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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter EIGHTEEN 
25th-May-2007 09:54 am
house wilson hospital
Summary:  Wilson is given an unexpected opportunity to prove his friendship to House.  This story is my own attempt to make sense of the unsettling disruption of the House-Wilson dynamic in Season 3, so mention is made of many of the S3 plotlines and character development.  House-Wilson-Cuddy angst, hurt/comfort, introspection--my usual gig.  ;)  x-posted
Rating:  PG

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen 
Chapter Seventeen

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: CHANGES
 
When Wilson and Chase return to the cubicle, Cameron and Foreman are getting ready to leave, and they invite Chase to join them for a late lunch.
 
“Go on, Chase,” Cuddy urges him. “House’s fever is still coming down, there’s been no significant change in his labs. So get while the getting’s good!” 
 
Chase looks toward Wilson, who smiles and nods. “All right, then. Page me if anything changes?”
 
“Bet on it,” Wilson says.
 
The fellows leave, and Wilson turns to Cuddy. “How’s he doing? Been awake at all?”
 
“No, not since we put him on the cooling blanket. But his vitals are stable.”
 
Wilson takes little comfort from that. The monitors tell him that House’s heart rate and breathing are still too rapid, and even on oxygen his sats are only 91%. And it doesn’t take a doctor to figure out that House doesn’t look good at all.
 
Wilson moves his gaze from the monitors, and forces himself to look at House through a physician’s eyes. Patient in critical condition. Semi-comatose, with altered mental status when conscious. Mild to moderate respiratory distress. Urine output low. He moves the sheet aside, exposing House’s feet and legs. Increased edema in the lower extremities. He replaces the sheet and begins to study House’s face—and Wilson loses his objectivity.
 
House’s hair is damp with perspiration. His closed eyes are sunken into his swollen face; his pale lips are deeply cracked and dry. Wilson closes his own eyes for a moment, fighting off the sudden feeling of helplessness. He takes a washcloth and bathes House’s face, moves the damp hair from his forehead. While he’s moistening House’s parched lips with a glycerin swab, House opens his eyes. Wilson smiles at him. “Hey.”
 
House tries to say something, but no sound comes out. He tries again. “So thirsty….” There’s no volume behind the words, but Wilson understands what he wants, and reaches for the cup of ice chips. He spoons them patiently, one at a time, into House’s mouth, until House whispers, “That’s good… thanks.”
 
Across the room, Cuddy watches the two men interact, and she smiles sadly. Wilson’s wrong; he never did stop protecting House. Everything he did was done to try and keep House safe. Even now, he’s so focused on House’s comfort that nothing else matters to him. Certainly not his own well-being. If he doesn’t get some rest soon, though, he’ll collapse. And yeah, if Wilson’s not here, House won’t allow the rest of us in. The bond those two have… House won’t show any weakness to anyone else, but he willingly gives it to Wilson. And the amazing thing is, he accepts that Wilson’ll keep him safe.
 
House has drifted off again, and Wilson motions Cuddy to the bedside. “Pain’s coming back. The dialysis….”
 
“Already thought of that,” Cuddy smiles. “And that’s one problem I think I’ve solved. Any minute now, I’m expecting—”
 
As if on cue, a pharmacy tech comes through the door pushing an IV pole. Cuddy thanks him and rolls it to the bedside. Wilson looks at the contents of the pump and, slightly puzzled, looks to Cuddy.
 
“Yeah,” Cuddy says. “I remember that PCA stands for patient controlled analgesia. And I know that our patient is currently in no shape to control anything. Lucky for him, then, that he’s got a caring, concerned friend around to do it for him.”
 
When Wilson looks at Cuddy, gratitude is shining from his eyes. “This is great! Thanks, Cuddy; what a good idea. During the times he’s being dialyzed, I can keep dosing him; he won’t have to suffer.”
 
And neither will you, watching him. “I figured, he does have some lucid times too, and maybe it’ll also help him feel more in control to know that it’s there. Especially after what we put him through downstairs.” Cuddy’s still feeling great regret over House’s inadvertent detox.
 
“I don’t think he’s recalled that yet. And I don’t think we should remind him of it anytime soon,” Wilson says.
 
“Remind me… of what?” House asks faintly, and opens his eyes. He sees the new IV pole at his bedside, and, thankfully, doesn’t wait for an answer to his first question before asking a second one. “What’s that?”
 
“Dilaudid, at your beck and call,” Wilson tells him as he places the control gently into House’s left hand, helps him curl his fingers around it.
 
“Must be… sicker than I thought… to rate… the good stuff, huh?”
 
Wilson intentionally ignores the question. “Hey, beats a coloring book, doesn’t it?”
 
House tries to smile. “Yeah… even with… the big box… of crayons….” He weakly, but successfully, depresses the button on the control, and then allows his heavy eyes to close, and he’s out again.
 
Cuddy’s pager goes off, and she glances at the text screen and frowns. “It’s the lab, stat page. Wonder what’s up?” She steps just outside the room where there’s a phone on the wall.
 
Wilson is looking disconsolately at the monitors when he hears Cuddy raise her voice.
 
“That’s impossible! No, check it again; that just can’t be right.” There’s a pause while she listens, then says, “There’s got to be something. Find it.” She slams the phone into its cradle, and Wilson looks at her questioningly. She motions for him to join her outside the room.
 
“What’s the matter?” he asks quietly once he reaches her.
 
Cuddy looks up at the ceiling, presses her fingers to her temples, takes several deep breaths. When she finally looks at Wilson, he reads stunned disbelief in her eyes. In a voice barely above a whisper, she recites what she’s just been told, “At hour sixty-nine, the cultures on the specimen from the scalpel began to exhibit resistance to vancomycin. So they checked the blood cultures drawn last night from House. At hour twenty, they show no susceptibility to vancomycin, nor to any other antibiotic we use to treat MRSA.”
 
“Cuddy, that’s impossible!” Wilson unconsciously echoes Cuddy’s own first words on hearing the alarming news. “You’re telling me he has VRSA; there’ve been maybe five cases in New Jersey since the first one was diagnosed a decade ago.”
 
“And those five cases are proof that it’s not impossible,” Cuddy points out grimly. “Lab’s still hopeful that it might be VISA—vancomycin intermediate staph aureus—instead of VRSA—vancomycin resistant. So we’ll keep his vanc in therapeutic range until we know for certain.”
 
“Not sure that’s a good idea. Be a different story if the vancomycin weren’t affecting his renal function, but with his cultures already showing resistance….” Wilson’s already wracking his brain, trying to figure out the best way to handle this stunning development.
 
“Hey,” Cuddy says gently. “Helicopter, remember? Let Chase and me get this figured out, okay?”
 
Wilson smiles ruefully. “Can’t just forget that I’m a doctor. A doctor whose best friend… is dying. Dying of a disease that has no protocol for treatment. Don’t ask me not to try to help in the search for something that’ll work. Please.”
 
Cuddy looks deep into the anxious, earnest eyes of the only person on the planet House really connects with, and she’s torn. House needs him so badly. But we’re gonna need all the help we can get—and then some. “Okay, here’s the deal, then. Gonna send for your laptop so you can research this, and still be here for him. But I’m also going to get that cot up here, so you can rest. And you will rest. At least four hours out of every twenty-four—starting within the hour. Clear?” She furrows her brow and looks at him sternly.
 
“Yeah…. And, uh, thanks. Again.”
 
Cuddy dismisses his gratitude with a wave of her hand. “Thank you. It’s because of you, ya know, that House actually has a decent shot at beating this. Now, I need to go page Chase, take care of the laptop. And that cot. Which I expect to see you using when I come back.”
 
“I will, promise.” But Wilson’s voice is distracted, and Cuddy sees that he’s actually having a good moment, watching contentedly as House sleeps peacefully, free from discomfort.
 
Knowing that the good moments will be few and far between in the coming days, she leaves him to it.

Chapter Nineteen
Thoughts 
25th-May-2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
Wow...... VRSA - even I kinda know what THAT is....

Such a great chapter! Poor Wilson - House is pretty out of it, so it falls onto Wilson to make hard decisions. I do hope that Cuddy really gets him to have some rest! I'm exhausted just reading this! =)

Knowing that the good moments will be few and far between in the coming days, she leaves him to it.

Yeah, I have no doubt that you are likely to out House to hell and back... and I have only encouragement to give! Loving every single installment - and look, no Cameron! What do you know!
25th-May-2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
i feel for wilson too--and there are more difficult decisions looming, so you're right--it'd be a very good thing for him to get some rest. he's gonna need it! (veg)
(Deleted comment)
25th-May-2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
you are pushing this right to the extreme limit

ohhhh, you ain't seen nuthin' yet!!! (more evil grins! hee.)
25th-May-2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
OMG... don't kill him, please...
this story is soooo good, I jump with joy evertime I see a new chapter. And then I read it and think: OMG what comes next...
25th-May-2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
OMG... don't kill him, please...

not killing, simply... torturing. i promise, i'll return him... well, not exactly unharmed, but... alive--after a fashion.... ;)
(Deleted comment)
25th-May-2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
Are you quite sure you're not going to kill House? Because I really can't tell right now. Not that I can talk, seeing as I'm killing him as we speak. *sigh*

*veers sharply off-topic because my brain has mutiny* Argh. Stuff to do today. Dishes. STUPID DISHES. I'm good with rewards, though. Really, I am.

No, I'm not. That lack of motivation again, coupled with unrivaled disdain for washing dishes. *glares toward kitchen as though dishes did her personal wrong*

Lack of sleep is also a factor, I think. I probably need to go back on the temazepine. Should look into that, among other things. Nothing like being bored at four in the morning...
25th-May-2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
Are you quite sure you're not going to kill House? Because I really can't tell right now.

see, what i'm trying to do here is find out exactly how close one can come to death without actually, uh... dying. hope i don't go too far..... (indulging yet another evil grin--gee, my face is gonna stick like this!)
(Deleted comment)
25th-May-2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
When it rains it pours, eh? House has to be the unluckiest man on the face of the earth.
25th-May-2007 04:15 pm (UTC)
House has to be the unluckiest man on the face of the earth.

you kids are actually beginning to make me feel guilty, a little (a very little!) ;)
25th-May-2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I really can count on you to make my day ! your story is so polished, situations handled in an always subtle way, dialogues sounding so in character, deep feelings, sophisticated connections between all the characters, this fic is a jewel of sensitivity. Hats off once again.
25th-May-2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
I really can count on you to make my day

and your unfailing encouragement and praise help to make my day--thank you! :)
25th-May-2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
Great chapter, may be my favorite yet. I wondered if VRSA was coming, but if anyone deserves compassionate use medication right now, it is. . . well . . . Wilson, I mean House. Wilson can't go on 4 hours of rest forever; he need to remember to run the marathon not the sprint.
25th-May-2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
if anyone deserves compassionate use medication right now, it is. . . well . . . Wilson

i have to agree with this! and you're absolutely correct with your sprint/marathon analogy--wilson has absolutely no idea just how bad things are gonna get.....
25th-May-2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Wilson's definitely right when he said in a previous chapter that House never had the best of luck when it comes to his health. I loved seeing Cuddy's reflections on the House/Wilson friendship.
25th-May-2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
cuddy's a bit more difficult for me to write than wilson, but every time i have her go introspective, i learn something new--not only about her, but also about house and wilson--so i enjoy her reflections too!
25th-May-2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
I keep repeating to myself that you are not going to kill House and everything is fine. But as soon as I read the words "resistant" and "no protocol for treatment" I started freaking. I love Wilson in this chapter. He is just excellent. Cuddy's right, he never has stopped protecting House and I have a feeling House has never stopped protecting Wilson. They truly are a pair. I think that is why I love both of them so much. (Yes Wilson has finally made it off the bad list. He's currently residing on the "still-not-out-of-the-dog-house-but-getting-there" list.)

I'm glad Cuddy feels guilty for House's unintentional detox, it just makes her more likable, then say, of Chase.

Okay, here's the new plan for the Cameron restraining order. She has to be at least ten hourse away, with no ability to call, email, text, or in any other way contact House or Wilson. She must wear one of those house arrest bracelets when ever it is necessary for her to be the same general region has House or Wilson. If she comes more than 50 yards near House, she will receive a brief and low voltage shock of electricity and the police will be called. Whacha think?
25th-May-2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
She must wear one of those house arrest bracelets

oh, i do adore a good pun! :)

i like the new plan--but 'brief and low' ? hey, this is cam; subtlety is so not her strong suit; i vote for long. and painful. very painful.... ;)
(Deleted comment)
25th-May-2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Fantastic story! I am not seeing a good way for this to end, but I'm hoping you change my mind. I adore the way you are portraying everybody in this story. I'm a psychology student so I tend to read fanfics from that perspective, and it can at times make me very nitpicky. For example, I don't care if Wilson grows an extra head, but his reactions are inappropriate I go nuts (it's a nasty habit and I'm trying to quit). In this story, I have not seen a single deviation from what I expect our favorite characters to act like. It's perfect. This situation would be impossible for anybody to handle and they are doing it in a way that would make them less likely to fall apart (even though that might change as House gets worse). Also, I love the fact that you are giving us daily updates. I know how incredibly difficult that is, trust me. That on top of your MRSA/VRSA research makes me wonder how you do it. Keep up the great work!!
25th-May-2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
actually (you'll be pleased to hear) the situation is going to grow so grim that wilson is going to be forced to 'get over himself' if he's to be any help at all to house. even wilson can wallow in his own guilt for only so long, no?

and yeah, the updates/research/writing/11 year old prepubescent kid/my own life (do i have one of those?) keep me busy, but i've found the perfect way to handle it--i gave up housecleaning! completely! and this month, the dust bunnies have matured so well that i'm going to ask them for their share of the mortgage payment!! (but i'm fine.....)
25th-May-2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
You know I remember thinking, 'well at least it's not VRSA,' when this all started, and now you've gone and taken that away. I guess I'll have to take solace in linezolid and some of the other antimicrobials for now. The scene where Wilson was swabbing House's lips and feeding him ice chips was very touching. Great work, as always. :)
25th-May-2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
You know I remember thinking, 'well at least it's not VRSA,'

aww, c'mon--you didn't really think i was just gonna leave it at mrsa when there was such a perfect way to up the ante? in your heart of hearts, you knew it all along, didn't you? c'mon, 'fess up! ;)
25th-May-2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
Don't wanna analyze much... Just wanted to say - and I know I'm repeating myself here - that I simply LOVE this fic! Everything about it. BUT: I will have to 'insert-particularly-threatening-thing-to-you-here' you, IF YOU KILL HIM!!! You wouldn't do that, would you? WOULD YOU?!? ;)

Just kidding... Keep up the GREAT work - you're the best!! :)
25th-May-2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
oooo-kay, then; definitely time for a GROUP HUG. and now, everybody repeat after me:

The author may be evil, but she has NO plans to kill House--she plans, instead, to do a SEQUEL, so House must LIVE!!! (at least through the first story)

**running/hiding**
25th-May-2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Normally I'm all about the Wilson torture but House is proving to be just as much fun. Great blend of medical drama and characterization. I particulary like your Wilson voice. Cuddy occationally seems a bit mushy to me but that could be because I'm currenly cranky with her character.
25th-May-2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
quite all right--most of this group is in cranky-with-wilson recovery, including me! so you're quite welcome here, cranky or not! (and feel free to sign the "we need a restraining order against cameron" petition currently circulating among the... uh... more outspoken of us! ;)
26th-May-2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Jeez. They had to get the paddles out on me this time... I'm at an utter loss of words. I mean how could you do this to House?! (wait... never mind) But still this is just cruel and unusual punishment! But of course I'm the masochist who reads it. And Wilson running himself to death and worrying himself sick over his bestest friend ever! So adorable. Great now I'm gunna be freaking out until you get the next one posted. Great job though, as usual. Love it!

-ANimal
26th-May-2007 01:05 am (UTC)
so good to see you here! hey, it only gets worse--you might wanna consider one of those home defibrillator set-ups!

anxious to hear your take on our restraining order ideas for cam! ;)
26th-May-2007 03:38 am (UTC)
MRSA. VRSA. VISA. Lisa! Cuddy. Wilson. House - omg - MRSA. VRSA. Yeah, my mind is just going in circles now. Oh, what are they going to do?

Your House has so much presence in this story, even if he's only conscious for several lines at a time.
26th-May-2007 09:38 am (UTC)
House has so much presence in this story, even if he's only conscious for several lines

now, did i not say that even silent, the man commands attention? (and he's ever so much easier to write when he's not running his mouth ;) )
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