Long term health conditions

William - Interview 22

Male
Age at interview: 19

Brief outline: William has lived with sickle cell anemia since birth. His mother and father have both got the sickle cell trait but his sister is not affected. When he was a child he remembers that he was in hospital many times. His condition is much improved now that he is older. He takes penicillin and folic acid everyday and says that he does not need to take medication but he does it because his aim is to prevent crisis.

Background: William lives with his mother and sister and plans to go to university next year. William feels that hospitals should build wards for young people. Ethnic background/nationality' African.

Audio & video

William has lived with Sickle Cell Anaemia since birth. His mother and father have both got the sickle cell trait but his sister is not affected. His sickle cell anaemia affected him really badly when he was a child and he remembers that he was in hospital a lot. However he says that his condition has much improved now that he is older. He has not been admitted into hospital once in the last three years. Martin takes penicillin and folic acid everyday and says that he does not need to take medication but he does it because his aim is to prevent crisis. 

Martin says that most of what he knows about his condition he has learned it from his mother, his consultant and also from other sickle cell sufferers who are older than him. Martin participates in a group for young people with sickle cell anaemia. They provide one another with support, advice and friendship. 

When he was younger his condition really affected his schooling. In his experience, schools have responded differently in regard to their willingness to help him keep up with his school work. Some schools sent him work to do whilst he was ill in hospital or at home, whilst others did not bother, even after his mother and other relatives had talked to the headmasters about it.

In his experience his friends from the support group and those from elsewhere are the same, they just want to live their lives as normally as possible and his friends do not treat him any differently. What is more telling friends or a girlfriend about his sickle cell anaemia is not a big issue. In the case of girlfriends he does if the relationship is a serious one and his close friends also know about it. Furthermore, he has absolutely no problem in telling friends and girlfriends about his need to avoid certain situations (e.g. staying outdoors in cold weather) in order to prevent a sickle cell crisis. 

Martin does not like to stay in adult wards in hospitals. Last time he was in hospital he was sixteen and went into an adult ward. His experience wasn't a good one as his bed was next to someone he felt uncomfortable with. Moreover he says that nurses in the children's ward are much better. In the adult ward nurses are less attentive to the needs of the individual patient. He definitely does not like hospitals in general and also feels that they should build ward specific for young adults.

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