How Playstation Helped Save My Life
Jonathan Beck talks about how playing his Playstation in the hospital helped sustain him while undergoing bone cancer treatments.
When I was a kid, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma - bone cancer. I was 13 at the time, and spent a good part of my life either skateboarding, or playing Playstation 1. The bone cancer was in my right tibia. That eliminated my skateboard, but not my Playstation.
I went to my great grandmother, who had always spoiled us, and she helped me buy a second console. The first one I could take back and forth with me to the hospital, and use in my room since it was hard for me to get up and down the stairs to the living room where we kept our original. The second one stayed at home so my brothers didn’t go without one. I had everything a PS1 gamer could need: Dual Shock system, PS1 Logo embroidered carrying case, Metal Gear Solid, Vigilante 8, Crash Bandicoot, and Atari Classics (I spent so much time playing 720 I could do it with my eyes closed).
To be fair, the drugs, therapy, doctors, treatments and my family probably saved my life. However, the time I spent playing those games made the hours of treatment pass by easier. When I wasn’t being carted back and forth from radiation treatment or scans, or I wasn’t tying up the phone line to my room on a dial up AOL account, I was infiltrating shadow bases to take down Metal Gear. I was driving a Camaro and shooting missiles at oncoming minions, or I was collecting wumpa fruit and trying to destroy Dr. Cortex.
I lost myself in those games, and in some way it’s probably why I still play games today a decade later. Now that years have passed, the original bone graft they did for my knee has deteriorated and I’m getting ready to go in for a full knee replacement. I’ll be off work for 6 weeks, and I know during that time, my trusty PS3 will help kill the dull hours until I can get back to doing what I love to do. You see, now I work for the hospital system that saved my life in the IT department.
You don’t have to look far in my office to realize a gamer resides there, from the Link to the Past mouse pad, to the Bandage Girl 3D print figure, the little mementos are reminders of where I am and why.
I’ll probably always play games in some capacity, and I can’t wait to show my kids the games I loved then, even if all they do is laugh at them for being a relic.
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