Cristina goes into Ellis's room to break the news that she needs surgery. Ellis asks why surgery if meds can treat the problem, but when Cristina doesn't respond, she realizes the answer and says that Alzheimer's patients can't be relied on to take their medication. Cristina adds quietly, "And, uh, apparently Meredith says you were particularly difficult." Ellis asks about not treating the condition, but Cristina explains that it would get worse and probably end her life. Ellis finally seems at a bit of a loss and asks Cristina what she would do, adding, "What would you do if the thing that defines who you are was taken away?" Before Cristina gives an answer, she decides not to do the surgery, and Cristina has to break the news that legally, the decision is actually up to Meredith.
Back at the clinic, the father waits uncomfortably as Izzie wraps up her demonstration, "Maxipads and you: Why you need different types for different days." Izzie is pissed off that her first patient didn't meet her expectations and asks sullenly, "Can I just go to the gallery and learn something, if that's okay with you?" Bailey excuses her and sends the father to fill out some paperwork. On his way out, he thanks Bailey, explaining that things have been hard with father and daughter since his wife died. Once alone, the daughter delivers a shock, hurriedly and aggressively, yet clearly terrified, she asks if she could be pregnant if she had sex just the week before, also adding that since she did it, the guy is now being a jerk. Very little stuns Miranda Bailey, but she can only stare with her mouth literally hanging open.
Meredith has been called in to discuss the surgery and tells her mom she's not sure refusing is what Ellis wants to do. Ellis is playing the martyr to the hilt and bitterly points out that it's not her choice and that Meredith is in charge, and finally Meredith has had enough of her gift for one day. "Do you think I like making these decisions for you? Do you think it's fun to get calls from the nursing home asking whether I was planning on giving the nurse -- who changes you every morning -- a Christmas tip? But I do it, because you have managed to alienate everybody else in your life. And I am the only one," she continues, red and welling and angry but controlled, "so I have to step up and do it. You want to know why I'm so unfocused? So ordinary? You want to know what happened to me? You. You happened to me." She's kept her tears from spilling over, but a lifetime of this fighting is behind every word out of her mouth. Her mom then demands that she let her refuse the surgery, but Meredith won't. "Because killing my mother is not going to be another thing that happens to me." I can't do justice to the scenes between these two women, no matter how I type it out. If you haven't seen this episode yet, you need to watch it to really understand the horrific pain and emotions swirling between the two. Kudos to both of these actresses. p>It seems that they've figured out a solution to be able to finish the surgery, and Burke and McDreamy are putting on airtight suits to protect them from the toxins. From what I can make out from Mark helping them get ready, the suits have only been charging for a little while, so they've only got 30 minutes of air to get the job done. Wait, are you telling me that should there be some horrible hazardous materials accident or, oh, something unexpected like a patient coming in with unexplained toxic blood, they don't have at least one of these suits charged up to be able to do surgery right away? Something about that doesn't seem entirely thought out. As the guys suit up, Addison watches the girl through the window and realizes that her anesthesia is running out and she's beginning to wake up. Your friendly recapper goes and takes a moment to breathe into a paper bag at the idea and the sight of someone waking up in the middle of surgery. Okay, I think I can manage to take deep breaths long enough to get myself through this scene, which is basically my worst nightmare come to life. The guys need another two minutes for their suits to be airtight, and without two minutes to be had, Addison grabs a mask and runs into the room over Mark's protests.