Cheese-less Pizza

House paused momentarily at the door to the restaurant before strolling in. He waited near the register, ready to pick up his pizza pie, hoping his fellows wouldn't notice him. Luck was on his side. He slipped out without them glancing in his direction and made his way back to the hospital.

He contemplated knocking for a moment before striding into Wilson's office.

"Pizza," he said as he unceremoniously plunked it on the desk.

"Uh, okay," Wilson stammered, figuring this was what he got for making such a suggestion. "What's up?" he asked suspiciously eying his friend who was seated opposite him looking worn out.

"Why does something have to be up? Can't a guy just stop by to have some pizza with his bestest bud Jimmy? If I recall, you all but begged for it."

"A guy can, you not so much. You actually paid for food," Wilson said incredulously as he picked up some paper plates and opened up the box. "Looks like they got your order wrong. My side looks fine, but yours is missing everything you usually get. In fact, it's even missing cheese."

"Oh, well, you are always bugging me to eat healthier," House said as he picked up a cheese-less slice.

"What, no complaining, no belly-aching, no stealing mine and tossing vegetables at me? Are you feeling all right?"

Wilson thought he saw sadness, guilt, and fear flash across House's face, as if he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, before he turned it neutral again. "What's going on House?"

House sighed deeply. "This thing with the cancer study. What if the diagnosis was different, put the prognosis was similar?"

"Okay, you have my attention."

"They didn't get my order wrong. I ordered the cheese-less half. My cholesterol is too high. Eck, this is abominable. Pizza without the cheese is just not worth it."

"What are you talking about? I checked it less than a year ago. Your cholesterol is fine."
"No, when you last checked it, it was fine. When I checked it earlier this week, it was high. Here," he said fishing a lab sheet out of his pocket and handing it to Wilson.

Wilson looked at the numbers in front of him. If this were true, it meant House's cholesterol had made a big jump in under a year. That could not be good.

"And you expect me to just believe this is actually yours. You don't exactly have the best track record."

"Believe what you want. Feel free to draw your own," he said sticking out his arm. "I need a liver panel anyway. With the kidneys on their way out, liver can't be far behind."

"You're thinking nephrotic syndrome? Based on a cholesterol test?"

"No, I'm thinking nephrotic syndrome based on the symptoms that made me run the cholesterol test in the first place coupled with the result. All those years studying to be a nephrologist are really paying off now."

"What symptoms House?"

"Come on let's eat first."

"Seriously? You seriously think I'm just going to let this go? No, you brought this up. What symptoms House?"

"Back pain, abdominal swelling, and…urinary retention. There you happy. Between nephrology, diagnostics, and obvious past experience, I can run a really snazzy differential on myself by myself. Who knows the history better? Years and years of NSAID use and abuse, are you really surprised by this?"

Wilson rubbed the back of his neck, all pretense of eating dropped. "Well, forgive me for not trusting you in light of recent events, but I'm going to want some tests run by either myself or another nephrologist to confirm. And you're right, you do need a liver panel as well as a urinalysis done. But you're wrong about your prognosis. It doesn't have to be terminal. Even without intervention, it could take years to progress to ESRF or liver failure."

"In some cases, but not for me. Liver failure and ESRF are not that far behind here."
"How can you be so sure?"

"Same way I knew it wasn't a pulled muscle during the infarction, same way I knew I was about to go into cardiac arrest then, same way I knew it was the pain returning when the Ketamine failed. When it's your body, you just know. You can feel it. I can feel my body giving up. It's held on a long time here."

"That's not your body giving up, House. It's your mind."

"Why can't it be both?" House said before lowering his gaze to his cheese-less pizza.