ER
Shifts Happen

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Shifts Happen

Ed runs up to Pratt to ask if he's learned anything about this oddly timed muteness. Pratt tells him that they're getting "a special doctor" to see him, which is totally child-speak for "The Crazy-People Doctor is going to take you away now." Ed wonders if this might be a stress thing; Pratt doesn't get to answer, because a really uptight and irritated woman called Dr. Hampton comes raging out of Betsy's room. She screams at Pratt for yanking her out of a movie to check on a frequent flier, one she's dubbed an addict trying to squeeze juice out of naïve residents. Pratt argues that Betsy has a real disease. "She's a manipulative drug-seeker and we're not here to support her habit!" spits Hampton. Pratt demands that she put a note in Betsy's chart saying she won't admit her. I'm not sure why that note isn't already in there. "Bump her steroids, give her a Vicodin, and do NOT call me again," Hampton seethes, shoving Betsy's chart at him. I guess Betsy wins, then -- she gets the painkillers. Way to play it, Hampton. Pratt shouts after Hampton that he's just asking her to care for her patient. "Actually, she's your patient now," Hampton mutters. Wait, so what did he do wrong, exactly? If she has a real disease, why won't...ach, AGAIN with the hurting brain. I need to stop seeking meaning and just flat-out accept that Pratt Is A Put-Upon Yet Controversial Figure, and leave it there. Sadly, Pratt turns to the omnipresent Lester and tells him to discharge Betsy with the news that she won't be admitted today -- news she won't care about until the Vicodin wears off anyway.

Abby and Luka take a relaxed stroll by the water. She observes that Luka seems to be improving quickly. "I couldn't run a four-minute mile, but I'm okay," he smiles. "Still a little anemic." Abby wonders if it's nice being home, or if he misses Congo. Luka affirms that he does miss it there. "You're not in your own head all the time. You're part of something that's in constant motion over there," he explains. "Any break you get is a luxury, not just something to be taken for granted." As Abby and Luka descend slowly, apace and each leaning lightly against a banister, Abby observes that it doesn't sound terribly different from County General. Perhaps she missed the memo about the malaria, the AIDS, and the pissed-off trigger-happy militants in constant camouflage. "It's its own addiction, I guess," Luka says. "It hooked Carter," Abby notes. Luka kindly asks how she's doing with that, and Abby lightly tries to insist that she's absolutely fine about it all. "Are you happy?" Luka prods. Abby laughs and flashes him a funny "have you forgotten who you're talking to?" look. Self-awareness. Nice. "Getting there," she allows. Leaning against the railing, she confesses, "I've made a few decisions." Just as Luka's about to tell her that there's no need to become a pre-op transsexual, Abby's pager beeps. Abby bites her lip and smiles that she doesn't want to jinx herself by discussing her plans, then reads her pager and sees that work's calling. "Pretend you didn't get a page," Luka suggests mischievously. Abby seems tempted, but ruefully admits, "I need the money." Luka's eyes flicker to the side, and then meet hers. "See you soon then?" he says hopefully. Abby nods and smiles warmly. "Yeah," she says, sincerely. It's a really nice moment. There's real affection. So naturally, it gets spoiled when Abby snaps out of it and says a very rushed and clipped "Goodnight," and disappears in a flash. It's so inappropriate to the moment. Not to mention that, although Luka is a big boy and could have spoken up if he needed help, she did leave a sick man alone to walk home up a long flight of stairs. Not too thoughtful.

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