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I am not a sickler…respectfully!

Hello!! It has been a while…a long while i must say! How are you doing? Happy New Month!

Let me tell you what brought me out of this hibernation.

A few weeks ago, I settled down to watch this show that has been entertaining me for some few months now,‘Daterush’, on the TV3 Youtube channel (TV3 is a Ghanaian television station). Honestly, I have a love hate relationship with this show but that is not really my point for today. I was watching the show and the guests made some remarks that had me screaming at the TV for some time.

This show creates an avenue where people come to find ‘love’ and the person searching for love often asks a final question before he/she makes her final decision on who he/she wants to take on a date(that is if there are any options to choose from at all).

Anyway, on this particular day, the lady first asked her potential ‘suitors’ what they would do if they found out that she had a secret child. Both men responded that they would accept the child because of the love they had for her. Her next question focused on whether they would accept her if she was a ‘sickler.’ This brings me to my point….chai, I can’t believe ‘Daterush‘ brought me out of my long break of writing. Anyway, no wahala….we meuve!

First of all, please refrain from the word ‘sickler’. I understand that we are so used to it but it has a derogatory feeling to it – at least for me. I am not a sickler, I would prefer if you just said I live with sickle cell anemia. I have heard people with the condition refer to themselves as sicklers and if that is what they prefer, that is on them. It may seem easier to use but it often makes one feel as if you do not see me beyond the condition I have. Even research has shown that medical practitioners who use this term often administer low quality health to these patients. That term automatically puts you in a bracket that shows that your life has already been determined and the end is not usually a good one. Which brings me to the second part of my story.

The men responded that if she was a ‘sickler’, they had no problem dating her because she will most likely die early and then they will move on and find the next person. After all, being single was not a new phenomenon for them. I was like WHATTTTTT??? They did not just say that? In fact one of them stated that he had lost his last girlfriend because she was a sickler and he almost got another girlfriend at her funeral ( can you just imagine)!

Their comments just reminded me that there is so much work to be done regarding educating people about sickle cell anemia. In our current world, sickle cell is still a very serious condition but it is not synonymous to death. There are many living with sickle cell and working through it each day.

It is quite insensitive for one to remind you of your imminent death. Besides, we are not God and life is so unpredictable that even people without sickle cell can die at any time. If this past year has taught us anything, it is that death is a respecter of no person, whether you have sickle cell anemia or not.

I have said my part and I hope that we will all be part of the change that we all hope to see. We can do better!

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