Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have a sister-in-law-in-law, Mavis Peterson. I met her 43 years ago when Norm and I were dating and we had a double date with his brother, Darrell and wife. Now, that sounds like I’m repeating myself, but how ELSE do you describe someone who is married to your in-law?

Mavis and I have been close friends ever since. Now, sometimes you have problems making friends (or even getting along) with your husband’s relatives, but I’ve never had that problem. The Peterson gang is a group of wonderful, loving, accepting people and their spouses seem to follow that trend, too.

Mavis and I had a lot in common – we were both teachers, the two brothers are scarily alike, for being nine years apart in age, we each waited several years to have children and both liked to SAVE MONEY and live simply.

When Mavis had her first child, Glenda (hi, girl!), I snuck into the hospital to see them both (at a time when only blood relatives could come in to see the babies, in case unrelated people would bring undesired germs or bad vibes). When we were at events together (bazaars, auctions, etc.), I would carry Glenda (remember that, Glenda?).

Joy was born sixteen months after Glenda and Mavis’ son, Wade, was born six weeks after that. Since I lived in town and she lived on the family ranch, she would come in for shopping, pick Joy and me up and we’d go together. I baby-sat her two when she had doctor’s appointments. I well remember the time when she went for her six-week appointment. Wade wouldn’t take the bottle (he was breast-fed), so was hungry. He started crying, which made Joy start crying, which made GLENDA cry. I sat in my antique Norwegian rocking chair with three bawling babies and was starting to bawl myself when Mavis came in and rescues all four of us!

These past few years, as we (unfortunately) grew older, Mavis has been struck with many problems – several back surgeries, a mastectomy, food surgery, arthritis, an emergency rush by helicopter to the hospital because of extreme high blood pressure and a blood clot as well as general old-age aches and pains.

This summer she has been complaining of being excessively tired and blamed it on her last back surgery of last year. She was due to have another surgery this week, so went in to have her pre-op check up, only to find her EKG was showing problems.

This led to a stress test (chemical like I had this winter – I sympathized with her, yesterday about THAT procedure) that she failed, an angiogram (another thing we now have in common) that showed blockage.

All this showed that Mavis had had a heart attack this last winter or spring without knowing it, which was the reason she’s been so tired. It caused damage and blockage that cannot be repaired with a stint. So next week, she goes in for by-pass surgery!

I have watched my dad, my brother and my one remaining sister go through this and was afraid that I would have to have the same operation when I had my angiogram this winter. So I called Mavis to give her encouragement and let her know we here in Minnesota (she still lives on the family ranch in Western South Dakota) were thinking of her.

Her heart attack, Mavis found out, was what she thought was indigestion. So, women, pay attention to your bodies. Not only are women’s heart attacks different from men’s in not having heart pain or even arm / shoulder pain, but you could be suffering from heart problems when you think you have severe indigestion. Mavis took a Tums when she had indigestion; if it got worse, she’d take two and maybe put a heating pad on her tummy. If YOU have those symptoms, go see a doctor right away. It would be better to have a miss-call than miss a heart attack. If yours is not mild, like Mavis’, it could be the death of you!

I would like all of you faithful readers to put Mavis in your thoughts and prayers for next Friday (the nineteenth of September) as she goes through this operation.

I am sure that Glenda and Wade will be there beside Darrell as he waits in the waiting room. Let’s all be there, in spirit, to give him strength and give the doctors the skills they need to quickly solve her problem.

Mavis, I love you! Be well and get well and make sure that we will both go into the sunset as planned – little old ladies muttering to themselves and to each other: “if I’m doing something that our mother-in-law did (that drove us crazy), you hit me!”


Candy Duell said...

I am sorry to hear about your sister in law, my thoughts and prayers will be with here from here to the date of the operation.

goodshepherd said...

Yes Connie, I too am sorry to hear about Mavis. And I will be praying for her, as well.

Kati said...

Also keeping Mavis in my thoughts and prayers. May she come through this surgery well, and find herself quickly recovered and reenergized.

Texas Mom said...

As a person who has indigestion, EVERY DAY, I often wonder if I'll breeze through the "big one" and realize when it's too late, it was, er... NOT indigestion!

Hope your friend gets better!