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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
The More Things Change... Chapter TWENTY-ONE 
28th-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

Previous chaptersCollapse )</o:p></span></div>
 
Chapter Twenty-OneCollapse )
 
Wilson awakens when the night nurse comes in to hang the 2:00am dose of linezolid; shortly before 1:00am, his eyes had closed despite his best efforts. He looks toward House’s bed and sees that he’s awake too. As the nurse silently finishes her duties and leaves, Wilson moves to the bedside. House’s eyes are focused and alert; he’s taking in his surroundings, and appears oriented. “Been awake long?” Wilson asks him.
 
House shakes his head. “Nurse… woke me. Hey… how’d I rate a… TV in here?” House is still breathless, still breathing far too rapidly. Wilson begins to unobtrusively count his respirations.
 
“You’re in an isolation cubicle—guess the TV’s one of the perks. You having trouble breathing?”
 
“No… why you… wearing a... gown?”
 
Wilson realizes suddenly that House doesn’t know yet about the suspected VRSA; initially the isolation room had been chosen only to provide him privacy. Instinct is telling Wilson not to say anything about the new diagnosis, so he regretfully attempts to take advantage of House’s altered mental status. “Contact isolation requires a gown, doesn’t it?" he says casually.  "Wanna check out the TV? I think there’s cable.”
 
House regards him appraisingly. “What’s… going on, Wilson? We discon… tinued… contact iso for… bloodborne… MRSA six months… ago… latest studies show… unnec… essary.” House is practically panting with the effort of speech, and when he stops speaking he gulps air audibly.
 
Wilson frowns at House and reaches for a stethoscope. “I’ll explain in a minute,” he says, placing the stethoscope in his ears and helping House lean forward so he can listen to his lungs. What’ll I tell him? Tell him Cuddy just changed the protocol? It’s only a precaution? No, damn it! He chose to trust me.
 
Wilson finishes the respiratory assessment and manages to keep the alarm he’s feeling off his face as he increases the O2 to six liters and picks up the bedside phone. He’s very much aware that House is watching him intently. “I need a nonrebreather mask in Unit 5 stat. Patient’s got pulmonary edema, and he’s in acute distress.” He recradles the phone, then sits on the edge of the bed and meets House’s eyes.
 
“The infection’s started to show resistance to vancomycin, House.”
 
House’s eyes widen briefly, and Wilson watches his left hand curl into a fist. “Damn,” House whispers vehemently. He takes several more rapid, shallow breaths, gulping air through his mouth.
 
Wilson keeps his voice calm and firm. “Breathe slowly, through your nose. Your sats just fell to 87%. The nonrebreather’ll be here in a minute; then you can breathe through your mouth if you need to.” Wilson presses the button to raise the head of the bed, hoping that’ll help.
 
“Not… worried about… breathe…ing. Wanna know—”
 
“That’s enough, House,” Wilson cuts in sharply. “Concentrate on controlling your breathing, and I’ll give you a full report.”
 
The respiratory tech appears in the doorway with the mask; Wilson goes to the door and takes it from him. He quickly switches out the nasal cannula for the nonrebreather, then waits, watching House as he tries to comply with his instructions, watching the numbers move on the monitors. “That’s good; slow, deep breaths. Slow it down; you’re doing better. Sat’s up to 90% now.”
 
When the pulse oximeter reading goes to 91%, Wilson nods and sits down again. “Okay. You keep breathing, I’ll keep talking. You get agitated, or feel like you just have to throw in your two cents, we’ll postpone this.  Understood?"
 
House nods obediently; he’s not about to tell Wilson that breathing’s the only job he can handle at the moment.
 
But Wilson knows. Gotta get House settled down, get in a page to Chase. Need to get him on a vent before he crashes. “We have you on linezolid, 600mg IV every twelve hours. You’ve had two doses, and you’re tolerating it fine. We’ve d/c’d the vanc, of course, and we don’t know yet if the staph will be susceptible to the linezolid. Right now, though, you’re holding your own with the infection.”
 
House nods, and gestures to his chest and to the catheter bag.
 
“That’s more of an immediate concern,” Wilson tells him. “Fluid overload is causing pulmonary edema. And… you’re beginning to show arrhythmias on the cardiac monitor. Urine output’s fallen a little. But we’re hopeful that now that you’re off the vancomycin, all those things will begin to improve in the next forty-eight hours, maybe sooner.”
 
Wilson wonders if he should mention the probability of a ventilator. But he can’t bring himself to do it. He justifies his decision by telling himself that the news would agitate House, who must be kept as calm as possible—he’s already in respiratory distress. And now, House is attempting to speak again.
 
“Told… Chase….” Whatever House is trying to say is lost as House goes into paroxysms of coughing. The head of the bed is already as high as it will go, so Wilson puts a hand behind House’s back and leans him forward, supporting House’s chest across his own arm. He yanks off the mask, and grabs for an emesis basin to catch the frothy white sputum that’s a hallmark of pulmonary edema.
 
When the coughing finally ends, Wilson replaces the mask and lowers House back to the pillows. House’s face is white; his lips are pale gray. But he’s still trying to talk. Wilson shakes his head, puts a finger to his own lips. “We’ll talk later. Try to rest now; I’m not going anywhere. Later.”
 
House’s eyes flare briefly with frustration, and Wilson thinks that he might argue. But then House shakes his head almost imperceptibly, and finally closes his eyes.
 
Wilson dampens a washcloth and cleans House’s face and mouth. Then he gets another cool cloth and gently runs it across House’s forehead and eyes, presses it to his temples. He repeats these motions again and again, all the while coaxing House to relax, let go, get some sleep. After just a few minutes, House’s heart and respiratory rates slow a bit, and his respiratory effort is less shallow; he’s back to sleep.
 
Wilson staggers over to the cot and opens his laptop; the latest labs should be available.
 
The first thing Wilson sees is that the linezolid is still showing activity in the cultures, and he sighs with relief. The staph isn’t indicating as much susceptibility to the antibiotic as he’d hoped—but it’s still enough to hold the infection at bay, give them time to come up with something more effective.
 
There’s been no change in renal function, but there has been one change; House’s liver enzymes are higher now. Still no cause for alarm, Wilson tells himself. Kidneys aren’t getting better, but they aren’t worse, either. And we’ll just have to monitor liver function. Gonna take a couple days for the vanc to clear his system. He’s okay. We’re okay. Just in a holding pattern, that’s all. He’ll be fine.
 
Wilson closes his laptop and walks quietly to the bedside. “You can do this, House,” he whispers. “You’re strong; you’re stubborn. You don’t like to lose; remember that. You win; that’s who you are. That’s what makes you special—not the leg, not the drugs. Not the miserable attitude. You don’t give up. And people live because of that. People live because you won’t just… give the hell up. Someone said once that the distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success. That makes you a genius by anyone’s definition. But you’re also insane, ya know; you push that distance beyond all reason. You don’t admit failure, not as long as the patient’s still alive.”
 
Wilson blinks, then brushes impatiently at the sudden moisture that’s blurring his vision. “You’re still alive, House. And what you’ve gotta do is stay alive. That’s all; we’ll do the rest this time. Give us a chance to solve the puzzle. Hey—you’re all about the teaching, right? You’ve taught us—now give us a chance to prove it. And give me a chance to… give me a chance to…. Just gimme a chance, okay?”
 
House moves restlessly; his heart rate’s climbing, and he moans as he reaches for his right leg. Wilson quickly pushes the button on the PCA, and waits until House’s heart rate has returned to baseline, until the furrow between his eyes is smooth again. Then he takes a moment to do some passive range-of-motion exercises on the leg—House can’t tolerate not being able to move it; makes him cranky. So Wilson’ll do it for him. He continues speaking softly as he works.
 
“You die on me now, I swear I’ll make you buy your own lunch from here on in. And I’ll… I’ll file all your canes in half.” Wilson’s voice cracks. “Then what’ll you do, you limping twerp?” That pesky dampness on Wilson’s face is really interfering with his vision now. Before he turns away from the bed, he whispers one more word. “Live.”

Chapter Twenty-Two
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Thoughts 
28th-May-2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
Ahhhhhh! *huggles Wilson to death* Oh, House, look what you do to darling Wilson. Look what you do to me. D:

And that last paragraph is plain heart-rending. Just thinking of all the happy cane-filing days makes me teary.

Happy happy, joy joy though at the wonderful regularity of your updates. :)
28th-May-2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
Happy happy, joy joy though at the wonderful regularity of your updates. :)

ya wouldn't by any chance be trying to guilt me into posting on a tuesday, would you? nah, i didn't think so! ;)
28th-May-2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Poor guys! I'm loving this story!
28th-May-2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
glad you're loving it, because things get a bit worse (!) for both of 'em in chapter twenty-two....
29th-May-2007 12:24 am (UTC)
Very poignant chapter. It shows the depth of the House/Wilson friendship without being trite or sugary (a mistake some authors make when writing a touching scene; House is not one for fuzziness and marshmallows!). I loved how Wilson is able to interact with a sick House in a manner that keeps his own fears to himself. It's done in a manner that is protective rather than patronising.

On a side note, Chase has better do something about House's breathing otherwise House killing him over the pain meds error will be the least of his concerns since Wilson will have got there first.
29th-May-2007 12:35 am (UTC)
On a side note, Chase has better do something about House's breathing

this is oh, so very not a side note, as we will discover in the next couple of chapters! and yeah, protective!wilson's the best!
29th-May-2007 09:48 am (UTC)
*gets the cleenex kidsnurse gave her before and cries*

Don't you dare to die on him, House, because I'll help him file your canes, understand? (and this even if I know he would be alive at the end!)

*curls waiting the next chap*
29th-May-2007 10:19 am (UTC)
*gets the cleenex kidsnurse gave her before and cries*

**passes fresh kleenex and suggests everyone fasten their seatbelts for the next few chapters, as i'm hoping to up the angst**
29th-May-2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
**passes fresh kleenex and suggests everyone fasten their seatbelts for the next few chapters, as i'm hoping to up the angst**

Is that even possible? lol


Just read through the whole fic again up to here (because it is THAT good) and I must say, I'm jumping around in my seat waiting for the next chapter...why does it have to be bloody Tuesday today?

x
29th-May-2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
Is that even possible?

well, i think so--but i'm certain you guys'll let me know if i'm correct! ;)
30th-May-2007 03:21 am (UTC)
Beautiful, as always. The scene with the rebreather fit perfectly, as did Wilson performing the range-of-motion exercises. It spoke volumes of the devotion to House we know is in there (even if Fox doesn't always show it).
I also wanted to thank you for the kind words and link to the rainbow bridge concept and poem. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. It really meant a lot to me. I'm also very sorry about your cats, that must have been very tough. Thank you again.
30th-May-2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
i know it takes a long time for the ache to ease; i'm glad if i could help, even in a small way. yes, it was tough--but the youngest one i lost was almost 17; the oldest would have been 22 the week after she died. so they'd all lived long, healthy lives, and that was quite a comfort to me. i hope that each day is just a bit easier for you.
30th-May-2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
oh dear you really know how to get the tear ducts working don't you? That was one of the best wilson-house moments ever.

once again I've lagged behind. how do I always manage to do that?

LMAO. I just heard about a bird flying into one of my friend's faces... thats great...

-ANimal
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