Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Game (12/06/12)
TITLE: The Blessing
By Phee Paradise
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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 wasn’t 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 didn’t play games. That day we all three came to the hospital and waited for the donor’s 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 wouldn’t 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 didn’t eat much because his mouth hurt. He didn’t 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 didn’t wear gloves.
The blessing is that he is in complete remission. The blessing is that it has been ten years – ten years of hugs and games and joy. The blessing is that God is good.
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