My first story is about Preston Carson. Born January 27, 1949 in Evansville Indiana, Preston was the second of nine children of Cora and Charles Carson. He weighed 9.5 lbs, but his mother Cora sensed something was wrong.
The first six months of his life were normal, but Cora noticed the whites of his eyes were sort of yellow. He was first diagnosed with Yellow Jaundice with low blood count. After swelling of his hands, feet and belly, doctor’s diagnosed Preston with a spleen dysfunction. It wasn’t until Preston was three years old and after various illnesses; he was diagnosed to have Sickle Cell Anemia. Preston inherited a Sickle Cell hemoglobin (S) gene from each parent.
Preston’s parents never heard of Sickle Cell disease and never knew they each carried the trait. Once they were educated about the disease, they had all their children tested, and out of 9 children, all but one tested positive for the trait. Preston had one Sickle Cell crisis after another, enduring swelling, bloating, pain and seizures. He also lived with great risk of infection because his spleen would always swell with every Sickle Cell pain episode.
As a child, when Preston was admitted into the hospital for one illness or another, doctors would bring groups of interns in to study him; observing and writing while he sat and watched them. In the 1950’s, doctors just didn’t know enough about Sickle Cell Anemia, so they used patients like Preston to learn. Preston’s first memories of life were having needles in his arms and blood transfusions. Doctor’s originally told Preston’s parents that he would not live five years after his initial diagnosis. Later, they told them, Preston wouldn’t live past 15 years old. Preston did live.
Preston grew up, got married, and was the proud father of a daughter. He rode a motorcycle, enjoyed 4H Club activities, wrote poetry, fished, drove race cars, and played tennis. Beside living life the best he could, Preston did feel the strain to not be depressed, or feel physically inferior. He believed people automatically looked down at him because of his physical limitations. He also believed if people knew how it felt to live in pain all of their lives, and have no one understand their hurt, they would be more caring. He wanted someone to tell his story and his mother-in-law Beatrice did.
Beatrice Brewer wrote “Crystals in My Bone”, Authorhouse, 2005. This book is sort of scrapbook of Preston’s family, his life and his struggles with Sickle Cell disease. In this book, Beatrice tells funny family stories mixed with Preston’s own stories about life. Beatrice ends her book with an obituary and a poem. The obituary reads, “Mr. Preston Eric Carson, January 27, 1949 - August 30, 1996.”
The poem reads,
"Millionaire by Preston Carson (written when he was 32).
A millionaire with surplus cash I’m sure I’ll never be,
But with my dear ones by my side this will not bother me;
I’m sure it’s true for most of us small families everywhere,
We’ve all the riches that we need if we have love to share.”