ACT III Scene 1
Scene opens on the hospital room with
Roommate sitting up in bed (helmet still
attached) on the phone. There is an empty
space where Gemma’s bed was.
So I just need someone to go feed my cat. I’ve tried my neighbors but no one picks up. I know it’s asking a lot for you to drive that far but I’m worried he hasn’t eaten. [pauses] Ok. I understand. I can try my neighbors again. [pauses] Oh, thanks. Yeah, they haven’t figured it out yet. I just came from an MRI, and I’m wearing a cap to test for any neurological abnormalities. But it’s frustrating, you know? I’m a civil litigation lawyer and I need my words. I can’t just keep dropping my words and having my left side go numb! [pauses] Huh? Oh, yeah, I understand. We’ll talk later. Bye.
A nurse pushes Gemma in her bed into the
room from stage right. Gemma is asleep. The
nurse wheels her bed back into its position
beside the roommate. Once she arranges
everything she walks over to the side of
Your roommate just got out of surgery and is sleeping off the anesthesia. We’ll have the results of your MRI back soon. But I need to prepare you for a spinal tap.
A spinal tap? Why?
The doctors will explain their reasoning when they come in. For now, I need you to sit up and swing your legs over the side of the bed.
Roommate sighs, sits up, swings her legs
over the side of the bed. A doctor walks in.
During the conversation the doctor performs
a spinal tap (lifts her gown, injects long
needle into her back)
Hi there, my last name is a Polish nightmare, so you can call me Doctor G. We are here to do a spinal tap.
What do you hope to glean from that?
Well, we want to rule out MS.
Our diagnostic team isn’t convinced that’s what it is, but your long list of symptoms
aren’t pointing us to any one real diagnosis. So that leaves us with testing for everything, essentially.
MS is treatable, right?
Yes, yes. But don’t get ahead of yourself.
I just want answers. I’m a lawyer and I can’t work if I can’t speak or write.
My work is my livelihood.
Gemma wakes up. Works to sit up and come to.
Doctor is working and Roommate is silent for
a few moments.
Alright...the spinal tap is complete. You feeling okay?
Yeah, yeah. Just, scared.
Understandably. Do you have a spouse here with you?
One daughter. She’s grown. And we don’t....we don’t really speak to each other. Long story.
Ah. Well, you’ve got a team here at the hospital who are working hard for you. I’ll be back in soon with the results. Rest now. You might feel woozy, so it’s important you try to sleep. Or at the very least, lie very still.
I need answers.
We are working on it.
I’m a civil litigation lawyer. [pauses] My work is my livelihood. [pauses] Without it...without
Our plan is to have you back at work as soon as we can.
Without it, who am I even?
You’re a person. And you’re a mother. And you’re going to know very soon what the
Doctor pats Roommate’s legs and exits. Nurse
4 enters as he does. She is carrying a
massive ball of undetermined material
wrapped in cellophane and crosses to Gemma’s
side of the room.
Hi Gemma, how are you feeling?
Um...hungry. [pauses, works to adjust to a comfortable position] Super hungry.
Well I have good news! You are clear to eat. Finally!
That’s the best news I’ve had all week. Can you bring me dinner?
Ooo, I’m afraid not. The cafeteria is closed at this hour. But I can bring you a cold turkey sandwich and a fruit cup.
I think I hate you.
Here [puts cellophane ball on Gemma’s bed]. These are your belongings. Since you don’t have family here, security wrapped up all of your belongings and kept them while you were in surgery.
Uh, ok. [examines mass]
Here’s a form that details all we found in the room that belonged to you. We need to
make sure everything is, in fact, yours. [Looks down at sheet and begins to read from
it]. One long black tank dress. One jean jacket. One pair of white slip on tennis shoes. One bra like apparatus, one pair of underwear. One Kate Spade purse. One wallet. One iPhone.
Three credit cards. Twenty-seven dollars and thirteen cents in cash and coins. One
backpack. Two books, one notebook, and a diamond wedding ring.
They took off my wedding ring!! [examines left hand] And what [looks at cellophane mass] stuck it in with my underwear and wrapped it up like leftovers?! Who the hell took off my wedding ring?
An OR nurse. It’s protocol. For sanitary reasons jewelry isn’t allowed in surgery.
It’s fine. It’s in there. So, is that all you had with you?
Yep. That’s all I had on me when I passed out in class. If I could have planned this emergency I would have packed better.
Well, I’ll let you sort through this [slaps the cellophane ball toward Gemma on the bed]
while I get your sandwich. You’re set to check out of here tomorrow. I’m not sure
what time it will be, possibly in the afternoon.
Oh hell no. I’m leaving at 7 am, whether I’ve been discharged or not. So you just tell anyone who needs to know that whether or not papers have been signed, or this IV has been removed, I’m walking out of this fucking hospital at 7 am tomorrow. I’m getting a taxi and I’m headed straight to the airport.
You’ll need to stop by the pharmacy.
Yeah, okay, whatever. Point is, tell your team I’m leaving at daybreak!
Okay, General Patton. I’ll tell the troops.
Nurse turns to leave. Gemma works to
untangle her belongings. Finds her phone,
turns it on.
let me know
when you’re out
of surgery! I love
you so much.
13 MISSED CALLS
Ex-Stripper Stormy Daniels
responds to Cohen testimony.
from you yet.
Please call when
Hey babe! I’m so glad to hear your voice.
Hey there. I’m sorry it took so long. I was in recovery for a while, then they wheeled me up here and I had to unpack my phone.
Nothing, it’s just that they wrapped all my belongings up in this big massive ball and I
had to untangle it. Anyway, not a deal. I’m out. I haven’t talked to anyone yet, other than Satan’s Mistress, about the surgery.
The nurse. I’m waiting for her to bring me my first meal in four days. I’m very
excited. It’s a cold turkey sandwich.
Gem, this is insane. I feel so helpless. You need food.
So much food.
How’s your pain level?
I woke up in recovery screaming. But then they gave me something, whatever that drug
is they keep giving me, and well, I’m 99% sure I’m addicted at this point.
That’s okay. I think I’d rather you come home an addict than in pain.
I can’t wait to see you. To hold you.
Be warned, I expect massive care when I get home.
You got it.
No, I’m talking really big stuff. Back rubs, breakfast in bed, choice of all tv shows for
a solid year. Plus other things I haven’t thought of yet.
Done. And I’ve spoken with Southwest. They were very accommodating about the situation.
I have your flight rebooked for tomorrow at noon. But it’s flying out of the Newark
airport. Can you manage that?
Yeah, I told them I’m leaving at 7. I just need to get an Uber to take me to the CVS on Broadway. Then I’ll go straight to the airport full of sedatives.
Should I fly up there? [pauses] I should fly up there.
No, that makes no sense. I’ll be fine. I just need some food, and water, and to get the hell out of this place.
Do you know what the weather is like there?
Okay, well the news was showing a pretty strong snow storm over New York City, but everything I’ve read suggests it will be fine for flights tomorrow.
Well, it’s not snowing now. Or at least, it’s not snowing on the side of the building where my hospital room is.
It will be fine. You’ll be back in Tulsa by 6pm tomorrow night. The girls and I are so ready to see you.
Oh god, I haven’t even asked about them! How terrible am I?
Stop that. The girls are great. They’ve made you some spectacular Get Well cards.
They are magnificent.
Hey, new roommate?
[laughing] With my luck? Nope. Same room and everything.
There is a knock and the nurse enters with a
sandwich and fruit cup, places it on the
tray beside Gemma and leaves.
Hey, babe. I love you more than life, but my feast is here and well, I kind of want to
let this fruit cup get me pregnant.
Well, we had a nice thing while it lasted.
Call you later?
Absolutely. Love you.
[Shoves sandwich into mouth] [unclear sentence]
ACT III Scene 2
Gemma and Roommate are sitting up in their
beds watching TV. There is a knock at the
door. Dr. G enters and addresses Roommate.
How’s my patient?
Not any better. I keep having numbness on my side. And I am still struggling with words. I can’t be struggling with words. Also, there’s a tightness in my breath.
Doctor G pulls a chair up next to Roommate’s
bed and sits down.
Mmm...well, I’ve got your test results back.
All of them.
It’s MS. I knew it all along.
Nope. Happily, it’s not.
I had a stroke?
[Lowers head and pauses for a few moments] Dana. The test results show you’re fine.
I’m not at all fine. Not even close.
This battery of tests [holds up a stack of papers] say otherwise.
You think I’m making this all up? [pauses] You do, don’t you?
I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that we’ve scanned you from head to toe and ear to ear and we aren’t coming up with anything. Not even so much as elevated cholesterol.
I have to have my words! I have to be able to stand up in court without my legs going
numb! My work is my livelihood.
About your job...you’re a lawyer, right?
Civil litigation, yes.
Sounds very stressful.
Of course it’s stressful.
Eighty, ninety hour weeks. Typical for the job.
That could certainly take a toll.
Oh I see what’s going on! You think this is all in my head! Stress related, or what?
What is it you’re thinking? That I’m just making it up to get a break from work?
That’s bullshit. Absolute and utter bullshit!
And you and your daughter aren’t speaking, right?
Doc, I’m gonna stop you right there. You’ve explained the results so all you need to do at this point is tell me what comes next.
[Pauses] What comes next, Dana, is that you are going to be discharged from the
hospital. [pauses] And our records indicate this is the third hospital you’ve been discharged
from in as many weeks.
Jesus Christ! Okay, I don’t need this. Just send in the nurse with the papers and I’ll
be on my way. Thank you, sir, for a whole lot of nothing.
Doctor stands. Pauses for a beat by her bed,
then exits. The women sit quietly for a
moment. The nurse enters.
Alright Dana, I’ve got your discharge papers. Are you ready to start the process?
Lights dim slightly over the nurse and
Roommate as they quietly work on paperwork,
getting her things gathered, and getting
Roommate dressed. Lights raise higher on
Gemma who is sitting up in bed on her phone.
GEMMA (group text):
Surgery went well.
I’ve finally eaten.
I’ll discharge tomorrow
morning. My flight is
scheduled out of Newark
airport at noon. I haven’t
talked with the surgeon yet,
but the nurse said all went
as planned. Will update you
as I know more.
MOM: Oh Sweetie!!!
So glad to hear that!!
We LOVE YOU!!!!
Can’t wait to see you!!
for the update! Glad
to hear you’re okay.
Meeting went well,
classes are covered,
your GA is set to present.
Literally nothing for you
to worry about at work!
Thank you for
the update. We
missed you in class.
Hope you make a full
recovery and have a
safe flight home.
WAYNE: Glad to
hear it. Hurry home.
Queer Eye can’t watch
itself. And this wine
can’t drink itself. Oh
wait...it totally can.
DAD: I trust
that the surgeon
is board certified?
JOHN: The girls
made you this video!
How cute are our
You have 74 new
likes on your photo.
You have 4 new
Gemma’s phone continues to chime
intermittently as the lights raise on
Roommate’s side to show the nurse exiting
and Roommate sitting on the edge of her bed
dressed. The women are still divided by
their curtain. Their conversation happens
without them facing or seeing one another.
Gemma’s phone softly chimes throughout the
conversation but the screen on stage fades to black.
Well, I guess I’m outta here.
[Looks up from phone] Oh, okay. Well, I hope you get to feeling better.
[Snorts] Meh. I’ve felt bad for nearly a year. No doctor seems to know what’s up and half of them don’t believe me. But whatever. I’ll keep fighting for myself.
There is silence.
So...kidney stones huh?
Yeah. Insanely painful.
And I gather you’re a long way from home.
Yep. I’m from Oklahoma. Three thousand miles from here. [pauses] I’ve felt super alone.
That sounds rough [Gemma’s phone chimes three times]. But THAT sounds like you’re
the furthest thing from alone.
Well, hope you get home safe.
Stands up, grabs her bag, and starts to walk
out. Gets to the door and stops.
I left you some dry shampoo in the bathroom.
Oh my god, thank you! I haven't showered in four days. I’ve never felt so gross.
I hear ya.
Beat of silence.
And for the record. I’m not crazy. My symptoms are real.
There is a moment of silence.
I believe you.
Another silent moment.
Roommate exits and her side of the room goes
dark. Gemma sits for a moment, then reaches
up to turn out the lights.