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.
(walks into the room, sees PATRICK sitting there)
You’ve been here all night. Such a good son!
(She approaches the bed and replaces the morphine bag with a new one.)
(sits up stiffly in the chair)
You guys really need some better chairs. These are only good for screwing up your back.
(responds in a playful tone)
This is a hospital – we can fix that!
(crotchety but also playful)
That’s one way to maintain job security.
(over her shoulder)
Any way we can!
(Sees her pushing buttons on the drip pump. Concerned.)
Are you changing the setting?
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.
Not typical for all of you. . .
(looks up and pauses)
Oh, yes. . . I read about what happened last night.
How is that?
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.
That would have been good to know last night.
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.
And you are not a believer?
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.)
(turning to MARY)
How much longer do you think she has?
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.
(walks closer to the bed and looks down at MARY)
Do you think she can hear us?
I don’t know. . . Maybe it’s like a dream.
If she can hear us, then I’m sure she’s very happy you are here watching over her.
(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.)
(END OF SCENE)
On to Scene 20