In the midst of presidential warfare is an american girl who fights to have a normal heartbeat and a couple of strong legs.  Lauren is not sure what is happening to her body, she just wants to get better.  Growing up an athlete, she was driven and instinctively pushed herself to succeed.  In 2001, she was at the top of her game, with honors, a State championship and a soccer scholarship to the University of Utah where her body began to change everything.   A brain tumor, numbness, convulsions, memory loss, migraines, sick and nauseous episodes, weight loss, seizures, heart attacks, a pacemaker, cardiac ablations, a spinal cord stoke, flat lines, both legs paralyzed and irregular heart rhythms (I’m worn out just type’n about it).   For now she works hard to make her legs work and is counting on another surgery to make her heart beat normally.

I arrived to the small town not only to photo Lauren and find out more about her recent visit to the Mayo Clinic but to work my regular job where she handles reception and administration for us twice a year.  She always has the greatest smile and a real hug to offer when we see her.  She adoringly refers to Larry (her walking stick) as family.  As we drive down Main street, there’s a billboard of Lauren!…promoting the hospital she visits regularly and turns out she has a life size cut-out that’s placed strategically around town.

lauren life-size cut-out

This drawing of Lauren is more like a celebrity posting.  And she has a commercial too…. she is so Hollywood now.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFAOkzSa_V4

On each wrist is a tattoo that alerts paramedics to her pacemaker.  Tattoos have long served as fashion statements, but a small number of Americans are now relying on them for a more practical, potentially lifesaving purpose:  to warn first responders about important medical conditions.   Does a paramedic look for a tattoo if there is no bracelet?  Could a medical tattoo be dismissed as décor?  The American Medical Association does not specifically address medical tattoos in its guide-line’s, however, emergency professionals are always on the lookout for information about a patient’s condition and treatment preferences, and that includes looking for medical tags, bracelets and possibly tattoos.   Perhaps physicians, paramedics and tattoo artists should work together and establish uniform placement so responders will know where to look as part of training.  Lauren has the star of life on one wrist and her medical history on the other since keeping up with jewelry is just not as important as Larry.

During Market, Lauren crunches numbers, creates spreadsheets, takes calls, directs clientele, guards the candy jar and toward the end of day, breaks into song effortlessly …sometimes comedic and occasionally a tone that deserves a double take.  (Seriously Lauren…somewhere inside there’s a singer/songwriter waiting to come out… you should consider a few lessons to accompany that performance ability.)

She is a powerful girl and battles steadily with all that her body competes.  The meaning of life is a question I felt sure she pondered and her answer was quick and simple…….”to love as many people as you can“.

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.”  John Lennon


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