Scene 19

Scene 19

SETTING:                   In the hospital room.

AT RISE:                   PATRICK is sitting by the window,

looking like a wreck: clothes rumpled, shirt pulled out, shoes off, legs up on the chair. We can tell it’s morning by the light coming through the window.

NURSE KELLY

(walks into the room, sees PATRICK sitting there)

You’ve been here all night. Such a good son!

(She goes to the bed and begins replacing the morphine bag with a new one.)

PATRICK

(sits up stiffly in the chair)

You guys really need some better chairs. These are only good for screwing up your back.

NURSE KELLY

(responds in a playful tone)

This is a hospital – we can fix that!

PATRICK

(crotchety but also playful)

That’s one way to maintain job security.

NURSE KELLY

(over her shoulder)

Any way we can!

PATRICK

(Sees her pushing buttons on the drip pump. Concerned.)

Are you changing the setting?

NURSE KELLY

I’m just increasing the drip rate. The brain builds up a resistance to morphine. Even over a short time. We increase the rate to keep her unconscious. It’s typical protocol.

PATRICK

Not typical for all of you. . .

NURSE KELLY

(looks up and pauses)

Oh, yes. . . I read about what happened last night.

PATRICK

How is that?

NURSE KELLY

Every nurse is required to leave a report at the end of the shift.

(walks closer to PATRICK)

Not all of us believe in doing this –

(points at the drip pump)

Comfort Care. They see it as a moral issue.

PATRICK

That would have been good to know last night.

NURSE KELLY

Yes. . . Well, we don’t always know ourselves here. It’s not just the nurses. A lot of the doctors won’t do it. They believe it violates the Hippocratic oath. That and their religious beliefs, I guess.

PATRICK

And you are not a believer?

NURSE KELLY

Well – let’s just say I believe in other things. There’s a lot of unnecessary suffering. I don’t see much point in that.

(They remain silent, looking at each other.)

PATRICK

(turning to MARY)

How much longer do you think she has?

NURSE KELLY

I don’t know. Her breathing is very shallow now. The morphine eventually builds up and the body shuts down. No pain, just a fading away.

PATRICK

(walks closer to the bed and looks down at MARY)

Do you think she can hear us?

NURSE KELLY

(comes closer)

I don’t know. . . Maybe it’s like a dream.

(pauses)

If she can hear us, then I’m sure she’s very happy you are here watching over her.

PATRICK

(He wants to hug her. Choking up.)

Thank you for that. . .

(NURSE KELLY puts her hand on PATRICK’s shoulder and then leaves the room.)

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF SCENE)

*

On to Scene 20