Even During Sickle Cell Crises, I Avoid the Hospital Due to the Pandemic

Tito Oye avatar

by Tito Oye |

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This week has been challenging for me. A brutal combination of cold weather and stress has left me facing back-to-back sickle cell crises, and there’s no telling when it might end.

In the past, I had been known to be quite stubborn about going to the hospital when I was having a crisis. This was due to several reasons, including the uncomfortable time spent in the emergency room, the inconvenience it causes when having to drop everything and stay in the hospital for weeks, and although I hate to admit it, my pride as well. (I liked saying I’d been out of the hospital for “X” number of days.)

But I now know that this is a dangerous way to measure my health. I no longer keep track of the time between hospital visits. If I’m unable to provide myself the care that I need at home, I go to the hospital.

Normally, this current wave of sickle cell crises would have forced me to go to the hospital, but a new factor is hindering me now: my fear of the coronavirus.

Hospitals offer a greater level of care than what I can provide for myself at home, but they also carry the risk of potentially exposing me to other patients or staff members who may have the deadly virus.

I know that hospital staff take precautions to minimize the virus’s spread, but the risk still remains. When I am at home, I believe I have better control over my environment and those who enter it. Consequently, I am trying my best to deal with my current sickle cell crisis at home.

I called my healthcare consultant (I live in the U.K.) to let her know how I’m feeling, and she told me that if I start to feel worse, I should go to the hospital. I agreed.

In the meantime, she advised me to rest, stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, take painkillers, and keep warm.

I have my red cell exchange transfusion in a couple weeks, so I hope I can hold out until then. I know the transfusion will help me a lot.

Like the rest of the world, I look forward to the day this virus becomes a thing of the past and I can go places more freely.

If you have dealt with a crisis during the pandemic, please feel free to share your experience in the comments below. Did you go to the hospital or stay home?


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.


Lena Harvey avatar

Lena Harvey

This is so me. I try my best to manage at home for as long as is safely possible. Hang in there my warrior sister!

Tamara Taylor avatar

Tamara Taylor

I have sickle beta thalassemia and my hematologist has been very helpful and on point. I have been in crisis for about a week now, working through it because I refuse to go to the hospital. Instead, under his advice, I started going to the infusion center for IV fluids and a B12 shot after work. I also take pain medication and have been trying to rest as much as possible. I feel like I'll get through it without going to the hospital.


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