Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Another Story

Last Thursday my mom called. She was pretty upset and told me that my cousin Janet was in the hospital and was not expected to make it. My first thought was that although it was plausible, "Says who?" You see, the Matneys are an overly dramatic group prone to exaggeration. Both my mom and Janet are Matneys. I guess I am too, darn it! Mom, Janet, and I often tease each other about becoming more like "Aunt Mildred" who is the queen Matney. Just try calling one of us "Aunt Mildred" and I guarantee there will be a fight, but that is another story.

Maybe I should back up and tell you about my cousin, Janet. Janet is about four years younger than I. She is actually my mom’s first cousin (another story). She was born with cystic fibrosis, which is a lung disease that is deadly. Janet’s older sister, Linda, also had CF. Linda died when she was 21. Janet was about five years old when Linda died. Her parents divorced and her mother died not too many years later. While all of that is interesting, I am getting off on another story. Janet had a lung transplant when she was 31. Her husband left her for another woman immediately after her transplant (oops! That is another story). About seven years later, the medication, that Janet was taking to keep her lungs, destroyed her kidneys. She had a kidney transplant. A friend said that her husband should have waited. If he had wanted a new woman, Janet would soon be one:) As you can see, Janet’s health has always been fragile at best. Just getting a cold can be serious business for her. Last week, Janet went on a ski vacation to Winter Park with some other Matney relatives including Aunt Mildred (who is 82). This is when Mom got the phone call from Aunt Mildred's granddaughter, Donnette. Donnette said that Janet had gotten sick, they had taken her to a hospital in Denver, and she was not expected to make it.

With Janet’s frail health, this was not unexpected news, but maybe a little surprising. We all know that any minor health issue is major for Janet. Even Janet knows that a small illness could kill her. Yet, when Mom told me the news, I reacted with, "Are you sure about that" simply because the news came through a Matney. It took me until that evening to get through to Nettie Jo, Donnette’s mother and try to get more info. When I did, she said that Janet was much improved. That they were stabilizing Janet, and her white count was down. While she was not out of the woods yet, it was good news. Janet’s father (not a Matney) was on his way to Denver although Janet had asked the Matney’s not to call him. One of them made a wise decision and called him anyway, but that is another story.

Today Mom called and said that Janet is still improving, "taking baby steps" – whatever that means – must have come from a Matney. In fact, Mom said that Aunt Mildred had called and left a message on her recorder saying "all of Janet’s organs had shut down." That scared Mom, but proved to be a false report. Janet has phenomena, but is hanging in there. Janet has always been a fighter. You would have to be to have gone through so much in life and still be alive and reasonably sane. I know that Janet could take a turn for the worse and die at any time, but I sincerely pray for mercy on her. She would get such a kick out of the Matney stories surrounding her illness.

While I was getting the report on Janet from my mom, she said, "and Jeff (Donnette’s brother who is a Physician’s Assistant – another story) was nearly in that avalanche! He was two cars back from the avalanche. Cars in front of him were swept over the edge! He had to drive way around on another highway and was late getting to Denver to pick up his mother at the hospital." I responded with, "Wow! That is incredible!" Then I remembered this is another Matney story, and while plausible, it could be an exaggeration. My question is: If Jeff is a PA and his wife is a nurse (she was with him) and they were just two cars away from being swept over the edge of a canyon in an avalanche and they saw the cars in front of them go over, why didn’t they stay to help? That must be another story.

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