Elizabeth treats an elderly African-American woman, chatting casually with her about Birmingham, where the woman was stationed during the war, and where Elizabeth's uncle works. "We handled mail for seven million soldiers," recalls the woman weakly. "Sixty-five thousand pieces every eight hours." Elizabeth reacts kindly to this trivia while gently prodding the woman's belly. She's wearing makeup and her hair is smoothly styled, for probably the first time this season. I guess they're trying to make her softer all of a sudden. Elizabeth diagnoses the woman with a perforated colon, a product of her diverticular disease, and orders for an operation to fix it. The woman's daughter protests, reluctant to put her already weak mother through an invasive procedure. But if they wait until she regains strength, "she'll become extremely ill and surgery could be dangerous," Elizabeth explains. Her patient interrupts to ask whether Elizabeth would recommend this course for her own mother. "Absolutely," she states firmly. "Then we'll do it," the patient says shakily, smiling from her bed.
Susan interrupts to inform Elizabeth that Mr. Ashman, the specs-wearing man, has returned to the ER. "He says you repaired his hernia," Susan explains. "Chubby, drug-seeking hypochondriac?" Elizabeth asks. Susan says he's claiming severe abdominal pain, but she hasn't performed an exam herself. "Then why are you talking to me?" Elizabeth wonders frostily. Why does anyone talk to her? Because they lose bets. "Some surgeons like to treat their patients," Susan says. Actually, that's not all she says, but I wish she'd stopped there and just flat-out implied that Elizabeth doesn't care. Susan actually tacks on a "primarily," meaning that she knows surgeons who like to see their former patients any time they return with new or recurring problems. Naturally, though, Elizabeth doesn't. "Well, he's going to say he's tender, [so] you'll be seeing him eventually," Susan suggests. Elizabeth refuses to commit to this, and walks away. "Oh, I'm pretty certain," Susan gripes under her breath, whirling around and charging into the hall. She runs into Abby, who informs her she's on the way to get a dopamine drip started for one of Benton's patients. "Curtain Two, abdominal pain...needs a gown, don't you think?" Susan asks, a bit rudely. Abby grabs one off a nearby pile and hands it to Susan, continuing down the hall. I grant that Susan doesn't know things, but when the gowns are right there, did she have to treat Abby that way? Oh, wait, yes she did, because they have to be rivals in some bizarre love triangle.