SETTING: In the hospital room.
AT RISE: PATRICK is sitting by the bed,
looking down at his mother. She is lying perfectly still, like a figure on the lid of a stone coffin. Several seconds pass. (This is not a fast-paced play!) All of the sudden MARY’s leg gives a little kick under the covers. PATRICK see the kick but doesn’t know what to make of it. While pondering this, the leg kicks again, only this time harder. PATRICK freezes at this, mutters, “What the…,” and watches in horror as MARY’s arm rises off the mattress and comes to rest on her torso. PATRICK now pushes his chair back and stares at his mother. He doesn’t know what to do. Sliding the chair back in, he leans forward to check on MARY’s breathing. Of course she is breathing – she’s moving, you dummy! – and PATRICK leans back in his chair, somewhat relieved. More seconds pass, but then MARY’s hand moves up and awkwardly rubs the side of her face. She mumbles something unintelligible while doing this, as if in a dream, before the hand drops back down to her side again. Totally freaked at this point, PATRICK jumps up and pushes the call button above the headboard. A red light comes on and he starts pacing the room, waiting for the nurse to arrive.)
(enters the room after several seconds)
You pushed the call button?
(pointing at MARY)
She’s moving! Her leg was kicking and her hand came up to rub her face.
(Approaches the bed and looks at MARY. She glances quickly at the drip pump but does not touch anything. Turning to PATRICK.)
She looks fine to me. I’m sure it’s nothing – probably her nervous system acting up.
But Dr. Landen said that she would be totally unconscious.
That’s not always true. They tend to move. He was probably just trying to make you feel better.
(PATRICK exhales, not really believing her.)
(Turns to MARY and watches some more. Nothing happens.)
See – she’s fine – just resting. Now don’t worry. Everything is all right.
(PATRICK keeps quiet. He and NURSE JUNE eye each other for a few seconds before she nods and leaves the room.)
(PATRICK starts pacing again but soon stops. Returning to the bed, he sits in the chair and we are back at the beginning. While sitting there, PATRICK looks at the morphine bag hanging on the stand. Something isn’t right but he can’t quite place it. Turning back to his mother, she remains still. Tick-Tock Tick-Tock Tick-Tock… Then suddenly, without warning, MARY sits up in the bed, eyes wide open and staring forward like a zombie back from the dead. PATRICK lets out a scream and leaps back, tipping over his chair. Mary stays up for a few seconds, not moving an inch, then closes her eyes and drops back down to the mattress. PATRICK immediately rushes over and punches the call button, not taking his eyes off his mother.)
(enters more quickly this time)
What is it?
She sat up in the bed! Her eyes were open! She’s waking up!
(looks at MARY)
No, she isn’t. . .
(getting more agitated)
Yes, she is! She waking up! She waking up!
Look – try to relax. This is all very normal.
(Shakes his head. He looks over at the morphine bag and finally realizes what is wrong. Pointing furiously at the bag.)
The bag is still full. You replaced it hours ago and it’s still full!
(He approaches the stand and looks at the pump.)
(turns to NURSE JUNE)
The pump isn’t working. It’s not working again!
(NURSE JUNE looks at PATRICK but doesn’t say anything.)
They had a problem with this pump before. It dumped a whole bag of morphine into her!
We need to get another pump!
(NURSE JUNE just stands there.)
Nurse – can you get another pump?
It’s not the pump.
It’s not the pump.
What do you mean – “It’s not the pump?”
It’s not the pump. I didn’t turn it back on when I changed the bag.
I didn’t turn the pump back on. I will not have a hand in her death.
(not believing his ears)
Are you crazy?
It’s not right. Thou shalt not kill. . .
Oh, my God – you are crazy!
I will not take part in her death.
I heard you the first time. This isn’t about you!
(pauses to collect himself)
Go get a doctor.
(NURSE JUNE does not move.)
Nurse – please get a doctor. . . NOW!
(When she still doesn’t move, PATRICK walks to the door and sticks his head out. Shouting to the corridor.)
Is there a doctor here?. . . Is there a doctor on this floor?. . . DOCTOR!. . . DOCTOR!. . .
(runs up behind him)
Stop it! You’ll disturb the other patients.
I don’t care about the other patients! I want a doctor!
(NURSE JUNE pushes past him and runs out of the room.)
DOCTOR!. . . IS THERE A DOCTOR HERE!. . . DOCTOR!. . .
I just called for one. He’s on another floor. He’ll be here soon.
If he’s not here in five minutes, I’m going to start shouting again.
(Through all of this, MARY hasn’t moved. PATRICK looks at his mother, then starts pacing again. NURSE JUNE leaves the room and several seconds pass.)
(Enters the room in a rush, followed by NURSE JUNE. To PATRICK.)
(pointing at MARY)
She’s starting to wake up. She’s on Comfort Care and she’s starting to wake up!
(trying to calm PATRICK down)
I’m sure she isn’t—
(cutting him off)
Yes she is! She’s moving! She is supposed to have a continuous drip and the nurse,
(pointing at NURSE JUNE)
didn’t turn the pump back on because it goes against her religious beliefs. She is not following Dr. Landen’s orders.
My mother can’t wake up! She can’t wake up!
(Takes a step back. Looks at NURSE JUNE.)
Is this true?
(defiant but conflicted)
I can’t. . . It’s just not right.
(DR. MARTIN is young. It’s 3 am and he’s tired, overworked, and inexperienced. He struggles to find an answer, caught between PATRICK’s anger and a nurse who is refusing to follow orders. PATRICK doesn’t let up.)
If she can’t do it then find someone else who can. And fast!
(At this, MARY groans and everyone turns to look at her. She is rubbing her face again.)
(to NURSE JUNE)
Show me the protocol.
(They both leave the room.)
(Goes over to MARY and leans down. Calmly)
It’s okay, mom. Don’t worry – you won’t wake up. . .
(enters the room after a bit)
Another nurse is coming. She’ll set the drip and everything will be fine.
What about that one?
(nodding toward the door)
I don’t want her back again.
She’s off in a few hours. The new nurse will watch over your mother until the next shift comes in.
(NURSE MARTA enters the room.)
(to NURSE MARTA)
I want a ten milligram bolus and then we can set the drip for five mils per hour.
(She leaves the room.)
(pointing at the door)
How do I know that one will follow directions?
She will – don’t worry.
(under his breath)
Christ. . .
(NURSE MARTA returns with a syringe pack and hands it to DR. MARTIN. She disconnects the drip line from MARY’s arm, allowing DR. MARTIN to attach the syringe and inject the contents. NURSE MARTA now reconnects the drip line and starts the pump: “beep.” They all watch MARY for several seconds.)
There – everything’s set. Thank you nurse. Please wait for me outside.
(NURSE MARTA nods and leaves the room. To PATRICK)
I gave her an initial dose to settle her down and increased the drip slightly. She won’t wake up now.
(exhales in relief)
Thank you, doctor – so much. . .
(DR. MARTIN nods and leaves the room. PATRICK goes to his mother’s side and puts his hand on her arm.)
You won’t wake up, mom. You won’t wake up. . .
(END OF SCENE)
On to Scene 15