New Amsterdam – Anthropocene
That hateful bed
The eternally optimistic Max wears a pensive look as he watches Georgia taking a phone call and tries to decipher what is being said. Georgia paces and Max tries unsuccessfully to extract information during the call. She returns to him with good news. The danger for her pregnancy has passed, the placenta previa has resolved and she is no longer chained to that hateful bed. Max suggests a litany of adventures for them to embark, but Georgia suggests a more reasonable dinner date. Just as they are making plans, Max remembers he already has plans for the evening: the hospital fundraiser. Georgia winces for him suggesting that it isn’t one of the favorite parts of Max’s job. They make tentative plans for a dinner date for the weekend.
Good News Kind of Day
Max is met by Dr. Sharpe as he walks the halls and she notices his particularly light mood. He comments that the baby is healthy, his wife is healthy, he and his wife are dating again. Helen notes that he has not yet shared his biggest, hairiest secret with his wife, something he swore he would do as soon as she was out of danger. She tries to hold Max’s feet to the fire, but he dances away from the commitment with a plea to let her have one day of not worrying about anyone. Helen knows he isn’t going to tell her on this day.
Meet the parents?
We catch up with the nerd herd (Drs. Frome and Kapoor) walking and talking as they regularly do. Iggy is discussing his parents visit to town to binge Broadway shows, but not Frome’s family. For the first time, we see the personal insecurities of Iggy breach the surface of his compassionate and careful demeanor. We quickly learn that Iggy’s parents have money for travel and leisure and it frustrates Dr. Frome that they come to the city regularly to see shows but don’t visit their grandchildren. In fact, we learn, they have only ever met one of Iggy’s children, his oldest, Sameera. That visit was so special to her that she has been obsessed with swans after they took the swan shaped paddle boat out during that visit. It was so important to Sameera that she has learned to fold napkins into swan shapes in anticipation of visiting with her grandparents at the fundraiser. Iggy offers to have her fold one for Vijay but is met with a polite declination. Dr. Kapoor is still not ready to attend the fundraiser this year.
Iggy is having a strained phone conversation just before the arrival of his husband Michael and daughter Sameera for the fundraiser. Michael tries to calm Iggy on their way to the fundraiser and Iggy finds himself unable to tell Sameera her grandparents aren’t coming. Michael finally forces Iggy to talk to him about what is bothering him. Iggy is heartbroken as he pushes out the reality that his parents want nothing to do with his family. His realization of his parents’ feelings “two gay dads and their Muslim children aren’t worthy of love”. Dr. Iggy Frome is a brilliant psychiatrist, but here we see more clearly than ever, he is also human. He longs for the same love an acceptance that each of the kids in his care need and want. Fortunately, he also has something they don’t. A built-in support system in the form of his husband Michael and a full bag of psychiatric techniques to help them all cope. When he finally reveals the truth to Sameera, she wonders if there is something wrong with their family. As he explains it to her, Iggy realizes that their family is special because it is a chosen family. He chooses not to be sad for their family and brilliantly shows his daughter how to cope. If we needed any more reasons to love Iggy Frome, the writers gave them to us in this episode.
An Accidental Date
During his conversation with Frome, Dr. Kapoor told us he wasn’t ready to attend the fundraiser this year. Iggy understood and suggested he share the tickets with a resident, but Dr. Kapoor had another idea. He wanted to offer them to someone who had helped him as a token of gratitude to someone he thought would enjoy the event. The next thing we know, our brilliant puzzle solving Neurologist has scheduled himself an accidental date with Ella to an event he does not want to attend. Solving medical puzzles generally comes easily to Dr. Kapoor while simple interpersonal interactions are often elusive. Neither person knows how to get out of this situation and despite the painfully awkward interaction, they agree to meet in the lobby after Ella’s shift.
As they await test results, Dr. Kapoor confesses to Dr. Sharpe that he has an accidental date. Despite his request for help, she offers nothing but the suggestion to avoid Ella forever. It may not entirely be the rigorous schedules that complicate relationships for these doctors.
Dr. Kapoor sends his resident to explain to Ella that he is busy curing an ancient disease and that is why he isn’t at the fundraiser. Ella is both taken aback at being stood up and a little relieved. Dr. Kapoor arrives very late and explains that he never meant to ask her out. The more he explains the bigger her smile gets. The awkward situation turns tender as Vijay shares his reason for not wanting to attend the fundraiser. It was something he shared with his late wife and it makes him miss her more.
A Blooming Friendship
Dr. Bloom strolls in on Helen, needle in hand aimed at herself. Our favorite ER doctor is as quick with her wit as she is with her decision making. She quips about preferring coffee, but the conversation becomes more serious when Helen shares that it is HCG. The two women discuss Helen’s choice to try to get what she wants, a biological child. These two hard charging women share a deep conversation that is only half verbal. Janet tells Helen she is proud of her for trying. With that, Dr. Bloom offers to help and unsympathetically jabs the needle into Dr. Sharpe’s skin. A slightly shocked look and the heavy emotions dissipate, but the foundations of a deep friendship remain.
Janet shares with Helen that Floyd had apologized and noted that it was sincere. When Helen pushes her on how she feels about it, Janet admits she isn’t sure and that getting over him was easier before. Dr. Bloom suggests that Dr. Sharpe could use some fun and should come to the fundraiser when she is finished with the patients.
An Ancient Emergency
We catch back up with Dr. Bloom in the ED briefly discussing the open bar as a major reason for attending the scheduled schmoozefest this evening. Two gurneys come bursting through the door, car crash victims Dan Marken and son Christopher Marken. Both have survivable injuries and are bickering throughout the report from the EMT. The Markens, are being transported through the ED in wheelchairs as Dr. Bloom starts to leave for the fundraiser. Both men start seizing and tests suggests that the patients need both a Hematology and Neurology consult. Dr. Sharpe and Dr. Kapoor will team up to assess the patients as Dr. Bloom exits for the fundraiser.
The Markens don’t seem to grasp the severity of their illness despite having been moved to the ICU. Dr. Sharpe advocates for keeping it that way as they prepare to run a battery of tests. Kapoor’s gut tells him it is Naegleriasis (water-borne amoebic infection) but Sharpe thinks an arbovirus is more likely if mosquitoes were present. They agree to run a full panel of blood work to determine what ails the Markens. The panel comes back clean with no positive pathological markers. Drs. Sharpe and Kapoor fear that they are facing an ancient unknown pathogen, but Max offers a viable alternative in mercury poisoning. It fits the possible exposure model, fits the symptoms but cannot be quickly confirmed. The only way to know is to attempt treatment. The catch? Using a chelating agent for heavy metals in the absence of heavy metals is dangerous. The doctors must choose which of the men to treat and they choose the son in case they are wrong. A younger person can better fight off the side effects. The Markens don’t have mercury poisoning and the doctors return to square one, with one patient in significantly worse shape than before. The elder Marken, Dan, pleads with the doctors to help in an emotional moment that brings Dr. Kapoor to tears and reinvigorates the duos puzzle solving resolve. When Helen is trying to print a report, but it is unreadable she realizes the key. The newest tests will not recognize the old strains. Helen and Vijay realize that everything in their collective experience tells them the Markens have Naelgeriasis. They begin treatment and the Markens respond well. Puzzle solved.