By Jessica Jiang
Thrombocytopenia is a semi-autobiographical poem that details the struggles of a health condition exacerbated by America’s broken health care system. Through the conglomeration of a child’s worst fears, I hope to spur the need for change.
I see shadows on the back of my legs, on the width of my arm and length of my body. If I get lucky they blossom yellow, but now they stay blue like the eyes of my doctor when he tells me about treatments that don’t really treat. I prayed for the first time behind hospital walls that isn’t exactly a church but people find God here sometimes, but why couldn’t I? How can I live when all I see these days are 1. white pills in orange bottles 2. red blood in plastic tubes 3. blue gloves covering steady hands “It’s okay close your eyes it’ll be over soon I promise it’ll be over” just a little longer is a lie “Immune thrombocytopenia is a genetic disease.” My mom looks at my dad but my dad stares at the ground: I can already hear the divorce papers being drawn. “Do any of your family members have a history of low platelets?” Grandparents were called and accusations assigned. I see shadows behind his eyes and on the back of her thighs. “We should begin talking about treatment plans.” I smell remnants of cigarette smoke even though he gave up smoking when I was born. I guess my life is no longer worth that much. “Though costly, your daughter would be given the best care possible. ” There are half-crescent indentations on the palms of his hands as he runs through the numbers in his bank account. He feels his wallet. It is thin. “NEXT TIME YOU START BLEEDING AND IT DOESN'T STOP, CALL 911” My mother pleads with the doctor for other options. Does the hospital offer some financial coverage? Are there other treatments that are less expensive than this? “MA’AM, YOU CANNOT ATTACH DOLLAR SIGNS TO YOUR DAUGHTER’S LIFE” my life used to be worth more than this “It’s an autoimmune disorder” is ironic because it means that my body decided to commit suicide even before I knew just how badly life sucked if you: 1. live in america 2. don’t have insurance 3. don’t have insurance and live in america When the tax collectors came, my dad left but the bruises stayed and so did the hospital bills and the bottles of antidepressants. There are some things that a child should never get to hear like the sobs of my mother when she got down on her knees to beg him to stay. There are some things that a child should never get to see like the eyes of my father when he lies or the light of a late ambulance before everything flickers out
Jessica Jiang is a high school senior heading to Williams College in the fall. She loves to read and is in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda. She is obsessed with stationery and is a pescatarian. She is working on a novel now about mental health, but also writes poetry, memoir and short stories.