Today I want to speak about a special issue: appreciation. As Persons with Sickle Cell Disease (or Warriors as one of our Zimbabwean and Ugandan readers would like us to call Ourselves) we are unique. Our situation demands that our lives get strictly monitored and routinely analyzed. There are no rooms for much surprise or extravagant spontaneity.
Our condition also requires that people adjust their lives, remodel their plans and restrategize their schedules so as to make time for us, especially at those crucial times when the inevitable occurs. The inevitable here is the pain: sometimes our best plans and coping mechanisms are not even the best bulwark against some of the pains that hits us, even at the height of our vigilance and attention to detail.
In moments like these, families made time to be with us, friends forfeited lectures to be at our bedside, doctors and nurses volunteered to extend their working hours just for our case (some even had to drive back from home, off-duty, to the facilities only to keep updated at our progress and loved ones endured the emotional assault to spend the night with us.
These people could have done otherwise. Our families could have landed us in the hospital bed, only to take leave of us (us some families do act), friends could have joined other people with total oblivion to our absence in schools and lecture halls, doctors could have cared for you just without any emotion, as they were trained to do, but they didn’t. Loved ones could have given up in the face of the challenges, but they stuck to us and showed the full meaning of love and loyalty.
These sacrifices are very important to our lives. These actions speak louder to the fact that people are true, most times, to the very tenets of our humanity.
So as a Sickle Cell Person (or Warrior), we need to show appreciation to these people. It goes a long way in telling them that you are very much aware to their devotions of time, of effort and energy to you, at our down moments, and that we are really thankful to them.
Go out of your way to thank those wonderful family members for their care, better still find an occasion where such profession of your gratefulness will also bring these family members some respect and admiration from other people present. Get to treat your friends to a wonderful dish, if you can, and tell them of how their help means a lot to you; surprise that doctor or nurse who takes a particular interest in you with something special, it doesn’t have to be costly, (a plaque on his/her desk, a dress or shirt, a quote neatly laminated, a painting or something). And for those who have made it their decision and commitment to stick to you as a partner, engage the whole world in thanking them. Never let go of an opportunity to thank them. Never underestimate their impact in your life. Never take for granted the love and care they have shown you.
That way, there is an unspeakable bond and mutual respect between us and these people. They gradually move on to become like family members. And they get to become more sensitive to us.
Showing appreciation gets to make what is in others ours. So continue to show appreciation. It helps a lot.
Articles by Torgbui Sipho Michael, a person with sickle cell disease. He writes, on different subjects across different scope, and shares his time reading, volunteering at Maranatha Community School and offer teaching lessons to many students.
He is also a public speaker, motivational speaker and sickle cell advocate. He has written an over 250-page book on the condition of sickle cell disease, awaiting publication.
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