Angie Kim’s debut Miracle Creek is a dissection of US healthcare and immigration, wrapped in a courtroom thriller. She talks about her son’s medical crisis, ‘goose fathers’ and Trump’s slurs
Twice a day, every day for almost a month, Angie Kim and her then-two-year-old son would enter a hyperbaric oxygen tank, and be sealed inside. Kim’s son had ulcerative colitis, a condition that caused him great pain, and the constant vomiting had left him underweight. The theory behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) goes that if damaged cells need oxygen to heal, immersing a patient in pure oxygen will accelerate healing. Although the experimental treatment was not FDA-approved and has no proven benefits, it was a last resort Kim was willing to try.
Her son called the tank “the submarine”, and he wasn’t far off: when the hatch was closed, the dim, warm space, lit only by flickering episodes of Barney and Sesame Street outside the portholes, could almost have been underwater; Kim, 15 years on, likens it to confession. As the children watched TV, the bored caregivers and parents, wearing only cotton clothing and liberated of their potentially flammable glasses, underwire bras and belts, began to talk.