|"Sand and Water"|
|Season 7, Episode 2|
|Air date||October 19, 2000|
|Written by||Jack Orman|
|Directed by||Christopher Misiano|
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"Sand and Water" is the second episode of the seventh season of ER. It first aired on NBC on October 19, 2000. It was written by Jack Orman and directed by Christopher Misiano. It has Mark Greene and Elizabeth Corday make changes after a domestic dispute as Mark proposes to her. Abby Lockhart helps a grieving couple when their baby was born too early as John Carter asks her to be his AA sponsor.
Mark and Elizabeth buy a bigger house after clashing over domestic issues and Mark proposes marriage to Elizabeth. Abby, who is down to OB, helps a couple whose baby was born too early. Carter, after seeing Abby in the AA meeting, asks her to be his sponsor. Benton and Romano clash over the patient whose insurance won't cover him anymore. Chen informs Weaver of her pregnancy.
ABBY CARES FOR COUPLE WITH PREMATURE BABY; GREENE AND CORDAY SEARCH FOR DOMESTIC BLISS: A sympathetic Abby (Maura Tierney) takes pity on a young couple (guest stars Michael Raynor and Lara Harris) whose premature baby was born far too early, a cold fact of life which the desperate parents struggle to accept while Drs. Greene (Anthony Edwards) and Corday (Alex Kingston) re-define their relationship in the wake of domestic hassles.
Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) engages an equally stubborn Dr. Romano (Paul McCrane) in a war of wills over an obnoxious homeless man (guest star Gerry Black) who once again requires extensive treatment resulting from his chronic disdain for maintaining his dialysis appointments.
Dr. Weaver (Laura Innes) and a caring Dr. Kovac (Goran Visnjic) are helpless to assist a severely comatose woman (guest star Nancy Linehan Charles) whose longtime life partner (guest star Rosemary Forsyth) is not legally empowered to cease any heroic means of saving her.
Elsewhere, Carter (Noah Wyle) ponders the implications of his future return to the hospital and Dr. Malucci (Erik Palladino) stays out of sight from a candy striper (guest star Roberta Valderrama) who's on a mission to find him. Michael Michele and Ming-Na also star.
Elizabeth Corday is upset because she got a parking ticket. She yells at Mark Greene for putting an empty milk carton back into the fridge. She gets even more upset when she learns that Mark paid previous parking tickets without her knowing. She tells him she's not staying at his apartment anymore. She goes to blow dry her hair but the power goes out. She screams. Later on in the day, Mark asks Elizabeth if she wants to go on a date that night. She says yes but only if it’s at her apartment. After their shift, Mark takes Elizabeth to see a house. She loves it and asks when they can move in. He tells her how fast can she pack. He also tells her to look in the refrigerator and inside is an engagement ring. He proposes and Elizabeth says yes.
John Carter goes to his first AA meeting. Surprisingly, he runs into Abby Lockhart there. They share a look before turning their attention back to the group. Carter is waiting in the lobby to have a meeting with Mark and Kerry Weaver when Peter walks by. Peter stops to talk with him and tells him he’ll see him later. Carter says we’ll see. His meeting with Mark and Weaver goes off smoothly. He’s to start on half days and they will be monitoring his progress. He’s told that he’ll get random urine tests, have to meet with them once a week to check in, and needs to take a prescription pill before he can start working. Weaver tells him that he’s on the schedule for next week. Later, Carter spots Abby as she enters the diner. He invites her to sit down. He thanks her for saving his life and Abby forgives him. She tells him that the reason she was at the meeting was because she’s a drunk but that she’s five years sober. Carter asks if she can sponsor someone and she says yes technically she can. Carter asks for her to sponsor him. She says okay but only until he can find a permanent sponsor.
Jing-Mei Chen helps a woman who is complaining of having contractions. She’s only 22 weeks pregnant. She calls for a gurney and asks a nurse to get someone from OB down here. Abby is called downstairs to help despite having picked up some extra shifts in OB. Abby asks the nurses to bring a baby warmer in just in case. Abby tells Regina that she’s going to have the baby today and that she needs to push. The baby crowns and Jing-Mei pulls him out. She freaks out while holding him and has Weaver and Mark take over. Jing-Mei leaves the room upset. She can hear Regina yelling from outside to please save her baby. Weaver comes to see Jing-Mei who is doing charts. Jing-Mei apologizes about the baby and Weaver says she needs to go back in there and manage her patient. Jing-Mei says she can't and Weaver tells her that she's being considered for chief resident next year and that she needs to be someone the others look up to. Jing-Mei tells her that she's 22 weeks pregnant. Just like Regina. Weaver asks why she waited so long to tell her. Jing-Mei says that her parents are going to kill her. Weaver tells her to go home and that they'll work out her schedule tomorrow.
Abby sits with Regina who thinks it’s her fault that the baby came early because she traveled. She tells Abby that they tried for two years before she ended up pregnant. That her boy looks perfect but he's just a little small. Abby tries to explain that even if the baby was a few weeks older he'd still be plagued with disabilities. The mom says that maybe he could be a miracle and you have to help a miracle along. Abby says that they need to let him go. Abby goes looking for a priest for the baby. The nurse says that he's going to be a couple of hours and Abby says they don't have that long. Abby tells her that they need to get a priest down here and that she needs to cold call priests until she find an available one. Abby is walking with Regina's husband when they see a bunch of people crowding around the baby's bed. The husband thinks that they are there to help him but in reality the doctor is using the baby as a teaching experiment. Abby yells at him and tells him that he's torturing the dad because he thinks that he can do something to help his son. The doctor tells her to send the boy up to level 5 and she says no because she doesn't want them to see other babies. That they can stay in the ER where they can have some privacy. Abby takes a picture of the baby for the mom. They ask how much longer they have with the baby. She says it could be a few minutes or a few hours. Abby gets pulled aside by an OBGYN. She yells at Abby for not being there for her patient upstairs. That if she's going to take shifts as an OB nurse that she needs to know she has her full commitment. Mark comes up and tells her that he's sorry that it was his call to keep Abby down here. She says okay but to not ignore her pages. Abby tells Luka that the priest will be here soon. Luka says that maybe in 10 or 15 years they could have helped him. Abby says maybe they could incubate him and Luka says that it's his time on earth and all they can do is make it a good time. The husband walks out and says that he thinks the baby stopped breathing. Luka checks on the baby but there is no heartbeat. Abby goes to call it but suddenly the baby has a heartbeat again. The baby manages to survive until the priest gets there and Abby stays with the couple while he’s blessed.
Weaver takes over Luka Kovač’s patient of an elderly lady who came in with trouble breathing. The woman’s partner is adamant that she wouldn’t want to be connected to machines. Despite having been together for 27 years, they aren’t family and since she isn’t family they have to wait for the brother to call back to see what they can do. They finally manage to get ahold of him and he disagrees with the partner, telling Weaver to go ahead and incubate her. Weaver apologizes to the woman’s partner after she does so.
Mr. Fletcher is brought back to the ER and Cleo Finch gives his case to Peter Benton. A woman approaches Peter about Mr. Fletcher. She tells him that they can't admit him because he's racked up a lot of unpaid charges. Peter tells her that he needs a new shunt. She tells him that he can do whatever is medically necessary but they can't admit him. To take it up with Dr. Robert Romano if he has any issues. Peter goes to Dr. Romano and asks him to admit his patient. Romano says no that he's been in here 28 times for renal failure. That he's tired of caring these parasites. Peter tells him that he hasn't even looked at the patient so Romano goes to see him. The patient pisses him off and Romano tells him to send him to another state with a whole new Medicaid program where he can piss off a whole new set of doctors. Peter takes Mr. Fletcher up to an OR but learns that he can't get a room for Fletcher on Romano’s orders. Romano finally takes Mr. Fletcher up to surgery after the deputy inspector general threatens to fine him. The deputy general says that while she's here she's going to audit the hospital. Peter tries to apologize for calling her but Romano tells him to not say another word.
- Corday (to Mark about staying in his apartment): That's it, then. I'm not staying here any more.
- Mark: Here we go.
- Corday: Every faucet leaks. Your toilet actually rocks...
- Mark: I kinda like that.
- Corday: And there are creatures scurrying about in the walls. Do you know what scurries about in walls, Mark?
- Mark: Bunnies?
- Regina (to Abby about her very premature baby): Sometimes you need to help a miracle along.
- Abby: And sometimes you have to let go.