Sickle-cell September: What is Sickle-cell?

What is Sickle-Cell Disease? 

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited condition that affects the red blood cells and various organs in the body. SCD affects the production of a protein called haemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Each person inherits two haemoglobin genes, one from each parent. A normal gene will make normal haemoglobin (Hb). Sickle cell genes produce abnormal haemoglobin (HbS) which causes the red blood cells to change from a soft doughnut shape to a hard, sticky and sickle shape [like a banana].

Sickle cells can get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs within the body. These blockages can cause many problems.

The most common types of sickle cell disease are haemoglobin SS, haemoglobin SC, and sickle beta thalassemia.

Potential Health Problems of people with sickle cell disease

Infections

The spleen helps the body fight infections. Sickle cells may get caught in the spleen, preventing it from working as well as it should. As a result, people with sickle cell disease are more likely to get infections. Children are put on antibiotics until their immune system matures.

Anaemia

Sickle cells do not live as long as normal red blood cells. This causes anaemia (a low blood count). Anaemia can cause weakness and fatigue.

Pain

Sickle cells that get caught in the small blood vessels of the body cause the interruption of oxygen and blood flow; these ‘sickling’ crises can be very painful. This includes pain and swelling of the hands and feet.

Acute Chest Syndrome

Blockage of the flow of blood to the lungs can cause acute chest syndrome (ACS). ACS is similar to pneumonia; symptoms include: chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever. It can be life threatening and should be treated in a hospital.

Stroke

Sickle cells can clog blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. A stroke can result in lifelong disabilities and learning problems. Children under 16 are at the highest risk for stroke.

Living with Sickle-cell

Pursue a Healthy Lifestyle

Like all people, you should strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes:

» A nourishing diet

» Enough sleep

» Regular physical activity

» People with SCD often tire easily, strenuous activities should be avoided.

 

Prevent and Control Complications

Avoid situations that may set off a crisis. Extreme heat or cold, as well as abrupt changes in temperature, are often triggers.

Avoid overexertion and dehydration. Take time out to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Support from family, friends and professionals

Like any other chronic illness sickle cell is difficult to live with. It is important to ask for help and talk to your family and friends. Receiving help and advice, sharing experiences and meeting with others with sickle cell disorder can be beneficial to you.

What is Sickle-cell trait?

Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is an inherited blood disorder.

It is important to know if you have sickle cell trait.

Sickle cell trait is inherited from your parents, like hair or eye colour. If one parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 50% (1 in 2) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait rarely causes any health problems. [Not enough is known about SCT to definitively state that it doesn’t cause health problems]

Potential Health Problems of people with sickle cell disease

Jaundice

This is a yellowing of the eyes and skin. It is painless and occurs because of rapid breakdown and death of sickled red blood cells.

Mental Health

Living with a lifelong chronic disease can cause a multitude of social, economic and personal problems.

Complications during pregnancy

A woman with sickle cell disease can have a healthy baby. However, risks are involved; both she and the baby should be closely monitored by a healthcare provider. Prenatal care is very important!

Other problems include:

» Chest pain and trouble breathing

» Organ damage

» Gallstones

» Painful erections in men

» Blood in the urine

» Eye disease

» Leg ulcers

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The inadequacy of change.

There is a recurring problem that ‘fans’ create by failing to grasp the very simple notion:

If an actor from any race/creed or colour is able to embody the traits and characteristics of a character in a book or a comic, then that actor should, in fact, be able to play that character even if the original character is not from the same race/creed or colour.

Yet it seems that ‘fans’ particularly those of nerd culture have been levelling hateful speech and racist slurs all in the guise of apparently staying true to the original version of the text.

Starfire

Starfire / Anna Diop

African-American actress Anna Diop who is playing Starfire in the up-and-coming live action Teen Titans had to disable her comments on social media after ‘fans’ launched a racist and derogative tirade on her appearance. To clarify she is portraying an orange-skinned radioactive alien who can shoot energy from her hands, any actress playing her surely would have faced backlash for not looking like Starfire unless of course DC had the budget to first discover alien life then hire a real-life alien for the role. Alas, this isn’t why the ‘fans’ are angry as with the hate Kelly Marie Tran received, racism and more often than not sexism reared its ugly head again.

Kelly Marie Tran

Kelly Marie Tran

These vile attacks by these bigots can only be stopped by an increase in diversity. Some could say that these ‘fans’ can’t be blamed for reacting in anger and confusion over the inclusion of people of colour playing roles predominantly portrayed by white actors. They are not accustomed to seeing a person of colour playing a superhero, they are confused and surprised that people of colour can be nerds.

Change will always breed discontent especially from small-minded people who have always enjoyed seeing themselves reflected in the heroes they love. Nevertheless, the change that is taking place which has these ‘fans’ in uproar with the inclusion of not only actors of colour portraying superheroes but those from the LGBT community is inadequate, we need to see more representation, more writers, actors and illustrators who are people of colour and or from the LGBT community so that we can show these ‘fans’ that we are not here to destroy their childhood dreams we are merely here to add more.

 

Creativelyanzy

Good evening all,

I have created an actual website! It is similar and different to this, one of my many passions besides of course writing is in fact gaming. I will be blogging about writing and gaming on this website. Please check it out @ http://www.creativelyanzy.com

Also want to thank this amazing youtube video (OHKLYN – How to make your own website 2018 / Divi WordPress tutorial) for helping me build the website from scratch it still needs fine tuning though!

https://creativelyanzy.com/

https://www.twitch.tv/creativelyanzy

Testing again! Gamer girl

 

Short story: Write about the first time you saw your crush

I am at my desk, reading a review of this new book I already have plans on buying. My manager walks by with a man and a woman, I click down the tab and begin to click my mouse. Next to me my colleague, Benji, does the same except he has the football results up. I glance at him and we both smirk, then put on our professional faces. My manager walks by and my mouse hovers down to my tab again, I’m wondering if I can click and collect it. The trio walk back to my desk.

“O yeah Amy can do that for you, she is our tech girl,” my manager says smiling at the two people she is talking to. “This is Dorian and Lysa.”

I want to roll my eyes, but such actions could get me fired and I have plans to spend money, so I smile genially. The guy, Dorian, is handsome, looks like Tom Hardy my analytical mind points out, the woman, Lysa, standing beside him looks like Yara Shahidi.

I look back down, my finger inching to go back to my page, as I spy Benji who has shrank the footie results to a micro-size, so he can keep reading them.

I get an email from Benji. [You may be the tech genius but I’m the real clever one muwaha]

I burst out laughing then try and style it out as a cough, my manager who has been going on about my skills looks at me in concern as does her companions.

I email Benji a picture of a middle finger. Dorian who has just shifted, glances at my screen sees this and smiles, I am utterly mortified and look at my manager before meeting his gaze, he shakes his head smiling.

Something passes across his features as he stares at me and I am sure I haven’t drawn breath for a solid minute because my mind starts to haze over as I absolutely stare at him. My mind must have short-circuited because I can’t look away and I feel a strange energy build between us.

His companion, Lysa makes a comment and he looks away and so do I. That my face hasn’t caught on fire at how warm it is must be some kind of miracle. I look back at my monitor, my emotions in revolt, I take in a shallow breath, my heart jack hammering in my chest.

I can feel his eyes on me again and I want to look up, but strangely I am afraid, angry at how one look has done so much to me, but clearly some illogical part of my mind disobeys and I lock eyes with him again; electricity erupts between us once more as though by looking away we broke the circuit and our eyes need only meet again before the circuit was complete again.

A part of my brain notes that Lysa looks at him then at me but again I can’t look away for several long moments before sanity returns to me again and I look away.

Short story: A promise of Love in Death

To sleep no more

“If I die, I won’t blame you, I promise,” Amelia said earnestly.

Dipender flinched and he stared at her for a long moment before walking over to her and kneeling down so they were eye-level.

“Don’t say that. Don’t even think like that, you can fight –”

“I heard you talking to the nurse earlier,” Amelia said taking the oxygen mask off her face, “and I just want you to know that I don’t blame, just don’t lie to me.”

Dipender blinked a few times, swallowing the lump that was forming in his throat, he told himself that crying in front of patients was wrong especially children who looked at him with eyes aged beyond their years.

“I’m going to call your parents. I’m going to make sure they are here.” He promised taking her hand and he saw her try and hide a wince as the monitor beeped, Dipender let go immediately.

“You don’t always have to be so strong, it’s okay to tell me when it hurts,” He said, annoyed at himself for letting his voice break, angry at the world for wanting to even try and take this little girl’s life and powerless in his need to save her.

“It hurts all the time, so I have to be strong all the time.” Amelia said her voice modulated her gaze unwavering.

Dipender felt the moisture build in his eyes as he held her gaze. He carefully put the oxygen mask back on her face.

“It’s okay, it really is,” she said reaching forward and patting him on the arm lightly, as if he needed reassuring, as if the action didn’t cost her everything.

He didn’t even want to imagine the level of pain she would have endured to become that resilient.

“I’m going to call them, I’m going to…” he trailed off as she shrugged as though it didn’t matter to her.

Short Story: It is 2100 and air is for sale, describe a week in this life.

Image result for gas mask drawing

I wake up and I’m gasping for breath, I glance at the oxygen reader in the room, it’s dipped dangerously low, I hastily grab for my personal canister – it’s empty. I’m frantic now and I shouldn’t be, because hyperventilating means I’m using up more air than I should. I have to meditate like they teach us in school but the nightmare I had is still keeping the adrenaline coursing through my veins and my heart is pumping double time which means I am breathing in too much air. I close my eyes and try to reduce the breaths I’m taking. It takes me a few minutes but I finally do.

My eyes are on the dial which reads twenty percent as I go and shower and prepare for school. I’m annoyed at myself; this is the fourth night in a row. We can’t afford to keep buying more air.

At breakfast everyone is upset as Dad tells us he has been put on reduced hours at work. Mum has tears in her eyes but squeezes his hand and assures him that they will increase his hours again soon.

“Stupid machines taking over all our jobs!” My brother says angrily stabbing at his meal, like everything we eat it comes in a can, made by a machine, produced in a lab.

“I want none of that anti machine talk at this table.” Mum says sternly.

I sit there feeling even worse not sure that I can tell them my personal canister is empty.

“Did you sleep better today?” Mum asks me.

I look up feeling guilty and shake my head.

“My canister is also empty,” I admit quietly.

“It’s alright, use one of mine, I start work late, I’ll use an old canister.” Dad says giving me a smile.

I nod fighting the tears and go into his room to grab a canister, it’s almost empty but it should last me through the day.

“Well Grandma is coming around today, and she always brings a few high quality canisters,” Mum says when I walk back into the kitchen.

I smile, I haven’t had actual fresh air in several months, everything in the city is recycled air – very few places still have fresh air, the air they pump out at school is borderline unbreathable – borderline so we still have to breathe it in.

I check my canister in at reception when I get to school, I feel embarrassed as the receptionist checks it in as an industrial tank but I don’t care or at least that’s what I tell myself as I remove my mask and walk into lesson. The air at institutions and most public places is thrice recycled but our school it is recycled four times, you can recycle air six times before you through it away – although anything past five is basically hazardous.

I suffer through my lessons – all they ever teach is how to build machine and how to repair machines, that’s all we are taught, all else is pointless, only if you are really clever can you actually design machines, my brother is one of the elite, he will get to design machines when he graduates this year, but me, I’m scheduled to be a repairer and even that I hate. I would rather paint – which isn’t even a real job, just a hobby, I could always paint the machines. I laugh and get a few looks as we all queue to get our personal canisters back. I put my canister on my own personal hover board along with my backpack as I make my way home.

My Grandma who I haven’t seen in a few years greets me at the door – she hates the city because of the air, and we usually travel to her, but since mum lost her job a few years back we can’t afford to travel anymore.

My eyes as always stray to the oxygen monitor it’s full of once recycled air, my jaw almost lands on the floor.

I look at Grandma and she beams at me – I almost knock her over when I hug her.

I breathe deeply and the air even smells delicious the feeling is different it’s almost too much for my lungs to manage – I’ve only ever had twice recycled air and that was an experience I can’t even imagine what fresh air must be like because this is amazing.

I breathe deeply for a few minutes before mum gives me a look and I default back to my shallow breathing that we are all trained on doing at school only rich people are allowed to breathe deeply.

Grandma stays for a week and it gives Mum the opportunity to try and go out to try and look for odd jobs – Grandma helps me with my homework and she tells me that when she was fifteen the town they lived in people didn’t walk around with canisters, I can hardly believe her – of course I’ve heard rumours but the idea of walking outside and just breathing air terrifies me – it’s so murky out there I can imagine my lungs giving out after taking only a few breaths. I tell Grandma and she laughs and tells me she used to sit on fields and just watch the sky without a canister of air – she could breathe the air outside – the pollution wasn’t that bad then.

I look out the window; at the heavy smog in the air that looks noxious and wonder what life would be like if we all didn’t have to carry around canisters of oxygen just so that we could breathe.