Archive for Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Tonganoxie man undergoes transplant to help mother

September 13, 2000

Last month, Eric Barnett gave his mother a gift that rivals all birthday and Christmas presents.

On Aug. 24, the 21-year-old Tonganoxie man donated his left kidney to his mother, Connie Barnett.

"I just felt like it needed to be done," he said.

"As soon as he found out, he insisted, 'I'm first. If I match, I'm doing it,'" his mother said.

For the past 19 years, Connie Barnett has dealt with the effects of Wegener's Granula-motisis, a rare respiratory disease. The illness takes a toll on the lungs as well as other part of the body, including the kidneys. So Connie Barnett wasn't exactly surprised when doctors at the University of Kansas Medical Center told her she needed a kidney transplant. What surprised her, though, was her son's adamancy that he be the donor.

"She didn't want me to," said Eric.

"It's because he's so young," his mother said. "I talked to the doctors, and they said he can live on one kidney. Plenty of people have done it. I kept telling him if he wanted to change his mind, it was OK."

Mother and son are recovering from surgery well. Connie Barnett's mother, Thamar, cared for them after they were released from the medical center. And other family members have helped during their recovery.

"I'm already feeling a lot better," Connie said. "The doctors were amazed at how well I've done so far."

She must take anti-rejection drugs, likely for the rest of her life. Her attitude is positive.

"I just figure what will be will be," she said. "I think my faith has helped me a lot. Whenever I feel down, I just talk to Him. There are people who are worse off."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.