The North Bend Eagle


 

Still going strong: Farris thankful for transfusions that keep her on track for 100

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 11/23/11

Evelyn Farris has a lot to be thankful for. At 97 1/2 years old, she is thankful each morning she wakes up.

Evelyn FarrisEvelyn Farris enjoys the sun on a winter day.

In 2011 she has had three episodes where she wasn’t sure she was going to wake up in the next morning.

Farris was diagnosed with anemia during her childbearing years. For a number of years she took B12 shots, as often as twice a week. But now she is followed closely by her doctor with monthly lab work. But occasionally, it will creep up on her.

Last Christmas Eve she spent the day at a grandson’s home. She didn’t feel very good, but when she got home she felt a little better so didn’t think anything of it. Farris was walking in her home when it hit her.

“I thought I was having a stroke,” she said.

She punched her Lifeline button and nephew Jerry Kruger was there shortly. The rescue squad took her to the hospital were she received four units of blood.

Numerous tests were done, but her doctor could not find the reason her blood count became so low.

Again in March her daughter, Sharon Agress of Fremont, was visiting when she passed out. The rescue squad again took her to the hospital. This time she received two units of blood and was fine afterwards.

At her regular checkup in October, they could not draw blood, so the doctor told her to come back in a month. In November she had her blood drawn on a Thursday, went to bingo that night and on Friday the doctor’s office called and said she needed to come in for a transfusion Nov. 5.

“I remember the date because it was a Husker home game,” Farris said with a smile.

“The doctor said it was amazing she didn’t pass out, her blood was so low,” Agress said. “The blood (transfusion) really perks her up.”

Farris expresses her thankfulness for those who come out and give blood so when it’s needed the blood is available.

“You don’t realize how important it is until you need it,” she said.

Farris is also thankful for her hometown and her family. She was born in North Bend, grew up on the family farm north of town until the family moved back into town her junior year of high school. Farris graduated from North Bend High School in 1932, married in 1934, and lived in Cedar Bluffs and Fremont before moving to Omaha when her husband died in 1969. When she retired in 1983 she moved back to North Bend to a home her grandfather Kruger had purchased. In the 28 years of retirement she has lived in North Bend she has been active in the Senior Center, her church and a regular at bingo.

“When I first moved back to town Bill Mines told me, ‘There’s no place like a small town,’” Farris said. “He was right.”

Farris has five children, with four of them in the Midwest, 13 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. They all gather for Memorial Day, Farris’ birthday (June 21, always around Old Settlers, a good reason to get together) and Christmas. She rents the Senior Center for the family Christmas gathering.

“We’re all as close as can be,” Farris said of her extended family.

At Thanksgiving she will be going to her granddaughter’s home in Elkhorn, for a gathering of 30-35 family members.

“You can’t live this long without good health,” Farris said.

She remains active as she can be, depending on others to take her places since she gave up her driver’s license earlier this year.

“When you’re 97, you don’t need to be driving,” Farris said. “Your reflexes are not so good.”

Her days are filled with visitors, playing games on the computer or sitting on her south porch soaking in the sun, and watching television – especially the Huskers on Saturdays. She went to all home Nebraska football games and some away games well into her 80s.

Agress said her mother has always helped others.

“Now it’s time for her to let them help her,” Agress said.

As Farris looks back on her longevity with amazement – she has traveled in a horse and carriage, car, airplane and watched men walk on the moon – she maintains an positive outlook.

“I’ve seen it all so far,” she said. “I know there’s going to be more change. I‘m sure it will be something wonderful.”

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