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[personal profile] greenman
I'm too young for this shit.

Wednesday night, I received word that a high school classmate of mine was in the hospital. As more news came in, I found out that she'd had a heart arrhythmia that had resulted in cardiac arrest, which in turn resulted in her brain having been deprived of oxygen for some time, but there was no information about how long. She still hadn't regained consciousness since the incident. I was warned that her family was considering the possibility of removing her from life support.

Yesterday, I went to visit her in the hospital. I hadn't seen her for years, and even then it had been for a short time. But even back in high school, she was one of those people who everyone knows, and everyone likes. When I got there, her boyfriend, a former co-worker, at least one family member, her roommate, and 5 of our classmates were all there. The ICU was pretty much ignoring the "3 visitors at a time" rule, and when I got to the hospital and told the person behind the desk who I was there to see, she said "I don't even have to look that one up" and gave me a visitors tag. She'd been getting a LOT of people visiting her. I didn't stay long, but I know that others from my class had been already been to see her, and more were going to be coming by later. She opened her eyes a couple of times while I was there, but I couldn't tell at the time if she was responding to stimulus or not.

I found out late last night that her brain had been oxygen deprived for 45 minutes. I also found out that her family had made a decision, and that they will be removing her from the ventilator on Saturday at 3pm. If she can breathe on her own, they'll be moving her to hospice care, but there's essentially no hope that she can recover from this.

There's so running through my head right now, I'm not even sure where to start.

Like I said, Ingrid was one of those people that everyone knew, and everyone liked. I have only good memories of her, if fewer than I would have liked. We weren't close in high school, and I've only seen her a couple of times since then. But she always had something nice or positive to say, even if it was sometimes in a sarcastic or backhanded way. She was one of those people who always seemed like she was in a good mood, or at least wasn't going to complain too much if things weren't going well. She And in a school that prided itself on highly intelligent students, she always stood out to me as someone who quietly impressed me. She didn't make a big deal about it, in fact I don't know that I ever heard her brag about her grades.

She was always outspoken, especially about politics and human rights. She loved music and art. She had very own style, and she'd be damned before she'd follow someone else's fashion rules. I don't know about her inner thoughts, but she always struck me as someone who was pretty sure of herself, and even if she wasn't inside... Well, who was? Or is?

After high school, she went to Oberlin College. I know that she worked there on staff for a time after she graduated as well, though I'm not sure what she was doing. And I ran into her once in Old Town, at a bookstore there, a completely random meeting. We immediately recognized each other, and struck up a conversation about how things were going. It was like we'd just seen each other a week before.

Most recently, I ran into her through Facebook, where she spearheaded and organized an online memorial for one of the most memorable teachers at St. Ignatius during our time there, Brother McCabe. I never had a class with him, but I was struck by her obvious love and respect for the man, and the way that she arranged for others who had studied with him to share their memories as well. I know that she'd also reconnected with many other of our classmates through Facebook, and had been out a night or two before with some of them. She's always seemed like one of those people that transcended cliques and crowds, and could hang out with pretty much anyway, and fit right in.

She's too damn young for something like this to have happened. I would have expected her to have lived a long and productive life, enriching the lives of those around her in so many ways. Before I found out how long she'd been oxygen deprived, I would have bet that she could fight back from this, if there was any chance at all. Now, I can only hope that she's not conscious in there, trapped and screaming to get out, with no way to do so.

I've made it clear to those closest to me before this that I don't want heroic efforts made to keep me alive if I'm in a similar situation. Death doesn't frighten me all that much. It's a long slow decline while trapped in a body that is failing around me, or even worse, that doesn't work at all, with me trapped inside of it. That frightens me more than anything else that I can think of. And seeing someone my age, someone who just turned 40... That's not supposed to happen. And wasn't brought on by a trauma of some kind... Her heart just flaked on her. Too damn young.

And while I know that this happens, and that it's a part of the cycle of life, and that I'm going to be seeing a lot more of it as time goes on as my friends and family age... That doesn't mean that I'm going to be looking forward to it.

For now, I'm going to remember her as I knew her. Memories of the day that I finally figured out how she got her hair to do what it did, by bending at the waist, letting her hair hang down, and then hairspraying the hell out of it. Or the memory of one of the first times that I met her, checking out the gaming club at St. Ignatius, and playing Car Wars, first quarter of Freshman year. With Brother McCabe as the club moderator, now that I think of it...Freshman year. With Brother McCabe as the club moderator, now that I think of it...

Date: 2009-03-27 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm very sorry. It's tough to lose someone you know, even if you weren't super close. You're in my thoughts.

Date: 2009-03-27 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hug* I'm thinking of you. Brushes with mortality are always hard to deal with. The wife of one of the graduate students in my department at Illinois died of leukemia. I had the same reaction - she was way too young to have something like that happen to her.

Date: 2009-03-27 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm sorry. That just sucks. And those aren't fun thoughts to wrestle with. {{{Evan}}}

Date: 2009-03-27 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It seems you have to have lived to understand death. Welcome to the club.
I've been accumulating milestones of aging which no one had told me about. One I've reached is when the deaths of your contemporaries are no longer "untimely".

all good wishes

Date: 2009-03-27 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so sorry.

Date: 2009-03-27 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I still carry with me, every day, a little mental bag of total disbelief about Shard. I think this is a little like that -- you know someone close to your age, with life exuding from every pore, and suddenly they're gone, or about to be gone. And it flies in the face of your sense of cosmic justice. Why them? Why now? Why for this incomprehensible, random reason?

And the little niggling "what next?" which does not help matters in the slightest.

Peace be with you, dear heart.

Date: 2009-03-27 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry to hear about Ingrid. Thank goodness her family is ok with pulling the plug. I need to get my health directive paperwork done this year. I think everyone knows I don't want to hang around as a vegetable if something untoward happens, but if it is on official paper then I am the one who takes responsibility for pulling the plug, no one I love has to say it. Your memories of her are a nice eulogie for the impact she had in a short span. Thoughts are with you and her.

Date: 2009-03-27 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It makes one think, thats for sure.

I think I need to make a change to my Will and directive.

Like yourself, Evan, I fear more being trapped inside a non-functional body. When this vehicle gives out, I want to shuck it like silk and husk and move on to whatever is next. Everyone already knows this and those that would seek to interfere have passed ahead of me.

So, in case I dont finish the invite list, you are surely invited.

Date: 2009-03-27 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Like I said, Ingrid was one of those people that everyone knew, and everyone liked. soon as you said her name, I could picture her perfectly.

God. Too damn young, indeed.

And I didn't know Brother McCabe died, either. Damn.

Date: 2009-03-28 07:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
All go in their own time, and in their own way. Some better than others, some worse. In one way or another, they all hurt. I am truly, deeply sorry... Peace.

Date: 2009-03-30 12:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am sorry; this is a really hard situation for everyone.

Do you feel comfortable sharing her last name? I have a friend who did his undergrad at Oberlin a few years back now; if he knows her he'd want to know about this.


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May 2009


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