Near Death Experiences with Sickle Cell


I’m sure many sickle cell warriors can relate to having near death experiences. I’ve been deathly ill a quite a number of times, but out of those numerous admissions, only once can I quantify as being near death.

The first was in 1993. I had Malaria, Cholera, and Pneumonia when I was 13 in Nigeria. I had passed out about 10 blocks from home when I was walking home from the bus stop. One of the women on the street recognized me and carried me all the way home. She didn’t know exactly where I lived, but some other neighbors saw me and showed her my house. My parents rushed me to the hospital. I don’t remember much from that time, but I was in the hospital for 3 weeks.

The second was in 2001. I had gotten acute chest syndrome, and it was so bad that I was placed on BIPAP. In addition my liver enzymes were so high, I was beyond jaundiced, and had to have my a hemapheresis done. This is like dialysis, but they drew out all my blood and infused me with 6 units of fresh blood. My sister said the blood coming out of my body was almost black, the doc said there was no oxygen and the cells had been completely broken down (I had very few viable red blood cells).

The third was just last year, a few days after I started taking Nicosan. It was the flu turned to pneumonia, turned to Acute chest, and I had to be placed on the Ventilator for 2 days as they forced oxygen to my lungs. When I was extubated, I was so grateful to be able to breath normally! I was in in the hospital for 10 days that time.

Most of the time, when I get really, really sick, I don’t remember anything at all. I think the forgetfulness is my mind’s response to how frightening the whole encounter must have been. I really fear getting into respiratory distress, pneumonia or acute chest syndrome again. It seems to be the pattern of my near death experiences.

What about you? Any near death experiences?


  1. My near death experiences were a lot like urs accept my last one, I ended up having a TIA as well as chest syndrome,pneumonia,and on top of it all I have pulmonary hypertension! So I was placed on the vent for 2wks not expecting to live, at least that’s what they told my fam. They gave me 17hours to live all because my blood was sickling at a pace they never saw in ssd history they said. But because my blood type is rare they didn’t have it in the hospital and had to get with the redcross to seek it and by that time, my time was winding down. Liver enzymes sky rocketed, kidneys began to shut down! They actually gave up on me and called all my family in and said if she has anymore family out of state, they have 12 hours to arrive if they still want to see her alive. And I actually was out of town, born and raised in DC but had moved to sc, and was visiting back in dc, my mom and kids and most of my close fam and friends had to drive 8hrs to get to me, it was really stressful as I was told. At the last 3hours texas called with blood and flew it to Howard and they said less than 15mins of the pheresis…..I began breathing more on my own than the vent breathing 82% for me they was able to put me on cpap less than 2hrs after the exchange,my enzymes dropped back down and my kidneys popped back in order! I was ALIVE! And all within minutes of getting that new blood. Amazing! Sickle Cell is no joke although most nurses and docs in er’s think of us as seekers! We actually have a serious condition and I’m newly diagnosed. Wasn’t diagnosed at birth only when I moved from dc to sc it began to show face and I was told it was because of the climate change and had I stayed in dc eventually it may have surfaced but it may have been too late because when I did find out I also had a lot of the underlining conditions it avascular necrosis(both hips) and pulmonary hypertension,gallbladder was shot! So as a ss warrior myself near death has really taken me for a loop more than twice, but we fight and we make it so docs n nurses please stop thinkin we jus want drugs we hurt forreal!
    Ty for allowing me to express….I now have a bigger prob can anyone email so I can explain and get advice. I actually was kicked out of my ssd clinic because “doc said she can’t communicate with me” now I have no ssd doc. She was all I knew besides 8hrs away. Please.

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