal with sickle cell? What advice would you give? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Disease 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 Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.