Previously on ER: Tom Everett Scott and Don Cheadle got some fat, fat checks. Congrats, boys! TES guest-starred as Abby's brother, and Cheadle appeared as a med student (Dr. Nathan) with Parkinson's Disease. This previously-on makes no mention of how Elizabeth has been chilly to him, but I'll mention it because that's the kind of loving recapper I am. And, thanks again to Kim for her excellent recap last week; I owe her one. Or maybe even two. Cheers, Kim!
A balding, sickly man with tubes in his nose lies in his hospital bed trying to come to terms with having cancer. "How much can you take out?" he croaks. The camera pulls back slowly; we hear the voice of Dr. Elizabeth "Cold as Ice" Corday giving him a brutally honest diagnosis -- he's got a nasty collection of abdominal lesions, and things don't look good. Sickly Man begs her to consider taking out whatever she can, but she coldly says that surgery won't help, and refers him to an oncologist. Sickly Man is stunned that she thinks he won't survive. Elizabeth doesn't care. "Tell me, do I have a chance, or don't I?" he begs her desperately. "There's always a chance," she sighs unconvincingly. Sickly Man presses on, asking for a prognosis. At this point, I think he just wants her to act like she's something other than bored. She barks out that he's got a less than 10\% chance of surviving five years, even if he undergoes chemo. Sickly Man wants the worst-case scenario, but Elizabeth bolts, calling over her shoulder that she'll send in an oncologist. For a fleeting moment, we see her face, and it's contorted with discomfort, perhaps because Dying Balding Sickly Man reminds her of having been married to Mark.
At the surgical floor's main desk, Dr. Robert "Army of One" Romano roars through the phone at his insurance company. He's complaining because they are giving him grief about the amount of therapy he needs to recover. "I had my arm sliced off," he shouts. "What do I have to do to get full therapy, have a pack of wolves come chew my leg off, too?" Well, the cast of Wolf Lake sure isn't busy, so maybe we can make that a reality. He rants that everyone who's anyone at County -- including him -- knows he needs five days a week of therapy, at a minimum, to regain occupational use of his arm. Pause. "It's not disability, you gnat, I'm still working," spits Romano. Pause. "Hello?" he grunts. The insurance company hung up on him. Romano winces and then notices Elizabeth. He asks about Sickly Man. "I told him," she says. "You were in there for all of ninety seconds," Romano says, surprised, and clearly realizing that when Mark died, his cranky bedside manner was resurrected in the widow Greene. "I'm gonna have to get you your own complaint box," he notes, but he's referring to Dr. Nathan -- "the martini shaker" -- and his complaints about Elizabeth's refusal to put him on call. "He has Parkinson's Disease," Elizabeth exposits. "Hence 'martini shaker,'" Romano sighs. "Come on, Lizzie, work with me." Elizabeth argues that sleep deprivation and stress exacerbate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. They also fuck up people without Parkinson's Disease, though, so whatever, Liz. Romano points out that it's unfair to ask the other students to shoulder Nathan's load. Elizabeth refuses to put him on a thirty-six-hour call. "It's bad enough that he has to treat patients," she snarks. I hate Elizabeth. Why does she have to be an asshole? Is it because she's British? Man, this show's always trying to keep the Brits down. Romano stares at her. "I know, you have something against doctors with disabilities!" he says sarcastically. "Only on a case-by-case basis," she smirks at him. Romano insists that she put Nathan on rotation to avoid a lawsuit. "And you care nothing about Mr. Nathan?" she asks. Romano's all, the who and the what now? "My student," Elizabeth reminds him. Romano shrugs. "This place is littered with masochists," he says. "Just make sure he doesn't kill anyone."