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
A/N: Thanks so much to starhanyou for sharing with me her perspective on what Wilson has really missed since House's infarct, and for allowing me to incorporate it into the story!
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: THE RIGHT THING
Cuddy was right about the sedation, Wilson thinks ruefully as House awakens and his eyes widen with panic. His left hand flies to the endotracheal tube and his expression is shooting questions at Wilson.
Wilson carefully untangles House’s fingers from the tube as he begins to explain what’s happened. “You’re intubated, House, on a vent. Nothing to worry about, just makes it easier for you with the pulmonary edema.” He reaches to the bedside stand for a dry-erase board, puts it in front of House on the patient table across the bed.
plenty to worry about, House scribbles clumsily with his left hand. labs?
“Bloodwork’s pretty much unchanged. We’re hoping that after today’s dialysis session we’ll begin to see some real improvement in renal function.” Wilson smiles encouragingly.
Wilson frowns. “No. Linezolid’s controlling the infection. Vanc concentrations are dropping; BUN and creatinine aren’t getting any worse.”
not the whole truth. House peers intently at Wilson; Wilson’s surprised by how alert he appears.
“House, you don’t need to worry about the details, okay? Let me do that for a while.”
MY life! My health!!! House scrawls forcefully.
Wilson heaves a sigh of resignation and sits down. “All right. The VRSA’s still responding to linezolid, but susceptibility’s weakening. We can’t try combining it with an aminoglycoside yet; that’s contraindicated with your renal function. But we’re working on it. We’ll find the answer, soon.” Wilson pauses to see if this’ll satisfy House, or if he’s going to be compelled to spell out the entire grim picture. The next thing House writes answers his question.
“Thought I explained that.”
Wilson sighs again. There’s no way around it—he’ll have to simply level with House, let the cards fall where they may. “Your respiratory distress was increasing; you’d started having periods of apnea. You were headed for respiratory arrest; we had no choice.”
House hesitates for a moment, then writes, not my choice.
Wilson nods and meets House’s eyes. “Yeah. Chase told Cuddy and me what you’d said to him after the incident. And he… uh… refused to put you on the vent. Cuddy backed him up. I, uh… browbeat Cuddy into it. Because I know you didn’t mean it; you’d have told me—I would have known.”
Wilson briefly considers pretending that he hadn’t suspected that House had tried, at least twice, to tell him about the Advance Directive. No. I’ve already decided to be honest with him; can’t back away from that now. “I know, House. But I didn’t know until Chase told us. And… since you hadn’t spoken with me about it… I thought you might’ve changed your mind.” Wilson holds his breath, awaiting House’s response.
no; kidneys, lungs going—liver next
“Your kidneys will start to recover soon. And the edema will decrease then; your lungs’ll improve quickly. We’re monitoring your liver function closely; so far it’s hanging in.”
not treating vrsa—die anyway
“I’m not gonna let that happen. I’m doing research, contacting people around the clock; we’ll come up with a treatment. If the linezolid holds out until your renal function improves, we’ll get you on meropenem.”
if it doesn’t?
Wilson takes a deep breath. “If it doesn’t, we’ll have to take our chances with the kidneys, try the antibiotic anyway. We can deal with any renal damage later.”
“House, everything’s gonna be fine. We just need to buy a little time, figure out the best way to treat this.”
House impatiently swipes the board clean with his hand, then scrawls, long recovery—no guarantees
“I can guarantee one thing; you’ll have all the help you need, every step of the way.”
don’t want to need help! don’t you GET that yet?? House is becoming exasperated, and he glares at Wilson.
Wilson doesn’t know what to say. “It’s not forever, House. Just a few months, and then things’ll be back to normal. You’ll get your life back.”
The exasperation morphs instantly into anger. big freaking deal! my life! normal? where you been the last few years??
Now Wilson’s angry. “I’ve been right here, pal—suffering with you, trying to help you, picking up the pieces! Trying to be your friend! And let me tell you, you sure as hell don’t make that easy!”
you don’t want to be my friend—you need to be my friend. helps you avoid your own miserable life!
Wilson forces himself to take a deep breath. He looks into House’s eyes, speaks slowly, quietly, intently. “I’m here because I want to be here. Yeah, the truth is, your health has had an impact on my life, and on our friendship. But I don’t regret any of the choices I’ve made since the infarction. And believe me, House—no matter what you think my pathology is, no one—no one—would’ve been happier than I would’ve been if the Ketamine had worked.”
yeah—your little “it’s all gonna be different” pep talk made that clear!
Wilson freezes; he actually feels his heart bump in his chest. He remembers, on the third day of the Ketamine-induced coma House had been in, telling his unconscious friend all the things they were going to do—things they’d once enjoyed together, couldn’t do since the infarct. Jogging and golf, paintball. And how they were going to find the two hottest nurses in the hospital, ask them out. “And we’ll dance all night, House. And the next morning, we’ll get up at dawn and hit the tennis courts. Need to make up for lost time, all the things we’ve missed out on.” But—he and House had been alone in the room; House had been comatose! No one else could’ve told House about that ridiculous, euphoric pep talk, that foolishly hopeful dream….
“You heard me?”
yeah. sorry you missed out on so much—go back to your life now.
Oh, God. “House, our friendship is a big part of my life—the best part. I don’t miss those things. What I miss is… doing them with you. That’s what made ‘em fun—made them… special. And now? Think I’d give up laughing at your commentary while we watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, just to go chase a piece of round plastic all over a piece of overpriced real estate? No way! Told you—no regrets. None. Not for a second! I mean it.”
you never asked me if I had regrets—ever occur to you I might prefer to be dead? Stacy’s gone; my leg’s gone. Now I’m looking at months of hell, just so I can work my way back to my usual hell—thanks to you.
Wilson swallows against the sudden nausea that’s risen in his throat. “But… I thought…. You told me… you said you didn’t want to die, the night you OD’d. That… I’d given you the strength to pull through. And you were willing to risk a lot, inject chemicals into your brain, for a chance to be happy. House, after you found out I was slipping you antidepressants, you chose to stay on them! None of those things are the actions of someone who’s ready to give up on life.”
House wipes the board clean with one furious sweep of his hand. He stares into Wilson, and his eyes are cold and resentful. Wilson watches as he fills the board with two bitter words:
Then everything happens so quickly, Wilson’s powerless to stop it. House flings the board across the room and, never pausing, reaches up and rips the endotracheal tube from his throat. There’s blood coming from his mouth from the traumatic removal, and the vent alarm is screeching, and Wilson leaps out of his chair, and—
“It’s okay, Dr. Wilson; I was just running a safety check on the monitors. Sorry I woke you.” The respiratory tech smiles and leaves the room as Wilson, sitting bolt upright on the cot, attempts to catch his own breath. He waits until his heart rate begins to approach normal again before he stands and makes his way to the bed.
Wilson looks down at House; even comatose, even heavily sedated, Wilson sees the tightness around his eyes that Wilson recognizes as uncontrolled pain. And he’s back on the cooling blanket; temp must’ve spiked again. Wilson depresses the button on the PCA, and whispers to the empty room, “What have I done?”