Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (Don't write about the song) (04/16/15)
TITLE: Handfuls of Blessings
By Holly Westefeld
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"Of course not, Bonnie. You were too young to remember the surgery after the accident, but it will be just like going to sleep at night. When you wake up, though, you will have brand new hands."
"I don't remember what it felt like to have hands. I've seen my baby pictures where I was holding toys, but I don't remember that."
"No, but thanks to Dr. Hughes and his team, you will start making new memories soon."
A woman in Winnie the Pooh scrubs approached the gurney. "Hi, Bonnie, Mr. and Mrs. Evans. I'm nurse Pat. Bonnie, are you all ready to go get your new hands?"
"In a minute. I need hugs." Her parents stooped in to her extended arms and brushed her face with kisses, which she returned. "I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy. Okay, I'm ready."
"You'll be a brave girl for me, right? There will be a pinch on your arm that will help you sleep. When you feel it, I need you to count to ten with me."
Bonnie's lip quivered. "Mommy, Daddy, you'll be here when I wake up?"
"Okay, I'm ready."
"Look at Daddy," nurse Pat instructed, as she readied the arm opposite him for the "pinch. "Let's count. One, two, three,..."
Bonnie blinked, and smiled up at her parents, then looked down to see her new hands extending from bandages on her forearms. "They're so heavy," she whispered, bending her elbows slowly.
"It's okay, sweetie. Remember, we talked about how it would take time to get used to them and learn to use them, and how they were made a bit big so you'd be able to use them longer as you grow?"
Dr. Hughes stepped forward. "We're going to put some things on your hands while you close your eyes. Tell us which hand you feel something on, and how it feels."
Bonnie closed her eyes. "Brrr! That's cold," she exclaimed, as he put an ice cube in her right hand.
"Which hand is cold?"
"My right one."
"Very good. What now?" Dr. Hughes placed a small lead weight in her left hand.
"Something hard and heavy in my left hand."
"Excellent! Now what?"
"Something tickly in my right."
"Very good. Next?" He replaced the cotton ball with a warm stone.
"Ah, that feels nice. Something warm in my right hand."
"Terrific! That's all for today. You need to rest."
"But I want to move them, hold something."
"We'll try some movement tomorrow. For now, you can hold your parents hands.
"Awesome!" Bonnie grinned from ear to ear as her mother's small cool hand slipped in to her right, and her father's large warm one engulfed her left.
Bonnie's mother dashed to the playroom, drawn by thuds and sobs. "Bonnie, what's wrong?"
"I don't want the hands anymore. Make Dr. Hughes take them off!"
"I just broke my favorite purple crayon, and I keep coloring outside the lines. I knocked my milk over at lunch, dropped my fork, and got spaghetti sauce on my new purple shirt. I can't catch or throw a ball good, and I'll have to wear velcro sneakers forever!"
"Whoa, Bonnie. I'm sorry you're having a tough day, but look how far you've already come. A lot more crayons broke, and more marks went outside the lines when you used your feet to color. I spilled many things on your bib when I needed to feed you, and we all drop and spill things occasionally. Throwing and catching skills take time for everyone, and you've only had a few weeks of practice. Yes, it will take a little while more before you will easily be able to tie or buckle your shoes, but you will conquer that, too, before you know it. Let's go have a chocolate chip cookie. They just came out of the oven."
Bonnie skipped in to Sunday school singing, "One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door..."
"You're certainly happy this morning," Miss Lawson greeted.
"I got dressed all by myself today," Bonnie beamed. She stuck her foot out. "And see...my shoes buckle!"
"That is really an answer to prayer. What a blessing."
"No, Miss Lawson." Bonnie gestured excitedly. "It is handfuls of blessings--one, two hands, and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten fingers!"
Author's note: While still in experimental stages, researchers in prosthetics technology are implanting interfaces between prosthetic hands and nerve and muscle tissue in the arms or chest, so that patients are able to sense touch.
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