Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sickle Cell Attacks Again

Hospital Journal, Aug 30

It's August 30 and guess where Jessica is? Ding! Ding! Ding! CHOMP!* Yey, cheers and applause for everyone! But hey, I guess it could be worse right? 
But actually, before all the meds kicked in, it couldn't have been worse.  I know there is a hell, I know because I have been there. I haven't had pain like this, since I can't remember when. Last months excruciating elbow pain, pales in comparison. When the doctors and nurses asked me to rate my pain on scale of 1 to 10. I didn't even answer. They knew, they could see, this is no time for protocol. People always want to know what the pain feels like and I think I finally came up with a good analogy.
It's like this.  Imagine there were a snake in your joint, wrapped intricately around and through all of the parts of your knee. (and hip and lower back in my case) Now, imagine that snake is made out of barbed wire.  Right now, it's coiled up, which still registers a 10 on the incredibly accurate pain scale, but as long as you stay absolutely still, you can breath and relax your grip on the handles of the bed. As long as you only concentrate on breathing nice ,easy, shallow breaths.  You will only have to deal with the pain of the barbed snake resting in your joint.   But the snake is evil and smart.  He waits until you think that the meds have finally kicked in. He waits until you reach that moment where you allow yourself to think; can I close my eyes, can I rest, can I relax the rest of my body now and let the mattress hold my weight?  And one by one you begin to relax your muscles and just when you think, Holy shit, I can rest!  The snake strikes! He lashes out and rips through your bone, making your body contort in unnatural ways and your eyes roll to the back of your head.* *  But this is no ordinary snake, striking only once or twice, he continues to lash out, writhing, cutting his barbs deeper into your body. Until you are panting and wet with sweat and tears. The nurses look at you and leave the room, feeling sad and worthless, nothing they do can ease your pain.  And you are usually such a happy person. Which makes it worse for them. No one likes to see the nice guy down. 
That snake eventually stopped striking, and then it retracted it's coils and then diminished in size until, to everyone's surprise I was walking around on my own.  It took me a week to recover from 2 days of hell. And even now, the pain remains.  It is always here.  
I tell my friends and family, that this was a close call, but it was more than close. I was there, I was ready to go. I was willing to start the next adventure, I was begging to be freed from the grips of the masochist snake that was relentlessly torturing me. I prayed to the Unseens. I found myself asking for any kind of relief. And that scares me.  It scares me for two reasons; one, I asked and pleaded and begged and the other, no one answered.

To learn more about sickle cell anemia click the links below-

If you need help dealing with sickle cell or would like to help those in need-

*Local hospital
** A German documentary I once saw likened severe sickle cell attacks to demonic possessions.  The documentary was about whether or not demonic possession was a real.  They said that in some cases the claims were rebutted, the cause was severe epilepsy, severe sickle cell crisis, and rabies. I will try to find the documentary and throw up a link.  But, I fear it will take some time.

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