Scene 1

ACT I

Scene 1

SETTING:                   A hospital room with a single bed. The

bed is located upstage, off center. On the wall behind the bed are the typical valves, ports, and hoses found in a hospital room. A rolling table stands beside the bed and there is a single chair for guests. On the other side of the room is a wall with a large window. The window looks out at another wall – no view. The window is backlit for daylight.

AT RISE:                   MARY JOHNSON is lying face up on the

bed. She is wearing a plastic mask that covers her entire face. A BiPAP machine is helping her breathe, and we hear the breathing – loud, rhythmic, somewhat mechanical. The door to the hallway is open and some nurses walk by. An old man, shuffling backward in a wheel-chair, hand tugging a rolling IV stand, stops at the door and looks in. He listens for a bit, shakes his head and then rolls on.

(Inhale–Exhale–Inhale-Exhale…)

NURSE KELLY

(Walks briskly into the room and approaches the bed. She inspects the equipment on the wall and reaches up to adjusts a valve. Satisfied, she now looks down at MARY.)

How are you doing Mrs. Johnson? Are you getting enough oxygen?

(MARY lifts her hand and waves to indicate, so-so. The hand drops.)

NURSE KELLY

(touching MARY’s shoulder)

Okay, Mrs. Johnson. I’ll come back a little later to check.

(NURSE KELLY leaves the room as quickly as she entered.)

(Inhale-Exhale-Inhale-Exhale…)

PATRICK

(Stops in the doorway and checks the room number. He enters the room and sees his mother in the bed.)

Hi, mom. Great – you’ve got your own room.

(approaches the bed and takes MARY’s hand)

How are you feeling?

MARY

(Turns to her son and pauses to catch her breath. Her voice is slightly muffled under the mask.)

Not so good.

PATRICK

(concerned)

I’m sorry to hear that. Is there something I can do?

MARY

(shakes her head)

It was horrible last night.

(pauses to breathe)

I couldn’t sleep.

PATRICK

(Grabs the chair and pulls it closer to the bed. Sits down and takes his mother’s hand again.)

Didn’t they give you anything to sleep?

MARY

(shakes her head)

No, listen—

(long pause)

I can’t take another night like that.

PATRICK

If you want, I can talk to the nurses.

MARY

(shakes her head again)

That’s not it.

(Inhale-Exhale)

I can’t go on like this.

PATRICK

(pauses)

What do you mean, mom?

MARY

I need your help, Pat.

(pauses to breathe)

I can’t take this anymore.

(lifts a hand and points at her mask)

PATRICK

(confused)

What are you saying, mom?

MARY

I can’t live like this.

(Inhale-Exhale)

Want it to stop!

PATRICK

But what can I do?

MARY

You can help me. . .

(pauses to breathe)

End it!

(She lifts her hand and makes a slashing motion under her head.)

PATRICK

(shocked)

What!

MARY

(pleading)

Please, Patrick.

PATRICK

How can I help with that?

MARY

Talk to the doctor.

PATRICK

I can’t do that!

MARY

Talk to the doctor.

(Inhale-Exhale)

Please, Patrick!

(pauses)

Please. . .

PATRICK

(Lets go of MARY’s hand and stands up. Walks over to the window and looks out.)

There’s no view from here.

MARY

For a thousand dollars a day!

(She still has her sense of humor.)

PATRICK

(After a bit, turns and faces his mother.)

What about hospice? I could take you back home.

MARY

(shakes her head)

No!

PATRICK

(pleading)

You could be in your own bed – at home! Wouldn’t that be better than this?

MARY

(hand rises)

I’m too weak.

(Inhale-Exhale)

Don’t want to go home.

(hand drops)

Just want it over!

(pauses)

Please, Pat — talk to the doctor.

PATRICK

(Returns to the bed and sits down. Pauses before speaking. Choking up.)

Mom – I don’t know if I can do this. I. . .

MARY

(reaches out and puts her hand on his)

Sorry, Pat.

(Inhale-Exhale)

It’s always you I ask.

(calmer now)

Please, Patrick. . .

PATRICK

(Long pause. Doesn’t take his eyes off of his mother.)

Okay, mom. Sure. I’ll talk to the doctor.

(lowers his head)

(Inhale-Exhale-Inhale-Exhale…)

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF SCENE)

*

On to Scene 2

 

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