When we left Episode 8 two weeks ago, Charlie was being taken off of life support due to Dawn winning the Consent & Capacity hearing, and issuing the DNR (do not resuscitate). Episode 9 picks up right where 8 left off, as Alex is tenderly removing the ventilator from Charlie’s face, while Melanda, Dawn, and Charlie’s spirit look on. In Alex’s mind, she is sending him to his death, and the pain on her face is just heartbreaking. (Kudos, Erica Durance!) “I’m not ready to go.” Charlie insists. Walking out of the room, Charlie is surprised to see Mack, the surgeon who was his mentor. Mack died months ago – why is he here? Turns out, Mack donated his body to science, and it’s down in the hospital morgue, so his spirit has followed along. When he hears what is happening to Charlie, Mack assumes he’s been brought there to help Charlie accept the inevitable – that he’s going to die.
Alex, however, has been observing Charlie still breathing on his own, and her hope is renewed once again that all may not be lost. She decides to make a legal appeal to try to get Dawn’s DNR overturned, and Melanda just happens to know a good attorney for the job!
Over in Dana’s office, the acting Chief of Surgery is berating Joel for the stupid bar fight that ended in a broken hand and black eye for Dr. Goran. Dana wants to send him home for a couple of weeks to heal, but Joel doesn’t want the time off, and says he can still diagnose and do consulting. She wonders aloud how he’s handling losing a patient to suicide right in front of his eyes, but Joel brushes it off and insists he’s fine. (Somehow I don’t think ignoring the horror of that moment is going to work forever, Joel!)
The attorney Melanda contacted – Martha – shows up, and sets up shop on her laptop in the hospital to research Charlie’s case. She tells Alex all it takes is finding one small legal mistake in the proceedings, and the ruling can be overturned.
Alex gets a page and finds out that Bea, a former patient of both Mack and Charlie’s four years ago, is there for a checkup. Alex helped out with Bea’s surgery when she had just
begun her residency at Hope Zion, and she is happy to see the young woman again. We get a flashback scene to a younger Alex and Victor as they treat Bea, while Charlie and Alex meet for the very first time as she is inserting a tube down Bea’s throat, with him coaching her through the process.
Back in present day, Bea is happy to see Alex, but asks about Charlie. Alex evades telling her the whole truth, and simply says Charlie had an accident and is in the hospital himself, so she is treating his patients right now. Bea tells Alex that she is about to go on a year-long trip with her boyfriend, so she’s getting one last physical before she goes. Alex orders some basic diagnostic tests to start out, and after the tests, Bea heads downstairs for a coffee while she waits for the results.
Charlie and Mack visit Charlie’s body in ICU. Charlie is trying to stay positive, and still thinks it’s not his time to go, but Mack thinks he’s just in denial, and is even being a bit arrogant about the matter – he doesn’t really have a choice as to whether it’s his time or not. However, Mack thinks maybe there’s some “unfinished business” that Charlie needs to complete before he can move on. The two head down to the hospital coffee shop, where their discussion continues. Mack thinks perhaps Charlie needs to make his peace with Dawn? Charlie isn’t too happy to hear this, and is starting to get a bit irritated with Mack’s insistence that it’s time for him to die, when he is distracted by the sight of Bea at the counter ordering a coffee. Or at least trying to order one. Instead of saying “coffee”, she orders a “large telephone with a shot of vanilla,” and seems to have no idea she is using the wrong word. Both doctors recognize this as a sign of being dysphasic, which is often caused by a brain tumor. Looks like the diagnosis they gave Bea four years ago of having Hodgkin’s lymphoma was incorrect, and now – no one will think to give her a brain scan…
In the doctor’s lounge, Gavin surprises Maggie with coffee and a croissant while she is studying for exams. Maggie is quick to tell him straight out that “This is not on.” She feels like their kiss was a mistake, but Gavin doesn’t agree. Maggie admits that she loves Gavin, and she knows he loves her, but she’s not “IN love” with him. Besides – she’s already seeing someone (meaning Joel). Gavin doesn’t pursue an argument with her, but it’s clear that he’s not ready to give up.
Joel gets a page from Zach to help out with a patient in the ER. Nadia is a paraplegic who fell out of her wheelchair and broke her wrist while at church choir practice. Zach sets the bone in her arm, and Joel is doing a routine examination of her legs to make sure there are no other injuries when to everyone’s surprise, Nadia feels a pain in her foot. This should not be possible if she is paralyzed from the waist down. What’s going on?
We get another flashback scene, to when Bea was in the hospital the first time. Mack, Charlie, and Dawn are studying her x-rays with Alex looking on. The doctors are puzzled over what they’re seeing. Alex makes a suggestion as to a possible treatment, and Dawn dismisses her theory, but after some thought, Charlie and Mack think Alex may be right – some fluid needs to be drained from Bea’s stomach. Alex ends up performing her first operation on Bea while Charlie observes. She has a case of nerves at the beginning, but Charlie’s calm, no-nonsense attitude settles her down, and the operation is a success. Charlie is quite proud of his new protégé.
Joel and Zach run some more tests on Nadia’s legs, and are surprised when her MRI shows that there is no injury to her spine. Nadia was in a car wreck two years ago. Her husband died in the wreck, and she has been in a wheelchair ever since then. Joel wonders if she is delusional, or has been faking her paralysis. To celebrate the seeming “miracle”, Nadia’s church choir shows up at the hospital, and gathers around her bed, singing hymns. Zach loves it, and even joins in some of the singing, but a somewhat grumpy Joel asks them to please stop, as they need to put a cast on Nadia’s arm.
As the attorney continues to work on their appeal, Alex goes to check on Charlie in ICU, and Maggie visits as well. The two ladies talk about the great love that Charlie and Alex share, and Alex says that almost from right when they met, they became best friends. Charlie was the only guy that Alex wanted to spend time with, and their love developed from that friendship. This observation gives Maggie food for thought, regarding her buddy Gavin… She decides to track him down on her next break, and shows up with some cafeteria trays and an offer to Gavin to go “tray sledding” on a hill near the hospital. Gavin, however, still stinging from her earlier rebuff when she said their kiss was a mistake, turns down her invitation and says he just “can’t do this.”
Joel goes back to Nadia after studying her case files. According to her records, she had a spinal decompression after the accident, and everything seemed to heal with no problems, yet she remained paralyzed. Why didn’t she get a second opinion at the time, and try to find out why she couldn’t walk? Nadia says she just wanted to leave everything in the hands of God, and she believes He is the one healing her now. Joel thinks there’s more to it, and he’s determined to figure out what’s really going on with her.
The results from Bea’s tests are in, and everything seems to be fine, so Alex gives her the all-clear to go on her trip. Bea does mention that she’s been having some headaches, but both women agree that it’s probably just due to the stress of planning her trip, and all the vaccinations she’s had to have in order to travel overseas. Charlie tries his best to communicate to Alex that all is not well, and that she needs to run more tests, but of course she cannot hear him or his pleas. Bea asks again how Charlie is doing, and Alex does tell her this time that he was in a car wreck, but she still leaves out the fact that he’s in a coma. Bea goes downstairs, and has her hand on the door to leave, but she hesitates as if something is drawing her back. Charlie is yelling at her to stop, and uses every ounce of energy he can to try to somehow get through to her that she needs to go back to Alex. To his relief and surprise, she turns and heads back upstairs.
Alex is checking on Charlie again in ICU when Martha, the attorney, delivers bad news… the judge refused her appeal, so Dawn will retain her right to keep the DNR in place. Overhearing this news, Dana asks if there is anything she can do, and Alex asks her to take the DNR off of Charlie’s chart – he never would have believed in it, anyway. Dana merely shrugs helplessly, and Alex flies off the handle, throwing paperwork and telling Dana to go to hell before she collapses, crying, on Charlie’s chest. Bea appears in the room shortly afterwards, bringing Charlie a gift of shoes. Shoes? No, she brought flowers, but called them shoes. Just as the “telephone / coffee” mixup did with Charlie, Bea’s use of the wrong word here raises a flag for Alex, as she also recognizes this sign of being dysphasic and after a quick consultation with Shahir, she orders a CT brain scan, much to both Charlie’s and Mack’s relief.
Meanwhile, disturbed by Alex’s outburst, Dana approaches Tom Reycraft and offers him the position of Chief Surgical Resident. Tom has been wanting this for a while now, but he would rather not have gotten the job because of a breakdown on Alex’s part. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to turn it down! He calls his parents to give them the good news, and the excitement in his voice is obvious.
After more research, and talking to Gavin and Zach, Joel meets with Nadia again. He’s convinced she’s suffering from “conversion disorder.” When her husband died, Nadia’s brain converted her emotional trauma into physical trauma, to avoid dealing with the emotional pain. When Joel asks if Nadia ever spoke to anyone regarding her grief, she says she talked to God every day. Joel wants her to speak to a professional, however, and recommends that she set up appointments with Gavin. She can walk; she just needs to recondition her body and mind, which won’t be easy after two years. Joel offers her his hand, and with his words of encouragement, Nadia stands and takes her first steps in two years.
The CT results are in. Alex and Shahir have to break the news to Bea that she has brain cancer. Treatment needs to be started asap, so her trip will have to be cancelled. Bea is shocked and devastated. The news that, with treatment, she can beat this cancer offers little comfort at the moment. Mack and Charlie are glad Bea will now be helped, but Mack feels horrible that he misdiagnosed Bea four years ago. If Charlie hadn’t somehow reached her and gotten her to turn back at the last minute, she would have died due to Mack’s error. Having realized his mistake that was caused by his own arrogance, it’s time for Mack to finally move on to “the other side.” It’s HIS time – not Charlie’s. Before he goes, though, he tells Charlie to hang in there – just because his ventilator is off doesn’t mean he has to stop breathing.
Alex is back in the ICU with Charlie when Dawn shows up. Instead of being upset, though, Alex begs Dawn to please come and put her hand on Charlie’s chest. Reluctantly, Dawn does so, and is surprised to see that his heartbeat is steady, and his breathing nice and regular after almost 24 hours off the ventilator. She flashes back to four years ago again, when she witnessed Charlie proudly congratulating Alex on a job well-done after a surgery. The camaraderie between the two is obvious. Dawn and Charlie are still married at that time, though, and when she calls to him, Charlie leaves with her. However, it’s clear that the closeness between Charlie and Alex bothered Dawn at the time, and possibly it still does. But back in the present, she can’t deny the physical evidence before her, and she tells Alex that she will remove the DNR from Charlie’s file. Dawn kisses Charlie’s hand, then asks Alex to take care of him before leaving. Overjoyed, and filled with hope once again, Alex has a new theory to tell Shahir… what if Charlie has been misdiagnosed, just like Bea was four years ago???
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