Gideon's Crossing
Clinical Enigma

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Blue Christmas

Ben hugs Larry's wife, Barb. She thanks him for the last five years with her husband, saying they've been "a real gift." Ben tells her not to sound so "elegiac," and that he thinks they can clear up Larry's problems and give him even more time. Ben doesn't think the cancer has returned. Barb introduces their son, Tim, who "flew in from San Francisco." Ben hasn't met this son before, even though he thought he met all their kids. Ah, so Tim wasn't around the last time Dad was sick. And Tim is an ICU nurse, so he "knows what happens in a place like this" and is "here to keep an eye on [his] father's care." Someone appears to be overcompensating for missing out on the last round of sickness, no? Barb tells Tim to "give it a rest" and says that "Dr. Gideon is on [their] side." Ben says that family members paying attention means that the patient gets better care, and that he hopes to convince Tim that he's not "an adversary." Tim shrugs, "We'll see."

Cherry sees Stiles in the locker room, saying that he thought she had the day off. Stile reveals that she stayed all night. Cherry tells her not to let them take advantage of her. Stiles says she's just trying to "do [her] bit" and "fit in." Cherry says that she fits in, and off Stiles's look, relents that she doesn't now, but she could. Stiles, looking exhausted, slams her locker and leaves.

Ben, Sid, and Ollie are looking at some sort of scan of Larry's bone marrow. Apparently, the chemotherapy caused the bone marrow to scar, which is causing problems now. Ollie explicates that the cure for his disease has caused another disease, which they'll treat later. Ben says that "the name of the game is buying time," and "like the song says, 'No one here gets out alive.'" Sid wonders what song, and Ben says at some future date, he'll teach Sid about the blues. Sid says he'd like that, "to get down with [Ben], as it were." Totally stone-faced, that Sid. Ben smiles and turns back to the matter at hand, asking about the recommended course of treatment for myelofibrosis. Sid and Ollie don't answer, and Ben says that there really isn't any treatment, and it's fatal, and the infection that he has now "will kill him if [they] don't figure out how to treat it." Which isn't exactly what Ben just told the family, now is it?

Ben has just told Larry the problem, and Larry realizes that he's "paying the price for the last five years," and that it's been worth it. His wife agrees. Tim the ICU nurse just lurks in the background. Larry coughs and wonders what's going on with his lungs. Ben says they don't know -- it's not malaria or pneumonia, and it's not caused by the myelofibrosis. Ben thinks if they can find the cause, they can give Larry more "quality time." Larry wants to know how much. Ben speaks carefully as Tim the ICU Nurse lurks in the background, saying it could be a year or more, but Larry would be prone to infections like the one he has now. Larry says angrily that he wants "a cure." Tim steps up and says that there's little chance of that. Larry says he's not a doctor. Tim says they keep reminding him of that fact. Ooh, some familiar tension here. Interesting. Another layer. Ben says that Tim's mostly right, and that the treatment options are "painfully, painfully limited." Ben brings up interferon, which has been successful in very few cases. Tim doesn't think it's worth it. Larry says he's tough, and can take the side effects. Ben says it's not about being tough -- it's about whether it's worth going through it when the chances of success are so small. Larry insists that it is worth it. Ben agrees to try.

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Gideon's Crossing

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