CHAPTER THREE: House in Hell
House has been resting, more or less comfortably, for only ten minutes when he starts to groan again. But it's a different sound this time, and Wilson knows immediately what's happening and is glad that House is still curled on his side. Wilson holds his head while he retches and moans and finally brings up a small amount of bile. Wilson reaches into the gray box as soon as the retching stops and brings out the prefilled syringe of Compazine. He shakes his head and smiles to himself as he thinks how typical it is of his friend to cover every contingency.
An oncologist is used to having to cause pain to relieve symptoms, and Wilson is good at what he does. But the patient in front of him this time with the narcotic-induced nausea is House, so Wilson hesitates. He can't make himself cause his friend even this one sharp, stinging prick of brief pain if it can be avoided.
House himself makes the decision for him, though, when the desperate retching and gasping begin again almost immediately. Wilson quickly unfastens the belt, the jeans, lowering the fabric just enough to expose his hip. He's surprised when House grasps his wrist and shakes his head violently, no. House whispers, eyes boring into Wilson’s in an eloquent plea, "I need… the nausea. It's my… anchor… gotta have… an anchor."
He expects Wilson to understand, and Wilson does. But he only shakes his head sadly as he gently disengages House's fingers from their desperate cling at his wrist and administers the injection, steals the anchor. He tries not to see House's wince, tries not to feel the sense of betrayal radiating from him.
House doesn't go down quietly, but he does go down. He's too worn out to fight the med for long; Compazine has a strong sedative effect not even House can overcome, and he falls again into restorative sleep. Wilson looks toward the door when he hears a key turning the lock, and the look he gives Cuddy is so profoundly mournful that she has to glance away.
"I don't suppose you'd consider admitting him?" It's a question that she knows the answer to, but she has to ask it anyway, and isn't surprised when Wilson answers, "You suppose correctly." However, Cuddy is initially shocked, even angered, when Wilson continues, "I gave him the morphine; I'll get him through this." But she's a smart woman, and it takes her only moments to infer how very bad things must have been to drive Wilson to the gray box, and when she speaks again her voice is warm. "I understand. I'll try to free up a nurse."
Wilson answers flatly. "Then you don't understand. No nurse. No team. No one else." He looks tenderly at his sleeping friend, and there are bright unshed tears in his eyes when he turns back to Cuddy. "There's damned little else that I can do for him right now, but I can respect his privacy." Cuddy comprehends immediately; this is House, and his fierce, odd dignity is the only thing that allows him to face the world every day.
Cuddy adopts Wilson's flat, inflectionless tone when she says, "Then you'll need some things. Give me a list." She grabs a pad and a pen from House's desk and waits for Wilson to gather his thoughts, to switch roles from protective friend to capable physician. She can see him mentally figuring how to cover all possible bases.
"First things first," he says. "A pillow, a blanket. Emesis basin. Ice chips. Scrubs; no gown, he’d hate that. Another dose of compazine. BP cuff, definitely. O2, I think." At Cuddy's alarmed expression, he says, "Just for comfort, Cuddy. I don't know how long we'll have to keep him under, won't know until the breakthrough pain stops. Just wanna be ready, you know?" He gives her a wan smile.
Then he glances at the box and says ruefully, "Should probably get a couple of bags of fluids and an IV setup as well. Our little boy scout was, of course, very well prepared for this. But he didn't factor in being dehydrated before he took the meds. And he is dehydrated. Only brought up about 10cc of bile. I shouldn't wait on the IV, but I'm going to. It's not fair...no more pain…at least a little while..." His voice trails off. "Unless you can think of something else, I think that's it," he finally says.