A couple of people correctly but post-emptively commented that this story should be betaed despite the fact it was marked as FIRST DRAFT. I have now posted the corrected chapters of LEGACIES AND LOLLIPOPS.
I thank Taruia for so kindly offering to edit my work. You will see how much a good editor gives to a writer's work without imposing their own words or attitudes on the text. Taruia is a fine editor and she is also the person who provides us with those invaluable transcripts of HOUSE MD at http/malaquent. . I also thank MacNMolly for her invaluable information on microdiscectomy spine surgery.
This story is a continuation of my previous fic "Breakfast with an Orang Utan" therefore the characters behave in character with their shared experiences in that fiction as well as their shared experiences at PPTH as seen on HOUSE MD. All characters from the series HOUSE MD are the property of the producers.
LEGACIES AND LOLLIPOPS - Part Two
Written by Magdala
Both Cuddy and Wilson let Greg call the shots. He was immediately taken for an MRI, and while that was happening I called Mark. I lied with ease; unembarrassed by the fact that I was with Lisa who could hear every word.
"First I have to find a judge who is willing to issue a writ of Habeas Corpus, then I will need to organize supporting counsel, Mark it's a biggee I haven't got a chance of leaving Princeton tonight. Look you'll just have to take them out to dinner. Better still call Alfredo, the number's by the phone in the kitchen. Tell him how many people. Just say Stacy's regular menu ... Saltimbocca ... what else. Yeah he can do the wines too. Just tell him to put it on my account."
I rolled my eyes at Lisa because Mark was arguing the point. "Okay, okay, no need to do the emasculated man act Mark. I'll call Alfredo. Then I will call you back and tell you everything is organized. Then I will get back to my job." I listened. "Oh good, I knew you had it in you. Just tell them I'm sorry. You have always been better at the social stuff. No don't call me later I could be before the Judge ... I'll call you tomorrow. Have a good night. Oh order an extra Saltimbocca I'll have it tomorrow. Bye. You know I do." I hung up.
"Just as well he's at our house tonight a full two hours away. And has a heap of his friends coming round," I said.
"You lie well," said Cuddy.
"No I don't. I couldn't tell him I loved him. He'll remember that."
"You wouldn't lie to House? Would you?"
"Good because whatever you say or do right now you'd better stand by," she said. "House might seem strong but I don't know how much more he can take."
"Do you think this is more serious than a disc?"
"I don't know. I hope it isn't. God. I hope it isn't."
"And this time we have to do exactly what he wants." I said.
"Yes we both do. I've felt bad you know."
"What for?" I knew but I wanted and needed to hear it from her.
"You didn't have medical training and you trusted my advice. I let you carry the can."
"How many lives do you think Greg has saved since he came back to work?"
"Uuhm. Given that many of them are moribund by the time they are handed over to his team. Maybe two hundred, two fifty. In that region."
"And they would certainly have died without him?"
"Well that's not to bad a thing to carry the can for. Is it?" I smiled at Lisa Cuddy I had forgiven her years before but obviously she had not forgiven herself.
"I am so sorry, Stacy."
"No need. You've been here for him. That's what mattered."
Foreman entered ignoring me and looking to Cuddy for answers.
"Do you know what's wrong?" He asked, and I could see that he was deeply concerned.
"Not yet House has a theory or two. It looks like you will have to stay in the job for a while."
"And that's supposed to make me happy?" I had never seen Foreman so upset.
"Where is he now?"
"Having an MRI; Chase and Wilson are there," Cuddy answered.
"I think he has been have episodes of Breakthrough Pain for more than a week." he said.
"That was Wilson's assessment"
"Mrs. Warner." He finally acknowledged my existence. "Should she be here?" he asked as he turned back to Cuddy.
"Yes she should be here and more importantly House needs her here." Foreman nodded slowly indicating that he did not completely agree with the idea.
"I called Cameron. She will be in soon," he said.
"I'll brief her when she arrives." Cuddy replied.
"Mrs. Warner. Dr. Cuddy," Foreman nodded to us and headed off towards Nuclear Medicine.
Cuddy's pager vibrated, and she looked at the message. "They've taken him to the ward. He wants you there."
"Are you coming?"
"No I think I'd better wait for Florence Nightingale."
I nodded and as I moved towards the lift Dr. Cameron arrived. Any hope she might have had of being the one to comfort House in his hour of need faded as she looked at me. I saw her look down towards my hand and realized that I was still holding the photograph of the little Orang gazing lovingly into Greg's eyes as one tiny finger rested gently on his lower lip.
As the doors of the lift closed I felt a moment of sorrow for the girl who had imagined House as central to her future. I put the photograph into my purse. Right now I could not think of the past or the future. I had to be right in the moment, living moment by moment as Greg again did battle with his failing body.
Greg was in a private room, and as I arrived a nurse was closing the blinds. She was about to bar my way when Wilson beckoned me in. Chase and Foreman nodded as I entered. Greg was lying prone on the bed, naked but for a light towel placed over his buttocks. His body was rigid and the tendons in his outstretched arms stood out. His hands, which had coaxed so many beautiful melodies from the piano, now gripped the mattress at the head of the bed. Wilson addressed Greg, letting him know what was happening.
"Stacy's here." the patient moaned in response. Wilson went on, "We are going to move the bed out from the wall and put a chair there for Stacy so you can see her." Greg gave a slight nod of his head. Wilson and Foreman moved the bed and Chase placed the chair for me and I sat down. My hands went around his wrists and when he felt them he let go of the mattress and turning his hands placed them around my wrists. He raised his head those mesmerizing blue eyes fixed on me. I looked at the hold we had on each other.
"Remember when we went to the circus. The trapeze act?"
"Yes. You are holding me in a catcher's grip. I feel safe like that flyer." His eyes held mine.
"Stacy we have to manipulate his legs to see the what is involved," Wilson said and I nodded not breaking eye contact with Greg.
"I won't let you go, darling," I promised. As Wilson and Foreman lifted his left leg his grip became like a vice and his eyes filled with tears "Aaagh," the grunt of pain made me catch my breath more then the pressure that suddenly crushed my wrists.
"L4-5 and L5-S1 below the knee Greg?"
"Yes. Sorry Stacy"
"It's okay you didn't hurt me. Jim that was his left leg," I looked at him with worry.
"I know. The good one. It's pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain to radiate down the leg" Wilson explained then he addressed Greg.
"Are you ready to go again?" This time it was even worse. The physical exam of both legs took over half an hour because towards the end he needed more and more time to recover from each manipulation. I only let go of him when he could no longer register that I was there and they were readying to give him pain relief, put him in a gown, and roll him onto his back.
Wilson looked at my wrists. Greg's hands were still imprinted on my skin and my watch fell off in Wilson's hand. The band was broken. "We'll get you some ice for those" Wilson said, giving me a small sad smile.
I shook my head.
"Not right now. I don't want him to know he hurt me." Wilson understood immediately. When House hurt him he seldom let it show.
Slowly the morphine took hold and the pain subsided. "Stacy" he said softly.
"I'm right here."
He turned his head in my direction. Exhausted, he looked exactly as he had when Cuddy had induced the coma. I pushed the memory out of my head as I pushed the chair as close as possible to the bed. I lay my arm across his chest and cupped his bristly jaw in my hand.
"Can I kiss you Greg?" I asked.
"Oh God, Stacy. Please." The catch in his voice didn't come from physical pain but from emotional need. Gently, lovingly, and deeply we kissed, and then his breathing steadied. I felt his tongue relax against mine as he fell into a painless sleep. As I took my mouth away from his I wasn't aware of the others in the room.
I didn't think of the past, I didn't think of the future. I just stayed in the moment watching Greg's face as he slept.