Jack and Mary Deal With a Confused Hospital Intern
(April 1977)

(Around this time, a lot of discussion between the characters working at the hospital had dealt with recent budget cutbacks due to lack of funding from the city. There had been layoffs and longer hours for the remaining employees, with Pat, Faith, Bucky, Seneca, Clem, et al dropping hints about how sleep-deprived and exhausted they were. Amidst this situation, Jack has checked into the hospital for the surgery to correct his impotence. He is lying in his hospital bed, furiously pushing the call button to page a nurse, to no avail, when Mary opens his door.)

JACK: (not turning to see who is there) You realize I could have died twenty times in six minutes until you answered my call light? I could have died of old age by the time you people...

(He turns around and sees Mary. She smiles and he pauses, not knowing what to say.)

JACK: What are you doing here?

MARY: Marveling that one of those nurses hasn't tiptoed in here and murdered you! Can I get you something?

JACK: No, thank you.

MARY: Then why was your light on?

JACK: Cause actually I was hoping that someone out there would send in a doctor to tell me where I'm scheduled for surgery. I assume it's in this hospital and I think it's sometime this year. Other than that, all I want is peace and quiet.

MARY: (whispers) Surgery's tomorrow morning at eight o'clock.

JACK: (whispers too) Why are you whispering?

MARY: (whispers) Because you want quiet.

JACK: (ready to strangle her) How do you know that surgery's tomorrow morning at eight o'clock?

MARY: (still whispering) Pat told me. Dr. Marley told him.

JACK: Cut it out, Mary!

MARY: (laughing) I'm sorry. I bought you a book.

(She holds it out to him. He sighs and takes it.)

JACK: Thank you.

MARY: May I stay a little while?

(Jack groans.)

MARY: (answering for him) Yes, stay, Mary. (sitting down) Seriously, have you seen Dr. Marley?

JACK: Not since yesterday.

MARY: Well, did he say what your chances are for a complete recovery?

JACK: Possible, not great.

MARY: How are you paying for a private room?

JACK: My column's been back in the paper for the past couple of weeks.

MARY: I know! I thought the municipal union piece was the best thing you've done all year.

JACK: (pauses) Thank you.

MARY: But, uh, this is costing a fortune! The room, I mean.

JACK: I borrowed the money from Jumbo. Don't be so nosy!

MARY: I keep thinking it's my business too. I don't know what to do about that - I still feel as if I belong in your life. (Jack grimaces) It's strange to see the columns first in newsprint. As I'm reading, I imagine the words typed on yellow paper, with pencil mark on the margins. I keep thinking I'm gonna help with these bills. I keep thinking you're gonna get well, and we'll be able to make love again, and that's the most difficult thought of all, because I can't believe you'll be well again and not want to love me.

(Before Jack can answer, the door opens and an intern comes in.)

INTERN: Good morning, how are you feeling this morning? (he looks around) It is morning, isn't it?

JACK: I think so.

INTERN: I wasn't so sure myself. You kind of lose track of time in this place, you know? I feel like I'm gonna someday settle down into dust if I ever go out in sunlight again, you know? You're scheduled for surgery tomorrow, right?

JACK: Yeah.

INTERN: Okay, I usually do this tonight, but I have to be on the floor and I have a couple of minutes, so, uh, would you stand up, please?

JACK: What are you gonna do?

INTERN: Well, I'm just gonna have a look at them and draw a little map for the surgeon.

JACK: (horrified) Have a look at what?

INTERN: The veins in your legs.

JACK: Oh, that makes sense, I guess...

(He gets up.)

INTERN: Alright, if you'll just hitch your robe up a little.

MARY: Would you like me to leave?

JACK: (embarassed) No...

INTERN: That's not necessary, Mrs. Francelli.

(Jack sighs in annoyance that he got his name wrong.)

INTERN: Oh, they look fine to me.

MARY: His knees are kind of bony, don't you think?

JACK: Everybody's knees are bony!

INTERN: Could you turn around, please?

(He does.)

INTERN: (pulling over a chair) Would you mind standing on this, please?

JACK: (climbing onto the chair) Guess not.

INTERN: Turn around, slowly. (he does) Okay, hold it, that must be it, right there. Left leg, right?

JACK: I don't know.

INTERN: Well, that's got to be it, it's the only I see.

(He begins painting something onto Jack's leg, as Mary watches in intense fascination. Jack cries out and recoils.)

MARY: What's the matter?

JACK: It's cold.

INTERN: I'm sorry.

JACK: What is that stuff, anyway?

INTERN: Oh, it's dye. You've got to be very careful with it. Whatever it gets on, it stays. It doesn't come off. I mean, it really has to be indelible, you know, cause they're gonna scrub your leg in the OR and you wouldn't want it to come off. You'd be surprised how easy it is to lose track of a vein during this kind of surgery.

JACK: If you don't mind, I don't want to think about that.

INTERN: You know, I've got to tell you, I don't know why they're doing this.

JACK: (angry) I've got to tell you, you don't know what you're talking about!

INTERN: Well, I mean, vericose veins usually aren't stripped unless they interfere with the circulation.

JACK: Whoa, whoa, whoa! What aren't what?

INTERN: Vericose veins.

MARY: Jack doesn't have vericose veins.

JACK: (pushing him away) Don't touch me! Nobody, nobody is stripping anything!

(Jack climbs down off the chair.)

INTERN: (looking at the chart) Antonio Francelli?

JACK: (screaming) Jack Fenelli!

INTERN: 504?

MARY: (holding up her fingers) 502.

INTERN: (laughs nervously) Wow, this really isn't my day. Hey, I'm sorry to have bothered you, no? When you go up to surgery, just tell them not to pay any attention to your knee, okay? What are you scheduled for?

MARY: A bypass operation for impaired circulation.

INTERN: Ah, hey, good luck.

(He leaves and Jack gets into bed. Then the intern comes back in.)

INTERN: Uh, Fenelli, Mr. Fenelli?

JACK: (annoyed) Yeah?

INTERN: If somebody brings some medication up here in the next ten minutes, don't take it, okay?

(Mary laughs hysterically and Jack looks in utter shock.)

JACK: Sure.

INTERN: Alright.

(He leaves and closes the door.)

JACK: Mary, go out there and find Dr. Marley and send him in here, hah?

MARY: (still laughing) I'll be glad to!

JACK: (clutching the blanket, sulking) Thank you very much!

MARY: (opening the door) I love you.

JACK: (not looking at her) Just get the doctor, will ya?

MARY: Yeah.

(She leaves, and Jack looks hilariously terrified.)

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