Monday, August 10, 2009

The Little Girl with Bruises

She was 15 years old with a set of green eyes that would stop you in your tracks. Her pony-tailed blonde hair streaming down her shoulders- a picture of health and beauty. Her face however belied some anguish. There were the unmistakable tracks below her eyes of partially wiped off tears from an unwashed face. There was concern and frustration all measured in the deep sigh that escaped her lips. She looked up from her world into the present and started to cry. The Whys came as an endless river flooded from the recent rains, in torrents of forceful velocities. After a while when the Whys could not be easily answered, disheartened she asked the How.

Shey had noted bruising a few weeks ago. Initially ascribed to activity. She was a skate boarder and falling is a pre-requisite to learning of that sport. But as the bruising multiplied and became visible to her mother, medical help had been sought. Then the nosebleeds started and panic led to her hospitalization.

Her anguish as she lay there was palpable. “I am not going to be able to have a boyfriend? This was more a question mark than a statement. “Am I going to die?” That one got the nursing staff in a bundle. How could this little girl with nary a chance at a bad deed suffer the ignominy of a fair world.

Yes she would have many a boyfriends, because her person would command that and no she was not going to die were the answers. “But I want just one boy friend.” She cried. “Then you shall have the one you want.” Even with that reply she eyed everyone with skepticism.

“What do I have?” she asked finally. The medical diagnosis, although startling in terminology, nevertheless registered little in her limited vocabulary.  “And what is that?” Well it is where your body is creating antibodies against its own cells.


“Yes and it does so as a self protective phenomenon.”

“That doesn’t make sense. It’s protecting me but hurting me at the same time?” You knew from the look in her eyes that she was nobody’s fool. She was ahead of the curve in her class and well ahead in the land of inquisitiveness.

“You called it ITP?” she asked.

“Yes that is the diagnosis.”

“What is it?”

“The I in the ITP stands for Idiopathic, which means we don’t know. But the body destroys these cells called platelets which protect us from bleeding. The theory is that exposure to some virus or agent can cause the body's overwhelming response with antibodies meant to destroy the virus or agent and in so doing it trips its own cells. The ultimate nature's mimicry to hide against the defences”

"Stupid, huh."

"Kind of like friendly fire."

She nodded to that one, “But you can treat huh?”


“That would be like -how?”

“Previous successful experimentation.”

“I am not a Guinea Pig!”

“No, others before you have sacrificed their fears to find relief, so you don’t have to.” 


Six months later she walked in for her monthly blood test and her results were normal. Her face a little swollen from medications and she had gained a little weight as a consequence of her therapy, but in spite of this she had found her boyfriend, or more appropriately the boy had snagged the prize. She was smiling now without a skin blemish. Restored to her almost natural state of beauty. The future was bright with possibilities.

“Thank you.” She said as she bounced her blonde hair out of the door.

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