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CARE PLANS

A closeted nurse from a dysfunctional family struggles with love and the meaning of life while working in the gay community during the emerging AIDS crisis in 1970’s New York City.

CARE PLANS Drama, gallows humor EILEEN CONROY lives in a cold, loveless house and has nightmares of her dead sister, Marie. Her bedroom is preserved complete with oxygen tent exactly as it was when Marie died of Cystic Fibrosis in childhood. Eileen’s mother, DOLORES is mentally unstable and her father JOE CONROY focuses on his wife’s problems. Eileen visits BOB, her boyfriend, who is home for college break. Bob’s father has a heart attack and Bob’s sister ANNE, a nurse, saves him with CPR. Eileen in enamored by Anne and has an epiphany that she must become a nurse. She believes that this will enable her to help her depressed mother. During her nursing school entrance exam Eileen she meets a GHOST (like) NUN who tells her she has been called to nursing and a pretty girl, SHEILA who Eileen is attracted to. TERRY, Eileen’s roommate, is a rough and serious student who has to work her way through school. During school, Eileen and Sheila visit to the Bowery Mission- a home for male Bowery Bums. During the visit Eileen is enchanted by the JESUS THE JANITOR because he reminds her of Anne. She offers to volunteer at the Mission despite her fear of contracting tuberculosis. Eileen, Sheila and Terry learn how to sneak out of the dorms through an asbestos lined basement to McGowan’s bar, a dive that only a hospital employee could love. This brown bar is an oasis of alcohol and gallows humor for the beleaguered staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital. Sheila is generous and playful but she cruelly points out how unattractive Terry is. Terry is smart and honest but she doesn’t drink and she point out how Sheila is a rich bitch. Eileen is caught in the middle between her two friends. The next day Eileen wakes up very hung over. Her roommate Terry has already left for work. The dorm is empty except for DEBBIE, a student who convinces Eileen to go Disco roller skating. Eileen dons Debbie’s skates and a rainbow Afro-wig. While practicing in the dorm hallway. Eileen accidentally skates into SISTER LUKE’s room, sees her liquor bottle, and is severely chastised by the irate nun. Sister Luke doesn’t approve Eileen to volunteer at the Bowery Mission after this incident. Terry lectures Eileen about wasting time and partying. Eileen accuses Terry of being no fun and having no interests. Terry tells Eileen that studying nursing is her interest and that she has developed a Nursing Care Plan specifically for Eileen encouraging her to take better care of herself. Eileen is a germaphobe with a deep fear of getting lung infections and ending up in an oxygen tent. She and her fellow students endure the daily hospital atrocities by day, and, by night they drink and regale each other with their horrors of the day story. The winner to whoever tells the most outrageous story. One night, Terry reluctantly joins Eileen to go to the bar because Eileen is upset and doesn’t want to go out alone and Sheila’s not available. Tonight, Eileen can’t handle McGowan’s, she wants to go to the happy bar where all the beautiful men dance. Terry waits outside while Eileen is treated coldly and ignored by the leather clad men inside. Frustrated, Eileen quickly leaves and realizes that it was a gay bar. Terry takes Eileen to a lesbian bar where she feels very comfortable. She educates the naive Eileen about gay bars in Greenwich Village. Eileen finally breaks down and admits she is afraid she got TB from her patient but has not reported it because she is afraid she will be kicked out of school and then will not be able to help her mother. Terry helps Eileen and develops a Nursing Care Plan for Eileen's post exposure to tuberculosis. Eileen takes pity on Terry, who is estranged from her family and invites her home for Thanksgiving at her Bob’s house because Eileen’s parents don’t celebrate any holidays since her sister died. During dinner, fellow nurse Anne encourages Eileen and Terry to talk about the horror of the day contest. Bob is horrified when Terry tells them Eileen won the contest because her TB patients spit at her when she wouldn’t by him cigarettes. That night at the Conroy’s house Terry goes to Eileen’s room to apologize. Terry is shocked when she enters Eileen’s room and sees Marie’s bed with her oxygen tent. Eileen confesses her mother is unhinged and she has kept this room like a shrine still waiting for Marie reappear for over a decade. Eileen breaks up with Bob because he treats her like she is infected with TB. Eileen and Sheila march with their classmates at the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The senior students set up IV poles with IV bags filled with red wine. Sheila joins the seniors drinking and dancing with the NYC police bagpipe band who share the IV wine. The day after the parade Eileen finds out that Sheila has left school. Eileen is scared and depressed. Terry tries to help her with an anti- alcohol Nursing Care Plan. Eileen cares for a bum who needs to have his frostbitten toes amputated. It’s Jesus the Janitor from the Bowery Mission. Eileen is devastated and guilty for not helping him. Terry comforts Eileen and finally confesses that her father was alcoholic and beat her when he caught her having sex in the barn. Terry will not confess who she was having sex with. Eileen works with Terry in the ICU to help raise money to be Sheila’s bridesmaid. They care for patients injured by violence, IV drug addicts with fever of unknown origin and young Gay men devastated by immune deficiency disease. Their relationship deepens and Eileen kisses Terry while very drunk. Graduation day arrives. Eileen’s mother doesn’t want Eileen to come home. Terry encourages Eileen to be happy and celebrate their good fortune to have jobs and an apartment to share in the staff house. They get very drunk together and Eileen blacks out. She wakes up in bed next to Terry. Debbie has seen them sleeping together and accuses them of being lesbians and having the Gay Plague. Eileen fears anti- gay sentiment will ruin her life. Terry becomes enraged and beats the Debbie up. Eileen witnesses the violence and breaks off her relationship with Terry. Eileen returns to her parents’ house and attempts to heal her relationship with her depressed mother. She tells her mother how she saved the Cystic Fibrosis patient and asks to come home and help her mother get counseling. Her mother rejects her. Eileen begins to drink heavily after Sheila turns her away because the other bridesmaids don’t like her. Eileen snaps when her mother coldly blames Eileen saying Marie died alone in the hospital because she had to stay home and babysit Eileen. Eileen destroys the bedroom shrine to Marie. During her rampage she accidentally cuts herself. Her parents banish her for fear of AIDS contaminated blood. Eileen slips and hits her head and wakes up in the local hospital. She is being treated for DT’s from withdrawal from chronic alcohol use. Terry is at the hospital because Eileen’s father called her. Terry helps Eileen with her final nursing care plan. Terry shows Eileen that if she learns to love herself she can get healthy and return to her life mission: Nursing. Terry takes Eileen to an AA meeting. Eileen realizes that she has been called to nursing, an honorable mission and that Terry is her true friend. Terry confesses she is in love with Eileen. Eileen admits she loves Terry too, but she is afraid of how the world will treat them. They happily agree to live together as a couple and also as Sisters, the British term for nurses.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Budget:
Modest
Starring Roles For:
a lovely 18 year old actress
17ish, 18ish, female
Female, 50s
In the Vein Of:
M.A.S.H.
Forrest Gump
The Breakfast Club
Posted:
07/04/2019
Updated:
01/13/2021
Author Bio:
Her background as a nurse practitioner has given Kathleen Werner a unique perspective into the human psyche. Feeling that film has more impact on human behavior than her prior published work in medical journals, she now uses her screenplays to shine a light on the complex nature of the human condition. Kathleen Werner is a Nurse Practitioner living in Naples, Florida. Prior to becoming a screenwriter she has been published in medical journals and has won several local and business writing competitions.

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Contest Results:
Cynosure (Quarterfinalist) [2020]