Good afternoon! I'm up and running again; it's been several hours since any power surges, and even the brown-outs seem to be resolved. I want to thank everyone for their patience with my insanity yesterday, and for carrying on in my 'absence.' Also--need to let you know that due to that bothersome situation known as Real Life, there will be NO CHAPTER UPDATE ON WEDNESDAY. That is not, however, as bad as it sounds, because, as a result, the CHAPTER UPDATE WILL BE ON TUESDAY INSTEAD . All-righty, then--onward with 33:
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: PUZZLED
Cuddy and Chase are alternately pacing around House’s small room and perching anxiously in the uncomfortable chairs. After
When Foreman enters, they know right away that he’s got bad news. He motions for them to join him, away from House’s bedside. Foreman hands the paper to Chase; Cuddy leans in to read it. Then, shell-shocked, the three stare at one another.
“Is this even possible?” Cuddy asks in a hushed voice.
“Not only possible, but exactly what I was afraid of,” Chase says. “House’s infection’s been responding atypically since the beginning, and we don’t know why. Not even his recent history of corticosteroid use explains all of it. Now, everything’s dependent on
Chase walks over to House’s bedside and shuts off the antibiotic pump. “No sense risking more damage to his kidneys when the meds aren’t doing anything to fight the VRSA,” he says.
“But… that leaves him without any coverage for the infection at all!” Cuddy exclaims.
Foreman smiles grimly. “We could dump three doses into his veins right now, and it still wouldn’t give him coverage. Cultures showed resistance to both meds within hours.”
“His fever’s spiking again,” Chase mentions to no one in particular as he activates the cooling blanket.
“No, but he seemed pretty certain that he’d figured out something important, and… I got the feeling that whatever it was would provide a solution, a definitive treatment plan.” Cuddy doesn’t mention that she’s basing so much of her hope, her optimism, on the simple fact that
But how can I explain that to them? I don’t even understand why I know everything’s going to be okay; how can I expect them to get it? She decides it’s best not to even try;
“Where’s Dr. Cameron?” Cuddy’s just realized that the third member of House’s team is conspicuously absent.
Foreman and Chase exchange a quick, uncomfortable glance, then Chase says “I spoke with her on the way over. She said if you need her, she’ll come in. As a doctor. She said to tell you she… doesn’t need to be here just to be part of… House’s deathwatch.”
A brief flash of anger crosses Cuddy’s face, and then it’s gone. “That’s all right,” she says pleasantly. “Her negative attitude won’t help House right now—and we don’t need it either. Because he’s going to be fine. Just fine.”
Foreman, concern written on his face, nods to Chase to join him just outside the cubicle. Once they’re out of Cuddy’s hearing, he asks, “How long has he got if this miracle of
“Depends. If we extubate him, stop the dialysis, confine treatment to palliative care, it’ll be less than a day—maybe significantly less. But something tells me
“And what are the odds that
Chase hesitates, then says reluctantly, “Not good. Between House’s depressed immune system and whatever mutation this is, I’m not certain there’s anything out there that’ll give him a fighting chance. Even Cuddy and
“Yeah, I know what you mean. And the one who’ll suffer because of their denial will be House.” Foreman looks across at his unconscious boss, and shakes his head.
“No he won’t,” Chase says firmly. “If this goes bad, if
“He’s already maxed out,” Foreman says. Then he sees the look on Chase’s face, and he nods. “Okay. I’m with you; however much it takes, we give him. But… you do realize that
Foreman’s watching Cuddy as he speaks. She’s with House, doing routine care, and she’s obviously speaking to him. Foreman can tell from her posture, from the expression on her face and the serenity in her eyes, that she’s pinned everything on this wild goose chase of
Chase looks intently at Foreman. “If you were House, would you want to be awake for any of this?”
“Hell, no,” Foreman says quietly.
“Our primary responsibility is to our patient,” Chase continues. “So I say we take that responsibility… very, very seriously.” Chase looks meaningfully at Foreman, who mirrors his expression.
A nonverbal agreement passes between them, then they silently shake hands and return to the patient they’ve vowed to protect.