S01 Episode 4 – Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

S01 Episode 4 – Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

An un-sourced recording from January, three years previous.
 
 
?Video tape recording sound – a different tape recording sound than the one Sarah uses
 
Sarah:
Thank you everyone for coming here today. I know, for most of you, this is not how you picutred spending your Saturday morning.
But I know Layden, Layden’s family and…well… me (awkward laugh), wouldn’t have been able to survive this day without being surrounded by friends and family.
 
deep exhale
 
Sorry – I didn’t realize I’d feel so nervous talking here today.
I hate public speaking. But then… Layden could have told you that!
 
I can honestly say, if you asked me 10 years ago if I EVER could have pictured myself standing up here next to my best friend, Layden, I probably would have laughed in your face.
I mean… I probably then would have turned my cd walkman back on and continued dying my hair some terrible algae blue. You can’t tell a teenager anything – especially not me!
And especially not Layden.
 
For those of you who don’t know me… my name’s Sarah. I met Layden almost 15 years ago this summer, when he moved to the town we grew up in.
My friend… or ‘frenemy’, I guess, Cassandra… she told me the say he moved to our town “now don’t you be friends with that new boy down the road! He’s mine and I love him – even if we haven’t met him yet!”
 
Haha – kids and their hormones, right?
 
Cassandra – I see you down there in the eigth pew… I saw that little chuckle. You remember this? Haha
 
Anyway, of course the first thing that I did at the chirch sleepover that weekend was plop down beside this blond haired, blue eyed stranger boy and introduce myself.
 
And of course that drove Cassangra CRAZY – remember ? Haha
 
sigh
 
But from that point onward, Layden and I were inseparable.
He got this pair of drums for his birthday one year and I used to try to play too – oh my god I was terrible at it!
The only musucal thing I could contribute was my ability to carry a tune – and so all through junior high we’d play scary video games on his regular edition Playstation, and rock out to whatever songs we knew how to play and sing.
 
I remember… this one Christmas… we got in SO much trouble because we were caught smoking cigarettes and stealing christmas lightbulbs – I don’t even know why we thought either of those activities were a good idea!
 
And Laydens parents… theyre up here in the first row to my right… they sat us down that evening, told us right from wrong, then made us some garlic fingers
 
crowd chuckles
 
sigh
 
And then… Layden moved.
I mean, it was nobody’s fault. His parents were, or I guess… are…. Both ministers. And ministers go where theyre told. Kind of like medical residents, I guess. For anyone who doesn’t know, that’s what I do for work… and that’s why yes, even I, was late to this event.
 
Thanks for waiting for me ha ha.
 
Anyway, Layden moved away and I was SO angry. Me and my blue hair and our anger management issues. I remember I was so mad about the fact that my high school years wouldn’t be spent singing and playing playstation in Mr. and Mrs. Brown’s basement where I had spent my entire junior high years.
 
A part of me was more scared than angry, because earlier that year Layden stopped a guy from taking advantage of me on some stupid night that we all stole beers from our parents refrigerators ….
 
… But we got through it! … the move, I mean.
 
I just had to wait long enough to get my license, so that I could drive the hour to Laydens parent’s new place.
 
It was just the guest room, but they told me that the room was actually mine. That was nice, to feel so much like part of a family I wasn’t born into.
 
On the first visit to their new place, I let Layden show me how he fed his ball python those frozen ‘pinkies’ that he had stashed in the freezer. Frozen baby mice in the freezer! Disgusting!
(away from mic) – ‘do you remember that? So weird!’
 
Yes… we made it through some good times and bad… and the years went on… one day fell into the next… and somehow… here we are.
 
long pause
 
I remember that day…
 
I had just finished this 26 hour shift in the Emergency department. I came home that morning and I just crashed. It was only about a week after Christmas and ER is always tough post-call.
 
When I got up, I turned off the alarm I had set on my phone, and I saw that I had something like… 18 missed calls and even more unread text messages.
 
So I called one of the missed calls back – a mutual friend of Layden and I – named Ryan.
 
Ryan told me in a voice so qiuet I almost didn’t hear him… that Layden Brown had hung himself that morning. Mrs Brown was the one that found him.
 
They tried their best… but he couldn’t be revived… and now he was gone.
 
Forever.
 
long pause – maybe a cough or a sniffle
 
The last time I had spoken to Layden, he said to me – Sarah – someday soon I’m going to come meet your foster dogs!
 
We both loved animals so much.
 
But he never did come meet them.
 
And the worst part… was that I was so wrapped up in the whirlwind of starting residency that I didn’t even know he had been depressed – not really.
 
So…
 
If 10 years ago, you had told me I would be standing in a church, in the dead of winter in the middle of a city I’ve never been, giving a eulogy to the one person I, and everyone else, thought I was going to marry… I would have laughed in your face, turned my cd walkman back on… and walked away.
 
But here we are.
 
sniffles
 
For anyone wondering, Layden was nice enough to leave me a note. Always such a considerate guy. It said… “remember that song we used to play? I wish I could hear it now”.
 
long pause
 
A lot of my time at work is spent analyzing… mentally walking through the if’s and ‘but’s that make the story, or the history, of what a patient into the hospital and in the situation they found themselves in.
 
So this event with Layden… my brain went back to its muscle memory.
 
So… for anyone who’s wondering… I checked Layden for his history before we closed his open casket.
 
His nails weren’t cracked or splintered, so he didn’t struggle after he took the jump.
His face was bloated from jugular venous distension, which happens when someone fully cuts off the blood supply above their neck which results in their neck and face vessels becoming engorged.
 
Its likely his tongue isnt protruding because the funeral people probably sewed his lips shut – but the venous distension is probably why his mouth looks a bit more pouty than usual, like Cassandra mentioned to me earlier
“Those lips, Sarah. He always had those lips”
…. Not quite, Cassandra… but close enough.
 
Oh and also his chest is hollow and hard sounding because they cut out all fo his organs in the autopsy which is common in a young persons unexplained, unexpected, death… no- wait… I’m not finished….
 
*ruckus. Mic being taken away..
 
Sarah (shouting) – It’s okay everyon! Because I checked!
He didn’t change his mind – he stuck by his decision!
Just like his tattoo on his collar bone says – he had no regrets!
 
(random voices, murmuring – get her out of here… oh my god…. She’s having a breakdown…)
 
*tape ends*
 

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