So it finally happened! After 3 years of being crisis free, my sister woke up last week Monday morning with moderate to severe back and joint pains with an added case of bad nausea. I had woken up to use the bathroom but noticed that as she would be making her way back to bed, she would rush back out to throw up some more. I became concerned, asked her what was going on and of course my mom hears my question and that startles her out of bed too with an instant look of worry spread across her face. My sister was in pain and as the hours passed, it got progressively worse, she could not eat anything at this point because she would throw it up instantly. The decision was made to take her to the hospital to put her on much stronger pain meds and try to find out what had brought on this episode of pain.
If I'm being honest, my sister had been over extending herself socially in recent weeks, going out with friends and enjoying her summer but instead of taking a day or 2 to rest her body as she knows to do, she did not. Her body had begun to feel overly tired, which is typically an indication of stress and that could lead to a crisis. Instead of listening to her body, she accepted a church invitation for Sunday with a friend and came home from that outing completely exhausted and by the next day, the pain set in.
The hospital visit ended up being a 7 day stay that saw no pain alleviation (even with the stronger medication) until after the 5th day with her appetite slowly returning. My mom stayed with her the entire time and I'm telling this story to show that pain and crisis could happen at any moment for people with sickle cell disease and it can be with or without warning in some cases. When it does, whatever plans a family may have had for the day or days ahead automatically have to be put on hold to care for the one in pain. My mom and I had a movie/shopping date planned but it obviously could not happen once my sister was hospitalized. In an earlier post, I talked about some of the impacts of SCD on the family and this was a prime example as everyone's schedule needed to be adjusted to accommodate the situation. Thankfully, she is feeling tons better, though still experiencing minimal pain and her appetite is all the way back with my mom pumping her with all the food she can eat. She was going to write a 2nd article for the blog as a guest post today but of course, that could not happen either.Trying not to be fearful and spending a night with her at the hospital to relieve my mom a little so she could get some rest was the part I played through this ordeal. My sister is a trooper though, she powered through the pain the whole time and even in this picture, her pain level was still between a 5 and 7 but she chose to smile for the camera.
SCD is the reality for mine and a lot of other families and because we have lived with this since my siblings were born, we all kind of know now what to expect but that doesn't make the situation any easier or more pleasant. It's like firefighters in a fire station when the siren goes off; everyone immediately swings into action to go put out the fire and they do not stop till it has been completely extinguished. Such is the case for the families who live with Sickle Cell Disease and its attendant Crisis & Pain. It is well!!