Rediscovering a song that reflects our living with hemophilia

Analyzing lyrics that relate to my husband's 'Royal Disorder of Clotting Factors'

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by Alliah Czarielle |

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I’ve written here numerous times about my love for the American pop-punk band Fall Out Boy. Since discovering them in 2007, I’ve been a huge fan of not just their music, but also the guys in the band and their individual career paths. My husband, Jared, and I attended their recent Philippine concert in December, and we had a blast!

As a high school freshman, I stumbled upon their second platinum album, “Infinity on High,” thanks to a friend’s CD purchase. The surreal album art immediately grabbed my attention. Then when I heard it, the music resonated with me instantly. It was as if I’d hit it off smoothly with an unexpected friend.

Fall Out Boy’s poetic lyrics deeply touched me, especially as someone who not only enjoyed literature, but also battled depression and undiagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Amid my feeling out of place and unappreciated as an artist in a science-focused high school, their music provided solace.

I needed quite a bit of time to overcome these feelings of inadequacy and self-hate. Thankfully, I’ve built a support system over the years that helps me cope better, despite occasional slip-ups. Jared, who battles severe hemophilia B and a seizure disorder, understood me in ways others couldn’t. His own journey with chronic illnesses enabled him to grasp the complexities of my mental health challenges, even before they were diagnosed.

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‘Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes’

Recently, I’ve found myself drawn to the Fall Out Boy song “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes.” The lyrics seem to encapsulate the experience of living with chronic illness or disability. Whether or not this concept was intentional or just a rebirth of the idea in my head, they resonate deeply with my lived experience.

Below are some notable song lines and how I interpret them in the context of my husband’s “Royal Disorder of Clotting Factor“:

“Hey Doctor, I’m certifiable”: Living with a chronic illness often involves combating the perception that one is defined solely by their condition. People sometimes reduce chronically ill individuals to their diagnoses on paper, overlooking their unique qualities and abilities.

Over time, I’ve learned that every person with hemophilia has unique abilities and limitations, and no two are exactly the same. But not everyone sees it this way. Even some medical professionals we’ve met struggle to understand this idea, especially if they aren’t too familiar with the condition.

“Doc, there’s a hole where something was/ … I’m a loose bolt of a complete machine”: This sentiment mirrors Jared’s own feelings of being incomplete because of his hemophilia. His condition deprived him of many typical childhood experiences, like attending physical education classes, playing team sports, and even learning how to ride a bike! At times, he can’t help but feel like a broken toy.

“What a match, I’m half-doomed, and you’re semi-sweet”: This lyric reflects the dynamics of our relationship. Jared faces certain risks because of his conditions, while I bring a mix of dark humor and caustic tendencies. We’re far from a match made in heaven, yet we somehow fit together perfectly.

“Detox just to retox”: This alludes to the cyclical nature of hemophilia. While treatments alleviate symptoms temporarily, the condition persists, with bleeds recurring unpredictably.

“Nobody wants to hear you sing about tragedy”: Lastly, this line highlights society’s preference for uplifting narratives over acknowledging life’s challenges. This reluctance to engage with difficult topics complicates disability awareness efforts, which are often dismissed as mere “sob stories.”

Meanwhile, some people are interested in hearing the stories of disabled people only through the lens of what’s “inspirational.” This tendency effectively reduces a complex human being into a mere object of inspiration who receives fake praise for achieving ordinary feats.

Music bridges the gap

The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.”

The experience of living with hemophilia, or any chronic illness, isn’t always easy to articulate to other people. However, having a song that resonates with Jared’s disease may help us share our experiences more effectively, bridging the gap between those with and without disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Through music, we can share our feelings and advocate for greater understanding and support in society. Our communities can use more empathy and inclusivity, and music is a great way to begin!

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.


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