First and foremost I am not the
creator of the characters portrayed in this writing they belong to somebody at FOX I’d guess. That having been said
I am writing this purely for my enjoyment and thought others might enjoy it as well. I hope this covers it! Please don’t
sue me I have nothing to give!
Next I want to say that I am in no way a medical anything so don’t complain about the accuracy of the medical
information contained in this FanFic. I will try to be as accurate as possible but I can only spend so many hours in the library
I am very open to constructive
criticism but please don’t nitpick. I am not a professional writer; I do this for fun and to get the voices out of my
head. Of course I will try to keep things rolling but I do have a life outside the Internet and sometimes the voices give
me the silent treatment (commonly know as writers block).
Just as a little background; I started writing this after episode 6, having not seen the pilot, most parts of episode
2 and completely missing “Maternity”. The part about Cameron was written before I knew that she had been exposed
but I liked the way I wrote it so now I am quickly covering my butt in Chapter 2. I have since picked up the DVD of the first
episode and caught the repeats of episode 2 and “Maternity”. As this progresses remember that I do have a plot
in mind and that things on the show in the future may contradict with what I’ve written. Please don’t write and
tell me that this or that couldn’t have happened because in episode 12 so and so did such and such (I know, I watch
the show remember?!) Just relax and read it and enjoy it for what it is.
Finally, thank you in advance for even bothering to read my scratching and as always your constructive criticism in
1: The Gathering Storm
It was early morning and the room was dark. He knew this before he even opened his eyes. The scotch had worn off and he hadn’t
had any Vicodin since 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon. His leg was throbbing but not enough to wake him; his back had
already done that. He couldn’t recall the last time he had experience a full night’s sleep that wasn’t alcohol
induced. The anger started to heat up inside him but his bladder was insisting on his attention. He lay there a moment longer
before building up the courage to let his body know he was awake. He gritted his teeth and sat up. His back tightened immediately
and every nerve in his body woke in a most unpleasant way. His stomach lurched. He took a deep breath as he swung his legs
over the edge of the bed and exhaled slowly.
“After all this time you’d think you’d get used to it.” He reminded his body as he reached for the
cane at his bedside. He limped into the adjacent bathroom and took a long satisfying leak. As he stood at the sink washing
his hands the muscles in his back started to loosen a little but the pain persisted. He grabbed the cane with his right hand
and limped off to get the bottle of Vicodin he had left on the piano.
More than once he had been told he used his cane wrong and that it contributed to his pain but from his perspective it was
better this way. If he used it properly his back wouldn’t tighten up, his shoulder wouldn’t hurt but the pain
in his legs would be unbearable by noon even with the drugs. He needed to work; he couldn’t imagine not having somewhere
to go each day. If this was how he did it so be it, anyway it was a perfect compliment to his attitude and unorthodox style.
He loved messing with people, throwing them off balance. If they were off balance they wouldn’t ask questions and they
certainly wouldn’t feel sorry for him.
As he entered
the living room he glanced at the clock, 3:27 am. He groaned, he was still exhausted and it would be 4 hours before it would
be time to leave. He opened the small bottle of pills and popped one in his mouth. He had become so accustom to the drug that
once he took one his body knew it was time to get to busy. He would be wide-awake with no chance of getting back to sleep.
With the coffee
brewing in the kitchen he took a shower and began to get ready for the day. After slipping on a pair of jeans he stood and
hobbled over to the sink. He looked at himself in the mirror as he rubbed a towel through his hair. He noticed the gray at
his temples was getting more pronounced. Actually he was surprised it hadn’t gotten worse earlier. He wasn’t a
vain man and it didn’t bother him but he knew that other people noticed and made assumptions on appearance just like
with his cane. A small part of his mind started to work on how he could use this to his advantage.
shave, or not to shave: That is the question” he said aloud as he ran his hand over the stubble on his chin. “Whether
‘tis more annoying to Cuddy to see the scruff and stubble or to take up razor against a sea of stubble and be rid of
the itch?” He had always hated to shave but had made the effort at least once a week because he didn’t like that
scruffy look. But now he was beginning to like it, mostly because it annoyed Dr. Lisa Cuddy. He smiled. He’d shave it
off in a minute if he felt it would annoy her more. She just didn’t get it, not everything in medicine was clear-cut
and clean. Sometimes you had to get dirty to get the job done. When nothing else worked you had to take chances. But sometimes
no matter what you did the patient died.
The hot shower
had relaxed his muscles and the Vicodin had dulled the pain. He pulled a white tee shirt on and grabbed a button-down off
the back of the door on his way to the kitchen. Tossing the shirt over the back of a chair he took a coffee mug out of the
dish rack and filled it. Steaming mug in hand he headed towards the desk. He paused at the window. The clouds drifted across
the moon. It was full and lit up the playground in the park across the street. He took a sip of coffee and continued to the
desk. It was time to log on and see what he could get into. He checked his email first and then began to surf. Occasionally
he would head back to the kitchen for coffee, each time stopping in front of the window to check the sky. The clouds were
it.” He grimaced and glanced at the clock again. It was 5:30 and he debated whether he should call Wilson. He hated
the bus in the rain but to ask for help was worse. Of course Wilson wouldn’t mind, it would give him the chance to pitch
some new case or present a complaint from this doctor or that technician or whoever had been recently offended. He dropped
his chin to his chest and squeezed his eyes shut.
today.” He thought. “Maybe it would hold off and I’ll only need a ride home.” He opened his eyes and
turned to go back to the computer.
positive thinking that’s new” he said with raised eyebrows and a slight smirk. He was feeling mischievous. He
sat down at the computer and began to type.
Dr. Gregory House M.D.” he said as he typed “Dear Dr. House; you are my last hope. For two years now I have been
from hospital to hospital. Seen doctor after doctor …” He typed for several minutes, pausing occasionally to read
what he had written. There was a sparkle in his eye and a grin on his face. He had known for months that Dr. Cameron had been
going through his mail. What was her game?
would write several times before they gave up on getting a consultation with him. Shortly after Cameron arrived he noticed
a decline in the number of repeat requests. One busy afternoon he opened one of the repeats and it all fell into place. She
was replying to these consultation requests. She told people that he was extremely busy and as much as he wanted to help them
he just did not have the time. At first he was angry, these were complete lies and he had time to take any case he wanted.
He didn’t need to apologize to any of these people! They should be apologizing to him for wasting his time on petty
complaints and simple diseases that even their incompetent doctors should be able to diagnose with a few simple tests. It
was a waste of his time, talent and intelligence to take any of these cases. If their disease were really such a mystery it
would be coming to him through other channels. They just wanted him to hold their hand and tell them everything would be all
right, tell them what they wanted to hear. Tell them that they didn’t have cancer and weren’t going to die in
horrible pain in less than 6 months. He’d do no such thing and as far as he was concerned Cameron’s interference
only encouraged these people to delude themselves. And she had the gall to make apologies for him! She was so wrapped up in
giving people false hope that she didn’t see the damage she was doing. It was clouding her judgment and hurting any
chance she had at becoming a great doctor. He decided to teach her a lesson and have some fun in the process.
He had started
writing letters to himself under false names, reusing the envelopes from other letters with various postmarks. How far would
he have to go to get her to come to him with a case and admit she had been in his mail? It was a great exercise in finding
simple diseases that had very common symptoms, symptoms that could also be a rare and deadly disease. He mixed and matched
and told gruesome stories of suffering and rejection. As yet she had not come forward with any of them. It was getting to
be quite a challenge. He had tried every pitiful story he could think of yet she still hadn’t come to him and asked
that he take the case. For a while he thought maybe she would go to Wilson with it because of the means in which she had gained
the information and because most everyone knew that Wilson had a way of getting him to take cases. He just hoped that Cuddy
never found that out. Each case Wilson had talked him into had been legitimate or at least a real patient. So she hadn’t
gone to Wilson.
the letter just as the clock chimed 6:00 and the urge to pee got stronger. He hit print and made his way to the bathroom.
Since it hadn’t started to rain yet he decided to take the bus and grab some breakfast at the diner between the bus
stop and the hospital. He returned with his shoes on and a sport jacket in hand. Taking the shirt off the back of the chair
he slipped it on and did up the last four buttons. He’d have to be at the bus stop by 6:30 and it was at least a 15-minute
walk. He gathered the files and papers he’d been working on last night and shoved them into his bag along with the letter
he’d just printed. He checked the side pocket of the bag for his other pills and emergency supply of painkillers. Slipping
the almost full bottle of Vicodin from the top of the piano into his jacket pocket he placed the bag’s strap over his
shoulder. Grabbing his cane from beside the desk and headed for the door. He dropped the apartment key into his pants pocket
as the door clicked shut.
2: Poster Child
It was still a little early when he arrived at
the hospital. The pretty young receptionist looked up as he walked in. She knew Dr. House had a reputation for being tough
to work with but she had never had a problem with him. She smiled.
“Good morning Dr. House.” she said playfully.
“Is Dr. Cuddy here?” he asked.
“No she hasn’t arrived. Do you want me
to let her know you’re looking for her?” she replied with a smile, knowing he was asking so he could avoid her.
He leaned on the desk with his left elbow, a concerned look on his face. “If you could tell her that I have a patient
with a really bad case of athlete’s foot and I need her extensive medical wisdom if there’s going to be any chance
of saving the leg. Tell her I’ll be scrubbed and ready in Exam 1.”
She laughed then asked, “Why do you do that?
You know it aggravates her. She’s only doing her job.”
“Exactly” he smiled and limped off towards
As he waited for the elevator a middle-aged couple
walked up and waited with him. The man glanced over, immediately looking at the cane. He knew the man was looking at him.
They continued to wait in silence and the man continued to size him up. House chanced a glance of his own. The man was looking
at his cane again. House continued to look at the man. Out of habit he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the bottle
of Vicodin. The movement distracted the man and he glanced up to find House looking at him. The man didn’t know what
to do. A quick nervous smile played across his lips then he looked down at his shoes. House popped the Vicodin and returned
the bottle to his pocket as he swallowed.
The man reached
forward and punched the elevator button several times, clearly uncomfortable at being caught gawking. He looked up to see
what floor the elevator was on. House watched them out of the corner of his eye. He wanted to turn and stare at them, give
them a taste of their own medicine but he knew it didn’t accomplish anything. The most it ever did was make them so
uncomfortable they would leave or make them so uncomfortable they would want to talk. Right now he didn’t want to talk
so he continued to look up at the numbers above the elevator door. Finally the doors opened and the couple stood aside to
allow him to enter first. He stepped onto the elevator and punched the 3. The couple entered and the woman reached across
in front of him to push the 5. ‘Pediatrics’ he thought. ‘They’re here early, it must be bad.’
me” the woman said “I know this may seem rude …”
it comes.’ he thought.
help but notice your cane…”
down at his cane. He gave a startled shrug and opened his mouth in shock as if he were surprised to see it. He looked at her
with his best apologetic look “I guess I should have worn the black pants today, make it a little less uncomfortable
stopped. She didn’t know what to say or do next. Fortunately the elevator had stopped on the third floor and the door
opened. He limped off the elevator and the doors start to shut behind him. He had almost reached the corner when he heard
the man’s voice “Amy. No, what are you doing?”
the corner and quickly went into his office hoping that she wouldn’t have the nerve to follow him in there. As he set
his bag down on the desk the woman entered his office. He ignored her and opened his bag. “Please, I’m sorry I,
I didn’t mean to offend you I just thought… My son just lost his leg.”
seen it. You may want to check at the front desk.” He said not looking at her. He began pulling folders out of his bag
and dropping them on his desk. He knew what was coming and tried to get a handle on the anger boiling inside him.
sure how to take this so she gave a nervous little laugh and continued, “What I mean is he had to have it amputated
and he’s having a tough time co…”
you thought maybe I could just pop in and give him a little pep talk. One cripple to another.” He interrupted her. He
turned and looked at her with fire in his eyes. He made sure he had her attention and continued. “You want me to tell
him it won’t change his life. How he can still have a happy normal life. That’s bullshit!” Her jaw dropped.
The man had come back down in the elevator and was now entering the office. “It’s never the same and the best
thing you can do for him is prepare him for that. Kids will make fun of him, call him names, or ignore him. They’ll
push him down and steal his crutches or cane or whatever he ends up with They’ll trip him and watch him struggle to
get up and laugh the whole time.”
come on, what are you doing?” The man said as he took her arm and tried to pull her away. He looked up at House. “I’m
really sorry about this. Things are a little crazy right now. It’s been very emotional. I’m sorry if we bothered
you.” He again tried to lead her out of the office but she resisted.
She said in angry disbelief. She yanked her arm out of her husband’s hand and turned her head to read the writing on
the door then turned back to House. “You are a doctor aren’t you? You’re a doctor. You’re supposed
to help people.”
That’s the reality of things, nothing will ever be the same for him and telling him it will isn’t helping him.”
He said as he looked from the wife to the husband. He could tell the husband was thinking this over. He was considering what
his reaction had been when he first saw House. House could only hope they got the message and didn’t mess up the kid’s
life by lying to him. The silence stretched on. They both stood there looking at House. The anger started to drain away and
his expression softened slightly.
course I could go up there and lie to him if that’s what you really want but then I’d have to charge you for my
time. Hospital policy. We’re not even allowed to give away a cold without billing.” He said leaning towards them
as if letting them in on some great secret. The man put his arm around his wife and led her out.
the first time he’d been approached about situations like this. They all wanted comfort. They saw him and figured he
was a doctor and he had a handicap. He’d be the perfect guy to show to their loved one. Show them that everything would
be all right. They never considered his feelings in all this. The looks and the whispers upset him but presuming that he was
a ‘well adjusted cripple’ that would be happy to be the poster child for their loved ones hopes and dreams made
him angry. They wanted him to smile and tell them nothing will change and that life was just great. Well it wasn’t!
It sucked to have to use a cane. His life was not the same as before and it never would be.
All the hope
they had given him in the name of compassion had just made things worse. He was a doctor then too and should have known better
but when they told him all the usual lies he believed them. He wanted to believe them, had to believe them because the alternative
just couldn’t be happening to him. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew they were lies but he just slammed the
door on those thoughts and concentrated on getting things back to ‘normal’. He smiled as they wheeled him down
to therapy, joked with the nurses, flirted with the therapist but nothing changed. He began to think it was his fault that
things weren’t getting better. He started to bust his ass. No more jokes and flirting. He went to therapy and worked
himself to the point of exhaustion and nothing changed. They kept telling him he was doing great, a few more weeks and he’d
be as good as new. A few more weeks came and went and nothing changed. Eventually he became so depressed that he considered
suicide, seriously considered suicide. Only two things stopped him, one was the fact that he was a doctor. He knew there was
no sure way to do it and if he messed up things could be a whole lot worse. As strange as that sounded now, it was a very
comforting thought back then. The thought that things could actually be worse meant that they weren’t too bad right
thing had been Dr. James Wilson. This also seemed strange now because anyone who knew Wilson wouldn’t think he was capable
of the kind of tough talk he had used then.
To this day
he could remember the words “Life sucks for a lot of people. I get to watch them every single day come in here hoping
that the test will come back negative. Hoping it’s not there, hoping it’s gone. Then today or tomorrow or next
month they die and you’re whining because you’ve got a limp! Big deal! I’ve never seen such a big baby in
all my life. You’re the smartest most intuitive doctor I’ve ever known and you can’t even figure this out.
I guess I overestimated you. Maybe it is best if you don’t come back to work.” Wilson had played that so perfectly.
He knew how proud House was of his mind and diagnostic abilities. To insult that would just fire him up; push him to prove
everyone else wrong. He had been so pissed! He had called Wilson names that would make a trucker blush but it had worked.
House smiled at the memory.
where interrupted when the lounge door opened and Dr. Foreman shuffled in. Foreman set his bag down on the table and hung
his coat up on the way to the coffeemaker. He pulled the pot out and swirled around the dregs of yesterday’s coffee.
He slumped then turned towards House.
couldn’t you at least make the coffee when you get in?” He said holding the pot up. House got up from the desk
and went to the door between his office and the lounge. He saw Dr. Cameron in the hall on the verge of opening the other door.
until just the right moment then said, “That’s why I hired a woman. They’re great at making coffee!”
He grinned. She scowled and walked past him. Foreman shook his head and began to make the coffee.
3: A New Beginning
Dr. Chase came in 15 minutes later looking like
he had a hangover. He went directly to the coffee pot and poured himself the biggest mug he could find, no cream, and no sugar.
He took several sips before turning back to the table and moving away from the counter. Cameron and Foreman both sat at the
table watching him. They continue to stare at him as he sat down at the table.
He took another sip of coffee before he noticed they
were looking at him. “What?”
and looked back down at the papers she had been working on, but Foreman continued to look at Chase with a smirk on his face.
Chase asked again.
“So who is she?” Foreman asked as he took
a sip of his coffee.
“I don’t know what you’re talking
about.” Chase replied, “You’ve only been here two months and you’re already beginning to sound like
him.” He said with a nod towards House.
Foreman frowned “No need to get nasty. You’re
the one who’s always talking about having time to go out with the ladies. Besides you still have lipstick on your collar.”
Chase looked down and tried to see his collar.
out laughing. “I was just yanking your chain.” He said between laughs. “Tell me you changed your shirt,
or at least put on some deodorant.”
Chase gave Foreman a wide sarcastic smile and
went back to drinking his coffee. They sat there in silence enjoying the calm, preparing for what the day might hold.
was sitting at his desk putting the finishing touches on some notes. He looked up when he heard Dr. Foreman laughing in the
lounge. He had just looked back down at his notes when Cameron chanced a glance towards his office. This job had not been
anything like she had expected. She clearly recalled that evening 10 months ago when this strange journey had begun.
It had been
the anniversary of Jamie’s death and she had borrowed a friend’s car to drive out to the cemetery. Four years
had passed since Jamie died but it seemed like yesterday. There were still many nights when she would cry herself to sleep.
She missed him so much. They had only met that first year but she knew he was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her
life with. He had told her about the cancer but it was in remission and they had high hopes that it would remain that way
for a long time.
It was quick
but they both felt it was the right thing to do so they got married over Christmas break. They had planned to take their honeymoon
over the summer but it never happened. The cancer returned with a vengeance. He was in so much pain and there was nothing
she could do but watch. She stopped going to classes so she could be with him. Every waking moment was spent at his side.
He made her promise him that she would not give up, that she would become a doctor and make sure this never happened to anyone
else. In the end he didn’t even know who she was.
okay?” Foreman asked her.
she replied as she was pulled back to the present.
if you were okay. You look like you’re …”
fine.” she interrupted. Foreman put up his hands defensively. When she had gone back to working on her papers he shook
his head and got up to get another cup of coffee. Cameron on the other hand went back to her thoughts. She didn’t notice
House watching her.
at the cemetery all day and into the evening. Between her tears she had told Jamie everything that had happened since her
last visit. On the way back from the cemetery she stopped to get a cup of coffee and warm up. Not wanting to be alone in an
empty apartment just yet, she sat down in a dark corner. Watching people come and go didn’t help to lift her blue mood.
Most of them were young couples talking and laughing. She started to cry again. At least at the apartment she wouldn’t
have to worry about upsetting anyone else.
A long hot
shower always helped. When she emerged from the bathroom there was a message on her answering machine. “Hey Ally it’s
me. Call me when you get home I have some great news.”
It was Dr.
Jeffery Kamen, a close friend and mentor. When Jamie had died he had taken her under his wing and helped her cope. She wouldn’t
have gotten through that semester if it hadn’t been for him. He knew it was a bad day for her and had probably arranged
something fun to distract her. She really didn’t feel like doing anything but she didn’t want to disappoint him
after all he had done for her.
Dr. Kamen, I just got your message what’s up?” she said as cheerily as she could manage.
Ally, I’ve got great news for you! I can’t give you all the details yet but trust me it’s the perfect opportunity
for you. Can you be at my office tomorrow at 9am?” He asked excitedly.
sure but what’s this about?” This was a new tactic.
give you the details but I’ve been contacted by a colleague at the Princeton-Plainsboro hospital. They have asked me
to recommend some of my best students to be considered for an elite position. Ally, you’ll be working under one of the
top medical minds in the country, possibly the world!” He blurted out.
she asked cautiously.
oh, you have to promise me you won’t say anything.” He was absolutely wired. His excitement was contagious.
want to get you in trouble. Don’t tell me if it will get you in trouble. You’ve already done so much for me, I
don’t want you to get in trouble” she cautioned but she was now dying to know who it was.
me you won’t tell anyone.” He said in a serious tone.
as she was she could not bring herself to do anything that would endanger his position or reputation. “No. I don’t
know if I can keep it a secret and I don’t want to hurt you. I’ll find out soon enough. I’ll be at your
office at 9 o’clock although I don’t think I’ll sleep a wink.” She told him firmly. Anxiety and curiosity
waltzed through her mind until she finally dropped off to sleep at 3.
up at Dr. Kamen’s office at 8:45, she just couldn’t wait any longer. There were three other students sitting in
the waiting room. She didn’t know any of them. In that short 15 minutes her jubilation turned to doubt. What if these
other students were better than her? They all looked confident and relaxed but she was a bundle of nerves. What was she thinking?
She knew she wasn’t the best or the brightest, she worked hard for every grade she got. Who was she kidding? A top position
wouldn’t go to her, even though she knew she could do any job they asked. They always looked at the numbers. Why? If
they’d just give her a chance she’d prove herself. When Dr. Kamen entered at 9 o’clock sharp she was chewing
on her lip. He gave her a reassuring smile and began to explain what was going on.
I have told you all I have been asked to present my best students for consideration for an elite position at the Princeton-Plainsboro
hospital. I have been asked to give you a list of symptoms. You are to write down your diagnosis and treatment plan for the
patient. You will have two hours and access to the medical books in my office and the Internet. At the end of that time I
will gather your diagnosis. You will be notified of the results in two weeks. Are there any questions?”
her hand “What is the position? Who will we be working for?”
smile widened and his eyes sparkled. “If hired you will be working under Dr. Gregory House. He is establishing a special
team of doctors to assist him in diagnosing and treating special cases that come to his attention.”
heard of Dr. House but did not know that he was still practicing medicine. She was shocked and flattered all at once. Dr.
Kamen had recommended that she read some of Dr. Houses work and it had fascinated her. The way he put things together, looked
under the surface and yet not past the surface. He had unbelievable instincts and insights. But he had stopped writing for
the medical journals almost ten years ago. She had presumed that he was either retired or dead and now she was being asked
to apply for a position under him. This really was an unbelievable opportunity!
handed out the sheet of symptoms and took a seat at his desk. She glanced down the list and it seemed too easy. The others
had already started to write. She looked it over again. It seemed easy enough, but something bothered her about that particular
set of symptoms, she couldn’t shake it so she pulled down a book and began to look up each symptom. Before she knew
it she had written 16 pages of notes with five widely varied diagnoses. But which one was it? She needed more information.
She asked Dr. Kamen if there was anything else, a family history, patient records, anything that she could use to narrow it
down. He told he no, just the list of symptoms. Two of the others had already finished and left. The other was just proofreading
his final results. 20 minutes left. She kept turning it over in her mind. Then it hit her, there was only one possible combination
of causes that explained all the symptoms. She quickly looked up the treatment and scrawled it at the bottom of her notes
just as time expired.
a sigh of relief she handed in the paper. Dr. Kamen smiled and winked at her. “I’m sure you did a fine job.”
passed and she hadn’t heard anything. She grabbed the phone almost before it rang. “Hello.”
It was Dr. Kamen he didn’t sound excited.
She replied, her heart sinking.
news of the test results” he said. She knew it wasn’t good.
she sat down hard at the kitchen table.
were the only one to get the answer right!” he exclaimed.
she squealed. “What? You mean I got the job?”
I knew you could do it!” he sounded like a proud father.
when…”She stammered, “When do I start? When do I get to meet Dr. House?”
went off and startled her back to reality. She looked at the number then glanced over at Dr. House’s office. He was
gone. She got up and headed for the reception area.
He glanced into the lounge when he heard Dr.
Foreman laugh. It was good that they were comfortable with each other. He had worried when he hired him that it might get
tense. Foreman was by far the smartest but had a chip on his shoulder the size of New York. If he even thought someone was
questioning his intelligence or ability his defenses went into high gear. How well would he fit into a team environment? He
wasn’t so worried that he and Foreman would butt heads, he was actually looking forward to it, but that Foreman would
clash with the others. How would they react? Would they come to him with complaints or work it out amongst themselves? Would
it affect their judgment or decision-making? How would it affect the patients under their care? It was an interesting experiment
and so far it had gone well. Things were going smoothly.
problem Foreman had was that he had no instincts. Actually it wasn’t fair to say that he had no instincts, they tend
to beat that out of you in medical school, but he didn’t use them. Dr. Foreman was strictly by the book, all numbers
and percentages. That wouldn’t cut it in the real world of diagnostic medicine. He would have thought that with a degree
in neurology Foreman would be more apt to look at all possibilities. This lack of originality had come as a bit of a surprise.
Whatever the percentages favored was the diagnosis immediately put forth and unless he pushed him Foreman would not look further.
He was always pushing Foreman’s buttons, challenging him, and questioning his abilities. Foreman had the brains and
that chip on his shoulder should have led him to prove himself. Why wasn’t he fighting? What was it going to take to
get him to use what he had? Granted Foreman had only been there two months but should have picked up on things by now. It’s
not like they all didn’t have plenty of time for research. They had only worked one case since Foreman arrived. It was
about time for Cuddy to jump his ass and Wilson to start inventing relatives again. Maybe he’d wander the hospital today
and see what he could find.
House started to wonder if tipping his hand on the
Felker’s Home information had been a mistake. Everyone had a breaking point but could Foreman’s be that easy?
Had he read him wrong? Maybe the whole ‘Street Smarts’ thing was a bit much. The guilt card had finally worked
in the Adler case but had he pushed too soon? Had that shut the door in Foreman’s mind? There was nothing that could
be done about it now; it was water under the bridge. He just couldn’t believe that it would be that close to the surface.
He had figured Foreman’s pride would jump at any chance to prove he was more than some ‘ghetto kid’ that
got all the breaks. After all that ‘ghetto kid’ had worked hard to get where he was. Why would he give up that
easily? The only thing he could do was continue to push; it would either make him or break him and the sooner the better.
He heard Foreman saying something and looked
up again. Cameron snapped a response and Foreman put his hands up defensively. She went back to staring at the papers in front
of her. She was still a big mystery to him. Chases’ personal history was almost public knowledge in the medical community
in Princeton. Foreman’s had taken some research and little leg work but he felt he had a pretty good picture of him.
But the only thing he knew about Cameron was what he had gathered from her school records. Age, Date of Birth, Place of Birth,
Parent name, etc., etc. He had hoped her sponsor Dr. Kamen would help in the information department. Dr. Kamen wouldn’t
disclose anything personal about her. In fact Kamen wouldn’t give him a single drop of information; he was like a father
protecting his only daughter. He knew if he pushed for information Kamen would certainly tip off Cameron and that would ruin
everything. He had resorted to trying to track down anyone that had known her and see if they would be willing to talk. So
far he had come up empty.
to watch her. She looked to be on the verge of tears and he guessed that Foreman had asked her if she was okay. She had a
stubborn streak as bad as his. When she first arrived he was concerned that he had made the wrong decision. When they first
met he had been sitting at his desk. She was almost star struck. She gushed about what a wonderful opportunity it was. She
kept thanking him for hiring her. Telling him that he wouldn’t regret it. It made him sick. He was just about to tell
her to shut up when she said she had read his work and thought he was brilliant. That caught him off guard. He didn’t
want to discuss his past with anyone let alone this, this groupie. He quickly stood up and headed for the coffee. As he moved
towards the door silence dropped like a rock. He turned and looked at her. She was staring at his cane. Her eyes slowly made
their way to his. They dared her to ask; he could see she was wrestling with her curiosity.
you didn’t read enough. Your research skills are lacking. Did you cheat on the test?” He asked as he turned and
continued to the lounge. She just stood in his office as he poured a cup of coffee and returned.
still here,” He said as he sat down and turned to look out the window.
would I be anywhere else?” She asked challengingly.
you cheated on the test and have no right to be here” his back still towards her.
never cheated. I analyzed your silly little test and came up with the right answer. If that’s the best you’ve
got than maybe I misjudged you.” She said, putting emphasis on the ‘you’.
turned and glared at her. Just who the hell did she think she was coming in here and… He leaned forward in his chair,
preparing to let her in on a little secret about her propensity for misjudging …and what? He paused. It hit him, she had balls. He liked that, no one had stood up to him in years and here was this
rookie right out of med school going toe to toe like she was an equal. She was badly mistaken but at least she had the guts
to act. Make a decision and stand by it even if it was unpopular and would cost her. That’s what he was looking for.
He shut his mouth and leaned back in his chair, continuing to glare at her until she looked down. She picked up her purse
from beside the chair and when she looked back at him he could tell she was struggling to hold back tears.
was nice to have met you. It’s a long drive back to the city I need to be leaving now.” She said with a slight
quaver in her voice.
already?” he looked down at his watch. “Hmm 7 minutes and 43 seconds, I think that’s a record even for me.”
Confusion flashed across her face before she could stop it. “When do I start? I’ll need sometime to find an apartment.”
8am, I’ll introduce you to the rest of the team then. You can apartment shop on your own time.”
had that fire gone? He looked down at the empty coffee cup on his desk and decided it was time for another cup. Leaning forward
in the chair he started to get up and the calf in his right leg tightened up. Gritting his teeth and taking deep breaths he
placed his right foot flat on the floor and leaned back. He focused his mind on the tightness and willed it to relax. At first
it had no effect. Beads of sweat started to form on his forehead. Focus damn it! He closed his eyes and regulated his breathing.
Slowly the muscles relaxed. He decided he didn’t need any more coffee but he did need to get up and move around. He
looked at the clock even though he knew it was too soon. He built up the courage to get up and headed for the door. He shot
a quick look into the lounge to make sure no one had seen him and noticed Chase.
looked like he had a hangover but House knew better. His mother had been and alcoholic and his father would not tolerate that
kind of behavior in his son. Chase’s father, Dr. D.W. Chase renowned heart surgeon and top-notch bastard. He had driven
his wife to the bottle, his oldest son to suicide, his youngest son to run away and Robert to the monastery. There were rumors
of abuse but nothing had ever been proven. It certainly wouldn’t have surprised him if the rumors were true. He had
met D.W. shortly after coming to Princeton and had an immediate hatred for the man. Darren Winston Chase was a complete hack!
Chase money was old money and that’s the only reason D.W. was where he was. Oh he was a competent surgeon as long as
everything was mapped out for him. Make straight-line incision between A and B. Open chest and saw sternum. It’s the
big bone in the middle stupid! It was surprising more people hadn’t died under his care.
mother died D.W. pulled him out of the monastery and forced him into medical school. When the time had come D.W. put in a
call and this little experiment had begun.
5: A World of Hurt
He took a left out of his office to avoid going
in front of the lounge. They would notice he was gone soon enough and he didn’t want to be bothered with questions just
yet. He wasn’t sure where he was going he just needed to walk, loosen things up, stretch.
first physical therapy session they returned him to his room in so much pain he could barely see. He just wanted a shot of
morphine, a warm bed and sleep but they wanted him to sit up for a while.
been lying in that bed for six weeks. It’s time to start getting back to normal.” They told him. “You need
to start sitting up for more than a few hours each day especially after therapy.” They babbled on about blood flow and
the possibility of clots reforming.
D R in front of my name doesn’t stand for Disabled Retard. I know all of this. I’m in pain because somebody fucked
up. Get me a shot of morphine the go spread your bullshit elsewhere.”
him in a chair by the window and left. Twenty minute later they still hadn’t come back with the shot. He pushed the
call button and asked the nurse for some painkillers. She had told him that he’d have to wait until they brought his
don’t understand” he explained jaw clenched against the pain. “I am a doctor and I know the consequence
of my actions. I also know I’m in extreme pain and if you don’t get me something quick I’ll make sure you’re
emptying bedpans for the rest of your career.” She just smiled and left. It had seemed like hours before anyone else
came in but in hindsight it may have been only minutes. He wasn’t sure now and he didn’t know then. When another
nurse came in to check his vitals he asked her for something for the pain. She reassured him that it was on the way.
you at least help me over to the bed?” he had asked, “If I could just lie down it won’t hurt as much.”
Again she reassured him that they’d do that when they brought the pain medication.
later they brought in his dinner tray. He was still in the chair and still had nothing to kill the pain. He begged the young
girl for something, anything to kill the pain. She reassured him that she’d send the nurse right in. He didn’t
even have the energy to point out that he’d been hearing that all day and wanted something NOW! Time passed, no one
came. He reached for the call button but the girl had moved it from the table to the bed to make room for his dinner tray.
The pain was sapping his strength and just the thought of moving brought tears to his eyes. Where the hell were they? Why were they just leaving him here? Didn’t they understand how much this fucking
hurt? He hadn’t had anything since sometime that morning or was it yesterday morning or just a couple of hours ago?
He didn’t know anymore. What time was it? God if he could just pass out but he knew when the pain was this bad the bliss
of unconsciousness never came. He tried to call out and attract some attention but his voice came out as something between
a hoarse whisper and a moan. Nowhere near loud enough to be heard in the hall.
had dropped and he was shivering now. He just wanted to lie down somewhere warm and pass out. If he could only make it to
the bed, it was right there, just a few feet away. He pushed himself up from the chair, his whole body shaking, Sweat breaking
out all over his body. His vision flashed red then faded to black. He was sure he was going to pass out but then the light
over the bed started to seep back in. He put all his weight on his left leg, steadied himself and reached for the table with
his right hand. Got it. He took as deep a breath as he could manage and let go of the chair with his left hand. It closed
on the edge of the table. He was shaking hard enough now that the water in the glass was splashing over the sides and onto
the tray. His vision faded to black again. The silverware on the tray was rattling. He waited for his sight to clear but it
didn’t and he couldn’t stand there much longer. He let go of the table with his right hand and reached for the
railing on the wall behind him. He couldn’t find it. Was it behind him? He didn’t know. He couldn’t see
and now he couldn’t remember which way the bed was. Where was the chair? Had he turned when he got up? He couldn’t
remember. God he couldn’t remember. He felt the hot tears rolling down his cheeks. Finally his left leg gave out and
he crashed to the floor pulling the tray and table with him.
remember passing out in fact he wasn’t sure he had passed out or whether it was just that blank moment of impact. A
minute ago he wouldn’t have believe that the pain could get any worse. He was wrong. He couldn’t move. He just
lay there on the floor shaking and sobbing. He didn’t hear the footsteps, didn’t feel them lifting him up into
the bed, didn’t hear their questions and the shouting, didn’t feel the poking and probing. His whole world was
just blinding pain.
natural or drug induced means he fell asleep. When he final woke Wilson was at his bedside. He had pulled the chair right
up next to the bed and was sleeping in a very uncomfortable looking position. He wonder why Wilson was there sleeping. He
ached all over and didn’t know why. What day was it? He knew where he was but how long he had been there he just couldn’t
recall. He turned and looked out the window. It was a bright sunny day. Clear blue sky with high fluffy white clouds. Wilson’s
foot slipped off the bedside table and woke him. James grimaced as he pushed himself up into a sitting position and rubbed
the sleep from his eyes.
he said surprised at how slurred his speech was.
You gave us quite a scare. How are you feeling?” James asked as he got up and stretched.
all over. What happened?” he said slowly. His mind was fully up and running but he couldn’t seem to get it to
manage the rest of his body. James stopped mid stretch and looked at him with concern in his eyes. He walked quickly over
to the door and called out to someone. Hurrying back to the bed Wilson pulled his penlight out and started looking into his
eyes. He wanted to pull away but just couldn’t seem to coordinate. Oh shit no! No. It ..no…this was not happening.
He looked up at Wilson saw the fear in his eyes. A sudden jolt of adrenaline shot through his system.
my hands” Wilson commanded. He squeezed for all he was worth. James nodded. “Look at me. What day is it?”
know” He thought his voice sound a little better or was that just wishful thinking. The fear was growing inside of him.
A nurse bustled in with his chart. Wilson grabbed it and quietly gave her some instructions. She hurried out.
you know where you are?”
the crap. You think I had a stroke.”
know yet. We don’t know what happened. We thought you just fell but you may have had a stroke, which caused the fall.
No one was here when it happened. The CT scan didn’t show anything at the time but… What do you remember?”
think. “I don’t remember.” He heard them wheel in the gurney.
a CAT scan right now. We need to know what’s going on. I don’t think it’s a stroke but until I rule it out
He didn’t hear the rest. He was so relieved to hear that Wilson didn’t think it was a stroke. Wilson was one of
a handful of doctors he would trust with his care. If he didn’t think it was a stroke he had strong reason. Also Wilson
knew better than to hand him a line of crap, he’d see right through it and ream him a new one. He relaxed a little and
let them do their job. As they wheeled him out of his room Wilson flipped open his chart and started to read.
Chapter 6: Reconstruction
After looking over the activities since morning, Wilson left the room to follow Greg downstairs. He continued to scan the chart, looking for any clue to what was going on. He wanted to make absolutely
sure they hadn’t missed anything in the last CT scan. He knew it was unlikely they had missed any signs of a stroke
prior to the fall, but there was a slim chance that they had overlooked signs of an impending stroke. After all, they had
missed a big friggin’ clot in his leg!
Maybe it was just
a tiny bleed they had mistaken for something else. Not likely with the blood thinners he was on. Even a tiny bleed would have
produced enough blood to have been recognizable on a scan. But again, he couldn’t really be sure. They still hadn’t
figured out what had caused the first clot so it wasn’t impossible that even with the blood thinners one could form.
Damn unlikely, but not impossible.
He was pretty confident it wasn’t a stroke; in the brief exam he had given Greg in the room he had
pretty much ruled that out. There was no sign of weakness or drooping. His pupils had responded evenly. The memory loss could
be explained by the heavy dose of painkillers they had given him. The lack of coordination could be the painkillers as well.
The combination of these symptoms was what bothered him.
They had brought
him down off the heavyweight drugs slowly. They moved him to oral painkillers last week to get him ready for therapy and there
had been no problems, none. None, that is, until this afternoon. He had checked and double-checked the charts, notes, drug
records. He caught up with Greg and the aide just as they were getting onto the elevator. He looked down at his friend as
the doors shut. Greg had his eyes closed and was shivering.
okay?” he asked.
Greg opened his eyes and looked up at him. “Depends on what you mean by okay?” It was good that
he was joking and his speech seemed to be clearing up a little. He also didn’t seem to be as confused. What the hell
was going on?
shivering, are you cold?”
know, I don’t think so.”
“What do you
mean you don’t know?”
know anything anymore.” He said softly, and closed his eyes.
going to figure this out, I’m not quitting until we do.” He placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder.
Back in the room
Greg had visibly relaxed when he had told him he didn’t believe it was a stroke. That had put the pressure on. Greg
trusted him. He couldn’t let him down. In the past six months it seemed like everyone Greg trusted had let him down.
He was determined not to join that list.
His hand was still
resting on Greg’s shoulder; he could feel that the shivering had almost stopped. Then it dawned on him. He looked at
his watch, then grabbed the chart and flipped it open. He scanned through the notes and drug list for the day. The sudden
movement drew House’s attention.
up?” he asked. His speech was almost back to normal.
“Do you remember
anything at all from this morning?” It was worth a shot. The elevator had stopped and the doors opened.
“Just you sleeping
in the chair then all this” He responded with a puzzled look on his face.
that, do you remember therapy? Getting back to your room?” Wilson pushed.
“That was yesterday
morning” House replied. Wilson patted him on the shoulder.
“Never mind we can talk about that later. Just behave yourself and I’ll see you back up in the
room,” Wilson said with a smile. He turned to the aide.
“Wait for Dr.
Rainer. Tell him we may not need a scan. Have him page me when he gets here. In the meantime, get him some warm blankets.”
he told her with a nod towards House.
He went back to the
elevator. It all seemed too simple. How could they have missed it? It might not even be the problem, but it fit. It had been
five hours since they had brought Greg back from therapy.
They had tried to
time everything so that no extra medication was needed. He had been due for his next dose just after lunch, only a short period
of time after he was scheduled to return. According to the report everything had gone well. Greg had returned from therapy
none the worse for wear. But that had quickly changed. When he complained of pain he had been given his normal dose of Percocet.
It didn’t seem to have any effect and by the time it became clear there was a problem it was too late.
Sometimes with painkillers
it took several doses before any reaction became noticeable. If he was having a mild reaction from the morning dose, that
afternoon dose would have pushed him over the edge.
He got off at the
third floor and headed for the Physical Therapy department. He was looking for Ben. Big Ben, you couldn’t miss him;
he was 6’5’’ and built like a linebacker. Wilson caught sight of him over in the corner and started in that
“Hey Ben, did
you work with Dr. House this morning?” He asked as he got close. Ben turned around.
He smiled, giving a small wave. “Yeah, Barb worked him over good. I think she was trying to get him to stop flirting!
He did really well though. They hardly needed me at all. You know he’s one tough son of a gun. Didn’t complain
once.” That was good to hear. If Wilson’s theory was right, Greg wouldn’t have to miss any therapy.
Just then Wilson’s
pager went off. He pulled it out and looked at the number. It was Dr. Rainer. Wilson motioned for Ben to follow him. After
explaining his theory to Dr. Rainer he hung up and turned back to Ben.
“Do you have
a moment?” he asked
Ben looked at his watch. “Sure.”
“When Dr. House
was here this morning did you notice any unusual behavior?” Wilson asked.
Unusual behavior?” Ben said with a spreading smile. “You’re gonna have to clarify that.” Wilson started
“Okay, I guess
I need to rephrase that. Did he seem to be confused or uncoordinated? Was he shivering or complaining that it was cold or
Ben thought for a
moment. “He wasn’t confused; he seemed like his usual self. He did say we really should pay our heating bill but
I didn’t think anything of it. He was sweating but like I said, Barb really gave him a workout.”
“So he seemed
fine when you left him?” Wilson asked.
“He was starting
to hurt because he asked for some pain meds after he’d already gotten them; was pretty upset when I wouldn’t give
him any. I told the nurse about it when she came back.” Ben replied.
Wilson said as he got up to leave.
Dr. House he’s not gonna get out of therapy that easy. I better see his butt down here before weeks end or I’m
gonna go up there and give him a good reason to stay in that bed!” Ben called to him as he opened the door to leave.
be sure to pass that along!” Wilson began to chuckle.
When Wilson reached
the fourth floor he started to look for the charge nurse. He knew she was still there.
He found her helping another nurse get a young man into a chair.
done can I have a minute?” he asked. She nodded and he went to wait at the nurses’ station.
Looking at his watch
he decided he’d better call his wife. She hated all the time he spent away in his normal duties, but these last three
months she had been absolutely livid. She never liked Greg, and Greg knew it, which of course only made it worse.
start! I told you he’s a friend and … Just because you don’t care for him doesn’t mean… see,
this is why I don’t call when I’m going to be late. …Oh so I’m supposed to just let him sit here day
after day with no visitors? ... It is my responsibility, that’s what friends do. I’m sorry if that’s inconvenient
for you but I’m sure this isn’t exactly a picnic for Greg! …Why do I bother to call? You don’t even
try to understand. Do you even care why I’m still here?” He saw the charge nurse come out of the room. Her eyes
were rimmed with red. He pointed to the lounge. She nodded, pointed at her watch, then went over and sat down. “I don’t
need this right now … I know I’ve got to go. … No I’ve got to go. I don’t know but I’m
sure you won’t wait up. I’ll get dinner here.”
He hung up and walked
over to the lounge. “I’m sorry to keep you. I know it’s been a long day and you probably want to finish
up and go home.”
had a day like this for a long time,” She confided. Her eyes started to tear up. He was a little surprised to see a
charge nurse crying. Was there something between her and Greg? He gently put one hand on her arm and the other one around
her shoulder and steered her over to a group of chairs in the corner. She sat down; he took the seat next to her and put his
arm around her. She turned and buried her face in his shoulder. Initially he was shocked and almost pulled away but his instinct
to comfort quickly overcame that urge and he held her. He could smell the light
floral scent of her shampoo. He let her cry for a while. It was comforting to him to have someone else nearby who was as concerned
about Greg’s welfare as he was.
sorry,” she said, pulling back and wiping the tears from her eyes. “It’s been one of those days when you
wonder if anything you do makes a difference.” He knew that meant someone died. Being in oncology he had those days
quite often. No matter how much you tried to harden yourself to it, it never got any easier. Every once in a while you’d
let your guard slip just a fraction and that’s all it took. You carried that with you for years.
really sorry,” he said softly as he squeezed her shoulder in reassurance. “I know how it can be.”
She sniffed and wiped
her eyes again. “How can I help you? I guess you’re here about Dr. House and you’ve read the report. I don’t
know as I can add anything.”
“I did read
the report but he’s having some memory issues so I want to get as many details as I can. Every detail will help me tell
if he’s recalling things accurately,” he explained. “Could you just take it from when Ben brought him back
showed up, Ben was telling Dr. House that after a few more therapy sessions he would be able to spend more time up and out
of bed, start getting things back to normal. Dr. House seemed okay. He was sweating a little; I just assumed it was from therapy.
They keep it warm down there sometime.”
did he seem agitated or disoriented?” Wilson asked. He noticed her eyes were hazel.
she replied. “It was almost time for his pain meds. Normally we’d get him into bed and give him it to him, but
he seemed uncomfortable, so I gave him the Percocet before we took him to the room. The aide had started to make the bed but
hadn’t finished. I asked Ben to sit with him while I went and got some fresh linen. Ben wheeled him over by the window
and helped him into the chair. When I got back Ben told me that Dr. House was still in pain and it seemed to be getting worse.
I didn’t want to wait until it was unbearable so I asked Ben to stay while I went and paged Dr. Rainer. He said he needed
to get back, they were really busy. I told him to get someone at the desk to page Dr. Rainer and tell him what was going on.
I could always get someone else to help me get him into bed.”
“I left him
over by the window. It was easier to get the bed done quickly and it was so nice out… It also kept him in my line of
sight. When I came around to the other side of the bed he asked me for some pain meds again. I told him he’d just had
his Percocet and they should be kicking in any moment. I had already had Dr. Rainer paged and didn’t want to alarm Dr.
House. I jokingly told him he’d have to wait until dinnertime for more. He got a little upset then and told me he’d
have me busted down to emptying bedpans. Well, you know how he gets. I didn’t think anything of it.” Wilson smiled
at this. Yep that was Greg!
“When I finished
the bed I went to the door to check if Dr. Rainer had called back. He hadn’t, so grabbed a thermometer. When I walked
over to check his vitals he asked me again for some pain meds. I told him they were on the way. He asked me to help him over
to the bed. I told him that we were going to get him some more meds and as soon as I finished his vitals we’d get him
back into bed. I finished his vitals and set the thermometer on the table. I put up the rails on the far side of the bed when
they brought his lunch in. He asked her for some painkillers too. I knew things were going downhill too quickly for it to
just be a need for stronger pain meds; I told her to stay there while I went and got help. I told her to yell if anything
happened. I went to the desk right away to page Dr. Rainer again. As I came around the counter the phone rang. It was Dr.
Rainer. I told him what was going on…” she trailed off.
“I should never
have left her in there. I should have had her help me get him in bed before I left. I was so caught up in everything else
I just wasn’t thinking ….” she trailed off again. Wilson waited patiently for her to continue. “I
didn’t see her come out of the room. She waited until I was off the phone. I was so surprised to see her when I turned
around. I didn’t even get a chance to ask her why she wasn’t in the room. I heard the crash.” Tears started
to well up in her eyes again. Wilson put his arm around her again. In the back of his mind it occurred to him that it felt
nice to hold her.
When her crying slowed
he asked her, “How long would you say it was from the time you gave him the Percocet to when you realized something
was wrong?” She sniffed and thought about it.
say about 15 minutes at most.” It fit. In fact, it sounded like he had been having a reaction before he ever got that
dose. That’s why it had been so severe. That’s why it hadn’t occurred to him at first. They were all looking
at the big mystery. They still weren’t sure what had caused the infarction in Greg’s thigh so anytime something
happened they were immediately looking for the big answer instead of the simple one right in front of them. At least that’s
what he was guilty of. He was relieved and angry with himself all at once.
been a big help. I know how days like this can be. You didn’t have to stay and go over all of this again but you did
and I’m grateful. Dr. House is a good friend and…” Wilson looked down at his hands. He suddenly realized
how hungry he was. He hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. “Would you like to get some dinner?” He couldn’t
believe he just asked her that. What was he thinking?
be nice but I have to finish my shift and I’m sure you’re ready to go home.” She smiled. God she had beautiful
eyes. They had got up and walked toward the elevators.
then?” he said hopefully. After all he had already made the offer. It was just dinner. “It’s just that you’ve
been a big help and I thought …”
be good. I’m off at 7, is that too late?”
“No, that would
be fine. There’s a little Italian place, Mario’s, over on the corner of Maple and High. I’ll meet you there
“I know the
place; 7:30 would be great.”
“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow, Julie” He said as he got on the elevator
Chapter 7: Grape
stepped off the elevator and turned towards the Department of Diagnostic Medicine. As soon as he came around the corner he
knew House wasn’t there. Damn it! Where was he off to this early? Chase and Foreman were still sitting in the lounge.
They looked up when he entered and as he opened his mouth to speak they said in unison “No.”
He shut his mouth out of surprise and looked at them.
“Dr. Cuddy was here twice looking for him.”
long has he been gone?” Wilson asked
it your turn to watch him?” Chase said looking over at Foreman.
I thought it was yours” Foreman said pointing at Chase. Wilson hung his head in frustration.
“Alright, I get it. You’re not
here to baby-sit but I’ve been paging him for the last hour and he hasn’t called back.” Wilson didn’t
need to deal with House’s antics today. He needed to talk to him and he didn’t have all day to run around the
hospital looking for him. “Where’s Cameron? Is she with him?”
“I don’t think so. He was already
gone when she left.” Chase recalled.
“Yeah, her pager went off and she
left, didn’t say anything to either of us.” Foreman confirmed.
“Well if he shows up in the next hour page
me, it’s important. Did you happen to see which way he went?”
“We didn’t see him leave but
I’d say he went that way” Chase pointed down the hall to the left. “He didn’t go by here.”
Wilson turned and walked back out into
the hall. He paused for a moment, looked right then left then hurried off to the left.
“I wonder what that’s all about.”
Chase frowned. Foreman shrugged and went back to reading his email.
So far Wilson had checked all of House’s
regular haunts and had found no sign of him. How could he just disappear in a hospital full of people? Maybe he had found
a new lounge to hang around in. Wilson remembered hearing that the OBGYN lounge had just gotten a big screen plasma TV. He’d
bet his next paycheck that House had heard too.
He turned and hurried back to the elevators,
got off at the second floor and set off towards the lounge. Wilson opened the door and there was House, stretched out in a
very comfortable looking chair, long legs propped up on the coffee table, lollipop in his mouth, eyes fixed on the 72”
Plasma screen TV.
“I’ve wasted an hour trying to track
you down. Have you been here the whole time?” he asked. House didn’t even turn his head. He removed the lollipop
from his mouth slowly.
“Yep.” And put the lollipop
back in. He preferred a tangy cherry or a smooth pina colada but grape was all they had left in the gift shop. Seems no one
else liked the grape either. He had made a mental note to pick some up on the way home.
“As hard as this may be for you to
understand, I have patients that need care. I don’t have time for this today.” Wilson said as he approached the
little cluster of chairs and tables. House removed the lollipop a second time.
“Yet here you are, bothering me.”
Again his eyes didn’t move from the TV screen. He put the lollipop back in his mouth. It didn’t even taste like
grape. In fact he had found, over the last several years that most artificial flavors weren’t even close to the actual
flavors they were masquerading as. He played the tip of his tongue around the lollipop, feeling the surface, trying to determine
if it was still perfectly round. He found a small bulge down by the stick and began to work on smoothing it out. Wilson grabbed
the remote off the table and turned the TV off. House’s eyes flicked over to the clock on the wall.
more minutes” he was determined to make it. Since his last checkup he had been trying to stretch things out. Go the
full four hours between every dose. At first he had just tried to go as long as he could but that hadn’t worked well
at all. He waited until he was in so much pain the Vicodin hadn’t even touched it. It was always best to take pain meds
at the first sign of pain, if you waited until it was bad it took several doses to bring it under control and make it bearable.
He had been out of shape for three days on that little experiment. He lashed out at anyone and everyone in his path. Wilson
took the brunt of the abuse because he happened to be the only person left that actually bothered with him on a regular basis.
Everyone else left him alone when he was like that but Wilson kept coming back and here he was again; bothering him when he
didn’t want to be bothered.
sorry to inconvenience you in person but if you had returned any one of my eight pages you would have been able to pass the
rest of the day without having to lay eyes on me” Wilson was truly angry now. He just wanted an answer, why did it always
have to be a fight, a struggle, a confrontation with him? Jesus it’s not like he hadn’t been there for him every
step of the way. Why was he always trying to push him away?
his head back, removed the lollipop again and looked up at Wilson. “Ooo goody, go away and we’ll try this again”
it’s so unpleasant to have me around just answer my question and I’ll leave you alone the rest of the day.”
House grunted, “Somehow I doubt that.” He put the lollipop back in his mouth, man this grape was awful. House
removed his legs from the coffee table with only a small wince. Every muscle in his legs threatened to tighten into a knot
as he took his cane from beside the chair and slowly stood up. He turned away from Wilson and took a cautious half step. His
right leg almost gave out and he pulled up short. He gingerly took several more half steps until the muscles quieted to a
fiery pain. Wilson watched as he hobbled around the end of the little furniture arrangement.
limped towards Wilson their eyes met. House could see that Wilson was angry. Good, one more push and he could get him to go
away. He could ride out the next, he caught the clock out of the corner of his eye, twelve minutes in peace. Later this would
bother the hell out of him. He cherished their friendship more than Wilson would ever know but right now he needed to be alone.
that’s your problem, you ignore the obvious.” He pointed the lollipop at Wilson’s chest. “If I wanted
to talk to you I would have called back. That hasn’t changed. I don’t know how I could have made it any clearer
Wilson’s hands were clenched at his sides; his dark eyes staring challengingly
back at House’s piercing blue ones. “Oh no you don’t” he thought, “You’re not getting
out of it that easily.”
you don’t want me bothering you then you should keep your appointments.” Wilson pointed out.
what this was about. He really didn’t want to discuss that now. He needed to keep moving. He turned and limped over
to the refrigerator, shifted his weight and his cane to the left side and opened the door. As he bent over to inspect the
contents he placed his right hand on the most painful spot on his right thigh and squeezed hard. His breath caught in his
throat and he shut his eyes.
know how important this is,” Wilson continued as he approached the counter. “Did you think I wouldn’t find
be losing my touch; I can’t get him to go away. Why couldn’t Wilson just go away? He didn’t want to discuss
that now. It was taking every ounce of concentration to hold the pain at bay; he didn’t have any left over to argue
away!” he mentally shouted at Wilson and the pain. When he opened his eyes he looked at his watch, ten minutes.
do you do this? You know we need to keep an eye on things. Even the smallest change could indicate a problem. We need to catch
things early if we’re going stay ahead of it. Do you want to die?” as soon as he said it he wished he hadn’t.
He saw House’s shoulders tense up. House straightened up and looked over his shoulder at Wilson. His eyes were unreadable.
Why had he said that? Shit!
it surprise you if I said yes?” He threw the lollipop in the trash.
I’m sorry I … it’s just that sometimes it seems like you don’t care. I know you don’t mean that.”
Wilson tried to smooth it over. “Look, you know I’m just trying to watch out for you. And don’t start twisting
that around! So much has changed since your last check up.”
peeked at the clock, still ten minutes. He took the cane in his right hand again and started to pace.
got you doing clinic hours, you’ve got two more doctors on your team that you’re responsible for. You’ve
had more cases in the last six months than you’ve had in the last three years. As hard as you try you’re not going
to push me away, I know who you are. I know it’s not you talking but all the pain and drugs and uncertainty…”
That’s the only thing that kept Wilson going. House really knew how to hurt him but he knew that somewhere in there
was at least a fragment of the old Greg. He knew that the old Greg would never come back but since Cuddy had forced him to
take on Chase and forced him to take cases he was changing. There were more good days; more days when he could actually get
Greg to smile or talk. Yeah, they were still the minority but it was a step forward and Wilson didn’t want any setbacks.
“Oh spare me the bullshit!” he turned on Wilson “I was an ass before and I’m still an ass, it’s
just that now I’m a bigger ass because I’ve got a lifetime’s worth of idiots to put on notice and only a
short period of time to do it in. You keep hanging around because somehow you think you can make it all better. Well here’s
a news flash, nothing will make it better. It wasn’t your mistake, you don’t have to keep trying to fix me.”
He had advanced on Wilson and was right in his face. Wilson didn’t even flinch, he stared back evenly.
“No, I don’t. I don’t
have to keep trying. I don’t have to take your crap either” he punctuated that by poking House in the chest. “But
I do and that should tell you something.”
“Yeah it tells me that you have no
grasp of reality. I give you crap because I want you to LEAVE… ME… ALONE…” He switched his cane to
his left hand then turned and limped away. “Why can’t you understand that?” His right hand was in his pocket
fingering the lid to the bottle. He looked at the clock, nine minutes.
Come on, come on, he thought. I can
do this; I just need to concentrate on something. Damn it just nine more minutes. Why couldn’t he have walked a little
slower, paged one more time, anything to have gotten him here fourteen minutes later. He looked around then realized the solution
was in his pocket; the ridges on the cap to his pill bottle. What a wonderful sensation. Why hadn’t he ever noticed
them before? He ran his thumb over them again, dragging the nail, which created a nice little vibration that tingled all the
way to the joint. He did it again. The room and Wilson faded into the background. He felt the smoothness of the bottle with
his other fingers. Ran them along the bottom edge, his fingertips skipped over the little nipple on the bottom where it had
been attached to a plastic tree when it was made, a small sharp tag on the seam near the top that hadn’t worn off yet.
Wilson watched House closely. He
wasn’t worried, House did this regularly. You’d be in a conversation with him when all of a sudden he’d
just stop. It was like a background program in his brain had finished up and was making the results known or he was starting
a new one up. Wilson just wondered what was going on in his head.
“What’s up?” Wilson asked as
he approached the stationary figure. House had his eyes closed and just shook his head slowly. Wilson waited and watched.
After a few minutes House opened his eyes and looked at the clock. He looked down and closed his eyes again and Wilson could
see the tension draining out of him. He was very still, only his chest rising and falling and the hand in his right pocket
Of course! Wilson
looked at the clock. If House was still on the same schedule it was past time for another pill; in fact an hour past due.
He was doing it! They had talked about this, well argued about this, several times. The Vicodin would eventually kill his
liver. He needed to cut back as much as possible to put off the day when he’d need a transplant. Maybe if he put it
off long enough they would find something to eliminate the pain; something that wouldn’t cause other problems.
A smile spread across Wilson’s
face, this was great! It was worth all the flak he had just taken. He put his hand on House’s shoulder. House looked
up at the clock. He pulled the bottle out and shook a pill into his hand and
quickly swallowed it. He stood there with his eyes closed for a moment longer.
“What the hell are you so happy about?”
he growled at Wilson as he deposited the bottle back into his pocket.
“Nothing, nothing at all” Wilson
“Mmm” He moved his cane back to his
right hand and started for the door.
“So when are you going to get in for your
check up?” Wilson persisted.
House just limped out of the room. Wilson
would try again later.
Chapter 8: Risky Business
Cameron hurried down
to the reception area to meet the Randall family. How was House going to take this? Would he welcome her initiative or would
he fire her? She had crossed the line five months ago when she had gotten into his mail in the first place. Either he didn’t
know or didn’t care she wasn’t sure, either way it was a dangerous game, now that she had actually committed him
to seeing a patient.
This case struck
a cord with her. She figured House would take an interest as well. The boy was young and athletic and she thought that maybe
House would want to keep it that way. She still didn’t know much about him but she hoped that with his disability he
would have a soft spot for young, active, athletic boys. Hoped he would feel a need to keep them that way since he could no
longer play. If she was wrong she had just sealed her fate.
About a month after being hired she was at lunch with Chase. She had been complaining that there was nothing to do. He told
her that he had only worked one case in the six months he had been there.
a nice game of online poker or something to keep yourself busy” he had recommended. She couldn’t understand how
Chase could be so laidback about that. She was dying to prove herself, what was he waiting for?
“If he doesn’t
have cases why did he hire us?” She asked. “It doesn’t make sense. If he does have cases but doesn’t
trust us to work them it’s the same thing. Why did he hire us, is this some kind of test or initiation?” Chase
laughed at that.
so funny?” she said indignantly.
always some kind of test with him” he replied. “He’s probably grading you on your coffee making skills.”
She began to get
nervous again. If he was watching her constantly what was he thinking about her? What should she be doing? She decided she
would stick to research and reading the medical journals from there on out. Even though she was bored out her mind she knew
this was an unbelievable opportunity. She was determined to stick it out; things would start to happen eventually. Chase had
also recommended that she stay under the radar and try not to piss him off.
been here six months huh?” he had just taken a huge bit out of a greasy hamburger so he nodded. “Who was here
before you? Why did he hire you?” He swallowed enough of the burger to talk.
“No one was
here before me. My father made a call to Dr. Cuddy. Next thing I know I’m sitting in her office getting a primer on
how to handle him when he’s grumpy. Dr. Cuddy told me that House didn’t want a staff but she felt it was necessary
so she was hiring me to assist him. She warned me that he wasn’t happy about it but if he got too bad I was to come
to her and she’d take care of it.”
“You mean he
didn’t hire you?” Chase swallowed and took another large bite. She picked at her wilted salad and waited for him
Then why had he hired her?
“So Cuddy hired
you because he needed help. Was it because of his leg?”
what she said.” He mumbled between mouthfuls.
“So what happened
with his leg?” Chase stopped chewing and looked over his shoulder. He gave her a little smile when her turned back and
started to explain.
“Let me give
you the “House rules” as it were. First and I’m sure you could figure this out by yourself but… Don’t
ever ask him what happened, you won’t get an answer and you won’t like the response. Dr. Cuddy warned me about
that. So I never asked, don’t really want to know either.”
you not want to know?” she was shocked at his lack of interest.
“My Dad worked
with him back in the day and told me he was an arrogant ass back then too so I figure whatever happened to his leg isn’t
the problem. There’s no point in trying to find out especially if it means taking unnecessary crap for it” he
stare” she knew that one already. “That really pisses him off. I guess you could stare if you wanted to as long
as he doesn’t catch you but...”
that one the hard way” she interrupted “I didn’t know anything about his leg. I came for the interview and
when he stood up to get coffee I was just so shocked. I couldn’t help but stare. It almost cost me the job.”
been better if it had.” Chase smiled.
“What do you
mean, this is an incredible opportunity. He’s brilliant…”
All he does now is sit around in his office doing God knows what, popping pain pills and staring off into space. Occasionally
he’ll disappear for a couple of hours.” He set the burger down and looked around again. Then he leaned closer
“I was bored stiff one afternoon. It was raining and I was going to fall asleep if something didn’t happen. When
he got up and left I followed him. He went off to one of the other lounges and
watched soap opera’s and sucked on peppermints for two hours.” Cameron stared at Chase. She couldn’t believe
he didn’t care more.
“How can you
not care? Doesn’t it bother you that he’s like that? If your father worked with him you should know what a brilliant
man he is, was, whatever. Don’t you want to know why he’s changed? Don’t you want to fix that?”
us to rule number three; Never ever try to ‘Fix him’. Don’t hover or go to his assistance. If he’s
struggling with something look the other way and act as if you don’t even notice. In fact we could probably just shorten
the list to one rule. Ignore him and he’ll leave you alone. That works best for everyone.”
This just made her
more determined to find out everything she could about what had happened and find a way to fix it. As they were returning
to the office she saw House leaving. He was usually gone for hours once he left. She immediately went into his office.
“What are you
doing?” Chase had asked almost in a panic.
“Well if you’re
not going to do anything about it you can’t expect me to just sit by and watch. Someone has to do something” she
replied and began looking through the papers on his desk. Chase kept looking around as if he expected House to walk back in
at any moment.
so twitchy, if you’re that nervous leave” she told him. “You said yourself that when he leaves he’s
gone for hours”
crazy if he catches you…” he ran his hand through his hair. Chase finally gave up and left. She continued to browse
around. All the stuff on the desk looked like medical research. He had written for many of the journals but she had not seen
any recent articles so what was all this. Most of it had to do with tribal/herbal remedies and cures. She wouldn’t have
thought he was the type to go for all that nonsense. Maybe he was looking at it because many people did believe in that stuff
and it could cause very violent reactions with modern medications and treatments.
When she finished
on the desk she turned to the computer. What were the chances that he hadn’t locked it? She wiggled the mouse and the
screen faded in. She couldn’t believe her luck. Nothing was open so she cruised over to the recent documents folder
and opened one called “Ribbit”
She skimmed through
it. It was just notes on the medicinal properties of the chemicals excreted by the Poison-dart frogs and the things that some
aboriginal tribes used it for. She closed that and opened several others. There were detailed ‘potion’ instructions
and lots of side notes. She quickly glanced through and it seemed like he was taking a serious interest in these potions.
As she continued
to browse she noticed a pattern emerging. Most all of these were pain relievers. Was he in that much pain that he was willing
to resort to these snake oil cures for relief? She heard the door open and turned quickly to see who it was; in the process
she knocked a small stack of papers into the trash can.
“I, uh, I…”she
stammered as she looked up. It was only Chase. “Dammit, why didn’t you knock, you scared the shit out of me.”
“I just wanted
to warn you that it’s been an hour, you better pack up and get out of here.”
She retrieved the
papers from the trash and noticed about fifteen unopened envelopes partially covered by a napkin. She pulled them out and
looked. All of them were plain white envelopes with return addresses from all over the country.
She opened one and
began to read. It was a request for a consultation from a single mother. Her only daughter had slowly been going numb. She
had been to specialist all around the country and no one knew what it was. They had all made guesses and given her treatments
but nothing was working. Her condition was deteriorating.
When Cameron had
finished reading the letter she was angry. What the hell was he doing? Here were fifteen cases they could be working on, bringing
comfort and relief to a family and he was just tossing them in the trash without even opening them. He was wasting their time
and these people were suffering. Maybe Chase’s father was right. She took the letters and walked towards the lounge.
that?” Chase asked alarmed.
requests for consults” she replied angrily. “Here we sit bored out of our minds and these people need our help
and he’s just tossing them in the trash!” Chase looked at her with his head cocked to one side and gave a little
“So what are
you going to do with them” he asked.
know yet but I can’t just leave them there in the trash. They at least deserve a response.”
nuts” he said “If he catches you …”
care, I think these people deserve a response and if he’s not going to do it I will.” Chase shook his head and
walked away, she stuffed the letters into her case just as House returned to his office. He stalked in but paused at the side
of his desk. He looked at the papers on the corner then continued around and sat down. He swiveled around to the computer
and started working.
From that day forward
she had been retrieving the mail from his trash and sending responses in his name. Up until two weeks ago she had never even
thought of agreeing to a consult. She arrived in the reception area still thinking about whether this was going to help her
or hurt her.
me?” she asked the receptionist.
are here to see you” she said as she handed Cameron a clipboard and pointed her to a family by the television. Cameron
smiled as she introduced herself. She led them to a small side room and began to take a family history.