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Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)
- TITLE: The Sailor and The Lady
By Darlene Edmondson
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My dad and mom were born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains; where, making and honest living was hard to come by. They both completed their early schooling, but neither earned a high school diploma. So, just before dad joined the U.S. Navy, he fell crazy-in-love with mom. Following a two year duty-at-sea, dad was stationed at Jacksonville Florida Naval Air Station. The base provided housing for married sailors, their wives and children. You guessed it; sailor Blake proposed to lady Katherine. So, the newlyweds began their union in blissful joy. Mom was hired by the naval administrator as a mechanical-aide, and the elated couple worked side by side repairing various equipment.
During their first year of marriage, mom discovered she was pregnant. They were thrilled to be starting a family of their own. One sunny afternoon, mom went in for a routine obstetric visit. The diagnosis: pre-eclampsia. The gynecologist was gravely concerned because the baby's due date was three months away. In order to save mom's life, the doctor immediately induced labor. With today's medical advances, she would have been more safe; however, this was in 1945. After heavy sedation and a successful vaginal delivery, mom was out of danger. Richard Blake Free entered the world, whimpering softly and weighing 2 pounds 8 ounces. When she awakened with some coherency; dad whispered, "darlin', our boy made it, but he's fightin' for his life". Still confused, mom gained enough strength to cry out to her only hope: "Oh, God, have mercy, let my baby live"!
Richard did survive the birth trauma; but, the naval doctors explained he may develop a slight handicap, due to the lack of oxygen to his brain. Then, they told my parents of a new project being offered in their hospital to all premature newborns. It was a medical board-certified experiment: one which required their signatures. The team of specialists could not guarantee the experiment would have a good or desirable outcome. Tentatively, my parents agreed to take a chance on this newly-discovered, unproven medicine. It was called penicillin. While Richard lived in the incubator for three months, he was given trial doses of; what they hoped would be, a 'miracle' drug.
Together with mom's answered prayer and the experimental treatments of penicillin, Richard will be 67 years old this September. I am extremely proud to be his younger sister and grateful for the impact he makes on my life. My cup runs over with heavenly delight as I think about Richard; and, how he fulfills his holy purpose in the world. Mom often says, "Richard will always have a special, soul-deep place in my heart". Hey, even the sailor is looking down from heaven; proudly grinning and waiting for that blessed reunion with his lady and their four children.
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