What is Sickle Cell Pain Crisis Like ?


In the course of my life,

With the experiences of many painful crises,

Some people have asked me,

And many people have asked others,

How does the painful (vaso-occlusive) crisis of a sickle cell warrior feels like?

How can I describe it?


It is like the pain of contractions,

Of a pregnant woman in active labour,

When she is pushing actively to birth the baby,

When it is tiring and exhausting after frequent pushes,

And she still must push on,

For a safe delivery.


It is like the stiffening chest pain,

That asthmatics experience in their chest,

When breathing in and out is excruciatingly painful,

And each breath counts so much,

As if it is the last breath.

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It is like the agonizing pain,

That someone with a broken bone, a fracture, experiences,

Perhaps like multiple fractures,

Multiplying the intensity of the pain.


So, most times,

When you see a sickle cell warrior in pain crisis,

Yet quiet and not crying out,

It does not mean he or she is not experiencing the exhausting, tiring, excruciating and agonizing pain,

It only means he or she has learned to master the pain through the years of several pains,

But do not be mistaken,

The pain is still there,

With the same intensity and severity,

While staying calm,

Is the only way that the sickle cell warrior,

Can feel some calmness in the midst of the pain.


© DSA, December 2019

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