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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Game (12/06/12)

TITLE: The Blessing
By Phee Paradise
12/13/12
~3rd Place


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We played games wearing latex gloves, with alcohol wipes nearby in case we dropped one of the pieces on the floor. Even with the gloves, we werenít allowed to touch him. We also wore masks to prevent our germy breath from reaching him. The leukemia was in the final stage when my son was diagnosed, and they offered us little hope. But now he was in the hospital for a bone marrow transplant that might cure him.

The blessing was that I got to spend a couple of hours each day playing Sorry or Pitch or Cribbage with my son. The blessing was that he was able to play games. The blessing was that God had given us time.

I went to the hospital from work every day; my husband and daughter joined us whenever they could. His days dragged and he watched for me, tired of movies and books. In his private room, he was lonely, but he wasnít alone. Nurses came and went, changing his IV drips and bringing him chemotherapy pills that were so toxic he had to wear gloves to put them in his mouth. A nurse hung a calendar on the wall where she wrote his blood counts every day. We watched them plummet until he had no white cells and almost no red cells or platelets. His immune system had been destroyed.

That day we didnít play games. That day we all three came to the hospital and waited for the donorís bone marrow. His hospital room felt crowded when the doctor and nurse came in to give him the life-giving blood. He slept, but we watched the slow drip, praying there wouldnít be a reaction. The doctor let me hold his hand.

The blessing was that he had the best medical care in the country. The blessing was that someone had willingly shared her healthy bone marrow with him. The blessing was that God was present while we scarcely dared breathe.

When I arrived the next day, he pulled on his gloves, ready for a game of Cribbage. The calendar still showed no white cells, but he felt fine. We played every day, while the numbers hovered just above zero. Infection was a constant threat, and they brought his food on specially wrapped trays to avoid bacteria. But he didnít eat much because his mouth hurt. He didnít talk either, but he could still beat me, with a barely visible smile. One day he was sleeping when I arrived. There were some new gadgets by his bed, a button to push for pain relief and a big plastic tube to spit blood. The cells in his mouth were breaking down and he had stopped eating. I sat by his bed and prayed for healing.

Gradually the numbers on the calendar rose, one tenth at a time. Joy. The new bone marrow was making blood cells. His mouth started to heal and we took out the game boards again. When he began to eat, they let us bring him home. I scrubbed my house of germs, but I could finally hug him. We still played games, but now we didnít wear gloves.

The blessing is that he is in complete remission. The blessing is that it has been ten years Ė ten years of hugs and games and joy. The blessing is that God is good.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Francy Judge12/13/12
This brought tears to my eyes and drew me into your story. I was so glad for a happy ending. Beautifully told. What a blessing!
Carolyn Ancell12/14/12
Very tender, authentic and well-written piece.Am reading this the night of the shooting of children in a school, and treasuring the image of
A parent playing a game with a child; a seemingly insignificant thing, but such precious and memorable time together,
Camille (C D) Swanson 12/15/12
This was the most touching, hauntingly beautiful story I've read in some time! Oh my gosh. The way you told the story was moving, compelling, and made me cry from start to the very last.
Hallelujah!

Remission yes! oh God is good all the time. All the time God is good. Amen. I am so happy for your son's outcome. So good to hear of God's miraculous works. And, so happy that His grace and love brought you all through that period of time.

God Bless you...and may you all continue to share many many many years together as a family.

Thanks for sharing your testimony and your son's journey that was touched by His love from above...
Loren T. Lowery12/18/12
Wonderful story, beautifully told.
Bea Edwards 12/20/12
Your story reminded me that a grateful attitude keep the unbearable in a Spirit-led state of mind. Poignant and well written piece.
Beth LaBuff 12/20/12
What a beautiful blessing(s). Amazing story! Super congrats on your EC!
Ellen Carr 12/21/12
Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. You have shared from the deep pain and joy you have experienced and told it so very well. Congratulations on your well-earned 3rd place.
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
How does one tell a story like this without being too heavy? You did it quite nicely with the "game" opening and closing. Held my breath; glad for the happy ending.