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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter FIFTEEN 
21st-May-2007 07:42 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



When House awakens in the early afternoon, the strength of his voice startles Wilson.  “How long we been here?” he demands, eyeing the IV poles around his bed.


Wilson looks at his watch.  “About eighteen hours now, I guess.  Why?”


“By my calculations, should’ve had two doses of vancomycin by now.  Don’t see any.”


Wilson peers closely at House’s face.  He seems lucid; he’s certainly coherent, but….  “Don’t you remember?  Chase was here a while ago; we discussed it with him.  Last vanc level was still too high; gotta hold off until it drops.”


House sits up in the bed.  “No!  Need the vanc; fightin’ MRSA here, remember?  Seems like you’re the one with the memory problem.  Now let’s get it in here; you people are morons.  Even stuck in bed, I’m a better doctor than all of you put together; good thing I’m on the case!”  House is becoming increasingly agitated; Wilson sees that he’s begun to perspire.  And now his respiratory rate is not only too fast, his breathing’s become labored—he looks and sounds like he’s just run a few miles.


Wilson stands and walks to the head of the bed, waits until House looks at him.  When he’s certain he has House’s attention, he tries again.  “House, there’s nothing to worry about.  The vanc level is still within therapeutic range.  We’re having some problems with your kidneys; they aren’t excreting the drug.  The good news with that is, the vanc’s still covering the infection.  Do you understand?”


House explodes angrily, “I understand the MRSA’s not being treated!  And I understand…  I understand….”  His voice trails off abruptly; his eyes dart around the room, and Wilson sees the beginnings of panic. When Wilson places a hand on his shoulder he frowns, and looks up at Wilson.  “Why... are we... here?”  His voice is low again, and strained; he’s pulling in air between words.


Wilson presses the call bell discreetly.  “We’re here because your kidneys are shutting down.  And you have an infection; we’re treating it, and everything’s fine,” he says soothingly.  Pulse ox is down to 88%; respiratory rate’s over 40; looks like he’s starting to head towards respiratory arrest.


Judy enters the room.  Never removing his eyes from House’s face, Wilson tells her calmly, “Page Dr. Chase.  Stat.  And get me two milligrams lorazepam IV.”  She nods and hurries off.


“You’re lying to me!  Thought I wouldn’t figure it out?  Tricked me; forced me into rehab, tried to tell me I’ve got an infection.  Kidneys are fine, I’m a nephrologist, I’d know!  You can’t hold me here; haven’t done anything wrong.  I’m outta here!”  House stops shouting, but begins to try and get out of bed.


Chase and Judy arrive simultaneously, as Wilson struggles to restrain House.  Chase takes the syringe from her hand and moves quickly to the bedside.  “What happened?” he asks Wilson as he injects the sedative into the IV port.


Wilson’s got his hands clamped around House’s shoulders, and he’s still got his eyes locked with House’s.  He waits until he feels the tense shoulders begin to relax, and sees House’s eyelids droop as the med takes effect.  He lowers House gently back onto the pillows, then turns to Chase.


“He woke up, seemed okay at first.  Then he got upset about the hold on the vancomycin, started yelling, and then he just… lost it.  Suddenly didn’t have any recall of why he was here.  Accused me of putting him in rehab.”  


Wilson, eyes full of worry, is still watching House.  Even unconscious, his breathing’s too rapid—and he’s working too hard for each breath.  “He’s been tachypneic since admission; now his sats are falling.  Need to get ‘im up to the unit, put him on a vent until his lungs clear.”


Chase shoots Wilson an odd look, then begins to examine House.  Probably feels I’m overreacting; maybe I am, Wilson thinks.


Wilson waits silently, watching the monitors, while Chase does a thorough exam.  Wilson’s puzzled; House’s heart rate and respiratory rate aren’t falling, despite the sedative.


“I agree with you about ICU,” Chase says when he completes his assessment.  “But he doesn’t need a ventilator; he’s compensating well right now.  We’ll get him on oxygen, continue to monitor his status.”


Wilson doesn’t agree, but there’s a more pressing concern at the moment.  “The Ativan isn’t doing anything to settle down his vitals; what’s going on?”


Chase frowns.  “Don’t know.”


Wilson’s still watching House, and suddenly it dawns on him.  “Look at his leg!”  House’s right leg is twitching beneath the blanket, and—even through the sedation—House is moving it continually, apparently trying for a more comfortable position.  “Up his pain meds,” Wilson tells Chase.  “That’ll help.”


Chase stares blankly at Wilson for a moment, checks a page in the chart, then speaks hesitantly.  “He’s… uh… not on pain meds; we didn’t order anything.  Wasn’t an acute concern, and….”  Chase stops speaking as the anger builds in Wilson’s eyes.


Wilson turns to Judy.  “I want 10mg Dilaudid IV in here now.  And after you do that, you get Dr. Cuddy on the phone and tell her she has two minutes to get down here,” he bites out quietly, viciously.  Then he wheels on Chase, and begins to shout.


“What the hell were you thinking?  Were you thinking?  House is right; he’s a better damned doctor unconscious than the rest of us on our best days!  It’s no wonder—”


Cuddy had already been on her way to check on House; she comes swiftly into the room, a look of panic on her face.  “What’s going on?”


Wilson turns to include her in his tirade.  “Glad you could join us, Dr. Cuddy; you’ve made it just in time to watch your patient deal with not only MRSA and renal failure, but now untreated pain and the torture of withdrawal as well!  You think his leg was just gonna conveniently take a vacation while you dealt with his other problems?  You just forget that you’re treating not only a critically ill man, but also a chronic pain sufferer?  He’s physically dependent on those meds you’ve been denying him for over eighteen hours—no wonder he thought I’d tricked him into rehab!  And the dialysis would’ve removed any Vicodin he had in his system; isn’t quite as effective on the vanc, but it’s damned good at leeching out hydrocodone!” 


Wilson pauses to take a breath; he’s got plenty more to say, but a quiet moan from the bed sends him swiftly to House’s side instead.


The combination of Wilson’s shouting, the untreated leg pain, and his building withdrawal symptoms are causing House enough distress that his growing restlessness is evident, despite the dose of lorazepam.  Judy’s just returned with the Dilaudid, and Wilson yanks the syringe from her hand and begins to administer it while he talks softly to House.


Wilson’s running on caffeine and adrenalin, anger and stark fear.  He looks at the faces around him, thinks, Screw it; gonna give him what he needs, and blocks it all out.  The man who, moments before, had sounded like an angry dictator, is now a father crooning over a fretful newborn.  His voice is soft, loving, soothing.  “It’s okay now; you’ll feel better in a minute, I promise, buddy.  It’s okay, I’m here.  They didn’t know, but I’m fixing it now; it’s all right.  Everything’s gonna be fine… just fine….” 


He finishes administering the med, hands Judy the empty syringe and takes the basin of cool water she’s holding.  He sets it on the bedside table, and wrings out a cloth.  “Shhh; it’s okay now, promise,” he whispers as he gently wipes the sweat from House’s face.  “Let go; you’re safe now.  It’s all better, just let go and relax; I’m right here with you, and it’s all okay.”  The room is full of people, but Wilson’s creating a safe, warm bubble for his agonized friend; they’re the only two here.


“I understand why you thought you were in rehab; you were trying to tell me you were in withdrawal—sorry I didn’t get it.  Missed the clues, huh?  That whole thing with your left hand… but you didn’t miss the clues.  You never do, do you, not even when you’re sick….”  Wilson’s gentle murmur and the medication are beginning to have an effect— House is still now; he’s ceased battling invisible monsters.


“We took care of it; it’s all gonna be fine.  I’m here; you’re safe—it’s okay.”  The same phrases, over and over and over.  When the tears start spilling down the sides of House’s face, Wilson’s heart twists in his chest.  As a doctor, he knows it’s simply the body's physiological reaction to the release of extreme stress or pain.  He’s seen it hundreds of times.  Chemo patients after a violent bout of vomiting, unconscious accident victims as the first pain meds hit, even dying patients as the body lets go, shuts down.  Intellectually, Wilson knows that the phenomenon has nothing to do with crying, in the emotional sense.  But still, it’s always bothered him.  And now, it’s House.


“Shh, shh, shh, all better now, all better.  You’re safe.  I’m here….”  He tenderly dries the tears, never once ceasing the soft words of protection, of comfort.  Only when House’s heart rate has decreased and his breathing’s evened out, only when he’s finally fallen into something resembling a natural, comfortable sleep, does Wilson turn from the bed and acknowledge the others.


Cuddy looks stricken, but she meets his eyes and speaks calmly.  “We were wrong.  There are no excuses for what just happened.  I’m sorry.”


Chase, pale and shaken, steps forward.  “The oversight was unforgivable.  I… there’s nothing to say.”  He looks down at the floor.


Wilson glares at the two of them for a moment more, then takes a deep breath.  “He’s not in pain now; that’s all that matters.  Let’s get him up to the unit.”


As House’s bed is rolled to the elevators, it’s a quiet, subdued procession that accompanies him.  And each one of them is silently asking forgiveness from the sleeping man—Wilson most of all.

Chapter Sixteen

21st-May-2007 12:11 pm (UTC)
Yes Wilson went off on everyone!!! That was great. I just had a feeling that something like this was going to happen. What in the hell was Cuddy thinking? Was she trying to do an unauthorized detox? Jeez no one should go through narcotic withdrawal when they are ill, in pain, and dialysis. Good for Wilson. He's won back most of my trust. I love how he was so nurturing of House at the end. You're portrayal of his pain for missing what the dialysis actual was for and why House did not have pain meds is amazing. Good. All of them got a bit of what they deserved. *goes away with a happy smirk on her face.*
21st-May-2007 12:27 pm (UTC)
worried over this chapter for a long time--i felt that wilson's comforting of house would be seen as OOC. finally managed to convince myself that under these exact circumstances, wilson would just say 'screw it' and allow his compassion to spill over. i kept seeing all the love and concern he had in his eyes during Detox, and that somehow justified his behavior in this chapter. (cuddy just overlooked ordering anything for pain--she explains in next chapter) glad to know it worked for you!
21st-May-2007 12:20 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is a powerful chapter. Wilson reassuring House and the idea of how much pain House was in, caused me to have tears in my eyes before House had them. Oh, the thought he was detoxing on top of everything else makes me cringe- I can see why Wilson snapped when he figured out what House was talking about. Though it does show how emotionally involved Wilson is that he didn't think to ask about that himself. Going to be difficult for Wilson to relax (or trust anyone with House) now.

Thanks for posting early- nice way to start my work day! *hugs* (Oh, BTW, loved the iPod scene in the last chapter- wonderful little insight into House's personality.)
21st-May-2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
you can thank krazy_kookie for the early posting! :)

and wilson is done yelling just yet....
21st-May-2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for giving us a competent and in control Wilson. (If you only watched S3, you'd wonder how the man ever became a doctor, let alone a department head by age 40). It's nice to see him right, for a change! Go Wilson!
21st-May-2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
If you only watched S3, you'd wonder how the man ever became a doctor, let alone a department head by age 40

and that would be funny, were it not so very true... sigh.
21st-May-2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
First of all - THANK YOU!!!!!!!

I can now (kinda) go to sleep =).. Actually now I'm too excited to sleep and will have to re-read the chapter a few more times!.

Sorry, but there was just so much to take in.

Poor House - he must have been in unbelievable pain. I loved the line 'I haven't done anything wrong'. I loved that this followed up prior discussions on how House views the world - right and wrong, you know? Poor thing, I'm guessing that he has a bit more in store for him. The tears just break your heart. The pain alone would have just been overwhelming when he was not this sick, but in his state, his poor body/mind are taking quite a battering, huh?

Wilson...Wilson... Wilson... Perfectly written. His anger, frustration and most of all, concern for a loved one. I loved the interaction with House - as always, perfectly written. He was able to talk to House through the pain, relief his suffering without any snide comments about pain management/addiction/etc. He protected him, shielded him from pain, from others.

I think Wilson is finally seeing what his friend goes through on daily basis and well, you just have to realise how strong House is to get through it every day. I have a pretty bad knee and the pain is always there... slowly effecting my life, so for House to function with THAT level of pain and get little understanding from fellow doctors, must have been really tough.

I also liked Chase and Cuddy. I hope that their mistake in getting House pain relief will be a learning curve for them in how to treat people with chronic pain - the pain is like an entity of its own, it needs attention and just because House was sick, it did not mean that his leg was any less painful.

Once again, big THANK YOU for the update!!! Awesome chapter!!

21st-May-2007 12:49 pm (UTC)
omg... I just realised that I wrote a mini-essay in the post above lol... I think your caffeine need is effecting me too lol =D
21st-May-2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
Oh God - my heart is broken...!! This was such a powerful chapter!! I'm completely speechless... Wonderful descriptions; absolutely amazing how you managed to create such an intense atmosphere! Loved the Wilson actions of course, but also the completely authentic reaction of Cuddy and Chase. And you did a wonderful job with depicting Wilson caring, but not overly sentimental. Absolutely amazing chapter...!

Thank you so much for sharing this!! :)

21st-May-2007 01:15 pm (UTC)
depicting Wilson caring, but not overly sentimental

thank you! i'm thrilled that everyone's not finding wilson's actions totally OOC--and it's nice to know that you feel i handled chase and cuddy properly as well. and you're welcome--it's nice to share! :)
21st-May-2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
Much like everyone else has said, this was a powerful chapter. Very good. Cannot wait for the next one.
21st-May-2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
thanks. and--quick reminder here--no update on tuesdays!
21st-May-2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. Of course, Wilson has to be feeling some guilt -- he was as involved in House's treatment since arriving at the hospital as anyone was -- but with the amount of stress he's under he needed to blow so that he could be emotionally there for House.
21st-May-2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
and being wilson, of course he won't excuse his own part in what happened. at the end of writing this scene, i felt almost as much sadness for him as i did for house. sometimes i think it's harder for him to watch house stumble through life than it is for house, who's actually doing the stumbling. dunno.
21st-May-2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
go wilson! :D

I had actually noticed that you hadn't addressed the pain meds, but I thought, maybe they couldn't give him any because of the renal failure. (or, maybe you just hadn't mentioned it, sort of like, you don't see House pop pills in EVERY episode, it's just sort of implied.)

I'm surprised that Wilson didn't notice the pain meds sooner, but of course, he's running on a severe lack of sleep.

Thanks for updating so regularly.
21st-May-2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
I had actually noticed that you hadn't addressed the pain meds

what's weird is that even though this is all just pretend, i felt really bad the whole time i had everybody ignoring his need for pain control, and was quite relieved, myself, when wilson finally got a clue! (but of course i don't get totally involved in these stories--not at all! yeah...) ;)
21st-May-2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
Ow. That chapter actually hurt. Everything about the situation and the behaviors is absolutely believable and therefore all the more painful. Hats off for this chapter - a truly stellar balance of tension and relief.
21st-May-2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
That chapter actually hurt.

i know what you mean; after i wrote it, i was drained, just spent. (and then spent the rest of the time worrying if it was OOC--so thanks!!)
21st-May-2007 03:15 pm (UTC)
hmmm...I would have forgotten the pain management too, in the rush you know. All right, no excuses, I'm so sorry House.
Wonderful chapter again, how do you manage to be so constantly brilliant ? Even the House MD writers obviously don't succeed in being on the same high level always (is that clear ? Do you speak french ? It could help me sometime...).
Everybody should have his own Wilson, so devoted, so compassionate and loving. I love that Wilson, this is the way he should be, House deserves a friend like him. I'm glad Cuddy missed the pain thing too -don't get me wrong, I do like her- because she's always trying to teach lessons to House, it's a good thing that she did this mistake. She could see by herself that House really NEEDS to be treated for this pain, that he could die if he wasn't. She can not deny it now that she's seen the results of an untreated unbereable pain.
I loved the way you pictured Chase too, he tries his best, he's concerned but his boss is still his boss. Many things to learn still, Chase !
Thank you, thank you and thank you !
ps : can I bribe you with a super-strong coffee for you to post tomorrow ? OK, no, I know the rules, was just a thought...I'm already building withdrawal symptoms but that's MY problem, isn't it ?
21st-May-2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
hmmm...I would have forgotten the pain management too, in the rush you know. All right, no excuses, I'm so sorry House.

i, too, would like to apologize to house for putting him through that... seems my angst addiction was a bit stronger than his opioid dependence! ;)

can I bribe you with a super-strong coffee for you to post tomorrow ? OK, no, I know the rules, was just a thought..

i'd actually love to post tomorrow--but it's getting really intense with the writing at the moment, and i need a day to concentrate on just how close i can come to killing house and still make everything come out somewhere in the general vicinity of 'thank god we don't have to attend house's funeral'! ;)
(Deleted comment)
21st-May-2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
I've wondered if that blind spot (in the show) could, at least in part, be because he doesn't want to acknowledge to himself how bad that pain is and how much the meds are needed.

i agree with your theory. in Cane and Able, wilson says 'maybe he stopped exercising because the giant hole in his leg actually hurts!' AND THEN he spends the rest of the episode attempting (even when he offers the vicodin) to tear down house's fragile, vulnerable ego. i don't think even wilson realizes just how much he, himself fears house's pain, nor just how ambivalent he is about the meds necessary to treat that pain. and it's my great wish that that huge issue in their friendship will someday be explored on the show.
21st-May-2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
I love Wilson so much right now.

I cannot believe that Cuddy would forget that. I don't mean that in a "your story is OOC" way, I mean it in a "damn it, Cuddy" way.

God, poor House. That's gotta hurt.
21st-May-2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
I love Wilson so much right now

remember the good old days when he'd give house those 'are you all right; i'm really worried!' looks, and we always loved him? i just realized it's not wilson who's completely clueless--HEY SCRIPT WRITERS; it ain't wilson! :)
21st-May-2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
Whoa. Yay for Wilson going off like that and I shouldn't be surprised at House's skill, but I am. lol
21st-May-2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
yeah, i'm starting to feel a bit better about wilson myself! ;)
21st-May-2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
Another great chapter. I loved how you had Wilson take control both against Cuddy and for House in what is unfortunately an all too common oversight. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this wonderful story and how regularly you update. I'm in the middle of studying for step 1 of the med. licensing exams at the moment, and always look forward to reading the latest update. It's easily one of my favorite study breaks. Thanks so much for sharing it. :)
21st-May-2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
you're very welcome--and best of luck with the exams! i'm so glad that the story provides you with an enjoyable study break--i'm certain there are times when you need all the diversion you can get! (and i know that the exams aren't luck--they're a hell of a lot of hard work, and i admire your determination.)
21st-May-2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
.... omg. I've tears on my eyes and it's only chap 15. *sob*

Poor thing ><

Wilson was so powerful... I love him to pieces. Well, it's imposible not to love your Wilson anyway... Hope Cuddy had a good explanation for all.
21st-May-2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
*hands tissues to nyaar* you're right--uh-oh! gonna get a lot more poignant than it is now--here, have a few more kleenex! :)
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