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The blood; The fight; The call of duty

I looked over with horror as yet again he cried out in pain. I started to count the minutes thinking why on earth it's taking so long to get the morphine. The limit to my endurance was finally tested when he cried out again in extreme agony.

I got up and walked over to the doorway poking my head through to see if the nurse was coming back. It's been a few minutes since she left but the cry of excruciating pain that lingers in the room, makes it seem to me like an eternity.

Why is she taking so long I thought, trying to stay calm.

I went back into the room and picked up the hot pack and placed it gently on his back trying to help ease the pain.

The nurse came walking briskly back into the room. She walked over and began to administer the morphine to him. It was an hour or more later that he began to fall asleep as the pain subsided.

This is what sickle cell disease does. It causes pain. in Sickle Cell Disease, the red blood cells are sticky and have an abnormal sickle shape and they could get stuck in small blood vessels, which could affect adequate flow of blood and oxygen across the body leading to painful episodes, frequent infections, stroke, heart attack among other complications.

Lives have been lost and there are survivors who have learnt to grow stronger from the pain, not letting the pain destroy them. Everyday is a fight to live. Every crisis has been a struggle to survive. Being in chronic pain is a battle that has been fought by many and is still being fought by a large number of people. No one signs up for a life of pain. It's a fight that was brought upon the bearers and which they have to live with and overcome.

We can put an end to this pain. Sickle cell disease requires more attention. We can push for more funding for a cure. We can start to put an end to the sickle cell cycle by creating awareness about the importance of checking one's genotype.

Genotypes are genes which are passed from parents to children. It is very important that you check your genotype and know what genes you have in order to avoid future painful surprises. There are four genotypes namely AA AS SS and AC. SS and AC are the abnormal genotypes, in other words Sickle Cells with AC being the most uncommon.

A person with genotype AA would be combinable with any of the other genotypes without a risk of having an offspring with a Sickle Cell Disease but there is a risk of Sickle Cell Disease with every other combination.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness month and it is a reminder that sickle cell disease exists and it's only going to go away if we pick up the pace and relentlessly create the much needed awareness. It can't be dismissed because it's an invisible disease. The pain is frustrating and the fight is real.

Everyday, everywhere and every time, all year long is an opportunity to create awareness for Sickle Cell. This is a call of duty. Battle mode is activated to end sickle cell. Together we can put an end to the pain.

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