Learning To Walk Again @ 21
By ‘Gbolagade Izie
Most with SCD get to know their genotype while still very young. Not Adekunbi Osisami, the youngest in a family of eight. The 53-year old did not know her genotype until she was 16. She was in her fourth year of secondary school when she suddenly felt sick, and soon, she was rolling on the floor in excruciating pain. Ade was rushed to the hospital, and — after a blood test — informed she had sickle cell anaemia.
Since then, SCD has been rather easygoing with her although at one time she has was hospitalized once in two years on average. She has received blood transfusions just twice.
Adekunbi’s most memorable sickle cell crises?
‘I still remember clearly: I was about to turn 21 when I suddenly became sick, and could not even walk.’
She ended up in the hospital for a month, and had to learn to walk all over.
‘I thank God I am not in crutches today’, she says.
While some with SCD experience discrimination due to its being written all over them or because of certain obvious complications, Adekunbi, plump and matronly, has never experienced such.
‘I can do all things that most people believe those with sickle cell cannot do.’
Ade maintains a positive and relaxed attitude to life, despite having SCD. Coping with SCD is not complicated for her: she avoids pushing herself too hard, and when she feels she needs a rest, she allows herself some.
What does she think about sickle cell carriers (who are aware of the risks to their offspring) getting married to each other?
‘I feel they should not. Taking care of children with sickle cell is really difficult.’
Adekunbi sure knows what she is talking about – one of her siblings, an elder brother, also lives with sickle cell anaemia.
An educationist, Adekunbi takes time off the rigours of work by reading, travelling and singing.