Monday, December 21, 2009

Lauren Update. 12/21/09

Thursday was a bad day. I woke up late, didn't have any clean clothes, lost my keys, spilled tea on myself on the way to work, went home to change clothes, was late to work, had to park a million miles away from my office, blew a fuse causing my whole row of cubicles to lose power, had to run a 200 ft. extension cord run from another cube to mine to restore power, etc. You get the point. It was a stellar start to what seemed to be a comedy of errors.

The only thing that made it better was the fact that I figured out how to do voice commands in my car that morning. Yes, I've had it for three years. No, I didn't know it could do that.

Then Lauren died. And my day got worse.

Rob called me at 12:54 PM. He said, "Lauren's coding." I hung up the phone and ran. Too late. It took me 14 minutes to get to HTICU. It was the longest 14 minutes of my life.

I had talked to Lauren's nurse for just a moment earlier that day. She'd had some bleeding around the ET tube and Dr. Y decided to do a bronchoscopy (the same procedure Lauren had done on Monday). Once he got in, he cleaned out a number of blood clots. She was stable but as they watched, she became harder and harder to vent. Dr. Y. went back in a second time, clearing out more clots. Then it happened. A blood vessel burst. There was too much bleeding and Lauren's heart stopped. They worked on her for 30 minutes but were unable to get her back.

The Dr. says she didn't suffer. (Don't they always say that?) Lauren had enough spirit and drive to fight (which was evident in one roll of her eyes) and survive more than most people can imagine. In the end, her body just wasn't strong enough to keep up with her fiery spirit.

I got to meet Lauren's grandfather ("Papa Bo") and her step-grandmother, Jean, on Thursday. They are the only members of Lauren's family that I have ever met or talked to, other than the one time I briefly met Susan, Lauren's mom.

Both Susan and Lauren's Dad were cremated. Lauren will also be cremated and their ashes mixed together. Susan had a list of places that she would like the ashes spread and the family is going to try and honor those wishes.

Lauren wouldn't have wanted a "service" or a "memorial." She'd beat me up the first chance she had if she knew I (or any of us) were moping around. But I do want to have a celebration of Lauren's life and provide an opportunity for all of her families to come together and remember the red-headed firecracker that blazed through so many lives.