Heart condition claims life of 16-year-old Lynea Osborne
RANGELY I Lynea Osborne was a typical 16-year-old.
She enjoyed spending time with her friends, or on the computer. She loved horses. She loved her family.
“She was outgoing, she was bubbly, she was just an outgoing person,” said her mother, Rhonda Tucker.
But Lynea had a heart condition. Not that she let it slow her down. She particularly liked playing volleyball.
However, as a sophomore, when Lynea went in for a physical before the start of volleyball season, a doctor detected an irregularity.
“She wanted to play sports, and I took her for her physical and Dr. (Mercedes) Cameron heard a problem with her heart and she sent us to a pediatric cardiologist in Grand Junction,” Tucker said. “She wanted to play volleyball and we had to get it cleared. They made her sit a year to watch her heart condition. But they let her play her junior year. They said her heart looked better; her heart looked stronger.”
After Lynea was given the OK to play sports at Rangely High School, she didn’t have any incidents.
“She did fine,” her mother said. “There were no problems. The only thing was she had a headache once in awhile. But she wasn’t fatigued or tired. Nothing.”
But, on March 27, while playing on the computer at her house, Lynea went into cardiac arrest. Her boyfriend, who was there with her, called 911 and performed CPR before emergency medical personnel arrived.
Lynea was first transported to Rangely District Hospital and then flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
“There wasn’t room for me to go with Lynea, with everything going on,” Rhonda Tucker said. “But, Frank Huitt, (a Rangely pilot), bless his heart, flew me down in his plane.”
Lynea never regained consciousness. She died April 1.
“I had just hung up from talking to her. It was like 15 minutes later,” Rhonda Tucker said. “She was fine. She was joking with me. We were planning on going to Vernal.”
Lynea’s funeral was Tuesday at Bible Baptist Church. She was buried at Rangely Cemetery.
“When a student’s life is lost, the resulting shock and sorrow can shake a school community to its core, but it’s that very core that provides the strength to help the other students and staff grieve and ultimately heal,” said School Superintendent Barry Williams. “The Rangely schools are about young people and young people are about life. When a young person dies, especially when it’s sudden, it completely disrupts the equilibrium of the school environment. The most important thing our school can do in the days after this tragic event is allow the members of the schools and community to express their grief and sorrow. Our crisis team has been in the schools all day (Friday) and will continue to provide counseling for this tragic loss.”
On the afternoon of March 27, Rhonda Tucker received a phone call from Melody Eyl, administrative assistant with the Rangely Police Department, who notified her about Lynea.
“They can’t explain it,” Tucker said of what caused her daughter to go into cardiac arrest.
Lynea’s heart condition was caused by a childhood virus, her mom said.
“We can’t pinpoint what virus it was, just a virus, we’re not sure which one,” Rhonda Tucker said. “There’s no way of knowing for sure.”
The family made the decision to have Lynea removed from the ventilator. Two of her brothers — Rob and Cody — were by Lynea’s side when she died.
“I was there (at the hospital), but I was not in the room with her, but her brothers were. One was on each side, holding her hand, and her grandparents were there,” Rhonda Tucker said. “I was right by her side from the time we got there, until we took the ventilator off. That was my baby girl, but I couldn’t (stay in the room).”
Lynea would have turned 17 on May 13.
Her mother has her own explanation in trying to make sense of what happened.
“I believe that God needed her more than I do,” Rhonda Tucker said. “That’s the way I think. Without God’s grace, I would be angry. He can take better care of her than I can. She’s in a better place, and I will see her again.”
Rhonda Tucker recalls the last conversation she had with her daughter.
“She said, ‘Ok, I love you, mom, long time.’ That was just a saying of hers and mine. Before she hung up, that’s what she told me,” Rhonda Tucker said.
Lynea’s mother responded in kind.
“I love you too, baby girl, long time.”