He goes to Meredith to unload but she's not as sympathetic as he'd hoped, reminding him that he was the one who wanted in on this trial. He's already yearning for pediatrics where things are more straightforward with a sick kid and worried parents. Here, he points out, the patients don't always even know they are sick. Meredith finally relents a little bit and tells him a story about how she was visiting her mom one time when Ellis started talking about how she might have herpes. That's got to be in the Top 5 Conversations You Never Want To Have With Mom, with the likes of "It's been over four hours and I think something might be wrong with your father," and "Well, I'm not totally sure since I was 'friends' with a lot of young men when I found out I was having you." Meredith realized that her mom thought that Meredith was her best friend from med school and that it was 30 years earlier, and she sat there for two long hours and talked with her about her possible herpes. As she explains to Alex, while she couldn't cure her Alzheimer's she could give her mother what she needed at that moment.
Cristina goes to Martha's room and finds her looking at pictures of her family, her doubts about the surgery growing. As she looks at the pictures she tells Cristina that a friend had surgery and wound up in a nursing home, which was hard on her kids, and she gets more and more agitated and cries that she can't become a burden to her children. Cristina hears her out but reminds her that without surgery, she will have a few months, and her family will always be afraid that she's about to go. With the surgery, she could go to her grandchild's wedding. Sincerely, she says, "Don't give up on yourself. Let us help you." Despite all of her jockeying for position all day, this comes off as totally genuine, as Cristina herself almost gave up and had others that helped her. Martha thinks about it, and after Cristina promises that she will be there, Martha agrees to do it, scared but sure. Cristina turns and sees Jackson watching, and when she walks out of the room he bitches that she can't win the surgery just because the patient requests her. Cristina just tells him that not everything she does is because of competition. He doesn't believe her but in this case, I do. But let's be clear that I also believe she's not above using that to her advantage as well.