The Importance of Accepting Help When My Needs Change

Mary Shaniqua avatar

by Mary Shaniqua |

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I spent much of the fall of 2019 in the hospital due to a sickle cell crisis. It became so severe that it affected my organ function and triggered a severe case of avascular necrosis.

I was hospitalized on Aug. 28 of that year, and by the time I was discharged on Nov. 15, I was no longer the same Mary. My body had undergone significant trauma, and I felt, looked, and functioned differently. Tasks that once were easy, such as walking and managing my personal care needs, became extremely difficult. I required significant intervention during my recovery.

I was discharged with a domiciliary care package and prescribed plenty of physiotherapy to improve my mobility. An occupational therapist (OT) visited my home and prescribed aids and equipment to help me function independently around the house. After an assessment, I was given a shower stool, shower step, perching stool, and toilet frame.

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I knew I physically needed these interventions, but it was difficult to accept mentally. I’ve experienced many sickle cell crises over the years, but none left me feeling as terrible as I did in the fall of 2019. It was clear I’d need more help than ever on my road to recovery.

Still, it was a hard pill to swallow. I was only 30, but I needed assistance getting in and out of the shower and washing and dressing myself. I could no longer stand long enough to prepare a meal, and needed to remain seated while moving around the kitchen. I could go on.

No young adult wants to live with these limitations. I’m sure most can understand why I struggled to accept that my body had changed so drastically. Seeking therapy from a psychologist ultimately allowed me to move forward.

Fortunately, I didn’t need domiciliary care long term, and can manage most of my personal care needs now. I also completed the prescribed course of physiotherapy and am now more mobile than I was in late 2019 — though I’m not quite back to where I was before I was hospitalized.

I’ve accepted that I may never be that mobile again, and am building my new life accordingly. I kept all of the equipment the OT gave me, in case I needed it again.

Fast-forward a few years, and I’m now experiencing an increased number of crises at home. But because I have all of the equipment, I can function independently around the house, even during a mild crisis. I’m grateful to have these aids.

Without the shower step and stool, I often would have to skip a shower due to pain. But having the equipment enables me to shower and manage my personal care needs, which has made a big difference in my quality of life.

Facing less-than-ideal health circumstances can leave me feeling inadequate. But accepting that I needed help led to improvements in my health, mobility, and abilities. The experience taught me that it’s important to put my pride aside and accept help when I need it.

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 disease.


Philip avatar


I'm also a sickle cell patient in Ghana and I know your pain. Good you went through it successfully.

Richard Poulin avatar

Richard Poulin

Mary, this article speaks volumes about your character. Not only as a resilient individual but also as a truthful and inward-looking person. It was difficult for me to also ask for help, but once I learned how; progress and life improvement came. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!


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