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Episode 4: The Big BrainFart

Full Transcript for Interview with Sarah Libby on BrainFart Podcast


[music]

0:00:06.6 Maddi: Hello, and welcome to Episode Four of BrainFart. Today is a special episode because we have a visitor. We have my friend, Sarah Jane Libby. Is it okay if I say your last name?

0:00:21.4 Sarah Jane Libby: Yeah. [laughter]

0:00:21.8 Maddi: We have my friend, Sarah Jane Libby here, and she is going to talk about the pseudo-tumor night, the night it all happened. I know I keep alluding to it in past podcasts, and the time is finally here.

0:00:35.6 SL: We're very excited.

0:00:37.4 Maddi: Very excited.

0:00:38.9 SL: What a night.

0:00:39.6 Maddi: What a night. So a little background on me and Sarah. We go to the same university. We met freshman year, and we've been just the closest of friends ever since. She just rolled her eyes at me but you can't see.

0:00:54.1 SL:Bosom buddies.’

0:00:55.2 Maddi: We've been ‘bosom buddies’ since the beginning. And so yeah, that's... I don't know, that's kind of the whole history. She was there for me when this happened, so I guess you became closer in that aspect, but for the most part, that's it. We're in the same major. She studies the same thing I do, so we see each other all the time. We're in classes together all the time.

0:01:16.6 SL: I'm in her apartment all the time.

0:01:18.1 Maddi: True. What a night. So yeah, I guess we should just dive right into it, I think. You guys, [the audience], know about the whole lead-up to this night. I told you about it, I was at rehearsal. From my point of view, what happened is I was sitting in rehearsal, and we were rehearsing, and I had forgotten some lines, and my head was hurting a little bit. I think we were dancing or something, like doing this weird dance that we were gonna incorporate into it. And I remember being like, "I'm a little tired, I'm a little light-headed, I don't feel great. I'm gonna sit out." And so they let me sit out and then apparently, I was just rocking and staring off into space.

0:02:12.8 SL: As you do.

0:02:13.6 Maddi: As you do. And I didn't really know what was happening, obviously. And then they ended up being like, "Okay, Maddi, go home. You look like trash." And I was like, "Okay." And as I was leaving, one of the stage managers was escorting me out and she told me that I needed to go to the hospital. She was like, "I think you need some more help." And so she ended up calling two people who are my friends, but they weren't my roommates. She had mistaken something and she thought they were my roommates. She called Thomas and Nicki, and she was like, "She's your roommate, right?" And I was like, "No." But they ended up coming anyways, 'cause they're still my friends, and that's when our friend, Thomas, ended up calling Sarah - and so I'll let her take it away. What was your night leading up to that fateful event, Sarah? Give us a walk through.

0:03:19.4 SL: It was a pretty boring night. I was just home, probably doing homework or whatever. And I got a call from Thomas and I just answered 'cause normal...

0:03:30.2 Maddi: 'Cause you're a person.

0:03:31.1 SL: 'Cause I'm a human. And he explained that you were sitting on the ground. You were not responding to anyone. They had called an ambulance. And he was like, "You need to get here." And so I was like, "Okay." I didn't really know what was going on, but I just put my shoes on and I packed a bag. I packed... I don't know what I was preparing for. I was...

0:03:53.3 Maddi: Preparing for the birth of the child.

0:03:54.8 SL: I was like, "I need my go-bag." [laughter] And I just threw some stuff in a bag. And I ran to Life Hall. (Can I say that? Life Hall?

0:04:08.7 Maddi: Yeah.

0:04:09.2 SL: Oh, okay.

0:04:09.7 Maddi: I think.) That's just a building on our campus. It's not like I have a ton of people listening.

0:04:14.9 SL: In this undisclosed location. [laughter] Yeah. So I ran and I saw the ambulance, and so I just... I believe that the EMTs were already there, if I remember correctly, and you... When I got there, the stage manager, Soph, was still with you, and she just kind of filled me in on what had happened during the night. And I got there and I looked at you and I was just so shocked because you... It's like you weren't in your body. You were sitting up with coat, scarf all tucked in and everything, but you were shivering. And you were just looking straight ahead, not at anyone or anything in particular, and you just looked glazed. And they were trying... They asked you a couple of questions. They were like, "Do you know what your name is? Do you know where you are?" And you just couldn't answer any of the questions. And it was weird 'cause you weren't crying or anything, you weren't... You looked like a zombie, you had no emotions at all. And so they were like, "Okay, we're gonna take her to the hospital, get her checked out." And I had all your stuff with me and I... It wasn't even a question. I was like, "Okay, I'm gonna ride in the back." [chuckle]

0:05:40.3 Maddi: I vaguely remember little snippets of that night, and I don't know if it's because of people telling me or if it's because it's my actual memory. Does that make sense?

0:05:52.3 SL: Yeah.

0:05:54.8 Maddi: I feel like I have this vague memory. I think you might have told me this, where I was sitting on the ground and they were like, "You need to get in the ambulance." And I feel like I was freaking out since they were saying that no one could come with me, or something. And I was like, "I don't wanna go. I don't wanna go." And they were like, "Would you feel better if someone came with you?" And I was like, "Yes!" And then you immediately just stood up and got your bag.

0:06:21.4 SL: I know, I was like, "Okay, well, we're going!”

0:06:22.9 Maddi: And you were like, "It's me!”

0:06:24.0 SL: And so I rode in the back of the ambulance, I took your phone and I texted your parents, 'cause I was like, "Someone should fill them in." And so I text them and I created your group chat, and I just filled them in on what was going on, while we were riding over. And they asked very normal questions. They were like, "What's going on?”

0:06:46.4 Maddi: Oh, yes.

0:06:46.9 SL: And I just said, "We're not sure yet, but we're gonna go get her checked out." And so we got to the emergency room. They immediately gave you a room, which made me nervous because it was a super-crowded emergency room where they had beds in the hallways.

0:07:01.2 Maddi: I don't even... That just happened to me recently too. I was just... This is gonna be another story for another time, but this past week I was in the emergency room again, the same one, and we were in a bed in the hallway. But besides that…

0:07:13.4 SL: But so they brought you into the room and it was... Like I said, it was a super busy night in the emergency room, so they were quick to get you settled, but then once you were... You were stable and they knew you were gonna be okay for a little bit, they left you for a little bit. So we were there for a long time.

0:07:33.5 Maddi: Yeah, it didn't feel like that long because I just can't remember a lot of it. I do remember one part though - that you weren't allowed to come into the first room with me. And I remember sitting there and this nurse was asking me, she was like, "What's your name? What's your name?" And I just remember crying and not being able to remember and being like, "I don't know, I don't know." And she's like, "Of course you have to remember your name." She was very gruff, from what I remember, but I'm sure she's a lovely lady. At the time, I was under distress. [Searching for the words] In distress? Under distress? Under stress?

0:08:08.6 SL:I was in distress.”

0:08:09.4 Maddi: In distress.

0:08:09.9 SL:I was under stress.

0:08:11.0 Maddi: Ah, yes. In and under so many things.

0:08:14.6 SL: So much of the stress.

0:08:16.0 Maddi: But so I just remember her doing that and me crying, and then all of a sudden I was in the room. That's just one portion I remember. I don't remember how I got there. I don't remember how I got into that room with that nurse. That's just a vague memory I have.

0:08:31.5 SL: Well, so they took your vitals, they hooked you up to fluids and stuff, and were just making sure that you were all set. They did an EEG, one of the other doctor things that they do.

0:08:45.0 Maddi: Did they give me a CAT scan that time?

0:08:47.3 SL: No, they did not give you a CAT scan that night. They gave you the other one.

0:08:50.5 Maddi: No, I think it was the CAT... 'Cause the MRI is the other time. I think they gave me a CAT scan.

0:08:56.0 SL: I can't remember. All I know is they wheeled you away and did some tests that I couldn't be there for. And I called your parents and I just kept them updated throughout the night. That was the one thing that was difficult - because I'm not a blood relative, they were limiting the amount of information that they were telling me, which… is understandable, but it was frustrating because you're so far away from home. All of us are so far away from home. It’s hard to explain that, “her parents aren't coming, no one who can handle this information is coming, so you need to tell me.”

0:09:30.5 Maddi: Did they ever call my mom?

0:09:31.8 SL: They called your mom because I was like, "You need to explain to them what's going on." And so I gave them the number and one of the nurses called your mom and filled her in on all the doctor-speak of it. And we were there for a while before they came in with news, 'cause they really didn't know what was going on.

0:09:48.3 Maddi: Yeah, they thought I was on drugs. I mentioned that the last episode where I remember... Once I was discharged, I got all of the papers back and there was a huge list of all of these tests they performed on me, and it was for every single drug imaginable. It was just pages of these lists, all of these things I could be on, and obviously all were negative.

0:10:13.9 SL: Slowly throughout the night, you were coming back to life a little bit, like you... It was very slow. It was like you were coming out of a fog and you were super tired, I do remember that, so we put Family Feud on or something. We were just watching Family Feud. And...

0:10:29.1 Maddi: It was still so cold.

0:10:31.3 SL: Yeah, I know.

0:10:32.3 Maddi: Tell them what you did for me that was...

0:10:35.3 SL: She had an IV in her arm, and I hate needles. I hate everything that has to do with the blood, but I just don't like it.

0:10:47.3 Maddi: But when you have an IV in your arm, especially when you're getting fluid, it makes your arm so cold.

0:10:51.9 SL: It makes your arm super cold. And so you were freezing and you were like, "Sarah, my arm is so cold, just so cold." And I came over and I touched your arm and it was really cold. I was like, "Okay, what are we gonna do here?" So I went into the hallway and I found the cart where they keep all of the heated blankets, and I just took four and I ran back to the room. And I cocooned you in a way that I was covering your body, and then I had one blanket specifically to just hold onto your arm, 'cause you were like, "Can you warm up my arm?" And I couldn't even touch you. I was like, "Yeah." And then we just... We were there, we were waiting, and I just... Throughout the night, I would run out, take the old blankets and throw them in a hamper, and then I'd take new warm blankets and continue to cocoon you throughout the night. And I thought that you were gonna stay overnight, and that night there was a impending snow storm that was coming, and so it was getting to be like...

0:11:52.4 Maddi: 3:00.

0:11:54.5 SL: Yeah, it was like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

0:11:56.4 Maddi: 2:00 or 3:00.

0:11:56.9 SL: And I was like, "Okay, I need to get home." 'Cause I can't... I don't know how I'm gonna get home if the weather is gonna be this bad, [there was a snow storm], and if you were getting taken into the hospital. I was like, "I'll come back in the morning. I'll bring your stuff, all this." So I checked in with you, checked in with your parents, and I took an Uber. And I was like, "Okay, great." And I'm still so pissed that I didn't stay because they let you go.

0:12:24.9 Maddi: They let me go, yeah.

0:12:26.0 SL: An hour later.

0:12:27.4 Maddi: Yeah, that's what sucks is... I guess this is where I'll interject 'cause I do remember this portion of the night a little bit, and I have some other little parts I remember, and I remember one of them being I felt like everyone was so mean to me, and I don't know if that was just me being compromised because...

0:12:43.5 SL: I think it had been a rough night in the emergency room 'cause everyone was a little on edge.

0:12:48.3 Maddi: But I remember this one nurse coming in to take my blood. And I remember her being like, "It's gonna be okay, sweetie. It's all right. We're gonna figure out what's wrong with you. What year are you at Montclair? I heard you're from Montclair. I have a son who goes there." Remember her?

0:13:05.8 SL: Yeah.

0:13:06.4 Maddi: And I remember just starting to cry because I was thinking, "Wow, someone is being so nice to me, someone is being caring." And when I'm in a situation where I have no maternal figure or no... And as great as you were, it was like…

0:13:22.1 SL: It's not the same.

0:13:22.9 Maddi: It's not the same. And so, just this woman who was a mother, I was like, "A mom!”

0:13:27.3 SL: You were like, "Thank you!!”

0:13:28.6 Maddi: I was like, "Thanks, mom." [chuckle] I remember that. And then I remember when they... You left, and it made sense because the snowstorm was supposed to start at three or four, and so of course you wouldn't wanna get stuck there. And so basically, they came in and they were like, "We don't know. You seem fine. I think you just need a sandwich." Yeah. They came in and they said I might just be hungry.

0:13:54.1 SL: Yeah. It was bizarre because I was like… I’m not a doctor, obviously, I don't know these things, but I've never met a hungry person that - [chuckle] has all these things happen! You know what I mean? You were just... It was... You couldn't formulate words!

0:14:10.1 Maddi: Yeah. I was slurring, all that stuff.

0:14:14.2 SL: Going back to them doing the drug tests on you, to be fair, you...

0:14:18.2 Maddi: No, it makes sense.

0:14:19.6 SL: You looked like you were on a bad trip on something because you... Like I said, you were completely glazed over, and then it's like emotions would just take over your body and you would just start crying, or then you would just be slurring your words, you wouldn't... Not know how to function like a proper human. But yeah.

0:14:41.3 Maddi: So yeah, they gave me sandwich and I got dressed. And then I was kind of lost and didn't know what to do, and then I asked how I would get home, and they told me to Uber. And I remember calling this Uber at 3:30 AM, three or 4:00 AM, and just getting in and her... And the snow had started. I remember that it started snowing and I just wanted to be home in bed.

0:15:16.5 SL: And it was so frustrating too, because this hospital, not to bash it… but I was like, “I didn't want to leave you.” And I asked them what they would do for you, and they explicitly said, "We'll help her home, we'll make sure that she's taken care of," all this stuff. And I was like, "Oh okay. I feel better leaving her." And then when I heard and talked to you the next morning, I was so annoyed.

0:15:40.9 Maddi: Yeah, I didn't even know they said that because they just kind of said, "Do you have the Uber app," and I said, "Yes," and they said, "Order an Uber," and I... You saw the state I was in. I was like, "Okay, sure.”

0:15:54.1 SL: You were like, "Sure."

0:15:55.3 Maddi: I'll order an Uber. I had a sandwich. I'm healed. [sarcasm]

0:15:58.3 SL: “I'm good!”

0:16:00.5 Maddi: "I'm good to go." But then I... Yeah, that was the first night. I don't really know what else there is to say about that one.

0:16:08.7 SL: Yeah, it was just... It was bizarre.

0:16:12.8 Maddi: It was just a... Yeah, it felt very Twilight Zone bizarre. And then it was snowstorm, and then the next day, we had class cancelled, right? That happened, right? Okay. And I, honestly, all I remember, from the first hospital visit to the next neurologist appointment, is just my dark room and sleeping. I know I went to classes, but I don't...

0:16:39.3 SL: Remember anything.

0:16:40.0 Maddi: Remember anything. I don't remember the classes. I vaguely remember Ellen, our acting teacher, coming into the bathroom and finding me there and her kicking my butt and being like, "We're going to the neurologist." But that's all I remember.

0:16:52.1 SL: Well, because for days after that incident, you were walking around like you were in a daze again. You were sleeping with every spare moment you had and going to rehearsal, fulfilling all of your obligations, but you weren't there, and you would get easily overwhelmed.

0:17:13.3 Maddi: Did I really go to rehearsal?

0:17:14.9 SL: Yeah, I think so. A couple times, at least.

0:17:16.7 Maddi: Wow, I cannot... I must have.

0:17:18.6 SL: Yeah.

0:17:18.9 Maddi: There's no way I could have missed that many.

0:17:20.6 SL: Yeah.

0:17:21.1 Maddi: Wow. I don't remember any of that.

0:17:22.1 SL: It was like you were running... It's like you were running on... [chuckle] It's like you were running on auto-pilot.

0:17:30.2 Maddi: Yeah.

0:17:32.2 SL: And yeah, it was scary to watch too, because what do you even do in that situation? I couldn't call your parents and be like, "I think you need to come out. She's not feeling very good today."

0:17:44.9 Maddi: "She's not feeling good. She seems like she's on auto-pilot. [jokingly] She’s not living in the moment.”

0:17:49.4 SL: "She's not living in the moment!” But you talked about this a little bit in your other podcast where...

0:17:54.6 Maddi: You listened?

0:17:55.7 SL: Of course I did. [laughter] Where it's like our major being so much about being on at all times, and it's like there's... There isn't shame in it, but there can be this pressure, that if you don't do 110% all the time, and you're not constantly in the moment, happy to be there - you’re failing. And it was so out of character for you, all of this behavior, so that that was why people were getting so concerned.

0:18:29.0 Maddi: [jokingly] ’Cause I am always on top of things, always giving 110%, always... [chuckle]

0:18:33.8 SL: Okay. Stop with that. [chuckle] But yeah, so I don't know. And then our acting teacher, I was also in that class, our teacher is wonderful, is a mom herself and just has a great empathy for other people and very intuitive, a little bit like… A little silly teacher, a little kooky.

0:18:55.4 Maddi: A little kooky, but we love her. And she just had... She was like this, "Enough is enough.”

0:19:00.8 SL: She had had enough.

0:19:01.9 Maddi: She was like, "Okay, what's going on?" Went into the... What teacher does that? You're being weird.

0:19:08.0 SL: Went into the bathroom, was like, "Why are you crying? We're calling a neurologist."

0:19:10.9 Maddi: Yeah. And from that point on, Ellen was part of the team now. It was like...

0:19:16.5 SL: Yeah.

0:19:17.2 Maddi: There was a core group of people in Montclair that were like...

0:19:20.6 SL: A part of the team, really.

0:19:21.7 Maddi: Yeah.

0:19:23.6 SL: 'Cause we had to take care of it, 'cause you weren't good.

0:19:26.8 Maddi: And I... Continuing with the story - I kind of relayed it last week - we went to the hospital, I bled through the bed. [chuckle] All that good stuff.

0:19:37.6 SL: Classy.

0:19:38.3 Maddi: Classy Maddi. I was there, they hooked me up to the EEG. I had a funny-looking hat, it was all of that stuff. And then did you come by the first night I was there? Did you and Thomas come by?

0:19:53.9 SL: I came by a couple of times. Yeah. So you went to stay at a different hospital.

0:20:00.5 Maddi: Yeah. It was different, 'cause I had gone to a different neurologist and I was like, "You cannot send me back to that other hospital because I had such a horrible time.”

0:20:06.6 SL: Yeah. It just wasn’t... It was just an off interaction, just eh. And so we went to visit you the first night in the hospital. And this was a funny story on my part because... I don't have a car here. I have a driver's license and everything, but I don't have a car. And I was like, "I don't wanna pay for an Uber to get to this hospital.”

0:20:25.9 Maddi: It was kinda far. It was further away, to be quite honest. The first hospital was closer, but this one was a good 30 minutes.

0:20:31.9 SL: Yeah, and I was like, "Okay, where can I find a car?" And Ellen, our teacher, was like, "Just take my car. Just... These are the keys. Just take my car." And so I was like, “Okay!" So I found your ‘little,’ Thomas, and I was like, "Hey you. You're coming with me. Let's go." And so he was like, "Okay." And so we're walking, and Ellen was like, "It's a minivan.” I don't think I really thought about it until I saw the car, 'cause it was a mom-mobile minivan. One of the...

0:21:02.3 Maddi: Stickers on the back.

0:21:04.0 SL: Stickers on the back. Rolling door to get in. And I got in and this thing was old, but trusty. And she warned me, she was like, "It's a little older. Just be firm with it." [laughter] And I was like, "Okay." And so I get in this car, my feet can barely touch the pedals. And I was like, “Great!" And it was a trip to get there. The thing was old and it took a lot to get it to start and stop.

0:21:30.3 Maddi: And it was the night too.

0:21:31.5 SL: It was the night time.

0:21:33.5 Maddi: It was dark outside.

0:21:35.7 SL: It was dark outside. It was... But I was glad I had a buddy. We get to the hospital, we park, we go up. And you had a funny-looking hat on. It was like the little beepy things on your head, and then they gauzed you in to...

0:21:47.8 Maddi: [jokingly] Sarah’s a doctor, if you couldn't tell. [laughter]

0:21:50.5 SL: I know the things! And so they put gauze all over your head to keep it there, but it just looked like a really tight... You looked so dumb. [chuckle]

0:22:00.4 Maddi: And I still have a glazed look in my eye.

0:22:02.4 SL: Yeah. No, you didn't looked great. And you were not unhealthily thin, but you were...

0:22:08.7 Maddi: Just a little paler.

0:22:10.3 SL: A little haggard.

0:22:11.7 Maddi: A little... I wasn't as bloated as I usually am.

0:22:15.9 SL: So we go in and you were very tired, but you were yourself that night. And you were there for what? Four days. Three or four?

0:22:25.1 Maddi: Yeah. Four days, three nights, I believe.

0:22:27.5 SL: Okay. And for that stay, you were very much so yourself, but you were still very glazed, you were very tired. Just being in the hospital and doing that, that's a tiring process too, so there's that. And those nights we just hung out with you. We were just like, "Ha ha, whoop-de-doo."

0:22:48.5 Maddi: Whoop-de-doo. Nothing's happening. We're all just pals hanging out.

0:22:51.8 SL: And it was just a lot of sitting around and waiting, which I feel like it's a common thing for anybody that goes to the hospital 'cause it's such the serious thing, but most of the process is just waiting around, waiting for news.

0:23:03.3 Maddi: Exactly, waiting for news.

0:23:04.3 SL: So it was nice to be with you. And so I came that night and I was there for a while, drove back Ellen's car, dropped it off, and then I came back a couple of times.

0:23:15.0 Maddi: Yeah. Well, what's interesting about the first night that you missed is - I was fine, and then all of a sudden I would nosedive. Yeah.

0:23:23.8 SL: Oh my God. I forgot about this. Wow, that's huge -

0:23:27.4 Maddi: - I would... Yeah. Sorry, go.

0:23:29.2 SL: I had seen it happen. Thomas had not seen her go into an episode, and we'd be having conversation and we'd be so normal, and then you would just glaze over and not be able to talk, and you started shaking.

0:23:42.5 Maddi: Well, that's what they thought. And I mentioned this briefly last episode, and then I realized that I didn't quite explain what it was. So what it was is it honestly looked like seizures. It looked like not... Like a petit mal, not a grand mal seizure - I'm shaking on the ground, where I just go stiff, I shake a little bit, my eyes roll back a little bit. I would have these episodes, and they would last a minute or two. I don’t know... Maybe not that long. It felt like forever for me. But the thing... That's why they were looking on the EEG to see if I had seizures or I had epilepsy. And in the end, she [the nurse] came in and she said, "It's not epilepsy." And then I started freaking out 'cause I thought I was faking it, you know all that. We've realized that it was my body not being able to cope with what was happening. The fluid was building, and it was creating such an effect on my body that I would just start tensing my muscles, and that's where the shaking came from because I was tensing so hard that things would shake. And I would just like... I don't know, I would look like I was having these seizures and I would look up - because I guess my eyes were so affected by the fluid. I honestly don't quite know what they were doing, and no one really does, but it...

0:24:56.3 SL: It looked... It presented like a seizure and it was also weird too because then you would snap out of it and you would be close to fine. You wouldn't remember what had happened. You would have no concept of what we were talking about or anything. It's not like you would just hit pause on life and snapped right back in, but you didn't remember. And then you'd be completely normal, and we were like, "Oh, weird." So that was kind of unnerving to watch because I've never had an experience of somebody having seizures in front of me, so I was like, "Oh. Don't love that." [chuckle]

0:25:33.0 Maddi: Not my favorite thing that happened.

0:25:34.4 SL: Not my favorite thing I've ever seen. And so that night we left uneasy, 'cause we were like, "What the fuck is going on?"

0:25:43.4 Maddi: You forgot another part of the story.

0:25:45.2 SL: What?

0:25:45.2 Maddi: When I was... When I was starting to have this episode, I was sitting there and I was saying, "Sarah... Sarah... Hold my hand."

0:25:55.9 SL: Oh yeah, 'cause you were so cold and I was like, "Thomas, hold her hand." [laughter]

0:26:00.7 Maddi: And Sarah goes, "Thomas hold her hand." And I like to think that it was because Sarah was so disturbed by seeing her friend in such a state that she couldn't possibly...

0:26:13.3 SL: I mean, to some effect. Yes, I will admit I am not the most to lovey-dovey sympathetic person that has ever walked the planet. I'll own up to that. But I mean, it was unnerving to watch and it was just... It was, I didn't know how to act, I didn't know what the right thing to do was.

0:26:32.5 Maddi: No one knows...

0:26:33.5 SL: And so that happened. And...

0:26:37.2 Maddi: So you guys left.

0:26:38.1 SL: We left and came back and things were going down hill, it wasn't like you were rapidly getting better, 'cause now people still didn't have any idea what was wrong with you and so two days later, I think your mom flew in...

0:26:54.1 Maddi: Yeah, and I remember the first night I was there alone. And that was just the worst. I don't think I slept much at all because things are beeping or screens on. It's weird. I was sharing a room, so there was a woman behind a curtain right next to me, which I didn’t care...

0:27:10.4 SL: Yeah.

0:27:11.1 Maddi: That there was another person, but you're just like, "I'm in this room with my friend and people, I have this thing on my head," and you're not in your right mind. It was very strange. But you came back. Then I think my mom flew in the next day.

0:27:22.8 SL: So then I was there because I was at the hospital after class, hanging out with you, and your mom got on a flight and came and I went down to the lobby to meet her, and I don't think I'll ever forget this until I die. I don't think I had met your mom yet...

0:27:41.3 Maddi: Are you serious? You might not have.

0:27:43.5 SL: It was sophomore year.

0:27:44.8 Maddi: Yeah...

0:27:45.2 SL: So I had seen pictures of her, I heard stories and I was like, Oh, I can't wait to meet her. I wish it was under different circumstances, but I was like, "Okay, great." This woman had just gotten off a plane.

0:27:58.6 Maddi: Like five to six hour plane ride.

0:28:00.5 SL: Yeah, a long flight coming to see her sick daughter. Things are very dramatic, and this woman comes in, long coat, hair blown out and done, full face of makeup, gorgeous, perfect teeth. She's probably like five feet tall, but gorge, and heels and boots and just walking fast with her rolling suitcase behind her, and I was like, "Mrs. Albregts," and she was like, "Hi," still happy. [laughter] And I was like, "Okay," still excited to be there. And I was like, "Let me take you to the room," and she was like, "Okay." And so I'm just walking and I'm like, "I have no excuse of how I look right now, this is unreal," and so I just kind of filled her in, gave her bullet points of what had happened and how you were that day, and all this stuff. She was very quiet, she just pulled in and took in all the information, and I got up to the room and she completely took over and you cried when you saw her…

0:29:01.0 Maddi: Oh! I cried, I love my mother, that woman is my best friend, she's the most incredible woman, and we are like total opposites. She is like 5'3 and I'm 5'9. She is glamorous. Always done up. Jewellery, sparkling to the Gods. I am a turd. I look like one and I smell like one.

0:29:31.3 SL: No, you're just... Just one of the things, you're earthy.

0:29:32.2 Maddi: I'm earthy. [laughter] I'm what you would call earthy, I'm very connected to nature, I've gotten that before.

0:29:42.4 SL: But you're just dirty.

0:29:43.7 Maddi: I'm just dirty, is the moral of that story. But so she walks in and I am sobbing. Yeah, because I love her. And then there was actually the funniest photo of my mom and me in the hospital, if it's me looking, just dazed and confused with my Buzz Lightyear hat on. And my mom sitting there fully made up glamorous, smiling, the happiest she's ever been and me just like in frumpy, frumpy hospital garb.

0:30:16.3 SL: And a weird feigned half-smile. [laughter]

0:30:19.8 Maddi: And it's a very funny photo. So anytime anyone asks me about my mom, I show them that photo, cause I'm like, this tells you everything you need to know. But that night, I remember before she came, I think we were watching…

0:30:32.1 SL: Probably Family Feuds.

0:30:33.1 Maddi: No, ‘Whose Line is it Anyway!’

0:30:34.9 SL: Oh my God, you are right! It was good.

0:30:37.6 Maddi: But then I got overwhelmed and then I was like, "We need to turn it off." And you were like, "Okay," and then my mom showed up and... So then she became... Then she was part of the team. I mean, she was always part of the team but she was now, in the outfield, she was playing.

0:30:53.2 SL: And it was nice for her to be there because she knows your history, and she's your mom and she has so much more pull with doctors.

0:31:00.3 Maddi: Oh yeah. So much more, and I trust her completely. My mom has dealt, as I told in the past. Honestly, the woman knows a lot about the medical field without being a doctor, and I know you're like, "Oh, she's just one of those moms who looks it up on WebMD and knows all the symptoms." No. My mom has dealt with cancer in the family with my brothers, both of his autoimmune diseases. Any time anyone was sick, she was on the case, she did the research, she researches more than anyone I know. So she knows everything and she was already researching my symptoms on her iPad…

0:31:49.2 SL: Of course.

0:31:50.1 Maddi: Of course. And so she was just trying to figure out all this information. And so any time the doctors would come in, I just felt so much more comfortable because she was there asking the questions, and that was such a relief because I knew nothing would be missed, 'cause when I go to the hospital, I'm like, "Uh... I don't know... "

0:32:09.2 SL: “I don't feel good.”

0:32:10.4 Maddi: "My head hurts... [joking] Maybe I need a sandwich... " [laughing] And they're like, "Okay, bye." And then when my mom come, she's like, "What tests have you taken, what is she doing? Has she gotten her food for the night?” she's... By no means, she's not pushy or aggressive …

0:32:24.7 SL: No. She's just on top of it.

0:32:25.7 Maddi: She's just on top of it and she's like the kindest woman and she's so grateful for everything, but so... Any time the doctors came in, I felt comfortable she was there, and not to say that I wasn't comfortable having you there, 'cause...

0:32:38.6 SL: It’s different.

0:32:39.0 Maddi: You're very pushy, and that's what I needed when I was there the first night.

0:32:41.2 SL: Yes I was pushy. And I don't know what came over me, 'cause like I said, I don't do medical stuff, I don't really have a lot of history with going to the hospital and dealing with nurses and stuff, but I was just like, "This is like... My friend! I don't understand why you aren't getting this, just get her a heated blanket." [laughter]

0:33:01.9 Maddi: I have a theory [why you were so pushy] though, because your sister also has...

0:33:05.4 SL: Yeah, my sister does have a lot of health issues.

0:33:08.1 Maddi: And so I feel like in that moment I was...

0:33:10.0 SL: Yeah, you were Mary Jo.

0:33:11.5 Maddi: I was Mary Jo, I was MJ in that moment, and so... Yeah, we all have people we know, and so it's like when you see someone else who know in that situation, you're more willing to jump on it and attack it more aggressively than you would have if this was your first time.

0:33:29.3 SL: Yeah, so that stay was longer, it was longer. It was better in a way, 'cause I feel like you were getting more…

0:33:42.3 Maddi: Attention…

0:33:43.0 SL: Yeah, more concrete…

0:33:44.7 Maddi: Information.

0:33:45.5 SL: Yeah.

0:33:46.5 Maddi: For sure.

0:33:47.8 SL: And then do you wanna go into that night?

0:33:51.9 Maddi: Which night?

0:33:52.1 SL: When they... When I came and got you?

0:33:56.9 Maddi: Oh when they fired me. Let's do it.

0:33:58.7 SL: Let's drag them. [laughter]

0:34:00.4 Maddi: Let's drag them. [laughter] So I talked about the night I was fired, but surprise surprise, Sarah Jane Libby was there.

0:34:07.8 SL: Made a guest appearance.

0:34:08.6 Maddi: Made a guest appearance that night. Yeah, let's talk about it. I totally forgot about that.

0:34:11.6 SL: Yeah.

0:34:11.9 Maddi: I mean, I never forget. [laughter]

0:34:13.6 SL: [jokingly] Never forget, never let it go.

0:34:14.8 Maddi: Never forget, never let it go.

0:34:18.1 SL: Yeah, I... [chuckle] You had been back for... You got discharged from the hospital. You had been back for how many days?

0:34:26.7 Maddi: Like a couple... It wasn't the first night back, I had been there a couple of times. And you guys [the audience] know, I had the memory issue... I feel bad if this is the first episode people are listening to [or reading] ’cause they're gonna be like "I don't know!”

0:34:43.2 SL: [joking] Get on top of things... [laughter] Listen [or read] again. [laughter]

0:34:46.7 Maddi: But, yeah, it was... Frick, what was I talking about?

0:34:51.2 SL: Well, you had been there a couple days and you were still in rehearsal like everything was fine...

0:34:55.0 Maddi: Oh yeah, so I had like a little episode again where I forgot some of the words and I was like, "I just need to sit out for a second." And they brought me outside at the break and went, "Maddi, no... We can't have you do the acting," and I was like, "Uh huh." And then I was a mess.

0:35:12.4 SL: Yeah so...

0:35:14.2 Maddi: So no one wanted to deal with me. [laughter] So, again, they called...

0:35:17.9 SL: Well, and the reason that they kept calling you was, most of like our friends were in shows, like everybody was in rehearsal. I was not in rehearsal, so I was available, which I'm happy that I was... I'm happy that I was able to be there for the stuff, but I was again in my room, just hanging out... [laughter] And... So exciting... [laughter]

0:35:38.9 Maddi: You party girl. [laughter]

0:35:40.8 SL: Gimme a break, it was like Tuesday. [laughter] And so the stage manager called me and she was like, "I think you need to come get Maddi," and I was like, "Oh? Is she like having an episode?" - Me, in go-bag mode. I was like, "We're going to the hospital. It's happening." And she was like, "No, I think they just kicked her out of the show," and I was like, "Oh." And I got all my stuff and I went 'cause I was like, "What's going on?" This has never happened in the history of the world... And so I get there and, I don't know why, (I do know why 'cause I'm just an angry bean), but my first instinct was just to be like, "What the... Like what are you guys doing? This is my friend." And so I get there, and you're just outside with the creatives and Sophie's there and rehearsals just like paused.

0:36:36.9 Maddi: Paused.

[laughter]

0:36:38.1 SL: In the room.

0:36:40.1 Maddi: No one else is out there like, nothing is happening, and I was like, "Whatever."

0:36:46.1 SL: Well, they didn't know.

0:36:46.9 Maddi: Yeah, no one knew. Oh, and then, okay -

0:36:49.4 SL: Yeah.

0:36:49.7 Maddi: Sorry, I'm getting ahead if myself. This is so good.

0:36:51.8 SL: So I go over and Sophie's like, "Oh, hey this is Sarah. She's gonna take her home," and you were like... I don't think you were crying. You cried a little...

0:37:01.2 Maddi: Yeah, I was a bit emotional.

0:37:01.9 SL: You were a little emotional, understandable, but you were still together. And I was like, "Hi," and they were like, "Okay. So you're gonna take her home?" Like they have no idea who I am. So yeah, and I just was like, "Okay." And I said, "Where's your stuff?" And you said, "In the rehearsal room," and I was like, "Great." So I walk in and I'm fuming, I don't know why these people did nothing to me. I walk in the room with Sophie, rest of the cast is just hanging out, they have no idea what's going on, 'cause you'd probably been out there for half an hour...

0:37:36.3 Maddi: Yeah, it was a hot second...

0:37:38.2 SL: It was a while. And so I just went and I was like, "Where's her stuff?" And I grabbed it and I was leaving, and one of the cast members looked at me and was like, "What's going on, is she okay?" And I stopped and I looked at them and I said, "She's not in the show anymore," and I walked... And Soph in my ear was like, "You weren't supposed to say that," and I was like, "They're gonna find out." So I walked out. Ellen, who was also in that show, our teacher who we love... So full circle.

0:38:07.6 SL: But she was like, "What's going on?" And I was like, "They just kicked her out of the show," and she was like, "What?" She even had no idea - an adult who was working on the show had no idea - So I don't know what kind of discussion had taken place before they did this, but it just... It came out of nowhere.

0:38:26.6 Maddi: The thing was… they discussed it between the three of them, the three creatives of the show, but they hadn't discussed it with anyone at Montclair, anyone at the school.

0:38:39.2 SL: And I got you your stuff, I made sure you were good. I said goodbye to Soph. I think I said bye to them, but they were... I didn't even want... I couldn't even look at them. I didn't wanna engage 'cause I was like, “I'm gonna just say something that I regret so let's go.” And so we walked back and he hung out in your room and you know, you got it out, it was...

0:39:00.0 Maddi: Yeah, and I mean, I'm not gonna lie, I got it out. It wasn't nice.

0:39:05.9 SL: No, it wasn't nice, but also, you're going through probably what is one of the hardest moments in your life - you’re thousands of miles away from your home, you don't have your family, you have a support system, but this is the hardest thing that's going on in your life right now, and they just decide to drop you.

0:39:26.0 Maddi: Yeah... I just felt like being, kicked...

0:39:28.8 SL: Yeah, and it's one of those things that I will never judge you for reacting in the way that you did, because like, you have emotions and they need to be managed because I feel like if you hadn't gotten it out, you wouldn't have been able to handle the situation so well afterwards, because...

0:39:46.3 Maddi: Yeah...

0:39:46.5 SL: There was some fallout. You had to do those meetings, you had to talk to our heads of the department...

0:39:52.6 Maddi: Yeah, I have, I was brought into a meeting, it was a very... It was a very strange...

0:39:58.0 SL: It was dramatic.

0:39:58.9 Maddi: Yeah, it felt very dramatic.

0:40:00.3 SL: And I'm in a way, happy that it was because now, as sucky as it was that it happened to you, because of that, no one is ever gonna go through that again, because they created a handbook for any outside creative director, writer, whatever that wants to do something here that they need to follow protocol, they can't just drop their actors anymore, and there's a way that we're supposed to be treated now, and I think that's so great...

0:40:29.2 Maddi: Yeah.

0:40:29.5 SL: And that wouldn't have happened if...

0:40:31.2 Maddi: If this crazy instant hadn't have happened. [in jest] I wish they would have dedicated it to me though.

0:40:36.8 SL: I just want a cover page, ‘Poor Maddi.’

0:40:41.2 Maddi: Poor Maddi.

[laughter]

0:40:42.1 SL: That's it!

0:40:42.2 Maddi: [joking] That’s all I want, that's all I actually want out of this situation, but... Yeah, so that kind of, I think sums it up. Obviously, there's been things that have happened, like it’s intense. It's been going on for, two years now...

0:40:56.2 SL: It's been an ongoing thing.

0:40:58.1 Maddi: It's almost... It is almost the anniversary...

0:41:01.2 SL: I love that.

0:41:01.8 Maddi: I think it's this Friday. I think it's the 15th.

0:41:05.3 SL: We should have a party.

0:41:05.4 Maddi: It literally goes: Valentine's Day, Psandra-day, and then mine and Martin's one year anniversary.

0:41:11.0 SL: Psandra.

0:41:12.5 Maddi: I have three holidays. Right in a row.

0:41:16.0 SL: Oh Psandra.

0:41:17.0 Maddi: Yeah. Isn't that... That's wacky. Two years now.

0:41:20.4 SL: Yeah, I mean, ever since the summer after… It's been much more manageable.

0:41:27.3 Maddi: Yeah.

0:41:28.8 SL: In the sense that we know what to do now.

0:41:31.1 Maddi: Exactly.

0:41:31.7 SL: Not that it's any less shocking for you, but... It's been better.

0:41:37.9 Maddi: Yeah, we understand it a little bit more and we... I have my ups and downs. And you guys [her classmates] get it - usually if I'm not in class where I'm tired, you just ask, "Bad brain night?” or, "Bad brain day?”

0:41:47.2 SL: Yeah.

0:41:47.5 Maddi: And I go, "Yeah," or if it's something else, I say something else. But for the most part, we get it. And I mean, there is something... I do wanna talk more about guilt and paranoia, but I think I wanna dedicate an entire episode to that, because that was such a huge part of it too, that I think just fueled like the negative, I don't know. Just fueled the negativity in the whole situation, and that really amped up when I was diagnosed, but I think I'll talk about that. I mean, if we need more input, we might have you on again.

0:42:30.0 SL: Yay!

0:42:30.8 Maddi: Yeah.

0:42:31.0 SL: [joking] I’m so guilty. All the time.

[laughter]

0:42:33.3 Maddi: Perfect. So yeah, I definitely wanna get into that because I mean... You have great friends, who do all this stuff for you. It's the same with my boyfriend, Martin, and how he has to deal with it - having a significant other and having really close friends being there in the core of the situation and really feeling the brunt of it, that's... Yeah, so thanks Sar-Bear.

0:43:03.3 SL: Anytime.

0:43:04.0 Maddi: Thanks for coming on. I’m proud of you.

0:43:05.2 SL: Thanks for having me. I'm proud of you. [chuckle, joking] Stop flirting with me.

0:43:13.3 Maddi: I guess, I should turn this off.

0:43:16.9 SL: Weird.

0:43:18.5 Maddi: Yeah. Okay, well, I think that's it. So have a good... Whatever time it is, where you are, and I'll see you next week.

0:43:31.6 SL: Bye.

0:43:31.7 Maddi: I see. You wanna do the fart?

0:43:35.9 SL: [fart noise].

[laughter]

0:43:38.5 Maddi: That's good.

0:43:40.7 SL: Thank you.

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