Alan Warner, whose wife is hospitalized for exploratory surgery, is joined in the lounge by Carol Stewart Brennan, who has just brought her husband to the emergency room as a precaution. They could not be more polarized: Carol is educated and wealthy; Alan dropped out of school and barely gets by as a house painter. The painful discovery that their spouses are both critically ill overrides their differences, and they develop a codependency that evolves from offering and receiving moral support into a physical and emotional relationship that seems to be heading toward a "life after death" existence. The situation is exacerbated when Alan realizes that his wife is even closer to death than originally anticipated; while Carol's husband, having miraculously emerged from a coma, will survive after all. Carol and Alan are forced to deal with what has happened between them and their future.