September 25, 2018

ER 2.11, Dead of Winter: Jeanie Deserves Better Than…Just…All of This

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

I’ll be your mommy, you cutie pie

Summary: It’s a snowy, windy night in Chicago, and the ER is relatively quiet. Jeanie learns that a baby in respiratory arrest is on the way in, and she goes to wake Susan. Susan promises she’s getting up, but Jeanie has to go back and make sure, like a mom waking her child for school. Elsewhere in the city, Mark is alone in his quiet apartment, living the bachelor life. At least he can drink juice straight out of the bottle without anyone getting on his case.

Shep and Raul respond to what they think is a call to tend to a drunk man who slipped on some stairs and hit his head. The police on the scene actually have something much more important for the paramedics to deal with: a dirty apartment full of kids in tattered clothes. There are no adults at home, and the oldest child isn’t even ten.

Susan fills Mark in at the hospital – in all, 22 kids were found in the apartment. They’re all malnourished, and the parents haven’t been identified or found. The police arrested a man who claimed to be an uncle. Some of the kids are now at County, with lots of medical problems because of their malnutrition and neglect. Doug takes charge while Mark talks to one of the older kids, Ty. Some of the kids are his siblings, and some of the others may be his cousins, but he’s not clear on everything. Shep tells Mark that only about half the kids had clothes.

Ruby listens nervously as Benton, Carter, and Vucelich discuss Helen’s condition nine days after her surgery. Though the surgery went fine, Helen is experiencing some complications, including paraplegia. Benton thinks she should go to a care facility. Vucelich disagrees and asks for Carter’s opinion. Carter thinks a few more days of treatment at County will do the trick. Vucelich allows him to take over the case.

Mark and Lydia examine Ty, who says he’s always made sure the kids have enough to eat. His mom gives him her food stamps when she doesn’t need them. He asks about Trey, who has cerebral palsy. Mark says he’ll check on him, asking Lydia to find a dental school that can send students to examine the kids’ teeth. (Smart thinking.) He learns from Susan and Jeanie that at least one of the kids has lice, so all the kids will need to be treated. He tells Susan she can leave, since her shift is over, but Susan wants to stick around and make sure all the kids are okay.

Doug and Malik are examining Trey, who has cigarette burns and welts. Someone better be going to jail after all this. Benton goes to the front desk to answer a page but instead runs into Al (Jeanie’s husband, not Lydia’s boyfriend). Even though Carter said that Jeanie told him she and Al are through, Al is there to pick Jeanie up for breakfast. In the midst of the crazy morning, Mark gets a summons from a process server. Jen is filing for divorce.

Pete Tuteur from the Department of Children and Family Services arrives as Jeanie, Malik, and Chuny give the kids lice treatments. Jeanie demonstrates that she’s great with kids, and one of the girls must agree with me, because she asks if Jeanie will be her mommy. Benton checks in with Carter, who hasn’t decided yet what to do for Helen. He give a nurse some instructions, ignoring her when she tells him the risks.

Pete tells Mark that a couple of the kids from the apartment are supposed to be living with their grandmother, but he hasn’t located her yet. The kids’ alleged uncle is living large on all the government payments he gets for taking in the kids. His other money comes from selling crack. Mark thinks this is an argument for welfare reform, because this situation must be the norm, and everyone must be taking advantage of the system. Shut up, Mark.

Susan needs a surgical consult for one of the kids, who has a mass. Mark tells her that Jen has served him with divorce papers, so he’ll have to get a lawyer. Susan invites him to hang out with her at home that evening, but he declines. Shep and Raul stop by again, and Randi admires how cute Raul is. Shep and Carol tell her Raul’s gay, so she’s not his type. Benton gets another page, and again doesn’t know who it’s from. Randi is no help.

Shep tells some of the staff about how horrible the conditions were in the apartment. He blames the kids’ mothers – why can’t “these people” just take care of their children? Benton and Malik take offense to the phrase, while Randi defends Shep, saying he didn’t mean anything racist. Shep says if he’d meant something discriminatory, he would have said “black people” instead of “these people.” Malik calls him David Duke anyway.

Carol jumps in as Shep goes off about personal responsibility. He points out that Benton’s a surgeon while Shep, a white guy, is a paramedic. Benton says it’s not that simple, and the system doesn’t work equally for everyone. Shep says it seems to be working pretty well for Benton. Jeanie pulls Benton away, but Malik makes sure Shep knows the argument is his fault.

Loretta comes in with her kids, Annie and Jimmy, and Mark determines that Jimmy has strep throat. The family has moved into a new house, and Loretta is still at her new job. Lydia takes the kids to the family room so Mark can talk to Loretta about some vaginal bleeding she’s been having. Jeanie brings Benton in to examine Susan’s patient, Michael, as Benton realizes that Jeanie’s the one who’s been paging him. He complains that she’s been wasting his time by not waiting around to tell him what she needs. Susan points out that things have been hectic in the ER all day.

Benton isn’t very gentle in his examination of Michael, and after he’s done and leaving in a huff, Jeanie follows. She tells him that if he’s mad, he should take it out on her, not a scared little boy. “Is that it?” Benton asks, saying possibly the worst thing he could say right now. Jeanie keeps standing up to him, finally telling him to either find a way to be compassionate or leave medicine.

Mark tends to a man named Mr. Mills who appears to have had a heart attack. Benton could learn a lot from Mark, who’s able to take charge of the patient and steer his son outside without being rude, short, or heartless. Jeanie goes to meet with her supervisor, Bobbi, who wants to go over Jeanie’s first student assessment. She’s skilled, but not assertive enough, and she may not be cut out for the ER. Jeanie thinks the assessment is from Benton, but it’s from Carol. Bobbi accepts that Carol might be annoyed that Jeanie’s encroaching on her turf, but Jeanie still needs to demonstrate that she can cut it in the ER. Jeanie promises she can.

Doug has learned that Jen has filed for divorce, and he’s surprised that Mark couldn’t make things work. What does that mean for Doug in the future? (Don’t worry, Doug. You’ll be just fine.) Susan’s still at work, and Mark tells her to leave by 5. A woman named Mrs. Proulx arrives, looking for the kids from the apartment. She’s their grandmother, and it seems like she has no idea what kind of conditions they were living in.

Carter butts heads with a nurse again, then shares a cup of coffee with Ruby. Ruby tells him about Helen’s past in musical theater. Carter admits he did Pippin and The Fantasticks in school. I can’t believe no one else is around to hear this and tease him about it later. Ruby emotionally tells Carter that he’s not ready to lose his wife.

Jeanie pulls Carol aside to talk about her assessment. Carol says Jeanie is “competent but timid.” She needs to become more aggressive to survive in the ER. Jeanie asks if she’s done something to offend Carol, but Carol promises that her critiques aren’t personal. Jeanie needs to stop waiting around to be told what to do. But Carol also doesn’t like that nurses with 20 years of experience have to answer to physician’s assistants with only a few months of training. Jeanie says that she took four years to complete two years of school because she had to work full-time. Carol doesn’t care – Jeanie has to stop looking for validation and just do her job.

Benton tells Vucelich that Helen’s paralysis isn’t getting better. Vucelich thinks it’s a small price to pay, considering how badly she needed the surgery they performed on her. Benton’s worried that he’s to blame for the complications, but Vucelich assures him that his technique was perfect. They’ll have to exclude Helen from Vucelich’s big study, though. He formally invites Benton to join the team. Mark tells Mr. Mills’ son, Howard, that his father’s prognosis isn’t good. Howard thinks he’s ready to die, especially in the wake of the death of his wife of 50 years. Benton gets some extra money and perks from joining Vucelich’s team, so his day is looking up.

Susan tells Mrs. Proulx that Trey is well enough to be taken into custody by DCFS, and he’ll be going to an emergency shelter. There will be a court hearing next week, when Mrs. Proulx can attempt to get custody. She tells Susan and Pete that the kids were living with her until a month ago, all with their own beds. Then their mother took them, insisting that she was doing better. Mrs. Proulx says their mom used to be a great parent, but drugs changed all that. She says goodbye to the kids, reminding Ty to take care of Trey. She leaves the hospital sad and alone.

Mark’s next patient is having stomach pains and thinks she just overate. He assigns Jeanie to give the patient a rectal exam and collect a stool sample. Chuny smiles to herself over Jeanie’s bad fortune until Mark tells her to help. Carter tells Vucelich that Helen’s condition still isn’t changing. Vucelich tells him that’s not important – they just need to get her “buffed up” so they can send her to a care facility. She’s not going to get better, so they just need to polish her up and send her off to be someone else’s problem. Carter worries that the things he’s tried have made Helen worse, but Vucelich reminds him that she’s dying no matter what.

In the cafeteria, Shep tries to make peace with Malik, who’s not interested in appeasing a white guy who wants to make sure the black guy likes him. Carol and Raul try to call Shep away, but he persists. Malik finally says he doesn’t think Shep is a bigot, though he clearly does. Shep loudly tells Carol and Shep how he can’t be racist because his EMT partner is Latino and they play basketball with a bunch of other non-white people. Malik manages to not laugh at him from the next table.

Benton examines Mark’s patient, Mrs. Saunders, and realizes that she didn’t overeat – she’s in labor. Her sister’s shocked since she didn’t know she was pregnant, and supposedly went through menopause. Jeanie joins Benton to deliver the baby, despite the fact that neither really knows how. Ruby thinks Helen’s doing better, and that Carter will be able to fix her up. Carter gently tells him that Helen may need long-term care. Ruby insists that Helen is strong and will eventually be able to go home with him. He appreciates that Carter, unlike his colleagues, actually cares about them.

Doug and Chuny tell Mark that Mrs. Saunders wound up having twins. In much more depressing news, Loretta has cancer. Her phone isn’t working, so Mark decides to go to her house and give her the news in person. Jeanie meets Al at Doc Magoo’s, unsure what he wants to talk about. He tells her that they should give their marriage another try. They can even have kids, like she’s wanted. Jeanie’s tired, both from her exhausting job and from how much work this relationship is. Al says he’s done playing around and is ready to get serious, but Jeanie just walks out.

As Mark looks for an address that doesn’t appear to exist, Benton tries to make up for his earlier treatment of Michael. He explains that the boy has a hernia and needs to have an operation to fix it. Michael’s scared, but Benton tells him he’ll be fine and it’s not a big deal. He even agrees to stay with Michael for a while. Mark decides to go to Susan’s after all, and the two settle in for the evening with pizza and beer. Carter is woken up by his pager, having given the number to Ruby. Ruby has some questions for his new favorite doctor, and Carter probably has some regrets about his kindness.

Thoughts: Carter looks like he’s playing dress-up in his white doctor’s coat.

Jeanie calling out Benton for acting like a child is sooooo satisfying.

Shep: “My sister dated a black guy for two years.” Ha! Shep doesn’t even have a black friend he can use for an “I have black friends” argument – he has to go with his sister’s ex!

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