Saying I’m Fine When I’m Not to Avoid the Hospital

Tito Oye avatar

by Tito Oye |

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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.


Jenee Sauvageau avatar

Jenee Sauvageau

WOW! Thanks Tito for this. The last five years have been a struggle for me. I had not been to the hospital this often as a teen athlete or college athlete or young adult as I have the past five years. I am 57 and have at least two severe back and/abdominal crisis a year and am recovering from a month long stay in the hospital after an aplastic crisis. As Ive gotten older my crisis are definitely more severe. Younger, most of them were handle from home with pain killers. Fortunately I have two adult sons who are incredible smart and so familiar with how to handle the docs and work with them. Many docs don't know how to handle the disease and and every doc wants to use a different drug for pain. I am not for that! I have a medical 81/2"x11" sheet printed in bold with info and specifically what pain medicine to use. My sons have one and I have one. My mom and a dear friend died of the disease after going to emergency room docs not handling the illness with knowledge and being given a pain killer they had never been given and having a fatal reaction to. Also both my mom and friend had no one to speak for them. My husband has passed on, but my sons have stepped in and it makes me proud. I say all of this to say, even as an older woman, I am still so fearful of going to emergency room. Fortunately my great hematologists and sons have been incredible. My question to you: How is your crisis handle when you go to emergency room or hospital? Are docs in England more familiar with sickle cell?


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