Abby bangs on an industrial stapler. Patients all around are vying for her attention, including an older growling man who won't stop asking how much longer it'll be. "I don't want to miss my turn," he says. "Then you should sit down," she replies, pleasantly but with an edge. This kicks off a montage of disastrous patients: mulish little girls, people with bizarre bites and fishing lures dangling from their lips, and of course the requisite violent puker, courtesy of the NBC Vomit Comet: Now With A Greater Projectile Radius. A really odd guy brought his own urine sample to save time. Abby bangs on the stapler a hundred times, tears off several boxes' worth of rubber gloves, and fends off The Return Of The Crabby Old Man, who wants a sandwich while he waits. The moral of this story: Don't go to an ER. They don't want your business unless you're dying, and even then, sometimes they'd just rather have coffee. Or sex in a handicapped bathroom.
A quiet, pale redhead waits while Abby listens to her breathing. Her name is Elle, and she's developed a mysterious cough. "She lets herself get run down and she doesn't eat enough," says her mother with an affectionately scolding edge to her voice. Abby explains that the level of oxygen in Elle's blood is low, so she admits her into Curtain One. She tries to corral Susan to handle the case; when Susan tries to pass it off to a resident first, Abby pointedly but politely tells her that she'd prefer an Attending, a message Susan picks up loud and clear: Elle is hosed.