My belated condolences to Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, who this week lost her daughter, Lisa – who suffered a massive pulmonary embolism.
What makes her death particularly tragic was not because of who her mother was. Or even her boss – she worked on the D.C.-based staff of Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. It was her own age, or lack thereof.
SHE WAS ONLY 31. Lisa should have had a full life ahead of her.
Although the real question is to wonder what exactly constitutes a full life. It can be so short, or so long, or anywhere in the middle. And nobody knows exactly when their “end” will come. We truly have to appreciate every single minute.
Personally, I’m a little more sensitive to this issue these days on account of my brother, Chris. My younger brother has actually spent this week in an area hospital (we think he might wind up being released on Friday).
I had my own scare this week thinking there was a chance I could lose my little brother (he’s barely 44), even though every time I’ve seen and spoken with him this week, he’s claimed he felt fine – not at all out of the ordinary.
YET WHEN, BY pure chance, he had his blood pressure taken at a clinic on Monday (he was hoping to get some sort of medication for a sty that had developed on his eyelid), it registered way up around 240-something.
That’s hypertensive crisis territory. That’s where someone calls the ambulance and insists you go to the Emergency Room because they’re afraid you can’t drive yourself to the hospital.
He wound up spending a day in intensive care, and has since been put in a regular hospital room where he spends his days watching trashy television programs and reading the newspapers to keep up on happenings of the world.
While also complaining about how out-of-his-skull bored he has become, yet can’t go anywhere.
NOW DON’T GET the impression that I’m comparing my brother’s situation to that of Lisa Radogno. She died suddenly, while it seems my brother’s potential for a life-threatening situation was caught right at the exact moment before it became a stroke or a heart attack or something that could have caused me a lot more grief.
In fact, when I happened to be visiting him at the hospital on Thursday, I was present when a nurse took his blood pressure yet again, and it came out at a level that almost constitutes normal and healthy by American Heart Association standards.
I’m fortunate. I’m likely getting my brother back – and suspect I have to be on call Friday to pick him up from the hospital when he’s finally discharged.
But if I think about it too closely, it becomes a near-miss. My brother isn’t ready to depart this realm of existence at age 44. Actually, I don’t think anybody is.
THEN AGAIN, LIFE isn’t fair. I know people I went to high school with who died at ages 19 and 22 – the former when his car was struck by a drunken driver and he went flying through the windshield because of the impact, and the latter because police said he was impaired while driving from having smoked too much marijuana.
It makes me think how they had too much still to do in life, just as my brother is in need of many more years of life to ensure he accomplishes all he wants to do.
Just as we’re going to wonder how much more Lisa Radogno would have accomplished with the extra 40 to 50 years that statistics indicate she might have had a chance to experience.