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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 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!)
25th-May-2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
(indulging yet another evil grin--gee, my face is gonna stick like this!)

See, that's the thing! While I've been writing 'Disintegration', it's made me feel so much better about my current episode of 'Mystery Diagnosis' in the making and all the feedback about making people cry was...I don't know. I guess it made me feel good to know they were that moved by my portrayal of House. *wibbles* And writing snark last night that actually made me myself laugh while I was plotting it was a definite bonus. But I have cried, myself, while rereading certain chapters of mine. But getting replies in my email and reading what people liked and didn't like and which parts made them laugh and which made them cry gives me a huge endorphin rush.

You know the Aspie tendency for stimming? I don't flap my hands when I'm upset. NO, I flap them when I'm giddy with glee. I only just noticed one day when I was making squee noises at a review and saw I was flapping my hands, too. *shrugs* But, anyway, I think my biggest questions about when you finally get to read it are what you think of my Wilson voice and whether I can again manage to make the Houserents interesting for you.

Apparently, I write an awesome Blythe in my stories. *considers* I just couldn't abide the apparent belief that she sat idly by while her husband terrorized their son. I think she's a lot more like her son than most people (especially her husband, who has made a career out of denial) expect and it's shown in ways that even Greg has managed to miss. I especially think that she didn't want him to see that side of her because she wanted their relationship to be about enjoying each other's company. Surely you, too, can get behind that?
25th-May-2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
whether I can again manage to make the Houserents interesting for you

you may be talking to misanthropicobs--in which case i apologize for replying (hey, wait a sec--this is my journal, wherein we are currently discussing yourfic... hmmm, i retract the apology! ;) ) but you imply that i ever found house's parents interesting in the first place--that would be a negative.

when one is approaching 50 years old, one has either assimilated the atrocities committed upon one in one's childhood, and moved on (not without effect, to be sure, but moved on nonetheless), or one remains mired in the past, obsessing over past sins and never growing. i don't think house is at all mired in his childhood. ymmv.
25th-May-2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was talking to you and no, I'm not implying. You said I managed to make them mildly interesting in 'Traipse', as I will gladly point out because it was a high point for me. I did a happy dance. What does 'YMMV' mean?

And I was coming from the stance that House says that he hates his father, who is the only person he's EVER seriously said that about. Even Darth Vogler and Shitter didn't garner that emotion.

And I think most of my family is a shining example of people mired in their childhoods, creating a huge, vicious cycle that's never ended for many years, much to my detriment. Yes, I think House has managed to move on in most respects, but physiological, etc., reactions aren't always apparent, which you know. I don't think he realizes at all that what's happened to him has affected him to the extent that it has. I'm certainly of the opinion that if he ever realized it, he'd choose not to change anything, regardless. I think there are parts of him that he does like, like there are parts that he hates, and I think he sees the value of the parts he likes as being far more important than the ones he doesn't.

And I think he's endeavored to become the person he is, to try and live, not just function--though he insists that's all he requires--despite everything in his life that could have easily dragged him under. I think he undervalues his own contributions and just how strong he really is. I think that Wilson, Cuddy, Blythe, the Ducklings, and (*takes deep breath*) even Stacy saw this wonderful, caring, SELFLESS and principled person he is but that his own goodness isn't something he can see for himself. I don't really know if I've gotten my point across or if I truly know what my point is but, either way, when I see people who used to enjoy the show insist that they hate House now because he 'has no redeemable traits', it makes me sad because their view of him has been ruined and turned one-dimensional, much like John's.

Or something like that.
25th-May-2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
"ymmv" = your mileage may vary

and you made some good, insightful points, gave me something to think about. thanks!
25th-May-2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yay! I like making people think! *bright grin*