The "Invisible" Disease: The Story Of Patient X

woman in mask
Living life with a chronic illness is already extremely stressful. But add unpredictability, severe pain…and most of all, invisibility, and that illness can become downright unbearable.

Yes, you read correctly…an invisible disease. Which is an unfortunate reality in the life of a sickle cell patient.

Why? Some medical providers tend to misjudge patients and their symptoms because they don’t “look” like their pain level is maxing out at a “10” (on the pain scale commonly used in many hospitals and doctors’ offices). Some doctors go as far as to question if a patient’s pain is even real!

Patient X: “Worst Day Of My Life” 

On Wednesday May 4, 2011, a 30-year-old African American male, married, a father of two lovely little boys, and living with sickle cell, had an experience that he quickly described to me as “one of the worst days of my life.”

Patient X was admitted to a hospital near his home on Sunday May 1, 2011.  He was being treated for a sickle cell crisis, one of the worst he had experienced within months. But while he was admitted to the hospital, Patient X was denied the adequate amount of medication that would have better controlled his pain.