Dr. Lisa Cuddy got to her office in record time that morning. The traffic was light and so far her day was shaping up
to be pretty darn good. Until she saw Jeffery Reilly cantering towards her. Mr. Reilly was a big time donor to the hospital,
but she didn’t really like him. He was too… pushy. He gave money to the hospital so he would be noticed and respected.
Well, there was nothing to do but get the encounter over with.
“Mr. Reilly. How are you? What can I help you
“My son was just brought into the hospital. Pneumonia. Possibly. My ex-wife thought it was a nasty
cold. Look, I need you to help him. I don’t care what you have to do, what specialists you have to get here, just help
Cuddy nodded. “I understand. And I do have a very good diagnostic team staffed here. I’ll
take the case to the department head, Dr. House. We’ll get to the bottom of it, I promise.”
nodded curtly and headed off. Cuddy mentally cringed. Reilly was now depending on Dr. House’s expertise, but the doctor
would be hard pressed to take the case. House hated dealing with the families of donors.
Wilson stopped when Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital’s Chief of Medicine called his name. He turned to face Cuddy
and saw that she had that scheming twinkle in her eye. That twinkle, combined with the hesitant expression on her face, meant
that whatever she had up her sleeve concerned one Dr. Gregory House.
“Dr. Cuddy. What can I help you with? What’s
House up to now?”
“Helping the 12-year-old son of Jeffery Reilly.”
Wilson looked at her, trying
to gage how serious she was. “Reilly, the donor? You know House would never volunteer to-”
Cuddy cut him
off. She knew House wouldn’t take the case of his own accord. She would have to shove him into it. Which wouldn’t
be all that difficult. She’d read the case file, and knew it would get his interest. The trick would be keeping House’s
attention long enough. “Has House gotten a new vicodin prescription yet?”
Wilson looked surprised by the
question, but thought for a second. “I wrote him a new one last night. He should be picking it up today.”
it,’ Cuddy thought. Looking at Wilson, the scheming twinkle getting more pronounced, she asked, “When’s
House getting in?”
Wilson checked his watch. “Well, it’s 9:42 now, so… he should be here around
Cuddy smiled. “I need you to do me a favor.”
House limped up to the
hospital pharmacy counter at 10 sharp, and placed the prescription on the counter. The pharmacist looked at it and gave House
an apologetic look. “I’m sorry, Dr., but Dr. Cuddy told me to tell you that she needs to see you in your office
before I can give you the prescription.”
House was not amused. “Yeah, well. I’ll go find her in a
minute. Just give me my medication.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t. Dr. Cuddy’s orders.”
House glared for a minute before heading off. Well, wasn’t this shaping up to be a crappy day? Next thing he
knew, he’d be doing another week without painkillers AND end up working in the clinic. He started to head to his office,
when Wilson came up.
Wilson started to talk, but House cut him off. “Unless you’re going to tell me this
is all an elaborate and badly timed joke, I do not want to hear anything you’re going to say.” Wilson closed his
mouth and watched House limp towards his office. Once there, he saw Cuddy leaning against the wall.
I have a proposition for you.”
“The only thing I want from you,” House started, irritably. “-is
the whereabouts of my pain medication.”
“Done.” House stared at her. This was way too easy. There
was a catch. He knew it.
“Really. What’s the catch?”
“Jeffrey Reilly’s son was
admitted this morning.” House turned to his office door. He so didn’t want to play this game. The vicodin he’d
had earlier was starting to wear off, and that coupled with the notion of treating the offspring of a friend of Cuddy’s
didn’t add to the improvement of his mood.
“House.” The tone in Cuddy’s voice was annoyance
mixed with neediness. “Yes, I have your pills. But, I’m not giving them back until you hear the case out.”
leg gave a painful spasm. He needed the pills. He was half tempted to just ignore Cuddy when she made her deal. “I hid
one of your vicodin in your office. If you can find it before I finish giving you the case, I’ll leave you alone.”
looked at her. The proposition was interesting, but the downside was…?
“And if I don’t?” he
asked, lifting an eyebrow questioningly.
Cuddy grinned. “Then you take the case; no questions, no objections.”
considered for a moment, then nodded and opened his door. “You’re on, mister. Wow me.”
him in, pulling a chart from behind her back.
“12-year-old Male, spiking fever, congested chest and coughing
up green sputum, pain in breathing-”
House wasn’t caught yet. Looking on the table in the diagnostic meeting
room, he felt his interest already shrinking. “Baffling,” he said, still looking around. This was supposed to
be a challenge for him? “Though I vaguely recall a disease called moonomia, noomania?” Messing with Cuddy was
usually fun, but he didn’t want to play this game. But apparently the female thorn in his side wasn’t finished.
his X-ray and CT scan show an atypical pattern for pneumonia,” Cuddy said, slightly annoyed. Why couldn’t he see
the symptoms individually instead of what they resembled?
“Pneumonia! That’s it. Just a guess here, but
are his parents big donors?”
‘Great,’ Cuddy thought miserably. ‘Now he knows they’re
donors. Time to get it into gear.’ “No infiltrate! Just enlarged hilar lymph nodes.”
But House still
wasn’t giving up. Still looking, he kept thinking that if he could just find his pill, this would all be over. Besides,
if there was one thing he hated more than visiting patients, it was visiting patients who were hospital donors or the offspring
of donors. “Tiny unicorns goring his bronchial tubes would be cooler. And the way you’re ignoring my question…
wow, they’re extremely big donors.”
Cuddy gritted her teeth. House was being unusually stubborn. But if
she just kept going, eventually something would catch his attention. “He’s not responding to cefuroxime, his pulse
ox is dropping much faster than it should for pneumonia, and plus, he’s got an odd little rash.”
rash?’ House thought, as he looked behind his desk. ‘Along with pneumonia? That doesn’t seem right.’
But he couldn’t make it seem like he was starting to be interested. If he found his vicodin and Cuddy wasn’t done…
“Excessive irritation. He’s 12; he’s on auto-stroke.”
“On his arm. Papular lesion, one
centimeter, on top of a long thin scab.” Cuddy held out the file.
House was starting to admit defeat when he
started looking through the debris on his stack of papers. “Ah, you need a dermatologist. If it’s dry, keep it
wet, if it’s wet, keep it dry, if it’s not supposed to be there, cut it off. I never could master all of that.”
He lifted the lid off a filing box and saw it on the bottom. He lifted the vicodin up and started talking to the pill, knowing
it would really annoy Cuddy. “There you are. Were you scared? It’s okay. You’re home now.” He swallowed
the pill and heard Cuddy sigh behind him.
“Fine,” she said, resignedly. It had been a good plan, but apparently
House turned around and looked at her, a familiar glint in
his eye that told Cuddy that he was interested. “As a special favor to you…”
‘Oh, yes! Bingo!’
She repressed the urge to jump for joy. He was taking the case! And as far as the reasons why… not important. Still…
a little needling couldn’t hurt. “No! Admit it; I got you with the rash.”
House took the file, and
started reading. “The rash is a total snooze. Unless it’s connected to the pneumonia, then it’s party time.”
He looked over it for a moment, then without lifting his eyes from the pages held out his hand. Cuddy pulled House’s
vicodin out of her pocket and slapped it into his palm before heading out of the office.