House M.D.: Measure of a Man

The whistling of the respirator sounded the distant reminder of the insignificance of what was occurring outside of the ICU room labeled 183. 183 are a seemingly normal number and a seemingly normal situation for someone on the edge of life. The difference of course didn't lie in the case or any of the exceptional life altering moments had on this particular case, actually it lay within that room itself. It lay within the person beneath the crisp white sheets that soon would be carried to deaths door.

"Coming from me that's a bit out, sounds like something Cameron would say actually, but then again it's not Cameron lying inside that room. It's me. Something is missing, some part of myself has detached from the rest of it and I wish I could wake up and tell them exactly what it is, but that would be better than what is going on now. I can feel them on the good days, hear them sometimes, but for the most part my mind is in complete loss of what control is. I remember how it started…and I know how it's going to end. It's sticky, I've never liked sticky."

November 22nd, 2007; Thanksgiving; 0900

The familiar whoosh as the elevator opened signaled to House that it was time to move out and towards the clinic, of course his attention as ever susceptible to getting distracted by something other than clinic work deterred him from entering the opposite doors. A rather attractive woman sat in the corner of the waiting room, her hands gripping tightly to a box of Kleenex and her purse. Moving with his typically unsteady and often odd pace he'd reach her side as she made to wipe the beginnings of tears from her eyes. "Is everything alright?"

"It hurts…" Her voice trailed off as tears formed in the corners of her eyes once more, she was pale now that he was close to her and could see she was drawn in the face. Lowering to the seat next to her he brushed a finger across her cheek as a tear ran down it.

"I know it's painful, but what hurts?" He watched her hands, they gripped at her head and her fingers dug against it roughly. "Your head hurts?"

"Yes and my back."

"Have you been in any sort of accidents?"

"I was in a car wreck a few weeks ago, but it wasn't serious."

"Go to the hospital?"

"No, it wasn't serious." His frown was visible and he pulled back before pulling himself up.

"Come with me. Doctor House checking in at 4 o'clock make sure Cuddy knows I am actually treating a patient." The nurse gave him a rather crass look but entered the information nonetheless.

November 29th, 2007 (4 Days after Infection.)

Fingers ran through the scraggy and often unkempt brown tufts of hair that belonged to the doctor known as House. His unshaved after growth was a bit thicker than normal and it held a stark contrast against his unusually pale features. His brow tightened and he let out a soft gasp of pain as his fingernails dug into his scalp, trying to forcibly rip the headache from his body. He shifted in bed, his body covered in sweat from a fever he had developed almost completely overnight though he had been ill for days. His hands groped for the table just beside his bed and he caused it to fall as he pulled himself to stand upon one leg. His body was shivering in cold chills, his eyes closed against the pain but he didn't let out another groan of pain until his legs gave out on him and he collapsed to the floor.

On his way down he groped for the phone managing to knock it off the hook in a crashing collision of plastic on hardwood. His body slapped against the ground with a weakness that normally didn't linger too long outwardly. He let out a loud painful sound and the phone made the typical tone of indignation of being thrown and then not used. His back ached and his head pounded, but the truth was other than those two symptoms and the fever he felt little else. Pain swelled behind his eyes and he couldn't help but feel that it revolved inside his head, reaching for the phone he was physically panting but there was little he could do. He wasn't strong enough to pull his body towards the phone, and it was just barely out of reach. Gripping the trunk of his cane he smacked it towards the phone to try and reel it in, finally he was able to get ahold of the reciever. His fingers ran over the numbers but it was the clumsy movement of pain that caused him to miss dial and have to attempt it once more. His fingers finally held onto one number long enough for the speed dial to work and he breathed hard against the reciever after his efforts.

A casual yet perturbed voice echoed on the other end, "House what do you get out of...? House?" Wilson's voice halted as he heard the painful gasping on the other end, he never recieved a response but he was already in motion when the second question left his lips. "House? I'm on my way." His voice faded and a click was heard as House let out another groan before the pain behind his eyes that had been swelling finally caused him to slip out of consciousness.

Wilson's arrival resulted in finding House unconscious on the floor, still gripping onto the phone reciever and bleeding from a cut he had recieved in the fall. After checking his vitals Wilson moved House to his care and promptly took him to Princeton-Plainsboro.

"He rides us for being late but yet who's not here?"

"Take it easy on him Foreman, you know he's had a rough couple of days."

"Cameron, why must you always defend him? He's not a good guy, he doesn't deserve sympathy."

"Besides what's your definition of a bad day?"

"He is a good guy, just messed up. And Chase for him a bad day is living."

The glass door swung open as a rather flushed looking Wilson entered with a lengthy medical file. He immediately moved to the white board, gripping the marker with a sweat laiden hand and began to write out symptoms. Words such as: 'headache,' 'backache,' 'red eyes,' 'intense fever,' 'unconsciousness,' 'weakness,' 'fatigue,' ran down a list on one side of the board. When he wrote the final symptom he turned to faced the doctors, "We have a patient, he was admited this morning after a disturbing phone call to a friend. What do these symptoms tell us?"

"That he needs an aspirin? Where's House?"

"Foreman, if an aspirin could treat this I wouldn't be here."

"Why aren't you addressing House's absence?"

"That's not important, you have a patient."

"It's House isn't it?"

"Cameron..." Wilson's hand ran across his brow, his features had taken on their color once more and though he was exhausted he let out a soft breath before continuing. He passed out the medical files he had been holding and leaned back against the bookshelf as the three doctors ran their eyes across the name. "'s House."

"First glance, typhoid."

"That would work Foreman, except he hasn't left the country."

"Rules out malaria then as well?"

"Perhaps, he's been dating a woman who recently went to Africa. Start him on the treatment for malaria, if that doesn't resolve the problem try typhoid."

"What if it's something else? Flu maybe or something less serious?"

"What if it is more serious? Cameron, we work off what we know. We don't know much, but we know it's not small. House laughs at colds and the flu would run away from him. Go big or go to the morgue." Wilson left on that note leaving the doctors there for a moment before the vanished to treat House.