May 22, 2018

ER 1.18, Sleepless in Chicago: While You Weren’t Sleeping

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

Someone finally found an angle that makes Clooney look unattractive

Summary: Even though he’s carrying a jar full of someone’s bowel, Carter seems to be having a good day…or at least he is until he runs into Benton. Carter explains to Susan that Benton traded some shifts to spend time with his mother, and now he’s repaying all his favors. He’s been on call for the past 48 hours. Carol goes to see Tatiana and learns that her application to become a foster mother is being moved forward. She appears to have picked up more Russian, too. She asks if Tatiana wants to come live with her, and when she says she has a VCR, Tatiana is pleased.

Doug tells Mark he’s learned that Mark is going to be the next ER attending. Mark shares that Jen is spending another year in Milwaukee. He declares that if he can successfully throw his paper towel into a trash can, there’s still hope for his marriage. He makes the shot and gets to stay in his little world of denial a little longer. Susan treats a man with a rash he thinks he got from medication. Unfortunately, he’s taking a bunch of medications for experimental studies, so it’ll take some time to figure out which is the culprit.

Benton asks Hicks why he wasn’t given the bowel-removal surgery that morning, since he was the resident on call. Hicks isn’t about to let him operate when he’s been awake for 48 hours. Benton argues that he should have gotten the procedure anyway, since he’s never done one, while the surgeon who performed it has already done one. Hicks says it’s not a competition, which makes Benton ask why they keep track of all their procedures. She says it’s a record, not to keep score. He accuses her of keeping score anyway. Hicks tells him he can’t see any patients until he gets at least two hours of sleep.

Susan tries to enlist Mark to help her sort through her patient’s medications. He tells her to pass the case on to another doctor. Jerry relays a message to Doug from Diane, joking that she wants to go out with him. Benton blatantly ignores Hicks’ orders and goes to see a patient, brushing off Carter when he says there’s a free exam room for him to nap in. Mark shows off his interpersonal skills and gets a doctor to agree to take Susan’s patient.

Doug treats a girl named Bonnie whose mother says she burned herself on a radiator knob. Bonnie keeps saying that it was her fault. As they leave the exam room, Doug remarks to Carol that he’s never seen a radiator knob shaped like a star, the shape of Bonnie’s burn. Carol offers to call around to other hospitals to see if Bonnie’s been treated for burns anywhere else.

A restaurant manager drags in (literally) a man who had a seizure while eating breakfast. The manager leaves behind a card, wanting to make sure the patient pays for his meal when he’s able, since it was expensive. Mark, Benton, and Carter treat a trauma patient named Joseph Klein who fell down some stairs. He can’t speak because of previous surgery to remove his voice box. Carter does a good job of trying to comfort him.

Susan’s supposedly unconscious seizure patient isn’t showing any signs of having had a seizure. He opens an eye while she’s examining him, which makes her realize that he’s not as sick as he leads on. She doesn’t want to bother him, since he’s “busy having a coma,” but she’d like to know his name. Lydia finds a number of IDs in the man’s wallet, so they don’t know his real name. Susan gets him to “wake up” by telling him they’ll have to operate. She thinks he faked a seizure to get out of paying his bill.

Hicks comes in to help with Klein and repeat her orders for Benton to sleep or go home. Carter looks through Klein’s chart and learns that he has terminal cancer. He signed a DNR, which means the procedures they just finished performing to keep him alive were actually against his wishes.

Doug and Mark reprise their conversation about Mark and Jen’s long-distance marriage. They’re interrupted by a man named John Koch, who’s supposed to observe the goings-on in the ER as part of a project that hopes to build an ideal hospital. He also has a solution for Mark and Jen: They should move to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Carter brings Klein a pen and paper in case he wants to communicate. Klein seems angry about his care, and at first he doesn’t respond when Carter offers to contact his family, but he changes his mind and asks Carter to call his son, Roger. Carol asks Lydia if she’d like to become charge nurse, since she’s cutting back on her hours to look after Tatiana. Lydia tries to withhold her judgment on Carol and Tag starting out their married life as foster parents.

Benton’s still not sleeping, and he wants Carter to sneak him any cases he can. Doug and Carol confront Bonnie’s mother, Sarah, for previous burns that Bonnie has been treated for. Doug’s angry, so Carol pulls Sarah aside to talk to her alone. Sarah admits that Bonnie touches herself “down there,” even though Sarah tells her not to. She gets three chances, and then she gets burned with a heated paperweight. Sarah didn’t mean to hurt her daughter, and she doesn’t think it’s a big deal, since her mother did the same thing to her.

The seizure faker discharges himself, gets dressed, and cons Jerry out of some petty cash while asking for change for the vending machine. Carter snags a patient for Benton, but Mark stops him before he can take the man to surgery, since Mark hasn’t examined him yet. Benton gives him the chance to confirm that the man needs surgery for a kidney stone, but Mark gets the last word by warning him not to pull that kind of crap again.

Koch sees the argument and tells Susan that that kind of territorialism is unnecessary and outdated. It’s rooted in patriarchy and the loudest person being declared the winner. Susan agrees, and we know she has a lot of experience trying to work within the patriarchy. Koch thinks the better idea is to see the patient as belonging to everyone.

Carol tries to keep Sarah from leaving by telling her that Bonnie needs to see a plastic surgeon. Sarah objects, so Doug finds an excuse for Carol to took Bonnie off by herself. This just leads to tears, and Sarah attacking Doug and having to be restrained by security while Bonnie cries for her mother. Benton loses out on another operation when his patient passes the stone just before he can be put under anesthesia, rendering the procedure unnecessary.

Carter chats with Klein, who he’s learned used to teach literature. He hasn’t been able to reach Roger, and Klein admits that they haven’t talked in 20 years. Mark runs into the seizure faker, who steals his wallet and is disappointed to only find six dollars inside. Susan, Mark, Jerry, and some nurses tease Benton by placing his patient’s tiny kidney stone next to the jar o’ bowel at the front desk. He’s not amused. Carol tends to Doug’s wound and tells him that she hopes Sarah can get straightened out with therapy so she can get Bonnie back. Doug has heard that Carol wants to be a foster mother, and he tells her he thinks she would be great at it.

Klein’s health is failing, and Connie tells Carter that he might not live through the night. Carter brings him some books, thinking the former literature professor would be interested in some classics. Benton slams him for “wasting time” sitting with a man who’s going to die instead of taking care of people who could live. Carter hates being told that surgery isn’t about caring for patients. Koch overhears the conversation and comments to Carter that modern medicine “dismantles the rituals of death.” We can do better. Carter makes a hilarious “who the heck is that guy?” face.

Mark tells Doug about Koch’s Kenosha suggestion, which Mark loves. He asks Doug about his potential relationship with Diane. Doug admits that he’s afraid to ask her out because he dated a friend of herself and things didn’t end well. The two of them receive two patients: a 16-year-old shot by a cop while robbing a store, and the cop who shot him. Benton has finally dozed off, though it was while he was stitching up a drunk man who’s also asleep. They both wake up when Benton is paged to help with the two traumas.

Doug, Benton, and Carol work on the robber, and as soon as he’s solved the most pressing problems, Benton goes next door to tend to the cop with Mark and Susan. He wonders why Carter isn’t there to observe. Benton stabilizes the cop, and Hicks comes in just in time to congratulate him on his good work. She thinks he got some sleep. Diane chastises Doug for getting into another altercation with a patient, though at least this time, he wasn’t the attacker. He takes the opportunity to invite her on a date. She says it’s not a good idea.

Morgenstern tells Mark that he’s moving to Boston and has recommended Mark for the attending position he wants. He’ll have to be approved by whoever takes over for Morgenstern, but his chances are good. Carter reads to Klein from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” which Benton will definitely not be happy to hear about. He has to stay late to finish his patient notes, and Benton has no sympathy. Carter tells him that Klein died a few minutes ago. Benton asks why he wants the surgical sub-internship – he doesn’t think like a surgeon. Carter asks if he believes that just because the two of them don’t think alike.

Carol visits Tatiana again, helping her with her English. A social worker has learned of Carol’s suicide attempt, and tells her that because it was so recent, it disqualifies her from being a foster mother. Diane changes her mind about Doug’s invitation (three hours later) and asks him out herself. Benton goes home to take over Mae’s care while Walt heads out to a vacation with the rest of his family.

Distressed about the news she’s gotten, Carol goes to Doug for comfort. She confides that she feels defective, even after all the work she’s done to heal herself. He assures her that it’s not her fault. Carol feels horrible that she has to break the promise she made to Tatiana to take her in. Doug says she was exactly what Tatiana needed. Carol tells him he’s the only person who feels that way. She asks if she can spend the night. Doug asks about Tag, and Carol says he never wanted Tatiana. Doug decides it’s better to take her home than let her stay.

Koch tells Susan about his project and invites her to join the staff of his hospital. She tells him she’s interested. Just then, two doctors from the psychiatric ward come to retrieve Koch (real name: Marty). He’s not building an ideal hospital that will revolutionize the world of medicine – he’s just a patient who likes to pretend to be doctors.

Jen surprises Mark at home and announces that she can’t keep living the way they’ve been living. He tells her they can compromise and all be together again if they move to Kenosha. Jen objects to both of them having to commute two hours. Mark will have to lose even more time with Rachel. She complains again about how Mark won’t make sacrifices when Jen spent years making them for him. He expects everything to happen on his time. Jen finally cuts to the chase: They’re not going to make it, and she’s done with their marriage.

Benton spends the night on the couch, not even waking when Mae calls out for him. When he’s finally conscious, he finds his mother at the bottom of the stairs, having fallen. He rushes her to the hospital with a possibly fractured hip. Benton finally got some sleep, and something horrible happened.

Thoughts: Bonnie is played by Alexa PenaVega.

Only Benton would say no to a boss telling him to take a nap.

I totally fell for Koch’s story. And now I’m uncomfortable that it took psych the entire day to track him down. But as we’ll see in the future, this isn’t psych’s biggest failing.

Listen to me, Mark: You’re better off.

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