The Stint: Act 1; Scene 4, 5 & 6


ACT I Scene 4


Lights raise with Gemma back in the ER

observation room. Cell phones rings.


JOHN Calling


GEMMA:

Hey babe.


JOHN (off):

What do we know now?


GEMMA:

I just got back from the CT scan.


JOHN (off):

You sound...calmer? Better somehow.


GEMMA:

They’ve got me on the best meds! I feel no pain!

JOHN (off):

That’s great! I love you so much.


GEMMA:

What are you wearing?


JOHN (off):

Gemma...


GEMMA:

Fine, fine.


JOHN (off):

We need to work on getting you a charger.


GEMMA:

I can text one of my classmates and see if they’d be willing to drive up here after class and bring me mine.


JOHN (off):

Good, good. Do you have someone’s number to do that? Where’d you leave your charger?


GEMMA:

I can handle it. I can text Anderson.


JOHN (off):

Which one is he?


GEMMA:

The older guy from DC. He drove up for class so I know he has a car.


JOHN (off):

Ok, so you’ll text him now?


GEMMA:

Yes. I’m so hungry.


JOHN (off):

I can imagine. I’m going to call your parents.


GEMMA:

Oh...do we need to do that? I will probably be out of here tonight.


JOHN (off):

I know, but they need to know.


GEMMA:

Okay, but do not tell the girls.


JOHN (off):

Okay.


GEMMA:

[crying] The girls...


JOHN (off):

Sweetie, you’ll be home soon. Let’s just focus on one thing at a time. First, let’s find you a charger.


GEMMA:

Okay....I just feel so alone. My CT scan was over an hour ago and I’ve heard nothing. No one has even come in. My piss is mud colored and my cell phone has 4% battery. I just

feel so alone here, just me and a thousand New Yorkers.


JOHN (off):

I know, I know. Let’s hang up for now so you can text Anderson. Text me when you know

more.


GEMMA:

Love you.


JOHN (off):

Love you more.


GEMMA: Hey Anderson, what a

dramatic exit I made today,

huh? Don’t worry, I’m totally fine!

Hope class is going well! Listen,

if it’s not too much to ask, I need

someone to bring me a phone charger.

iPhone 6. Again, don’t want to

be a bother but my phone is dying.

Please let me know! Thanks!!


GEMMA:


There is a knock on the door. A man walks in

wearing a blazer with a white clergy collar.


GEMMA:

[Looking up, seeing who it is and sobbing harder] Hi...


CHAPLAIN:

I’m the hospital chaplain, but don’t let that bother you.


GEMMA:

Your collar gives me anxiety.


CHAPLAIN:

I get that a lot. Can I still come in?


NYT BREAKING NEWS:

Cohen admits to

paying off hookers

for President

Trump

GEMMA:

I’m not good company. I’m waffling back and forth between hysterical and high.


CHAPLAIN:

That’s pretty standard for this wing.


GEMMA:

[Laughs]


CHAPLAIN:

Word on the hallway is that you are waaaay far out of town.


GEMMA:

Oklahoma.

CHAPLAIN:

I went to seminary in Tulsa.


GEMMA:

Wait, really? [sits ups] So, Phillips?


CHAPLAIN:

Yep.


GEMMA:

Oklahoma is so much more beautiful than people realize.


CHAPLAIN:

I agree. The sunsets are remarkable. [Takes a seat next to the bed] So, what’s going on?


GEMMA:

Possible kidney stones.


CHAPLAIN:

Oh. Those aren’t fun.


GEMMA:

Nope. But then, is anything that requires a hospital fun?


CHAPLAIN:

[Thinks for a beat] Childbirth?


GEMMA:

Oh sweet naïve preacher man.


CHAPLAIN:

[Laughs] So, you’ve got pain, you’re far away. Tell me what else is troubling you.


GEMMA:

It’s just so damn loud on this hallway. Just constant beeping, and yelling, and talking.


CHAPLAIN:

Oh that’s just an audio file on loop. You’re the only patient in this unit.


GEMMA:

Can you find the tape and destroy it?


CHAPLAIN:

No, no. It’s part of the ambiance. [adjusts blanket to cover Gemma’s foot] So, what’s worrying you the most?


GEMMA:

What isn’t? [pauses, cries, blows nose] I just sit here thinking about what all I need to take care of.


CHAPLAIN:

Such as?

ANDERSON:

Gemma! We are

all so worried!

I will bring

you a charger

right after

class. Hang tight!

GEMMA:

My kids. They are young—four and seven—and my husband is managing them this week, which that alone is a lot to ask. But then to pile on the worry of me in the hospital? Jesus Christ. [clasps hand over mouth] Sorry.


CHAPLAIN:

No worries. I say his name more than anyone.


GEMMA:

My youngest is also about to lose her first tooth. I don’t want to miss that....


CHAPLAIN:

That’s a big milestone for sure.


GEMMA:

My husband also has a very big work week. Had a big presentation this morning—oh my god! I didn’t even ask about it!


CHAPLAIN:

Gemma, a lot of your worries are about other people. Your students, your daughters, your husband. What about you? What worries do you have about yourself?


GEMMA:

I don’t understand the question.


CHAPLAIN:

Gemma, YOU are in the hospital. Let’s talk about you.


GEMMA:

Well, my urine was brown. Dark. Like coffee.


CHAPLAIN:

That’s not good.


GEMMA:

Nope.

CHAPLAIN:

It’s okay to worry about yourself.


GEMMA:

I am. If I’m not okay, the whole system shuts down.


CHAPLAIN:

How so?


GEMMA:

Who will do Millie and Hannah’s hair? Who will pick John’s ties in the morning? Who will respond to my students’ emails? I don’t think I told John how to heat the casserole I left.


CHAPLAIN:

Well, perhaps this is teaching you to let go a little of doing so much for others.


GEMMA:

Isn’t your whole thing to always be in service to others?


CHAPLAIN:

[Laughs] Sure. But I just want to make sure you take care of yourself. And recognize how

important you are.


GEMMA:

Yeah, I mean, I don’t struggle to see I’m important. If anything, I feel too important sometimes. I can barely handle the foreseen obstacles like Parent/Teacher Conferences

and dental appointments. But shit like this—sorry—it’s just impossible!


CHAPLAIN:

But you trust your husband to manage the children.


GEMMA:

Of course...


CHAPLAIN:

And your students can wait a few days for a response, surely.


GEMMA:

Mmmm...


CHAPLAIN:

And the faculty can certainly fill you in on what you missed in the meeting...

GEMMA:

If you’re trying to make me feel expendable, Preach, you’re doing a bang up job.


CHAPLAIN:

I’m trying to get you to see that you can take time to rest and heal. Which is what you need to do right now. Come on, you said your pee looked like a Starbucks drink.


GEMMA:

No denying that.


CHAPLAIN:

Gemma, can I pray with you?


GEMMA:

No. [extends hand and holds his] I’m sorry. Is that okay?


CHAPLAIN:

Of course. [sits quietly for a minute] But let me just say this. Gemma, you’re going to be okay. And whether or not you believe in God, he believes in you.


GEMMA:

Then why is my pee brown?


CHAPLAIN:

[Laughs as he stands] Yes, Gemma. Without a doubt, you’re going to be okay.


GEMMA:

Hey. [grabs his arm] Religion bugs me. I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t say that. It’s not that I don’t believe. I mean, I do. Not in Jesus and stuff. But in things bigger than me. But right before you walked in here I told my husband I felt really alone, and a second later you walked in. [pauses] Also you’re the first person in six hours who hasn’t asked me the date of my last period. And that means something.


CHAPLAIN:

[Laughs; rubs Gemma’s arm] Godspeed, Gemma.


Lights dim.


ACT I Scene 5


Lights come up. Gemma is sitting up using

the cell phone. Stage screen illuminates

that she is talking with John and has 3%

battery.


GEMMA:

So anyway, then the Chaplain left and I’m still waiting on the doctor. Anderson is on his way with a charger. Which I feel so weird about. I don’t even know this guy and I’m making him drive 20 miles from campus to bring a cord.


JOHN (off):

That’s so kind of him. I’m so glad. How’s your pain?


GEMMA:

It’s back. And I have no idea what’s taking so long. I did the CT scan four hours ago. I thought I’d be discharged by now.


JOHN (off):

I wonder if you will have to stay the night....


GEMMA:

Of course I won’t! Don’t even say that.


JOHN (off):

Well, I just want you to be prepared.


GEMMA:

You’re making things worse, John.


JOHN (off):

I’m not trying to. What can I do?


GEMMA:

Get me the fuck out of here!


JOHN (off):

Gemma...I know you’re upset.


GEMMA:

I’m sorry. I’m so fucking hungry and the pain is coming back. I just need answers. And a sandwich.


JOHN (off):

Ok. Let’s conserve your battery. Text me when Anderson gets there. I love you so much.


GEMMA:

You wouldn’t if you could see the color of my pee.


JOHN (off):

[Laughs] The deeper the color the deeper the love.


GEMMA:

Love you, weirdo.



There is a heavy knock at the door. Three

doctors enter the room.



DR. FULKERSON:

Hey there Gemma, I’m Dr. Fulkerson, and this is Dr. Singh, and Dr. Cobb. We’re from the Urology department, and we are here to commend you.


GEMMA:

Oh?


DR. FULKERSON:

The three of us have never seen a kidney stone as large as the one you are packing.


GEMMA:

Oh god...


DR. COBB:

One is almost 9mm.


GEMMA:

Don’t act like any of us understand the metric system.


DR: SINGH:

JLo would wear it.


GEMMA:

Holy shit.


DR. FULKERSON:

Exactly. There are actually a few up in you, but that big one cannot pass through the natural path, no matter how hard you try.


GEMMA:

My OBGYN said the same thing.


DR. FULKERSON:

Sure, but I bet you still needed an episiotomy.


GEMMA:

You got me there. Now what?


DR. FULKERSON:

Surgery.


GEMMA:

No. No, no, no.


DR. FULKERSON:

Look, Gemma, I know this sucks. We know you’re from Kansas—


GEMMA:

Kansas wishes. I’m from Oklahoma.


DR. FULKERSON:

And I’m sure those are different, but you could run the risk of causing an infection and truly harming your kidney permanently if we don’t operate.


GEMMA:

When is the surgery? And what is the surgery?


DR. FULKERSON:

Well, the surgery is set for tomorrow. But that’s tentative. We are working hard to try and get you added onto the OR schedule.


GEMMA:

Tomorrow? As in, I’m staying the night here?


DR. FULKERSON:

Yes. We have to keep a close eye on you to make sure your kidneys don’t shut down. Have you seen your urine?


GEMMA:

Wild, right?


DR. FULKERSON:

Horrifying. But the good news is, this is urgent but not an emergency. Your kidney is swollen and our plan is to go in and place a stent that runs from your kidney to your bladder. This will help it drain and get back to a normal color, bypassing the stones. Then, in a week or so, when you’re back in... [gestures for help]


GEMMA:

Oklahoma.


DR. FULKERSON:

Right. You will have another surgery to blast up those stones.


GEMMA:

Why can’t you blast them now?


DR. FULKERSON:

Your kidney is in no shape to tolerate it. We have to get the kidney draining and cooled down. Then you can get those blasted. And that’s what the stent does. It provides a way to bypass all the drama the blockage is causing. A stent basically does all the work for your kidney so it can have a chance to calm down, so to speak.


GEMMA:

So I’m going to need more than one surgery to correct for a problem I didn’t even know I had?


DR. FULKERSON:

Yep. Did you notice blood in your urine at any point?


GEMMA:

[Nodding] This morning. I thought it was my period.


DR. FULKERSON:

Oh? When was your last period?


GEMMA:

Focus. What does blood mean?


DR. FULKERSON:

Just another common sign of a kidney stone. In fact, the pain is not from the stone, it’s from the fluids backing up in your kidneys. It’s incredibly painful.


GEMMA:

Yes, but the nurse has a syringe that makes it go away.


DR. FULKERSON:

And we will make sure she stays close with one. You’ll be moving up to the third floor

in just a minute. And we will check on you in the morning. Anything else?


GEMMA:

Can I eat? I mean, I know I have bigger problems to ponder, but I’m starving.


DR. FULKERSON:

Absolutely. Just nothing after midnight. We’ll make sure they get you something. See

you tomorrow, Gemma. Get some sleep.


Doctors file out of the room and turn off

the lights. Stage lights are up but room

is darkened.



ACT I, Scene 6


The screen illuminates with an Apple before

going dark, indicating it’s dying. On the TV

above Gemma’s bed the news plays the Michael

Cohen hearings. Real footage here is heard

quietly. It fades out as there is a knock at

the door.


ANDERSON:

Hello? Gemma?


GEMMA:

[Sitting up] Yes?


ANDERSON:

It’s Anderson from class. Though if that Russian nurse asks, I’m from your mom’s side of the family.


GEMMA:

Oh Anderson! [bursts into tears and he walks quickly to her, and puts his arm around her

shoulder]


They hold each other while she

cries for a minute.


GEMMA:

Anderson, I’m so embarrassed.


ANDERSON:

No, no....shush...this is a horrible situation!


GEMMA:

No, seriously. I barely know you and I’m bawling in front of you wearing nothing more

than a bed sheet.


ANDERSON:

Go easy on yourself. I brought you a present. [holds up a charger]


GEMMA:

My hero! Can you plug my phone in?


He takes the phone, plugs it in and the

screen stage left illuminates with a battery symbol and

comes on. Notifications flood in, each one

with a chime:


NYT BREAKING NEWS:

COHEN ADMITS TO MORE THAN

500 BRIBES ON BEHALF

OF THE PRESIDENT.



MOM: Gemma?!

Just talked to John.

Call me!!!



JULIE:

Anderson is on

his way. We

miss you!



JOHN: Have you talked

to the doctors?



MAIL NOTIFICATIONS:

You have 42 unread emails



INSTAGRAM:

@Babies_and_books

started following you.



MOM: I’ve tried

calling but it’s

going straight

to voicemail!!



DAD: John has

updated us.



ALLISON: Hey, do you

have the agenda

for the faculty

meeting? I can’t

find it.


TWITTER:

#cohenhearing

making history!



INSTAGRAM:

@SlapThatAss

liked your

photo.



ANDERSON:

On my way!


ANDERSON:

So, [taking a seat beside her] what’s the verdict?


GEMMA:

Massive kidney stones. And surgery. Tomorrow.


ANDERSON:

Oh Gemma...I don’t even know what to say.


GEMMA:

Tell me I’m insane to be this upset. I have no idea what’s wrong with me! I can’t stop crying.


ANDERSON:

With good reason!


GEMMA:

How was class?


ANDERSON:

Meh. You picked a good day to pass out and get escorted off the premises.


GEMMA:

Well, that’s a relief. I really thought I’d be back in time for exams tomorrow.


ANDERSON:

Yeah, that’s not happening.


GEMMA:

What am I going to do? Do you think I will have to fly back out here to retake the exams? I mean, how will that even work?


ANDERSON:

I think you shouldn’t worry about it right now. I think you need to get your phone charged, get your surgery, and get home. Then deal with Columbia when you’re well.


GEMMA:

God that bums me the hell out.


ANDERSON:

What can I do?


GEMMA:

I need food.


ANDERSON:

[Hops up] On it!



Anderson leaves the room and Gemma picks up

her phone. The screen scrolls through

notifications and texts as Gemma scrolls.

She texts John.


GEMMA: It’s not good.

I have massive kidney

stones and they are

doing surgery tomorrow.

They are moving me to

a patient room upstairs.

Anderson is here and my

phone is charging. It had

died. I can call you when

it’s back up and I’m in

my new room.



JOHN: Surgery?!

I need to fly out there.



GEMMA:

By the time you

fly out I’ll

be discharged.



JOHN: Can I call??


GEMMA:

Give me a sec.

Anderson is trying

to find me food.



JOHN: Ok.

I’ve let your

parents know.



GEMMA: Yes,

I can see that.



JOHN: What exactly

is the surgery?



GEMMA: Putting

in a stent to drain

my kidneys. Will need

another surgery when

I’m home.



JOHN: But you can

fly home, right?



GEMMA: Duck.

I don’t even know.


GEMMA:

Duck



GEMMA:

Fuck



JOHN: We will

figure it out.

I’m going to get the

girls and take them

to gymnastics. Call the

second you’re in

your room.


GEMMA: I will.

I cried on Anderson

like a little girl.

This is just a nightmare.



JOHN: I’m just

so glad he’s there.

Call me!



GEMMA: Will do.

Tell the girls they

are my everything.


Anderson comes back with a nurse.


ANDERSON:

Gemma, they are actually moving you and will get you dinner when they get you upstairs. Do you want me to stay with you while they move you?


GEMMA:

[Softly] Yes, please.


ANDERSON:

Sure thing.


Nurse releases brake on bed and wheels it

off stage right. Lights dim. When they

raise, Gemma is being wheeled into a room

with a roommate, a curtain dividing them.

There is a window to the left of Gemma’s

bed. Outside, it’s snowing. The nurse

positions the bed into place. Anderson is

carrying all of Gemma’s clothes, and her

purse. He sets it beside her bed and sits in

the chair beside the bed.


NURSE 2:

Okay Gemma, I just need to get some info from you. What’s the date of your last period?


ANDERSON:

[Hops up] You know what? I think this is my time to go.


GEMMA:

[Head in hands] Oh god...this just keeps getting better.


ANDERSON:

[Gives Gemma a side hug] You call me for anything. You hear me?


GEMMA:

[Sobbing and nodding]


Anderson exits stage right.


NURSE 2:

Okay, so are the tears about him? Or about your pain level?


GEMMA:

[Sobbing]


NURSE 2:

[Pulls out massive syringe, holds it up, taps it a few times and then injects it in to the IV line] Either way.


GEMMA:

[Sobbing subsides eventually. She lifts her head out of her hands.]


NURSE 2:

Alright then, I need to ask you a few questions about your medical background.


GEMMA:

[Claps once] You got it! What do you want to know!?


NURSE 2:

The date of your last period.



Lights dim

END OF ACT I


ACT I, Scene 1

ACT I, Scenes 2 & 3

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