November 16, 2021

ER 9.19, Things Change: Abby to the Rescue (Again)

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

Don’t get attached to the new med students. They won’t be staying

Summary: A man on a Chicago street is having a really bad night. He’s shaking, and when he tries to take some pills, he drops them. Plus, he’s hallucinating snakes and people with needles, and his senses seem amplified. He ends up in the ER, where Susan and Abby tend to him. Weaver is also in the ER for the day, doing damage control for the mess Romano made in just one day running the place.

Carter has received a package from the Alliance de French Whatever, even though he keeps claiming he’s not going overseas. Luka’s going to the Congo, though. Carter thinks Weaver’s just working a couple of shifts in the ER to keep up appearances. Romano brings him a group of med students, since Carter’s still chief resident and is supposed to teach them stuff. When paramedics bring in a patient who had a heart attack, Carter uses him as a teaching case.

Abby tells Susan that a medevac helicopter is bringing in a patient. Susan asks if it’s Chuck’s unit. She’s smitten by him, even though they’re supposed to be getting their marriage annulled. Abby finds medication in their patient’s jacket (the guy who was hallucinating before), which provides his name, James. He’s taking an anti-psychotic, and may have taken too many, which caused his heart to stop. He tells Susan that the pills keep “them” from finding him.

Jerry sticks his head into the exam room to tell Abby that Eric’s on the phone. She’s shocked by the news, since she hasn’t heard from him in two months. James is worried that “they” can scan him in the ER, but Abby assures him that, because radiology is above them, the floors and walls are lined with lead. This calms his down. Abby rushes to take Eric’s call, but he got impatient waiting and hung up. He told Jerry he’d call back in an hour. Abby asks if he sounded okay, but Jerry wasn’t paying attention. She calls Maggie to let her know that Eric contacted her.

Abby then goes to help Pratt with a patient named Andrew, whom Romano is annoyed hasn’t been seen and moved along yet, since he just has a sore throat. Abby says he has a fever, too, and Romano replies that he’s never asked for a nurse’s opinion. Okay, but he did ask Abby for information last week. I guess that’s okay with him since it didn’t involve her take on something. Anyway, Romano examines Andrew himself and tells Pratt to get rid of him.

Romano has more important things to do, like talk to a woman. That woman happens to be Gordana, Luka’s med-school friend who contacted him about a pro-bono operation. Everything has been approved, and Gordana has come to observe the procedure. Her presence in the ER makes Luka happier than he’s been all season. He invites her to shadow him as he helps Susan take care of the patient brought in by helicopter (and yes, it was Chuck’s unit – hi, Chuck!).

Abby and Weaver chat about a patient whose mother may be making him sick because of Munchausen by proxy. Romano and Weaver bicker a little before he goes to work with Luka and Susan. Susan checks the intubation Chuck performed, promising that it’s not personal; she always checks paramedics and flight nurses’ intubations.

Romano goes to get Elizabeth, who’s consulting on Chen and Gallant’s patient, Mona, who has stomach pain. Elizabeth says it’s gas, but Gallant thinks she has a mass. Romano suggests that they admit her and give her a full work-up. Elizabeth ignores him and leaves, not wanting to admit a patient she doesn’t think needs to be admitted. This isn’t the way to clear up beds in the ER.

Abby calls her in to examine Luka and Susan’s patient, and Romano and Elizabeth bicker through the process. Luka thinks the complication the patient is experiencing is from Chuck’s intubation. Susan defends him, since she checked his work and it was fine. Plus, if he did screw up, it was because it’s hard to hear in a helicopter, and he might not have realized he’d done something wrong.

Susan drops something and chastises Abby, who points out that Susan made the mistake. Susan lashes out by kicking Gordana out of the trauma room because there are too many people there. The patient’s lung isn’t inflating, so Luka brings up the intubation again. Elizabeth sarcastically says that Romano’s leadership skills sure are helping raise morale in the ER. Abby’s like, “The patient’s getting worse, in case anyone wants to focus on him.”

Carter finds a new teaching case for the med students, who all seem to know their stuff, though they ask a lot of questions. He sends them off to see other patients/stop bugging him. He delivers match letters to Gallant and Pratt, who are both happy with their results. Gallant will be staying at County for his residency, and Pratt will be transferring to Northwestern.

The med students try to ask Abby questions, but she’s focused on finding out if Eric has called back yet. Gordana asks her to tell Luka that she has to leave. They chat about Luka, whom Gordana says was the class clown back in Croatia. He was always happy and had a contagious laugh. Abby’s not familiar with that side of him. Gordana acknowledges that he’s changed. Yeah, maybe it was the whole thing where his wife and kids died. Gordana expected to find him married with a family by now. It’s what his late wife would have wanted.

Susan apologizes to Abby for being short with her in the trauma room, while Abby acknowledges that she wasn’t as focused as she should have been. Susan asks Frank if Chuck’s unit has left yet. He tells her to find out by going up to the roof. If there’s no helicopter there, they left. Susan asks Frank if he’s taking anything for his high cholesterol. When he says no, she replies, “Good.”

Abby has finally learned how to deal with the psych department: Tell them you’re bringing up a patient unless they come to the ER to do an assessment. She goes back to James, who’s anxious again. He fights her as she tries to help him, so she firmly but kindly reminds him that she’s trying to help him. Of course, this is when Eric calls back.

James seems to calm down, so Abby picks up the phone in the exam room. But James’ hallucinations are back, and this time he’s hearing things as well as seeing them. He thinks he’s in some lab, having been captured by people who want to hurt him. He attacks Abby, who manages to pull the fire alarm. She curls up on the floor until James lets her go and runs out of the room. In the hallway, he hallucinates people being experimented on. Abby runs after him, but he makes it outside and takes off.

The rest of the ER has to keep running while the fire alarm is blaring. It’s just another thing that makes Pratt happy he’ll soon be working at Northwestern. He suggests that Chen get a job there, too, but she keeps being drawn back to County. Pratt invites her to celebrate his match with him, but before they can make plans, Gallant interrupts to take Chen back to Mona. She’s septic now, and Romano blames Elizabeth, since she didn’t take Mona’s complaints seriously. Yet it’s Romano who gets punished by having Mona throw up on him. Ew, and it’s right over the ulcer he has on his reattached arm.

Carter consults with the med students, who are a big help in moving patients along. Jerry tells Carter he has a phone call, but Carter has to run to take care of a patient. Jerry passes the call on to Weaver, since the caller says it’s urgent. Moments later, she goes to Carter’s trauma room and tells him to let her take over his patient while he goes to the phone. The call is about Millicent. Carter isn’t really paying attention to Weaver, but he realizes from her face and tone of voice that Millicent has died.

Carter keeps working on his patient, even though it seems pointless. He’s able to stabilize the patient’s heart, but he was without oxygen for so long that he might never wake up. Carter leaves the trauma room and tries to collect himself. Meanwhile, Gordana is still at the hospital, and she’s learned that there’s a problem with her patient’s visa. No one will tell her the specifics because they’re not family.

Weaver chastises Abby for calling a social worker for their possible Munchausen case, since Adele called DCFS. Okay, then go yell at Adele. Leave Abby alone. She’s trying to find out where Eric is while dealing with the fact that she was attacked not that long ago. This patient isn’t even a real storyline! It’s filler! Susan finds Chuck, who’s upset that she questioned whether he intubated his patient correctly. She tells him that the patient’s lung wasn’t inflating. Chuck says the same thing she did earlier about how it’s hard to hear breath sounds on a helicopter.

She pulls him into a room to tell him he should have caught the problem before the patient got to the ER. She stood up for him, which offends him. He thinks she did it because she’s a doctor and he’s a nurse. Susan admits that might have been part of it. Doctors complain about EMTs all the time. Chuck starts laughing, since he and his fellow flight nurses complain about doctors all the time. He tries to kiss her, ignoring the fact that there’s a dead body in the room. Luka and Gordana find them before they can start making out. Luka tries very hard to hide a smile.

Romano asks Gordana to help him do a procedure on Mona that he doesn’t think she would survive in the ER. Carter tries to call his mother while keeping up with his patients. He finds Romano and Gordana doing Mona’s procedure together, which is probably not allowed because I doubt Gordana is licensed to practice in the U.S., but oh, well. She’s so good at what she’s doing that Romano is nice enough to let Carter leave his shift early.

Luka asks Carter if he knows anyone at the State Department. They need help getting Gordana’s patient into the U.S. Luka, my man, this is the worst possible time to ask Carter for a favor, and he already doesn’t like you. Carter asks Jerry to find Abby, then calls his father, who’s trying to make a flight to Chicago. Carter’s grief is starting to catch up to him, and he’s fighting to keep the emotion out of his voice.

Abby finds him, but before they can talk, Pratt needs Carter’s help with Andrew. He’s sicker than Romano thought, and he needs some sort of procedure. While they work, Carter asks Abby if she’s ready to leave when they’re done. She is, but there’s some confusion about where they’re going next. Abby thinks Carter is going with her to Des Moines to get Eric. Carter had no idea he’d gotten in touch, and that Abby is planning to go pick him up. In turn, Abby had no idea that Millicent died.

Once they’re done with Andrew, Carter tells Abby that his grandmother called just a few days ago about some charitable thing. He didn’t pick up the phone because it was something he wasn’t interested in. She called last night and he ignored the call again. Abby tries to reassure him that Millicent had a great life, and Carter was a big part of it. She died in her sleep, so she was peaceful and didn’t feel any pain.

Abby still plans to go to Des Moines, even though Carter wants her to stay and support him as he makes funeral arrangements. He doesn’t think it would do much harm for Eric to stay off his meds another day, since he’s been off them for weeks. Abby’s worried that Eric will disappear again if she doesn’t go to him immediately. She’ll be back in just a few hours. Annoyed, Carter tells her to go ahead; Millicent will still be dead when she gets back.

Romano has saved Mona, and now he’s left dealing with Carter’s med students. He hands them off to Pratt, who tells them that Romano’s failure to give Andrew thorough care led to a major complication. Pratt must feel emboldened by all these witnesses, because there’s no way he would call Romano out like this if it were just the two of them. Romano sends the students away, then tells Pratt he gets to work night shifts for the next month. That’s not the punishment he thinks it is, since Pratt doesn’t mind working nights.

Susan tries to convince Luka that she and Chuck were definitely not going to get naked in that exam room right before he and Gordana found them. Luka’s still amused. Susan argues that having sex with her husband (technically) in the hospital would have been better than Luka having sex with a patient’s mother. Luka notes that at least they did it in an empty room.

Carter’s still at the hospital, planning to pick up his father at the airport on the way home, so Weaver asks him a medical question. She then addresses the patient he worked so hard to save. She thinks Carter should take a few days off of work. Romano has the med students doing a procedure on Carter’s patient, since Romano doesn’t think the man will recover. Carter kicks all the students out and blasts Romano for using a man who’s still alive as a practice cadaver. He cleans up after them.

Abby meets up with Eric in a diner in Des Moines. He’s happy to see her, and though he looks pretty rough, he seems stable. She can’t help noting that he called her instead of Maggie. Okay, maybe Eric isn’t so stable after all, since he thinks people keep looking at him. But of the two mentally unstable people Abby has dealt with today, Eric’s the easy one.

Elizabeth finds Romano cleaning his ulcer and tells him that, while he saved Mona, she still needs surgery since Romano wasn’t able to do everything himself. She takes over treating the ulcer for him and says she would have diagnosed Mona properly if Romano hadn’t butted his way into the case. He caused more problems by trying to help. Romano admits that the ulcer doesn’t hurt, which is a bad sign. He’s running out of possibilities for regaining full use of his arm. Elizabeth hesitates to say that he might be better off having it amputated.

Luka and Gordana hang out at his place, still unable to get information on her patient. Luka thinks Anspaugh might be able to help. Gordana notes how far Luka’s come from when he was in med school, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates. Now he has a busy life, since everyone in America seems busy.

Abby and Eric missed their flight back to Chicago, so she calls Carter to let him know they’re spending the night in Des Moines. She gives Eric his medication, and he resigns himself to taking it for the rest of his life. She tells him they all thought he was dead, except Maggie. Eric wonders what happens next. He can’t keep disappearing like their mother, then waiting for Abby to save him. She suggests that he get into a treatment program, and he asks if she’ll help him.

Carter finally makes it to Millicent’s house, though without his father, who’s going to take a later flight. The funeral home hasn’t come yet to get Millicent’s body. One of her employees tells Carter that Millicent was a wonderful woman. He goes upstairs to his grandmother’s bedroom, where Frances Sternhagen has probably been paid more than I make in a year to lie very still and look dead. Carter pulls a chair up to her bed and finally lets himself cry.

Thoughts: Gordana should stay on the show if only because we might get to see Happy Luka all the time. I’m desperate for Happy Luka.

Abby handles her attack incredibly well. She immediately tells Frank to call security and cancel the fire alarm. Then she tries to catch James, when she would be justified in letting someone else deal with him. Abby’s awesome.

I’m not sure where I stand on Carter and Abby’s dueling emergencies. On one hand, Eric couldn’t wait, and Abby planned to be back to support Carter later. On the other hand, if your partner loses a loved one, you should be there for them. If the tables were turned and, say, Maggie died, Carter would be by Abby’s side the whole time. Then again, he was childish about her choosing Eric over him. Like, you can be upset, but…say that. Say, “I’m frustrated and disappointed that you’re prioritizing your family over mine.” This is why their relationship is bad. They’re horrible at communicating with each other.

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