Managing disappointment after missing out on plans due to sickle cell

Missing out is never fun, but it's crucial to prioritize health, this columnist says

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by Sylvia Amuta |

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It’s always frustrating to miss an event that you’ve been looking forward to for a long time — especially when it’s for reasons out of your control.

Due to a sickle cell crisis, my little cousin Ada, who has sickle cell disease, was unable to attend her best friend’s birthday celebration two months ago. She instead had to be hospitalized.

Ada had been counting down the days until the celebration for months; she’d been practicing her dance moves in her room, and we’d even purchased her a brand-new princess dress for the occasion. Ada even made a special gift that she knew her friend would love.

But only a few days before the party, Ada began experiencing pain in her chest and joints. She made an effort to brazen it out, but I observed her grimacing in discomfort when she believed I wasn’t watching. Her energy was fading, and we both knew a crisis was setting in.

Eventually, she was unable to maintain her act because she was in too much pain. Her health is more essential than anything, so we went to the hospital, breaking her heart in the process. When I told her that she wouldn’t be able to make it to the party, she wore an expression of disappointment I’ll never forget. To this day, I can still recall it with crystal clarity.

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Prioritizing her health was the right choice

It was a difficult choice to skip the celebration, but I felt that putting Ada’s health first was the right thing to do. Although she was crushed and saddened by the news that she couldn’t go, I didn’t want to put her health at risk or put her in a position where I wouldn’t be able to provide necessary medical attention.

She spent a few days in the hospital receiving treatment and recovering from her crisis. While it was difficult for her to be hospitalized while her friends were having a great time, she eventually realized that I wasn’t being unkind by not allowing her to attend — just the contrary.

Because of that sickle cell crisis, Ada is now aware that there may be times when she has to miss out on special events. It’s never easy, but I’ve worked to educate her about the importance of making her health a top priority and practicing self-care. I’ve also taught her that the understanding and support of her family and friends are the most important things in the world.

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.


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