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
In the morning, Wilson’s the first one awake. No surprise there, but when House is still asleep at , Wilson decides he’ll simply have to risk his wrath and wake him—they’re already an hour late on the vancomycin.
Wilson prepares the infusion and hangs it on the pole. “House. Hey, c’mon; need to get you hooked up.” House mumbles something and turns over, but makes no effort to sit up or even open his eyes.
Wilson gives up. “Just let me have your arm.” He reaches for the heplock, grasps House’s upper arm to steady it—and stops. “House. Wake up; gotta get a temp. Think you’ve got a fever.”
House reluctantly opens his eyes. “If you’ll let me sleep another fifteen minutes, I’ll tell it to leave.” He shuts his eyes again and burrows under the blankets.
“Not playing here; take the thermometer.”
House groans, but does as he’s told. When the digital thermometer beeps, he removes it from his mouth and glances at it. “Ninety eight point eight—most normal thing about me,” he informs Wilson. “Now can I go back to sleep?” He tosses the thermometer on the nightstand and turns over.
“Not ‘til I get you hooked up.” Wilson plugs the tubing into the heplock, still frowning at the unnatural warmth of House’s skin. He grabs the thermometer, presses the memory button—and does a double take. “It’s one-oh-one eight! House!”
“Didn’t have my glasses; so sue me.” House appears remarkably unconcerned at this potential first sign of MRSA infection.
Wilson shakes his head and gets the infusion started. They’d picked up the admixture of vancomycin and diphenhydramine last night from the hospital pharmacy, and Wilson knows that—between the fever and the antihistamine—House will sleep through the two hour administration. And that’s a good thing. Under normal circumstances, keeping him in one place for two hours would be impossible.
As Wilson had predicted, House goes back to sleep even before Wilson finishes taping the IV tubing into place. Wilson waits a few minutes to make sure there won’t be any problems, then quietly leaves the room.
He’s not happy about the fever, of course, but he’s trying to temper his worry with common sense. Doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot; could just be a result of the injury itself, or it could even be a side effect of the vanc. Need to call the lab, check on the cultures, though. With any luck, the MRSA strain’ll be susceptible to something less nephrotoxic than vancomycin.
A call to the lab confirms that the bacterium cultured from the contaminated scalpel is resistant to the oral medications House had initially been taking. And so far, the lab tech tells Wilson, it appears that it’s susceptible only to vancomycin.
Wilson groans. “Patient’s renal function is just borderline normal as it is. Anything else showing any kind of a response at all?”
“Not so far, Dr. Wilson. I’ll be sure to let you know, but I doubt we’re going to see anything different than usual.”
Wilson thanks the tech and hangs up. He shakes his head and sighs. Figures. Guess I forgot it’s House we’re dealing with; no such thing as ‘luck’ where his health’s involved.
Wilson’s next call is to Cuddy, who reminds him that if House’s fever goes up, or if he begins to show any other symptoms, she wants him admitted to the hospital immediately. Wilson assures her that he won’t take any chances.
Cuddy’s still asking questions; she wants to know about Wilson now. “How’s it going, staying with House? Get a chance to talk to him yet?”
“No, not really,” Wilson tells her. “Figured I’d give things a while to settle down, see how it goes with his health. Not fair to expect him to deal with my guilt, not on top of everything else.”
Cuddy wonders if she should simply tell Wilson the real reason House is avoiding serious discussion. Now that both men have taken her into their confidence, it puts her in an awkward position. She remembers the way they’d both winked at her last night, though, and she smiles. They’re both working towards the same thing—just approaching it from opposite angles. Nothing wrong with that; I’ll give it a while, see how it plays out.
“But you’re getting along okay?” she asks.
“So far, yeah. I’m keeping my ‘hovering,’ as he calls it, under control. And—believe it or not—seems like he’s making a real effort to rein in some of his sarcasm. ‘Course, that could be because he’s not feeling up to par, but right now, hey—I’ll take what I can get!”
They end the phone call, both still laughing as they hang up.
Wilson occupies himself by logging on to PubMed from his laptop, and reading all the abstracts he can find concerning current treatment protocols for MRSA. He makes note of a few he’s interested in; he’ll download the full articles later.
He’s never had much professional interest in infectious disease before; he’s had to deal with the problem only peripherally, whenever an immune-compromised chemo patient would develop an infection. But then I’d just pass ‘em off to Nadel. Or House, if the case was interesting enough. Don’t want to pass this one off, though. This one’s not just professional; it’s personal. And he’s gonna get the best I’ve got—gonna prove to him that he can count on me.
When the pump signals that the antibiotic infusion is complete, Wilson hurries to shut it off and get House disconnected. He doesn’t want the noise to awaken House; with that fever, extra rest is the best thing for him right now.
House continues to sleep through all the activity, so Wilson uses the tympanic thermometer to get a quick check on the fever. House bats like an annoyed child at the probe in his ear, but doesn’t wake. Wilson looks at the reading—101.4—and nods his satisfaction.
He’d told Cuddy he isn’t going to take any chances, though, so he calls the lab back and arranges for a courier to pick up tonight’s blood samples. This fever, slight as it is, grants House his earlier wish—House is confined to the apartment; Wilson’ll draw the samples. They’ll need a trough level on the vanc before starting the next dose; if the level’s too high, it will be a pretty reliable sign that House’s kidneys aren’t handling the med as well as they should. And then what? House might be satisfied to just assume it won’t happen, but I’d be happier knowing how to handle it if it does.
Wilson smiles at the memory of yesterday’s conversation about the code box. House is right; I do expect the worst, and I wanna be prepared for it.
At , House wakes up for real—as evidenced by his bellowed order for “Lunch—and the breakfast you let me sleep through!”
Wilson makes him wait while he does a quick assessment and gets a set of vital signs; everything looks good, and temp’s staying in the one-oh-one range. House claims that his hand isn’t quite as bothersome today—but Wilson thinks that probably has something to do with the way House is carrying it, cradled safely against his chest. At any rate, Wilson’s just glad that House has finally figured out, on his own, that it’s not a good idea to simply pretend that there’s nothing wrong with the hand, and try to conduct business as usual. Pain’s a good teacher sometimes—even for House, Wilson thinks.
While they’re eating, Wilson points out that if they want to continue to eat, he’s going to have to make a run to the grocery store. He grabs a pen and starts making a list; he writes down all the necessities, and about half of the things House suggests—none of which bear any resemblance to the four basic food groups, and all of which, House insists, “are essential for proper nutrition. And I’m a doctor; I know these things.”
Wilson nods agreeably, and pretends to write down “three boxes of berry-banana Pop Tarts and some pistachio pudding cups—gotta love that neon green glow!”
“And… uh… what’re you going to be doing while I’m at the store?” Wilson asks hesitantly. Probably don’t wanna know—but then there’s that pesky moral obligation to the rest of society…. He’s relieved when House points out that there are three solid hours of soaps coming on.
Wilson’s at the door, ready to leave, when he thinks of one more thing. “I’ve got my cell phone with me. Call me if you need me, or if anything changes.” House, engrossed in the soaps, doesn’t answer. “Okay?” Wilson’s not going anywhere without confirmation.
“Fine,” House answers distractedly. “Sure you don’t wanna leave the numbers for Poison Control, the police, and the fire department by the phone too?”
Wilson goes to stand in front of House, blocking the TV screen. “Those are all 911, House. Think you can remember that?”
House looks at him and grins slowly, dangerously. “Think I’m gonna need to?”
Wilson studies the mischievous face for a moment. “I’ll make it quick,” he sighs. “Very quick.” He heads to the door.
“Just don’t forget that cool purple catsup!” House calls after him. Wilson slams the door—hard.