Zeke sits up in his hospital bed wincing slightly with pain. Why are there three smiling ladies standing in my doorway, he wonders.
Volunteers, the bright blue polo shirts and perky faces are a dead giveaway. They are saying something about being the bead ladies, but Zeke, 13, has lost interest.
Then he has a thought. “Dad,” he suddenly says, “Where’s my bottle of stuff?”
Now it’s the bead ladies of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Volunteer Team who are confused.
Scott, Zeke’s dad, grabs the bottle, opens it up and shows off a handful of screws and bolts. One is several inches long.
The shiny hardware was recently removed from Zeke’s leg. He specifically asked his surgeon to save the pieces for some reason. Now Zeke understands why.
“Can you make me a necklace,” he asks, now thrilled to see three bead ladies in his doorway.
Donna Brent, Susie Fennell and Sue Laue (the bead ladies) love a challenge, but this is their first request for a hardware necklace.
They sit down and get started. Zeke is fully engrossed. He even wants them to return.
It has been a rough go for Zeke after what seemed like a simple fall in the park, breaking his hip. It wasn’t healing properly, and he was transferred to Johns Hopkins All Children’s for more surgery when an infection was found. Zeke spent most of his spring in the hospital. But no matter, Zeke says, “Never give up. Everything happens for a reason. It will get better.”
These days he even looks forward to seeing the bead ladies. In fact, his one-of-a-kind leg-screw necklace now features a menacing shark’s tooth dangling off the bottom.
After dealing with a leg full of hardware, Zeke has earned it.