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Six Days, Part 1 is the eleventh episode and mid-season premiere of the third season and the 47th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

The staff all have anxiety today, Izzie refuses to deposit the $8.7 million check, making everyone anxious, especially George as his father's surgery is soon. Meredith is also anxious around her father and his other family. Callie wants Derek to consult on an angry VATER patient but is unsure how to ask him. Cristina and Burke are not talking, while Mark won't allow Addison to talk down to him.

Full Summary[]

Derek is watching a snoring Meredith. She wakes up and he greets her. She asks if he's watching her sleep, which she finds a bit creepy.

Down in the kitchen, George accidentally drops Izzie's check on the floor. He urges her to deposit it. Izzie thinks he's displacing his anxiety over his father's surgery tomorrow. That check ruins his morning every day. He begs her to deposit it. She says no, but she will give him a ride to work if he's nice to her. He tells her she does not deserve 8.7 million dollars. She agrees.

The interns are wandering the halls together. Izzie asks Cristina about Burke. Since she doesn't reply, Meredith clarifies they aren't speaking to each other. Cristina asks Meredith about Burke's hand, but Meredith doesn't want to get in the middle. Izzie suggests she swallow her pride and ask Burke herself. They enter Harold's room, where the entire O'Malley family has gathered. They enthusiastically greet the doctors. George is allowed to present the case, which is met with more cheering. Bailey asks the extended family to clear the room. Harold is feeling great, which is why they had everyone coming out. Harold wants to know about chemo and stuff. Richard says that depends on what they find when they open him up. Meredith says they need to get a good look inside to see if the cancer has spread. The oncologist will talk them through all that. Meredith will take Harold through a final battery of pre-op tests.

Cristina catches up with Derek and asks him about Burke's hand. He tells her to ask him herself. She and the other interns then enter Burke's room, where Alex presents the case. The I and D surgery for the compressive hematoma on the brachial plexus went well and there are no signs of infection. Cristina tries to get Meredith to ask about Burke's hand, but Meredith refuses. Derek asks Burke to take it easy on the nurses. Burke checks with George when exactly his father's surgery is.

Next up on rounds is Heather, a teenage girl with severe scoliosis. The interns are impressed. Heather makes it clear she's a not a brave, heartwarming differently-abled patient. Izzie presents the case as Callie joins the team. Heather's history includes VATER syndrome, a genetic condition that affects vertebrae, among other things. Heather says remembering the acronym is easier than living with it. Today, they are removing kidney stones and performing a thoracoplasty to relieve pressure on her lungs. Callie asks if they have ever tried anything more radical. Heather says she's had a steel rod inserted into her spine, but it just bent. Izzie says kidney stones may seem minor, but it will improve her quality of life. Heather asks if the surgery will get her laid. Heather thinks doctors shouldn't make promises they can't keep.

Meredith presents Laura Grey-Thompson as Thatcher comes in. Susan and Molly have the flu, so he came to get an update. Meredith is a bit rattled. Thatcher leaves. Cristina takes over the presentation as Meredith can't bring herself to continue.

Bailey has assignments. Meredith is on Harold's case, Cristina is sent to the pit, Alex is with Sloan, Izzie has to prep Heather, and George is off this week. George asks Bailey not to sugarcoat things as his father's case progresses. She agrees not to. Izzie follows Bailey and asks if she can scrub in on Heather's surgery. She's ready and she's done everything her psychiatrist required her to, except deposit the check. Bailey says no. She deems the check an example of Izzie not being reasonable, so she can't scrub in.

Meredith and Cristina ask for their lab results. Cristina gets mean with the lab tech. As they wait, Cristina asks Meredith if she's okay after what happened with her father. Meredith wishes the baby and Thatcher would go home. Cristina again asks her to ask Derek about Burke's tremors. She can't ask him herself, because then he wins. Meredith asks Cristina if she has a father. She has a nice stepfather whom she sees for Yom Kippur.

Mark is giving Alex instructions on how he likes his charts ordered. Addison comes over and asks him if he likes abusing interns. Mark tells Addison she does not get to high horse this week. He walks off. Alex says Mark's an ass, but Addison says not this week.

Callie catches up with Bailey and asks what the best way is to get Derek to do something. She wants a consult from him on a patient that has not requested it. Bailey says Derek thinks he's a little busier and more important than everyone else, so Callie will have to stare him down. Bailey gives a little demonstration as to how that works.

Izzie is prepping Heather, who tells her she's too hot to be a doctor. She thinks people that look like her are supposed to be dumb. She doesn't want Izzie in on her surgery since she'll die. Izzie says she won't be in on the surgery, which Heather takes as proof that she's not a doctor. Izzie says she is a doctor and tells her about Denny. Heather says so much for her theory that life doesn't suck for pretty people. She apologizes for being a bitch. Izzie says it's fine, Heather is in pain and sometimes she's a bitch for no good reason at all.

Callie catches up with Derek and tells her about Heather's case. She's bent over 90 degrees and she thinks they can help her. Derek says no, but Callie stares him down. He agrees to come by for a consult in the morning.

Harold approaches Richard and Bailey. The oncologist told him that if the cancer is in other organs, they might not proceed with the surgery. Richard says that's right. Harold asks how long he has if they close him up and send him home. Richard replies only weeks or months. Harold says he's a fighter, so he wants them to try and take it out. His family can't lose him, so he needs to do everything he can to fight this. Richard initially argues the risk, but decides to honor Harold's wishes. As Harold returns to his bed, Bailey asks if this falls under confidentiality. Richard tells her she can't tell George.

Derek is staring at a snoring Meredith again. She's creeped out that he's watching her again. She wonders why he's always up before her. He says he's a light sleeper. He then confesses she snores a little, but he finds it charming. Meredith says his morning breath is not.

Over breakfast, Izzie tells George that she has a good feeling about his father's surgery. She didn't even bake anything.

Alex meets a wet Mark with a bone dry cappuccino. Mark inquires about the rain in Seattle. Mark is disgusted to find out that there's vanilla in his coffee. He tells Alex he can't handle plastics if he can't handle coffee, and suggests he return to the gynie squad. Mark walks off. Addison tells Alex she does have an amazing surgery he can get in on, but he refuses.

Nurse Olivia checks up on Burke. She cautiously asks about his right hand. He tells her she can report back to Cristina that he's not ready to give her that information. She understands and apologizes. Cristina is standing outside and urges George to ask the question. He closes the door on her. Burke asks him about his father. George has found out that his surgery has a 50% morbidity rate. Burke tells him not to worry too much about the statistics.

Derek is with Heather. He tells her he might be able to help her with her spinal curvature. He thinks he can get her standing up straight. He'd remove part of her spine and replace with a titanium meshed cage. Callie says there have been some successful cases. She admits that failing cases have resulted in paralysis or death. Izzie says Derek is the best there is. Heather's mother is against the surgery, but Heather says death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. She says she's in.

Izzie finds Bailey and tells her that Derek and Callie are going to straighten her spine. She begs Bailey to be allowed to scrub in. Bailey asks Izzie if she's deposited the check yet. She admits she hasn't. Bailey repeats that's a sign of her being unreasonable.

Before surgery, Harold apologizes to George for running over his childhood dog. He always told George Buckey had run away as he couldn't handle telling George the truth, since George was so soft and caring. Harold tells George he's always been a good kid. George tells him to stop acting like he's dying. Harold thinks George is crazy if he lets Callie get away. She gets him in a way his family never has. George grew up feeling different all the time, which is another thing Harold is sorry about. George urges him to stop apologizing. Harold says lying in this bed gave him time to think about stuff he never said. 

Meredith is helping transport Harold to the OR when the group crosses paths with Thatcher. He asks his daughter how she's doing. She says she's busy working. Thatcher and the O'Malleys all greet each other before Thatcher leaves. Meredith tells Louise that was her ex-father.

Richard, Bailey, and Meredith are operating on Harold. They find mets throughout the stomach, the celiac lymph nodes, and the liver. Meredith thinks they are closing Harold back up, but Bailey says they will proceed. Richard tells her about Harold's request for a chance to fight. Meredith understands the request is to be kept private. 

Addison checks up on Burke. He admits he's looking forward to going home. Addison is sure Cristina will be happy to have him back. He wouldn't know. He explains they are co-existing in silence. Addison overheard one of the nurses mentioning it, but she thought it was just gossip. She asks why they are not talking. He asks if she knows Say Uncle, a game where someone bends your arm behind your back harder and harder until you say uncle. Until you do, they hold all the power. He's not saying uncle, and neither is she. Addison says that's pathetic. He didn't do anything wrong, so he's not apologizing. Cristina also seems to think she did nothing wrong.

Callie finds George pacing without his family. George says they're all eating. Harold's been in surgery for a while, which has George worried. Callie says it's okay to be scared. He says he's not. She stares him down until he says now he's scared of her. She tries again, but to no avail. George then sees Meredith and Bailey and walks up to them.

Outside Harold's ICU room, George tells his mother and brothers to prepare themselves. The surgery was much more extensive than the heart valve procedure. The family enters the room. Bailey is checking the wound. Louise kisses an intubated Harold on the forehead. George's brothers think the scar is cool. George is leaning against the wall outside the room. Meredith notices and urges him to breathe. She comforts him.

Meredith wakes up in an empty bed.

She finds Derek sleeping in George's bed. George slept at the hospital. Derek admits he moved after Meredith fell asleep. Meredith wonders how he dealt with her snoring before she found out about Addison. Izzie passes by in the hallway and tells her he slept on the couch, set his alarm, and got back into bed before she woke up. Meredith is angry. He pulls her on the bed and they start fooling around.

Izzie stares at her check, which is pinned to the fridge. She takes it.

Izzie is crying at the bank. She tells the employee she inherited nearly 9 million dollars. He offers her a tissue. She gives him the check. He noticed it's covered in food and asks if it's some kind of joke. She says it is a cruel joke. He doesn't understand. Izzie says she's supposed to do something good. Frustrated, she tells the man to deposit the damn check already.

Burke is going over George's father's chart with George by his side. He's surprised they went through with the surgery, which George takes as a positive sign. Harold is still intubated and sedated. Burke says the main concern for the next few days is multi-system organ failure. The first sign of that will be kidney failure. George asks about Burke's hand. Burke doesn't mind telling him, but he can't tell Cristina. George comments he and Cristina have a strange relationship. Burke agrees.

Thatcher is talking to baby Laura. Meredith is listening from outside the room. She's caught by Alex. He enters the room as Meredith walks off. He was paged by a nurse who thought Laura's stomach looked a little distended. Thatcher didn't notice. Alex admits it's hard to see. He has Addison paged.

At the nurses' station, Meredith tells Derek that her father is here with his other family. He apologizes. She asks where he sleeps when they sleep at the trailer. He says in the hammock outside. Meredith says she has abandonment issues, so he has to sleep with her from now on and he agrees.

Izzie gives Bailey a note from her shrink declaring that she has deposited the check. They come across Mrs. Douglas, who's scolding the people from the insurance company on the phone. They won't pay because the surgery is too experimental and expensive. The surgery costs 200 thousand dollars, not to mention the hospital stay and rehab. Bailey returns the note to Izzie and says there's no surgery to scrub in on.

Addison enters the NICU. She takes a look at the scan. There's a lot of free air trapped under Laura's diaphragm. They need to operate right away to fix the perforation. Alex hands Thatcher a consent form to sign. Thatcher is not sure he should sign. He wants to ask Susan, but Addison says they have no time for him to not know. Thatcher then signs.

Alex and Addison are operating. He's amazed. The NG tube has eroded right through the stomach wall. They will need to resect an entire portion of the stomach. Laura becomes hypotensive, but they manage to fix it with meds. Addison is relieved, because people will think she did it on purpose if she loses Meredith's niece.

Richard joins Meredith in the gallery. She tells him Laura is stable now. Richard tells her that Thatcher is pacing in the hallway. He suggests Meredith go give him an update. Richard says Thatcher's not a big fan of his. Meredith says he's not a big fan of hers either. Richard doesn't think that's true. Richard says Ellis was a force to be reckoned with. Thatcher was a good man when Richard knew him. He might have a side in this that Meredith knows nothing about. She doubts that, but he points out she won't know until she asks him.

Callie enters Harold's room as George is obsessively checking the urine output. He's excited, because there's 130 cc in 4 hours. George and Callie cheer and dance. George then kisses Callie and thanks her. His family doesn't understand what's going on.

Addison finds Mark in the stairwell. She's sorry that he's hurting. He asks if she's sorry or sorry that he's hurting. He walks off.

Alex is observing Laura when Addison comes in. She's happy that he's here as everyone needs human contact sometimes. He says it sucks. Laura hasn't deserved this. Addison asks if he wanted to go into plastics because people sign up for the pain they get. He supposes. Addison agrees it sucks to watch infants struggle. That part never stops sucking, but when you get to see them heal and go home, there's nothing better than that. That part also never changes. Alex says he doesn't want to go back to plastics. He confesses he did the vanilla latte on purpose because Mark was rude to Addison. They lean in and almost kiss, but they quickly pull back when a nurse comes in. They awkwardly apologize and Alex leaves.

Izzie offers to help Heather, who's back to her cranky self. She tells Izzie she can manage on her own since she's been doing it her whole life.

Meredith passes by the NICU, where Thatcher is watching Laura. He sees her and comes out. He calls out to her, but she's just turned around the corner.

All the doctors are having a moment, lost in thought. Richard joins Bailey, while Cristina finally makes eye contact with Burke from the couch in his room. Izzie sits down with George and takes his hand.

Meredith and Derek are lying in bed. Meredith has a nasal strip on her nose, but she's still snoring. Derek opens his eyes and looks at her in disbelief.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Preston Burke[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:

Burke was in the hospital recovering from his surgery.

Harold O'Malley[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Stage II metastatic esophageal cancer
  • Treatment:
    • Transhiatal esophagectomy

Harold, 63, had had a valve replacement to treat aortic regurgitation. He was scheduled for the surgery to remove his cancer. When Harold found out that they might not proceeded with the surgery if the cancer had spread, he asked them to agree to remove the tumor no matter what. They did so and Burke warned George that the biggest risk was multi-system organ failure and the kidneys would be the first to go. Because of that, George carefully monitored his urine output, which was good.

Heather Douglas[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • VATER Syndrome
    • Kidney stones
    • Severe scoliosis
  • Treatment:
    • Lithotripsy
    • Thoracoplasty

Heather, 17, had VATER syndrome. Because of this, she had a severely curved spine and kidney stones. She was in the hospital to have the kidney stones removed and to have a few ribs removed. She mentioned that she'd had steel rods inserted into her spine, but the rods just bent. Callie got Derek to agree to do a consult. Derek developed a plan in which he would remove a portion of her spine and replace it with a titanium mesh cage. Because it was experimental, her insurance company refused to pay for it, meaning she wouldn't be able to have the surgery.

Laura Grey-Thompson[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Dilation of the bowels
    • Bowel perforation
  • Treatment:
    • Barium enema
    • Surgery

Laura was four days old. Her jejunal atresia had been corrected surgically. She had dilation of the bowels on x-ray, so she needed a barium enema. Later, her abdomen was distended and she had a bowel perforation, so they took her in for another surgery. In surgery, Addison believed they'd have to resect a whole portion of her stomach.


Song Performer Scene
"Lonely Hearts Still Beat the Same" The Research
  • Derek watches Meredith sleep. She startles awake and stops snoring.
  • George knocks Izzie's check onto the floor. He talks to Izzie about it.
  • Izzie asks about Burke, but Cristina doesn't know. They're still not speaking to each other.
"Passion Play" William Fitzsimmons
  • Harold talks to George and confesses to some things. George tells him to stop saying goodbye.
"Beggar's Prayer (demo)" Emilíana Torrini
  • George prepares his family as they go to see Harold.
  • Once they're in the room, George breaks down and has to leave.
  • Meredith comes out of the room and hugs George.
"Rest of My Life" Michelle Featherstone
  • Meredith and Derek have a pillow fight.
  • Izzie stares at her check.
  • At the bank, Izzie sobs as she deposits the check.
"Love Will Come Through" Travis
  • Addison and Alex nearly kiss and then talk awkwardly to each other.
  • Izzie tries to help Heather, but she brushes Izzie off.
  • Meredith looks at her father for a moment.
  • George waits outside his father's room.
  • Cristina watches Burke sleep.
  • Alex and Addison individually reflect.
  • Richard gives Bailey news.
  • Cristina and Burke make eye contact, but are silent.
  • Callie waits on the stairs.
  • Izzie sits with George and holds his hand.
  • Meredith sleeps with a breathing strip on her nose, but still snores.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Six Days, originally sung by DJ Shadow.
  • This episode scored 23.03 million viewers.
  • This is the first episode to feature a "To Be Continued" frame instead of the normal end title card, and also the second one to feature no opening and closing voiceover.


Episode Stills[]


Callie: You know Shepherd pretty well, yeah?
Bailey: Lots of hair, too many women, likes elevators and long walks on the beach.
Callie: So, um, what's the best way to get him to do something?
Bailey: What kind of something?
Callie: A consult that the patient hasn't requested but that the friendly neighborhood ortho resident thinks is worth pursuing.
Bailey: Shepherd thinks he's busier and a maybe little more important than everyone else.
Callie: Standard neuro surgeon breed.
(They stop walking near the surgery board.)
Bailey: Exactly.
Callie: Okay so..?
Bailey: So, he'll say no until you stare him down.
Callie: Stare him down?
Bailey: (intensely) Stare. Him. Down.

Heather: What are you all staring at? Really, if you're expecting me to be the brave and heartwarming differently-abled girl, that isn't going to be happen so go ahead and do your thing.
Bailey: Stevens.
Izzie: Heather Douglas, 17. Past medical history of VATER syndrome.
Bailey: Which is?
Izzie: VATER syndrome is a genetic condition that affects the vertebrae, anus, trachea, esophagus and renal system.
Heather: Wow, give this girl a medal. She memorized the whole acronym, which I assure you is a hell of a lot easier than living with it.

Callie: It's okay to be scared.
George: I'm not scared.
Callie: I'm just saying if you are, you can talk to me.
George: I'm not scared.
Callie: You sure about that? (Callie stares down George)
George: Okay, now I'm scared of you.
Callie: Damn it. I was staring you down.
George: Staring me down?
Callie: Yeah, it worked on Shepherd.
George: Seriously?
Callie: Wait, let me try it again. (Callie stares George down again)
George: No, it's not -- I'm still scared.

See Also[]

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

The Grey Matter blog post on this episode can be found here.