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Wit Script

Cast:

Vivian
Bearing
Dr. Kelekian
Susie
Monahan

Jason
Posner(youn
g & doctor)

X-ray Nurse

CT scan
Nurse

Research
Team
Doctors (4)
Code Blue
Team Head
Code Blue
Team (6)

(SCENE 1, Office of Vivian Bearing)


Mrs. Ashford:

(Poetical Reading.)
"Death be not proud
Though some have called thee
mighty and dreadful
For thou art not so
For those whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death
Nor yet canst thou kill me
Thou art slave to Fate
Chance, kings, and desperate men
And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke
Why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past
We wake eternally
And Death capital D comma
shall be no more," Comma.
Death thou shalt die! exclamation mark.
Jason, you've missed the point of the poem. You've used an
edition of the text that is unrealistically punctuated. Your
essay on Holy Sonnet VI is a melodrama that is unworthy of
scholarship. Do it again.

Young Jason:

But maam. I need to talk to you about something.

Miss Bearing:
Young Jason:

What is it?
I need to ask for an extension on my paper. (Pause) I'm sorry,
I know your policy, but...

Miss Bearing:

Don't tell me, your grandmother died.

Young Jason:

You knew?

Miss Bearing:

It was a guess. (With disgust.)

Young Jason:

I have to go home.

Miss Bearing:

Do what you will, but the paper is due when it is due.


(Jason walks off. Lights fade out)
(SCENE 3, 10 years later. Classroom.)

Miss Bearing:

What, then... is the punctuation that... You! (Slams table and


stares at Dumb Student) What is the punctuation that makes the
dramatic pause in this sonnet?

Dumb Student:

(stares blankly at teacher) Huh?

Miss Bearing:

In this sonnet, what is the... (Coughs)...the punctuation that


creates a pause? I'll give you a hint: It has nothing to do
with basketball.

Dumb Student:

(looks at his book confused) Umm...

Miss Bearing:

You can come to this class prepared, or you can be excused


from this class, this department, and this university. Do not
think for a moment that I will tolerate anything in between.
(Stares at dumb student.)
(Bell rings. Looks at the class.)
homeworks?

Class:

Aww...

Dumb Student:

We havent finished it yet, maam.

Now, class, where are your

(Class gets noisy.)


Miss Bearing:

Quiet down... quiet down! (Blows whistle and gets mad) I told
you, you need to have your homework every single day! (Bossy
tone) Wheres your stuff?! Get it out of your bags, right
now. Lets go. Lets go people.
(Students complaining.)

Miss Bearing:

I need to see those papers. Where are those papers? (Class


gets noisier) Quiet! (Slams blackboard really hard together
with a sudden intense pain in the abdomen, then silence.) Ah.
Aaahh! (Leans back on the table then falls down. Class gets
unstable. Lights fade out. Ambulance siren sounds.)

(SCENE 4, Doctors Office)


Dr. Kelekian:

You have cancer. Miss Bearing, you have advanced metastatic


ovarian cancer.

Miss Bearing:

Go on.

Dr. Kelekian:

You are a professor, Miss Bearing.

Miss Bearing:

Like yourself, Dr. Kelekian.

Dr. Kelekian:

Why, yes. Now then, you present with a growth that


unfortunately went undetected in stages one, two, and three.
Now it is an insidious adenocarcinoma.

Miss Bearing:

Insidious?

Dr. Kelekian:

Insidious means undetectable at an early...

Miss Bearing:

Insidious means treacherous.

Dr. Kelekian:

Shall I continue?

Miss Bearing:

By all means.

Dr. Kelekian:

Good. In invasive epithelial carcinoma, the most effective


treatment is a chemotherapeutic agent. We are developing an
experimental combination of drugs designed for primary-site
ovarian cancer, for the target specificity of stage three and
beyond administration. Am I going too fast?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Kelekian:

You will be hospitalized as an in-patient for treatment each


cycle. After the initial eight cycles, you will have another
battery of tests.
The antineoplastic will inevitably affect some healthy cells
including those lining the gastrointestinal tract, the lips to
the anus, and the hair follicles. We will be relying on your
resolve to withstand some of the more harmful side effects.
(Pause.) Do you have any questions so far?

Miss Bearing:

Please, go on.

Dr. Kelekian:

Right. Now, the tumor is spreading very quickly. And this


treatment is very aggressive. So far, so good?

Miss Bearing:

Yes.

Dr. Kelekian:

Better not teach next semester.

Miss Bearing:

Out of the question.

Dr. Kelekian:

The first week of each cycle you'll be hospitalized for


chemotherapy. The next week you may feel a little tired. The
next two will be fine, relatively.

Miss Bearing:

Eight months like that.

Dr. Kelekian:

This treatment is the strongest thing we have to offer you.


And as research, it'll make a significant contribution to our
knowledge.

Miss Bearing:

Knowledge. Yes.

Dr. Kelekian:

Here is the informed consent form. Should you agree, you sign
there, at the bottom. Is there a family member you want me to
explain this to?

Miss Bearing:

That won't be necessary.

Dr. Kelekian:

Good. The important thing is for you to take the full dose of
chemotherapy. There may be times when you wish for a lesser

dose, due to the side effects. But we've got to go full force.
(Pause.) Dr. Bearing?
Miss Bearing:

Yes.

Dr. Kelekian:

You must be very tough. Do you think you can be very tough?

Miss Bearing:

You needn't worry.

Dr. Kelekian:

Good. Excellent.

(SCENE 5, X-ray Room)


Nurse:

Name?

Miss Bearing:

My name? Vivian Bearing.

Nurse:

Huh?

Miss Bearing:

Bearing. B-E-A-R-l-N-G. Vivian. V-l-V-l-A-N.

Nurse:

Doctor?

Miss Bearing:

Yes, I have a Ph.D.

Nurse:

Your doctor?

Miss Bearing:

Oh. Ah... Dr. Harvey Kelekian.

(Nurse assists her to take X-ray.)


Nurse:

Take a deep breath and hold it. (click) Okay. Arms above your
head, and hold it. (click) Okay. Okay, that's it.
(SCENE 6, Physical Exam)

(Nurse Suzzie transports her with a wheelchair and enter the door.)
Nurse Suzzie:

Hi!

Dr. Posner:

Hi!

(Both stares intimately at each other.)


Mrs. Bearing:

(Interrupts moment.) Hi!

Nurse Suzzie:

Oh. Miss Bearing, this is Jason Posner. (Tulala kay Jason)


He's gonna do me... (Realizing her recklessness.) do your
medical history and ask you a few questions. He's Dr.
Kelekian's research associate.

Dr. Posner:

Haha... I'm Dr. Posner, clinical Fellow at the medical


oncology branch, working with Dr. Kelekian.

Nurse Suzzie:

Sit over here, please.

Dr. Posner:

Prof. Bearing, I was a student at the university. Took your


course in 17th century poetry.

Miss Bearing:

Did you?

Dr. Posner:

Yes, I thought it was excellent.

Miss Bearing:

Thank you. Were you an English major?

Dr. Posner:

No, biochemistry. You can't get into med school unless you're
well-rounded. I bet with myself I could get an A in the three
hardest courses.

Nurse Suzzie:

Really. How'd you do?

Dr. Posner:

Success.

Miss Bearing:

Really?

Dr. Posner:

A-minus. It was a very tough course.

Miss Bearing:

(nods) Mmm...

Dr. Posner:

(to nurse Lucy) Yeah, umm... I'll call you.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay.

Dr. Posner:

I'll just wheel this over. Okay, I'm going to be taking your
history which is a medical interview, and then I give you an
exam. Okay, let's just get started. How are you feeling today?

Mrs Bearing:

Fine, thank you.

Dr. Posner:

And how's your general health?

Miss Bearing:

Fine.

Dr. Posner:

Good. We know that you're an academic.

Miss Bearing:

Yes, we've established that.

Dr. Posner:

So we don't need to talk about your work.

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

How old are you?

Miss Bearing:

48.

Dr. Posner:

Are you married?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Are your parents living?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

How and when did they die?

Miss Bearing:

My father, suddenly, of a heart attack when I was 21. My


mother, slowly, when I was 41 or 42, of breast cancer.

Dr. Posner:

Cancer?

Miss Bearing:

Breast cancer.

Dr. Posner:

I see. Any siblings?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

And now your medical history. Have you ever been hospitalized?

Miss Bearing:

I had my tonsils out when I was eight.

Dr. Posner:

Have you ever been pregnant?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Heart murmurs?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

High blood pressure?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Venereal diseases, uterine infections...

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Thyroid, diabetes, cancer...

Miss Bearing:

No. Cancer, yes.

Dr. Posner:

When?

Miss Bearing:

Now.

Dr. Posner:

(Stares.) Well not including now.

Miss Bearing:

In that case, no.

Dr. Posner:

Okay. Clinical depression, nervous breakdown, suicide


attempts...

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Do you smoke?

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Ethanol.

Miss Bearing:

I beg your pardon?

Dr. Posner:

Alcohol.

Miss Bearing:

Ethanol. Yes, I drink wine.

Dr. Posner:

How much, how often?

Miss Bearing:

A glass, with dinner, occasionally, and perhaps a scotch every


now and then.

Dr. Posner:

Do you use any substances?

Miss Bearing:

Such as?

Dr. Posner:

Marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, PCP, ecstasy, poppers...

Miss Bearing:

No.

Dr. Posner:

Do you drink caffeinated beverages?

Miss Bearing:

Yes.

Dr. Posner:

Which ones?

Miss Bearing:

Coffee, a few cups a day.

Dr. Posner:

How many?

Miss Bearing:

Two to... six. But I don't think that's immoderate.

Dr. Posner:

How often do you have routine medical checkups?

Miss Bearing:

Not as often as I should probably, but I've felt fine, I


really have.

Dr. Posner:

So, the answer is?

Miss Bearing:

Every three to five years.

Dr. Posner:

What do you do for exercise?

Miss Bearing:

Walking.

Dr. Posner:

Are you having sexual relations?

Miss Bearing:

Not at the moment.

Dr. Posner:

Are you pre or post-menopausal?

Miss Bearing:

Post.

Dr. Posner:

When did your periods stop?

Miss Bearing:

About two years ago.

Dr. Posner:

Okay. When did you first notice your present complaint?

Miss Bearing:

This time, now?

Dr. Posner:

Yes.

Miss Bearing:

About four months ago, I felt a pain in my stomach, in my


abdomen... like a cramp, but not the same.

Dr. Posner:

How did it feel?

Miss Bearing:

Like a cramp.

Dr. Posner:

But not the same?

Miss Bearing:

Duller and stronger, I can't describe it.

Dr. Posner:

What happened next?

Miss Bearing:

I don't know... I started noticing little things about my


body. I would be teaching and feel a sharp pain.

Dr. Posner:

What kind of pain?

Miss Bearing:

Sharp... (Stares annoyingly) and sudden. Then it would go


away, or, I would be tired... Exhausted.
I was working on a major project... the article on John
Donne... for the Oxford Encyclopedia of English Literature. It
was a great honor, but I had a very strict deadline.

Dr. Posner:

Were you under stress?

Miss Bearing:

It wasn't much more stress than usual... I just couldn't


withstand it this time.

Dr. Posner:

So...

Miss Bearing:

I had my usual English class at the college that day. I was


too stressed out from the nights work I got mad at my
students in class. Suddenly, I felt this sudden pain in my
abdomen. It was extremely painful I couldnt help it I fainted
in class.
The next day, I went to see Dr. Chin, my gynecologist, after
I'd turned in the article. She examined me, sent me to
Jefferson, the internist... who sent me to Kelekian because he
thought I might have a tumor.

Dr. Posner:

And that's it.

Miss Bearing:

Till now.

Dr. Posner:

That's very interesting. Hmm... I guess we'll start the exam.


(Assists her to bed.) Why don't you just sort of lie back and

relax. Won't take a minute. Let me get this sheet. (Cover


Bearing w/ a blanket) Here. Okay. Yeah, just... (pulls
stirrups) Feet in the stirrups here. Okay. Okay. Could you
just... (Beckons Bearing to come closer.) Yeah. There. Okay.
Good, okay. Okay. Oh. I've got to go get Susie. I've got to
have a girl here, some crazy, clinical rule. Don't move, I'll
be right back. (goes outside) Suzzie?
Miss Bearing:

I wish I had given him an A. Two times one is two. Two times
two is four. Two times three is six.

Dr. Posner:

(comes in with nurse Suzzie) Okay, here's everything.

Nurse Suzzie:

What is this? Why did you leave her like this?

Dr. Posner:

I had to find you, now come on. (To Bearing.) We're ready,
Prof. Bearing. Just get this on. (Puts gloves on & lubricant.)
All right. Just get this up. Just relax. (starts IE) Okay.
Isn't that interesting, Susie, that I had Prof. Bearing?

Nurse Suzzie:

Yeah. I wish I had taken some literature. I don't know


anything about poetry.

Dr. Posner:

Prof. Bearing was highly regarded on campus. Her course looked


very good on my transcript. They even asked me about it in my
interview to medical school. (feels something) Gosh.

Nurse Suzzie:

What?

Miss Bearing:

What?

Dr. Posner:

Yeah, I survived Bearing's course. Yeah, no problem. Yeah,


John Donne, those metaphysical poets? That metaphysical wit.
Hardest poetry in the English department. Like to see them try
biochemistry. Okay. We're almost done, all right. Yeah, okay.
That's it, we're done. (Takes gloves off & throws them in
garbage.) I gotta go. Take her feet out. Yeah. (Swiftly walks
out & slams doors. Then awkward silence.)

Nurse Suzzie:

Here. (hands Bearing a tissue.)

Miss Bearing:

Thank you. I'm just gonna... (wipes her vagina)

(Alone in room)
Miss Bearing:

(vomiting.) Oh, God. Please... Steady. Steady. Oh, God. What's


left? I haven't eaten in two days. What's left to puke? God,
I'm gonna barf my brains out.

Nurse Suzzie:

(Phone beeps. Then Suzzie calls.) How you doing, Miss Bearing?
You having some nausea?

Miss Bearing:

Yes.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay, I'll be with you in a second.

(Nurse Suzzie comes in.)


Miss Bearing:

It's about 300 ccs.

Nurse Suzzie:

Is that all?

Miss Bearing:

It was very hard work.

Nurse Suzzie:

(Measures vomit.) Yeah, it's 300. Good guess. Okay. Is there


anything else I can get you? You want some Jello or something?

Miss Bearing:

Thank you, no.

Nurse Suzzie:

Are you okay all by yourself in here?

Miss Bearing:

Yes.

Nurse Suzzie:

Not having a lot of visitors, are you?

Miss Bearing:

None to be precise.

Nurse Suzzie:

I didn't think so. Is there somebody you want me to call, or


something?

Miss Bearing:

That won't be necessary. I don't want visitors.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay. I'll tell you what. I'll come in every once in a while
to see how you're doing. Make sure you're okay. If you need
anything, you just ring. (Records data in chart.)

Miss Bearing:

Thank you. Okay.

Nurse Suzzie:

(Puts hands in her shoulders.) You just call. (Walks out.)

(Grand Rounds)
Dr. Kelekian:

Dr. Bearing.

Miss Bearing:

Dr. Kelekian.

Dr. Posner:

Prof. Bearing. How are you feeling today?

Miss Bearing:

Fine.

Dr. Posner:

Great, just great.(Opens skirt suddenly.) Very late detection,


stage is four upon admission. Hexamethophosphacil with
Vinplatin to potentiate. Hex at 300 milligrams per meter
squared, Vin at 100. Today is cycle four, day three. All
cycles are at full dose. Primary site is here, behind the left
ovary. Metastases are suspected in the peritoneal cavity...

mainly in this area here. Full lymphatic involvement. At the


time of first-look surgery... a large part of the tumor was
de-bulked... mainly in this area here. Left and right
ovaries... fallopian tubes, uterus, all out. Evidence of
primary-site shrinkage. Shrinking in metastases has not been
documented. Primary mass frankly palpable, in pelvic exam...
all through here.
Dr. Kelekian:

Excellent command of details. Okay. Problem areas with Hex and


Vin?

Dr. 1:

Myelosuppression...

Dr. Posner:

(interrupts) Myelosuppression... lowering blood-cell counts.


With this combination of agents, nephrotoxicity will be next.

Dr. Kelekian:

Anybody else? Side effects?

Dr. 1:

Nausea, vomiting.

Dr. Kelekian:

Jason?

Dr. Posner:

Routine.

Dr. 2:

Pain while urinating.

Dr. Posner:

Routine.

Dr. 3:

Psychological depression?

Dr. Posner:

No way.

Dr. Kelekian:

Anything else? Other complaints with Hex and Vin? Come on.

Dr. 4:

Mouth sores?

Dr. Posner:

Not yet.

Dr. 2:

Skin rash?

Dr. Posner:

No.

Dr. Kelekian:

Why do we waste our time, Dr. Bearing?

Mrs. Bearing:

I do not know, Dr. Kelekian.

Dr. Kelekian:

Use your eyes. Good grief. Hair loss.

Doctors:

Come on! That doesnt count! You can see that!

Dr. Kelekian:

Jason?

Dr. Posner:

Hair loss after first cycle of treatment.

Dr. Kelekian:

That's better. Dr. Bearing. Full dose? Good, excellent. Keep


pushing the fluids. Jason, clinical.

Dr. Posner:

Oh. Right. Thank you, Prof. Bearing, you've been very


cooperative.

(Arriving at hospital from home)


Miss Bearing:

Fever and neutropenia.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay, when did it start?

Miss Bearing:

I was at home reading. I felt so bad, I got cold. Fever and


neutropenia. They said to come in.

Nurse Suzzie:

You did the right thing. Did somebody drive you?

Miss Bearing:

I took a taxi.

Nurse Suzzie:

Can you walk? Okay, just sit here a minute. I'll get Jason,
he's on call tonight and he'll be able to give you some meds.
Glad I was here tonight. I'm gonna get you to a bed soon,
okay? I'm gonna get you some nice juice with lots of ice,
okay?

Mrs. Bearing:

Lights. I left all the lights on at my house.

Nurse Suzzie:

Don't worry about it. It'll be okay.

(Nurse Suzzie goes out to call Jason. He just woke up and is still in a sleepy
mood.)
Dr. Posner:

(in a sleepy mood) Prof. Bearing, how you feeling?

Mrs. Bearing:

My teeth are chattering.

Dr. Posner:

(To Suzzie.) Vitals?

Nurse Suzzie:

Temp 102. Pulse 120. Respiration 26.

Dr. Posner:

Fever and neutropenia, it's a shake and bake. Blood culture


and urine, stat. Admit her. Prepare her for reverse isolation.
Start with acetaminophen. Vitals every four hours. (walks out)

Nurse Suzzie:

(chases after him) Jason. You'd better talk to Kelekian about


lowering the dose next cycle. It's too much for her.

Dr. Posner:

(in disgust) Lowering the dose? No way, she's tough, she can
take it. Full dose. Wake me when the counts come from the lab.
(walks away. Nurse Suzzie stares at him in disbelief.)

(Daydreaming)

Ms. Bearing:

(Muttering.) We want to remind the speaker of the assurance of


salvation. But it's too late, the poetic encounter is over. We
are left to our own consciences. Have we outwitted Donne?
(Suzzie knocks.)

Nurse Suzzie:

Miss bearing?

Miss Bearing:

Or, have we been outwitted?

Nurse Suzzie:

(Knocks louder.) Miss bearing?

Miss Bearing:

What is it?

Nurse Suzzie:

You have to go down for a test. Jason just called. They wanna
do another ultrasound. They're concerned about a bowel
obstruction.

Miss Bearing:

No, not now.

Nurse Suzzie:

I'm sorry, they want it now.

Miss Bearing:

Not right now, it's not supposed to be now.

Nurse Suzzie:

They want to do it now, I've got the chair.

Miss Bearing:

It should not be now, I... I have this planned for now, not an
ultrasound. No more tests, we've covered that.

Nurse Suzzie:

I know. But they need for it to be now. It isn't a bad


procedure and it won't take long, so why don't you come now?

Miss Bearing:

I do not want to go now.

Nurse Suzzie:

Miss Bearing...

(Ultrasound Room)
Nurse:

Name?

Miss Bearing:

B-E-A-R-l-N-G. Kelekian.

Nurse:

It'll just be a minute.

Miss Bearing:

Time for your break?

Nurse:

Yeah.

Miss Bearing:

Take a break.

(In pain)

(Bearing expresses great pain. Then Suzzie enters and sits by Bearings side.)
Nurse Suzzie:

Okay. We've located Dr. Kelekian and he's on his way here...
and we'll get you some meds.

Mrs. Bearing:

God, it's so painful. So much pain.

Nurse Suzzie:

I know. Just try and relax and clear your mind. We'll get you
patient-controlled analgesic. (Trying to explain.) It's a
little pump with a little button and you press it... and you
decide how much medication you want. It's very simple and it's
all up to you. Okay.

Dr. Kelekian:

Dr. Bearing. Suzzie.

Nurse Suzzie:

(Stands up.) It's time for patient-controlled analgesic. The


pain's killing her.

Dr. Kelekian:

(Calmly) Dr. Bearing, are you in pain?

Mrs. Bearing:

(To self) I don't believe this.

Dr. Kelekian:

I want a morphine drip.

Nurse Suzzie:

What about patient-controlled? She'd be more alert.

Dr. Kelekian:

Ordinarily yes. In her case, no.

Nurse Suzzie:

But I think she would really rather...

Dr. Kelekian:

(Interrupts and stares.) She's earned her rest.

(Suzzie sitsdown hurriedly.)


Dr. Kelekian:

Morphine. 10 push now and start it in an hour. Dr. Bearing,


try to relax, we'll help you through this. Don't worry.
Excellent. (Suzzie stares at him in disgust. Then all exits.)

(Suzzie comes back to administer meds on IV.)


Miss Bearing:

I trust this will have a soporific effect?

Nurse Suzzie:

I don't know about that, but it sure does make you sleepy.

Miss Bearing:

(laughs.)

Nurse Suzzie:

What's so funny? What?

Miss Bearing:

It's just... It's that "soporific" means... "makes you


sleepy."

Nurse Suzzie:

It does? That was dumb. (Both laughs.)

Miss Bearing:

No, it was funny.

Nurse Suzzie:

Yeah? In a dumb sort of way. I'm glad you explained it to me.


I never would've thought of that.

(Jason & Suzzie)


Dr. Posner:

Yeah, she was a great scholar. Wrote tons of books, articles.


She was the head of everything. People used to hug the walls
when she passed. (Reads chart.) 275, 520. (To Suzie.) Let's up
the hydration. She won't be drinking anymore, see if we can
keep her kidneys from fading.
I had a lot of respect for her. More than I can say for the
entire bio-chem department.

Nurse Suzzie:

What do you want, dextrose?

Dr. Posner:

Give her saline. She gave a hell of a lecture. No notes, not


a word out of place. It was impressive. A lot of students
hated her, though.

Nurse Suzzie:

Why?

Dr. Posner:

She wasn't exactly a cupcake.

Nurse Suzzie:

She hasn't exactly been a cupcake here either. (To sleeping


Bearing.) Miss Bearing, Jason and I are here, we'll insert a
catheter to collect urine. It won't hurt, so don't worry.

Dr. Posner:

(smirks while putting gloves on.) Like she can hear you.

Nurse Suzzie:

It's just nice to do.

Dr. Posner:

Eight cycles of Hex and Vin at full dose. Kelekian didn't


think it was possible. I wish they'd all go full throttle,
then we'd have some data.

Nurse Suzzie:

She's not what I imagined. I thought someone who studied


poetry would be more dreamy.

Dr. Posner:

Not the way she did it. Her course was more like boot camp
than English. John Donne was incredibly intense. Your whole
brain had to be in knots before you could get it.

Nurse Suzzie:

He made it hard on purpose?

Dr. Posner:

It has to do with subject matter. The Holy Sonnets we worked


on mostly were mainly about salvation anxiety. He's this
brilliant guy, I mean brilliant. He makes Shakespeare sound
like a Hallmark card. And you know you're a sinner. There's a
promise of salvation, the whole religious thing. But you can't
deal with it.

Nurse Suzzie:

How come?

Dr. Posnoer:

Because it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. But you can't face


life without it, so you write these screwed-up sonnets. Like a
game to make the puzzle so complicated.

Nurse Suzzie:

What happens in the end?

Dr. Posner:

The end of what?

Nurse Suzzie:

To John Donne. Does he ever get it?

Dr. Posner:

Get what?

Nurse Suzzie:

His salvation anxiety. Does he ever understand?

Dr. Posner:

No way. The puzzle takes over. You're not even trying to solve
it anymore. Fascinating, really. Great training for lab
research. Looking at increasing levels of complexity.

Nurse Suzzie:

Until what?

Dr. Posner:

What do you mean?

Nurse Suzzie:

Do you ever get to solve the puzzle?

Dr. Posner:

No. When it comes down to it, research is just trying to


quantify... the complications of the puzzle.

Nurse Suzzie:

You help people, you save lives and stuff.

Dr. Posner:

Sure, I save a guy's life... and the poor slob goes out and
gets hit by a bus.

Nurse Suzzie:

Yeah, I guess so. I just don't think about it that way. I


guess you can tell I never took a course in poetry.

Dr. Posner:

If there's one thing we learned in 17th Century Poetry... you


can forget all about that sentimental stuff. Enzyme kinetics
was more poetic than Bearing's class. Besides, you can't just
go around... thinking about that meaning-of-life stuff all the
time. You'd go nuts.

Nurse Suzzie:

Do you believe in it?

Dr. Posner:

Believe in what?

Nurse Suzzie:

I don't know, the meaning-of-life stuff.

Dr. Posner:

What do they teach you at nursing school? She's out of it.


Shouldn't be too long. You done here?

Nurse Suzzie:

Yeah, I'll just tidy up.

Dr. Posner:

See ya.

Nurse Suzzie:

Bye.

(Doubts and Decisions of Death)


Nurse Suzzie:

Miss Bearing, is that you beeping at 4 oclock in the morning?

Mrs. Bearing:

I couldnt sleep.

Nurse Suzzie:

Really? What's the trouble, sweetheart?

Mrs. Bearing:

I... I can't seem to figure things out. I'm in a quandary.


Having... these doubts.

Nurse Suzzie:

What you're doing is very hard.

Mrs. Bearing:

Hard things are what I like best.

Nurse Suzzie:

No, but it's not the same. It's like it's out of control,
isn't it?

Mrs. Bearing:

Yeah. I'm scared.

Nurse Suzzie:

Honey, of course you are.

Mrs. Bearing:

I'm worked up... I don't feel so sure of myself anymore.

Nurse Suzzie:

And you used to feel sure, didn't you?

Mrs. Bearing:

Yes, yes, and I used to feel sure.

Nurse Suzzie:

It's okay. It's all right. And it hurts, I know. I know. It's
all right. There you go. It's all right. It's okay, it's all
right. Vivian? You want a popsicle?

Mrs. Bearing:

Yes, please.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay. I'm gonna go get one. I'll be right back, okay? (Goes to
get popsicles.)
(Comes back.) Here you go.

Mrs. Bearing:

Here.

Nurse Suzzie:

You sure? Thanks.

Mrs. Bearing:

Thank you.

Nurse Suzzie:

(Sits down beside Bearing.) When I was a kid we used to get


these from a truck. A man would come around and he'd ring his
bell... and we'd all go running over. And then we'd sit on the
curb and eat our popsicles. That's pretty profound, huh?

Mrs. Bearing:

Sounds nice.

Nurse Suzzie:

Vivian, there's something we need to talk about. That you need


to think about.

Mrs. Bearing:

My cancer's not being cured, is it?

Nurse Suzzie:

No.

Mrs. Bearing:

They never expected it to be, did they?

Nurse Suzzie:

They thought the drugs would make the tumor get smaller. And
it has, it's gotten a lot smaller. But the problem is, it's
started in other places too. They've learned a lot for their
research and it was the best they had... it was the strongest
drugs. It's just that there... There really isn't a good cure
for what you have yet. For advanced ovarian. I'm sorry, they
should have explained this to you.

Mrs. Bearing:

I knew.

Nurse Suzzie:

You did?

Mrs. Bearing:

I read between the lines.

Nurse Suzzie:

What you need to think about is your code status. What you
want them to do... if your heart stops beating. Well? You can
be full code which means that if your heart stops... we'll
call a code blue and the code team will come in and
resuscitate you and take you to intensive care until you
stabilize.
Or, you can be: "Do not resuscitate." Which means that if your
heart stops... we'll just let it. You'll be DNR. Now, you can
think about it. But I just... I just wanted to present you
with both choices... before Kelekian and Jason come in and
talk to you.

Mrs. Bearing:

They don't agree about this?

Nurse Suzzie:

They like to save lives. So anything's okay as long as the


life continues. Doesn't matter if you're hooked up to a
million machines. Kelekian's a great researcher, he is... and
the Fellows like Jason, they're really smart. It's an honor
for them to be working with him. But they always want to know
more things.

Mrs. Bearing:

I always want to know more things. I'm a scholar. Or I was...


when I had shoes. When I had hairs my head.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay, that's fine. You'll be full code.

Mrs. Bearing:

No. Don't complicate the matter.

Nurse Suzzie:

No, really, it's fine. It's up to you.

Mrs. Bearing:

Just let it stop.

Nurse Suzzie:

Really?

Mrs. Bearing:

Yes.

Nurse Suzzie:

So, if your heart stops beating...

Mrs. Bearing:

Just let it stop.

Nurse Suzzie:

You sure?

Mrs. Bearing:

Yes.

Nurse Suzzie:

Okay. Okay, I'll get Kelekian to give the order, and then...

Mrs. Bearing:

Suzzie? You're still going to take care of me, aren't you?

Nurse Suzzie:

Of course I am. Don't you worry, sweetheart.

Mrs. Bearing:

(nods then starts crying) But I'm scared. I feel so bad. Oh,
God.

Nurse Suzzie:

Yes, I know you do. I can see. Oh, dear. There, there. There,
there. There, there, Vivian. It's a windy day. Don't worry,
dear. Let's see. Shall I read something to you? Would you like
that?

Miss Bearing:

(Nods.)

Prof. Ashford: Very well. Let's see...


"The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown.
"Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away, so he
said to his mother, 'I'm running away.' 'lf you run away,'
said his mother... I will run after you. For you are my little
bunny.'
'lf you run after me,' said the little bunny, I will become a
fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you.' 'lf you
become a fish in a trout stream,' said his mother, I will
become a fisherman, and I will fish for you."'
Look at that. A little allegory of the soul. Wherever it
hides, God will find it. See, Vivian?
"'lf you become a fisherman,' said the little bunny, 'I will
be a bird and fly away from you.' 'lf you become a bird and
fly away from me,' said his mother, 'I will be a tree that you
come home to."'
'Shucks,' said the little bunny. 'I might just as well stay
where I am and be your little bunny. And so he did. 'Have a
carrot,' said the mother bunny."
Wonderful. Time to go. (Kisses Bearing in the forehead.)
(The Code)

Dr. Posner:

Prof. Bearing, how you feeling today? 3:00 p.m., IV hydration


totals: 2000 in, 30 out. That's it... kidneys gone. Prof.
Bearing? "Highly unresponsive." Wait a second. Four-fiveseven-five. Code blue, room 707. Dr. Posner, P-O-S-N-E-R.
Hurry up. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,
nine... ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.

Nurse Suzzie:

What are you doing?

Dr. Posner:

Goddamn code...

Nurse Suzzie:

She's DNR!

Dr. Posner:

She's research!

Nurse Suzzie:

She's no code! She's no code! Kelekian gave the order and you
were there, you saw it yourself! God, the code. Cancel code,
Room 707. Sue Monahan, primary nurse.

Code Blue:

I got it.

Nurse Suzzie:

No, the patient is no code. She's DNR! The patient is DNR!

Code Blue:

Clear!

Nurse Suzzie:

Listen, she's "do not resuscitate"! The patient is no code!


The patient is no code, the order was given. Stop it! Do not
resuscitate!

Code Blue:

Move out of the way, go! Clear.

Dr. Posner:

I made a mistake!

Nurse Suzzie:

The patient is no code!

Code Blue:

Who the hell are you?

Nurse Suzzie:

I'm Sue Monahan, the primary nurse.

Code Blue:

Let me see the goddamn chart.

Nurse Suzzie:

The patient is no code. Just get away from her.

Code Blue:

"Do not resuscitate. Kelekian." The order was put in


yesterday. It's a doctor screw-up.

Code Blue:

What is he, a resident? Got us up here on a DNR. Called a code


on a no-code.

"Death be not proud


Though some have called thee mighty and dreadful
For thou art not so
For those whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death
Nor yet canst thou kill me
"Thou art slave to Fate
Chance, kings, and desperate men

And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell


And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke
Why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past
We wake eternally
And death shall be no more," Comma.
Death thou shalt die.