Musing about cosmic irony helps my husband cope with hemophilia
Framing life this way helps Jared cope with hemophilia's challenges
Irony manifests in diverse forms, but cosmic irony captivates me the most. This literary device suggests that the universe possesses a sense of humor, purposefully orchestrating situations contrary to expected outcomes. This often results in both amusement and reflection.
One popular example of cosmic irony happens in the movie “Aladdin.” When the young street urchin asks the genie to turn him into a prince so he can win Princess Jasmine’s affections, Aladdin’s plan sadly backfires when she prefers his previous humble self over his newfound opulence. The universe, it seems, enjoys its jests.
In my nearly six years of marriage to my husband, Jared, who has severe hemophilia B and epilepsy, I’m no stranger to jokes about the cosmic irony underlying his very existence. Oftentimes, he feels like the universe’s favorite punchline.
The mysterious palette of genetics
Jared is the youngest of three brothers. Two of them are colorblind. Common genetic expectations would suggest that the third son, Jared, would also share this trait. However, fate took a surprising turn, absolving him completely of his older siblings’ plight while giving him hemophilia instead.
Jared says he would willingly trade his ability to distinguish colors for the inability of his wounds to clot. For him, monthly bleeding episodes are painful and annoying. Then again, it is what it is.
Life’s playful tricks: World — 1, Jared — 0
Jared often imagines life as a capricious trickster. It sneaks up on him uninvited and likes to play games with his hope and optimism.
As a young adult, he took pride in his impeccably straight teeth — until a lively day at a swimming pool turned into a near-toothless disaster. A freak accident on a pool slide almost cost him his front tooth. Quick medical intervention allowed him to keep the tooth, but it’s now slowly decaying. The trait he once took pride in became a casualty of innocent fun.
This trickster also seems to enjoy messing with Jared’s expectations about bleeding episodes. Since prophylactic treatment isn’t available here in the Philippines, Jared is no stranger to spontaneous bleeds.
“Whenever I hope for a smooth, bleed-free week, it’s like the universe overhears and throws in a surprise episode just to keep me on my toes,” he muses. “But if I expect the worst — or even wish for it — it’s almost as if it takes pity and grants me a reprieve. It’s like living in a cosmic game of reverse psychology.”
“Maybe you should just accept that every day is Opposite Day for you,” I quip.
An attempt to make sense of it all
Though Jared’s musings on cosmic irony might seem crude, they serve a purpose far beyond mere entertainment through self-deprecating humor. For him, framing it this way is his coping mechanism for hemophilia’s challenges. The human brain naturally seeks to make sense of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Even in flawed logic it finds solace.
By highlighting the cosmic ironies that pepper his life, Jared finds meaning in what might otherwise be seen as a mere string of unfortunate events. Embracing the role of being the universe’s punchline is a title he wears proudly. It could be a sign of a greater force looking out for him after all — if only to play games with him. But hey, it sure beats being a casualty of random misfortunes any day!
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.