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Goodbye ER...

 This evening, ER will be closing it's doors for good. AFter 15 years, the show is going off the air- and with it, the weekly medical adventures of the doctors and nurses of County hospital. For me, this is a sad time. I first learned about "ER" WAY back 1994- about three weeks before the show was to be aired. It was at that time that I was HEAVILY into Michael Crichton novels- and after reading his Five Patients, I learned that it was going to be made into a series. Well, come sunday night, there it was- a tv movie that was based on the book- right down to the old lady coming in for treating a hang-nail (and really just looking for a little attention in her life). But, unlike the book, there was more- and like so many of Crichton's novels, there was a character named Ross. (Yea, I know- but in my life, there are so FEW Ross-es out there. But that fall, there was not one but TWO Rosses on prime time tv- Ross in "Friends" and Dr. Ross on "ER"). And after about three minutes of the tv movie, I was a fan. Over the next year, I would come home from work, and watch the episodes that I had recorded earlier, while having dinner. Later on, I got a different shift, and was able to watch the show as it was being broadcast- often times while sharing a taco meal with my mother. By the end of the first season, I had converted my mom over into watching both ER and Friends. (She got into the show in April- WELL into the season and had missed much of both series). So, during the summer, every thursday night, we would sit and watch ER- for me, it was repeats, for her, it was new episodes. It was a special bonding time for us. Then, she got sick and went into the hospital. But we still would watch the show. August 24th 1995- I had been up since 5am that day- worked a full shift at the daycare, and after work, came to the hospital, with dinner, and we sat and watched ER together. For the last time. A few hours later, my mom would have her stroke and end up in a coma. During the next two weeks, I was living the life of ER, in many respects. Even my cousin, when she visit, whispered to my mom "Carol, you have all these doctors around you right now, but none of them are as cute as that Dr. Ross..." Sadly, things did NOT get better for my mom, and she would pass away shortly after. The next second of ER, that started around the time of my mom's funeral, was one of melancholy and depression. I would watch the show, and think "Mom is not here to watch it with me..." But as the second went on, I found myself getting more and more interested in the episodes. By the 3rd season, it WAS my Thursday night thing- I would get chinese food or pizza, watch the show, and then go back a few days later and maybe a few days later, go back and rewatch it. At the same time, I discovered it was a way to break the ice with people- "My name is Ross... like Dr. Ross on ER. Oh yeah, I watch the show- love it.... blah blah blah...". (I also discovered that one of the little ones in my daycare watched the show, and like her, I wanted to see certain people get together...). Over the next few years, I would continued to watch the show- sometimes the night it was on, other times, a day or two later. But I was a fan of the show and would make it a point to be there. (During a period of time when I was having to wear scrubs to work, I use to pretend, late at night, that I was in the ER- and would even take my stethoscope and fling it around my neck like them...). But as time when by, I found other things taking my time away from the show- insert School and Job here. (Surprisingly, Sydney was one that NEVER really took away from the show- we both were fans of the show and would watch it together.... ). But this past two seasons, I have found new enjoyment in the show- and sadly, it is ending this evening. So, in honor of the passing of the show, I give you my list of .... Favorite/ Powerful Moments in ER History: 1) Death of Mark Greene- the one who was the ER has his final moments offscreen, as he passes away while in Hawaii with his daughter, wife, and new born baby with him. Never has the word “shit” carried such power and emotion as when it is said by Greene when he is no longer able to walk… 2) The Sudden removal of Rocket Romano’s arm- in the history of ER, here have been moments of “whoa” but personally, NEVER have I ever sat up in bed, after seeing something and gone “whoa” . But the sight of Rocket, stand up while a patient’s clip chart in hand, and watching as he has his arm CUT OFF by a pair of helicopter blades- well that was something to be forever burned in my mind. (And within moments of it happening, my Ex Mother in Law was calling us and yelling “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!?”). 3) The departure of Carol Hathaway and the Return of Doug Ross- if there ever was a couple of the ER, it was Doug and Carol. The premiere movie had Doug feeling guilty for Carol’s Suicide attempt; Doug managed to have a hand in the break of up Carol’s marriage; and after several failed attempts at relationships with others, Doug and Carol finally managed to become a couple. (I still get a kick out of the teaser opening where Doug is busy setting up a video camera in the bedroom, while he and Carol talk about a medical case). And after Doug leaves, Carol learns she is pregnant, gives birth to the babies, and raises them alone for the first year- only to end up dropping everything in her life, flying out to Seattle, and being reunited with Doug Ross. 4) The Stabbing of Carter and the Death of Lucy (Kellie Martin’s character)- If Greene was the veteran of the ER, then Carter was the eye of the viewer- new and young and inexperienced in the ways of the ER. But as the view became more comfortable with the characters and situation, so did Carter. Until one particular shift, where a crazed Schizophrenic patient gets a hold of a kitchen knife and ends up destroying one life and causing a lifetime of problems for another. 5) The Grieving Mother, rocking her dead baby- this image, of a mother having one last moment with her deceased child, singing to him and loving him in a way only a mother in shock could ever do. To this day, this image haunts my mind when I image anything happening to one of the children of my various mom friends…. 6) Greene’s assault in the Bathroom- After failing to save the life of a patient, Greene is brutually attacked in the restroom by an unknown assault, resulting in the breaking his Mark’s hand and a change in his basic attitude towards patients. 7) The Death of Carter’s baby- after spending an entire evening with his hand pressed against his wife’s pregnant belly, and feeling no kicking or movement out of the fetus, Carter’s wife is forced to go through with forced labor, all the while knowing that the child is going to be a stillborn. 8) The Final Death of Romano- if you are EVER looking for an example of irony, you need not look any further than the death of Romano. After having his arm cut off, reattached, and then finally removed again, he has a flashback to the event while on the roof of the hospital, while attempting to get an inbound ER patient. Unable to deal with the emotions, he flees the roof, escapes to the ambulance bay, and tries to catch his breathe, only to have the same helicopter come crashing down on him, killing him. And the topping on the cake- everyone keeps asking “Where is Romano?!?!” (For me, in particular, this emotions has personal memories associated with it, that I really don’t want to get into at this time). 9) Susan’s departure from the show- After years of Greene and Susan being friends and work spouses, they start to get closure to each other, and when Mark is ready to admit his feelings, she leaves him standing at the train station, with a broken heart and a feeling of “what do I do now?” 10) Dr. Greene’s Bad Night- during the first season of ER, it was one of two shows that was to be the new Water Cooler show. (The other being this little show called Friends… ever heard of it?). It was a season where the viewers got to see more medical drama and miracles in an average night then they would see in their entire real world lives. But sometimes- things don’t always have a happy ending. Towards the end of the first season, Dr. Greene is working his shift during the night, and husband and wife come in, with a simple case of early labor pains. What starts off as a simple procedure will end up with the passing of a mother, the permanent brain damage to a baby, a father having to deal with life and death in the same night, and a moment that would be talked about by people for weeks. (I still remember it being talked about the next day on the radio- how no matter had bad of a day one might have, it could be a thousand times worse for doctors working the ER). {TV GEEK Trivia: The husband/ father of the baby was played by Bradley Whitford, and during the emotional birthing scene, Anthony Edwards played a practical joke on the crew and staff and help give birth to one of the V alien babies…) 11) The Suicide of Bob Newhart- no, the actor did not kill himself. After the return of Susan, she ends up befriending and becoming the object of affection for Bob Newhart’s character, who is suffering from an eye disease that is causing him to go blind. Susan, feeling sorry for him at first, goes over to help him with things. AS time goes by, the friendship turns into a crush on his part, and when things go bad, and he realizes that he is in for a lifetime of ongoing problems, he places a DNR notice on his chest, puts a gun to his template and ends it. For me, was like watching a member of the family dying- I was raised, on my parents knee, while watching Bob Newhart Show; I spend my teen years watching Newhart, and could remember driving in the car with my father, listening to his Bob Newhart comedy albums. So to think of Bob Newhart killing himself- well that was something else 12) The ER- 3rd Watch crossover- When Susan’s niece calls, in a panic, Susan hops a plane to New York, and enlists the assistance of the Police Officers of 3rd Watch to help track down her sister and niece. I never really thought ER would need to have a cross over episode, but when it was done, it once again showed that the show didn’t really need it. 13) The various extreme medical cases- ranging from the guy in the waiting room, with an Arrow in his head, to the brothers covered in glue and stuck together, to the EMS (and Tag’s rig mate) who was slowing dying from chemical burns, the show managed to show some of the more unusual and extreme medical cases around. 14) The Out of the ER episodes- not all the episodes were limited to the ER; whether it was Doug and Mark’s road trip, to claim the body of Doug’s father, to the visits to Darfur’s ongoing genocide, to Peter Benton’s trip to the Deep South, ER managed to show the doctors outside the confines of the hospital 15) The Episode where the Nuclear bomb goes off and Jack watches as the mushroom cloud…..wait, sorry, that is for “24” memorable moments… 15) The Guest Stars: Ranging from Sally Field and the forementioned Bob Newhart, to Red Buttons, Miguel Ferrier, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Liotta, CCH Pounder, Alan Alda, Mare Wilhingham, Rebecca DeMorey, not to mention future CSI stars Jorja Fox and Marg Helgenberger And while there are surely something that I forgot- the "special episodes" that would be teased about all week; the deaths of beloved characters, or the departure of others- these are the ones that really stand out in my mind, more than others. Alas, TV history is over and a new saga is to begin.....


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