JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Don't worry.This only seems like a terrible tragedy for a moment.
Yes, it's sad that a little fella -- only 6 years old now-- is going day to day without four of his fingers.
But when you see Ben Bowersox now, six months after his accident, you feel uplifted.
Uplifted and, well, happy. Ben seems to be thriving, telling his version of kid jokes and giving his dad and twin sister giant bear hugs.
The accident happened May 7th. According to Ben's Dad, Steve Bowersox, Ben was in a hangar at Craig Airfield. Ben's Dad, a pilot, was checking on his plane.
Ben thought it would be fun to ride up on the mechanized hangar door.
Steve said the cable grabbed Ben's arm and twisted it.
It only took, Steve said, about 25 seconds for the cable to shred two fingers on Ben's right hand and completely cut off four fingers on his left hand.
Steve actually picked up his son's fingers off the floor and put them next to a cool bottle of water in the car as they rushed to emergency help.
A chopper flew them to Duke Medical Center in North Carolina.
Now Ben can talk about the accident without any sign of trauma or fear. He said his fingers "are still amputated."
And he's proud of the fact that he's on zero medications now. That is progress, especiallyconsidering his Dad had to use spread sheets to keep track of the 27 medications Ben was taking.
Doctors at Duke did microsurgery to reattach Ben's fingers, but Ben got a mold infection.
Dr. William Steinbach, a Duke specialist on Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said the particular mold infection is "one of the toughest ones we see."
In a person with a compromised immune system, the infection carries a 90 percent or higher mortality rate. But, as Dr. Steinbach explains, Ben had an advantage because he was healthy with a strong immune system.
Still, it was a critical fight that put Ben in ICU.
Dr. Steinbach said the infection is extremely difficult to tackle because "there is no consistently effective drug to treat against this organism." He thinks Ben probably picked it up from, perhaps, dirt at the airport hangar.
The infection became such a threat doctors had to take Ben's reattached fingers back off.
However, they were able to save his hand and maybe even more, depending on how far the infection -- or fungus -- might have spread.
Doctors used an interesting strategy to fight the mold infection. Dr. Steinbach said they used a "diluted concoction of pool cleaner" rather than just plain saline in the operating room.
They'd only tried that a few times before.
Pool cleaners act as an anti-fungal and for Ben the strategy was a success. The remaining part of his hand was saved, including his thumb, which Ben uses to play on his iPad.
Ben has also made a smooth transition to his left hand to write at school. (He was right-handed.)
Ben is back full steam. Last time we saw him a few months ago, his legs were wobbly, almost like noodles.
But just the other day he came in 1st place in a race at school.
Big moment for Ben, his Dad said ...
Ben also just sang a solo at church, "Jesus is gentle ... " His Dad is worship pastor at First Baptist Church.
Steve said he believes when all the attacks (the medical set-backs) came at them, "the prayers of the people here and around the world would push that darkness back and that's what pulled him (Ben) through."
Ben was showered with cards and signs saying, "Pray 4 Ben."
During our newestinterview, Ben piped up, "You know what I thought were in those cards they sent? Prayers."
"It is a good thing," Ben said.
We asked his doctors at Duke what enabled Ben to get through such a dangerous crisis.
Dr. Jessica Ericson at Dukesaid she believes there are two reasons Ben has done so well.
First, she said, hehad "a great immune system."
"I think second,"Dr. Ericson said, "is the support and prayers" from hisfamily and friends and his church.
Dr. Steinbach said Ben "is a brave little boy" but he's still a little boy and hecame through a traumaas fewpeople could.
Now Ben is working on some therapy because the middle finger on his right hand is stiff.
He and his twin sister have already visited Santa. And Ben's sisterloves to promise Ben, "I'll take care of you, brother."
Ben's Dadis stillsinginga song particularly meaningful to him during all of this. "If our God is for us, who can be against us?" is often something he sings along with his son.
And one other note ... Ben is ticklish again. So nice to hear him giggle likeother 6 year olds. During his medical fight, Ben lost hisability to be tickled.
But now he'sback ... laughing and obviously thriving.