Patience Pays Off, Allowing Me to Have Fun While Avoiding a Crisis

A real-life lesson in how to avoid a sickle cell crisis

Dunstan Nicol-Wilson avatar

by Dunstan Nicol-Wilson |

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In my quest to better manage sickle cell disease, I’ve been thinking recently about the concept of delayed gratification. This involves resisting the impulse to accept an immediate reward in the hope of obtaining something more valuable in the future. I’ve heard this term mentioned a lot in reference to spending habits or similar impulses. However, I’ve realized that it also is a practice that many sickle cell patients incorporate into their everyday lives.

At this time last year, I had tickets to a Wizkid concert in London, but I sold them because I was worried about triggering a crisis. With a flight the next day, the cold weather kicking in, and travel stress, I didn’t think it was wise. It was challenging to come to that conclusion because I had been looking forward to the show.

Although I wasn’t sure when I would have an opportunity to see Wizkid again, I knew there would be a next time. I’m happy to share that last week, I saw him perform at Madison Square Garden in New York City! It was a great opportunity that happened when I was already in the U.S. And I could attend without the same constraints or stresses I previously faced.

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Going for it

Although it was a last-minute decision, I was well rested and had no flight plans near the concert date. It was freezing outside, but I just needed to prepare with multiple layers of clothing, hydration, and medication on hand, just in case. When the concert ended, fatigue from the journey to the Garden and all of the dance moves caught up to me.

However, it didn’t result in a sickle cell crisis, because I had taken the proper precautions to ensure I wouldn’t regret my decision. I was tempted by concert after-parties but was content with what I had experienced and didn’t want to push my body any further. I’m becoming more confident in saying no and prioritizing my health, which continues to benefit as a result.

I was still tired several days later, which wasn’t helped by a change in the weather and the lack of sunlight. But time spent without a crisis is valuable, and I can look back at the memories with untainted satisfaction. Figuring out how to manage my priorities with sickle cell disease is a lifelong lesson.

Not all my future wants or desires will always work out like this. I will submit to immediate gratification and reward in some scenarios. I’m only human. But the concert experience gives me another reason to slow down and think about whether I need to have a particular experience now or if it can wait.

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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