AN: The long awaited conclusion to Fellowship! At last!
When he'd imagined joining Dr. House's team—he'd envisioned himself sitting in a conference room pouring over textbooks and joined in an amiable dialogue between professionals as they struggled to diagnose patients despite their strange presentations and myriad symptoms. Dr. House would be warm and funny; a kindly man who struggled bravely on with his practice in the aftermath of a devastating infarction and debilitating pain. His colleagues would be almost exactly like him; enthusiastic and eager to help in any way they could.
This wasn't even close.
Monday had found him nearly all day with gastroenterology—performing procedures that he'd sworn to avoid while still in med school. And when he'd finished his five scopes, he'd intended to take his lunch—if he could stomach it—and then wander back up to the Diagnostics conference room. He hoped that either Dr. Chase or Dr. Cameron would be done by then—and he hoped to talk to one or both of them about Dr. House. Had they been asked to do procedures beyond their own specialties? Were they board certified in other areas now? If he was honest with himself—it wasn't only the procedures that had turned his stomach. His malpractice insurance wasn't set up to accommodate procedures outside of his own specialty. Truthfully, he wasn't even sure if there was a policy that would accommodate multiple specialties if they included procedures spanning the medical profession. And if they did have it, he shuddered to think how much the premiums might run.
But lunch was not to be. Dr. Wilson had been waiting for him.
If he remembered correctly—Dr. Wilson was the head of Oncology. Didn't he have an active practice of his own? He had no time to wonder at Dr. Wilson's strange involvement in the affairs of another department; because he'd announced that he was to escort Eric to Cardiology.
His head had been spinning. He'd been unable—to his chagrin—to pay attention to most of what Dr. Wilson told him. But he'd dutifully gone to Cardiology. He'd gritted his teeth and taken the catheter and threaded some unknown patient's femoral artery. Despite a round of atrial fibrillation, he was happy that the procedure had gone relatively smoothly.
But the final straw had been late in the afternoon when Dr. Wilson had dropped him off in the E.R. with instructions to dig carefully through patients' charts and see if he could find an interesting case. Was this what Diagnostics was like? Really? Or was it just because Dr. House was still out on leave? Unable to bring himself to voice the questions aloud, he'd submitted meekly. Biting his lip, Eric had nodded as he'd slowly reached for the charts on the admitting desk shelf.
"Foreman." Chase began; his thick Australian accent cutting through the chatter of the E.R. effortlessly as he approached the admitting desk. "How was your morning?"
"Fine." He said curtly. Pausing with a small stack of charts, he turned to regard his new colleague thoughtfully. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure." Chase took a section of the pile and began paging through the charts absently.
"Do—are you licensed to do procedures outside your specialty?"
"Well, no. Not technically."
"Er—" Foreman paused, feeling sweat break out on his forehead. "Do you do procedures outside of your specialty?"
"You have to, mate. Dr. Wilson told you House likes everything shiny and new?" Chase asked rhetorically. Eric sighed in relief; at least he wasn't being singled out.
"Yeah. He did. How do you get around the licensing, then?"
"Easy." Chase tucked three or four folders back onto the shelf before confiscating Eric's pile. "It's a teaching hospital. The only thing we need FDA and AMA approval for is for invasive procedures."
Eric felt his confusion grow. Didn't all procedures count as invasive? His expression must have betrayed his feelings on the matter, for Chase took pity on him and explained further.
"We're still considered medical students—" he held a hand up as Eric opened his mouth to protest; "—and since it's a teaching hospital we have carte blanche to perform all procedures provided we prove competency to our department head's standards. Unless it's experimental, really."
"How did you get all that?" Eric asked in amazement.
"Simple." Chase shrugged. "I asked. Wasn't about to risk my license and be deported. Not even for House. Now, let's go through these cases."
Chase held up their combined stack and led the way back to the elevators. Arriving back on the fourth floor, Eric could see Allison Cameron was already present as well. She smiled cheerfully at them as they walked in, and Chase set the stack of folders down on the table.
"Find anything?" she asked as they seated themselves.
"Not yet. 'Bout to start looking now." Chase dove into the pile.
"What do you think he'll find interesting?" Cameron asked as she took one for herself.
"No idea." Eric murmured quietly. He took two or three charts and opened one. He willed himself to be open to just about anything; he reminded himself that anything mundane could turn out to be wildly exciting. It wouldn't do to pick the wrong chart for Dr. House on their very first case.
"Did Dr. Wilson say when he'd be back?" Eric asked, and Chase nodded.
"He thought he'd be back tomorrow. He said he didn't think he could get him to stay home any longer. Of course, this was around lunch time. Guess it could have changed again." Chase held up a file and began to read aloud. '56-year-old woman presenting with hives and anaphalaxis. Allergen testing came up negative to all the usual suspects."
"You haven't worked a case with him yet, right?" Eric asked, and both Chase and Cameron shook their heads. Sighing in relief, Eric hid a smile. He might have been the newest fellow; but at least he wasn't the only one who didn't know how Dr. House worked.
"He might like the odd presentation, right?" Chase asked aloud.
"Who can say?" Cameron sighed, pushing her hair away from her eyes. "All Dr. Wilson said was to find an interesting case. That could be any of these."
"What about this one?" Eric asked. He put his finger on the chart and traced the symptoms as he read aloud. '45-year-old male presenting with boils on his skull and below his arm pits and in the groin area. Lymph nodes are clean for any primary infection; although lancing the wounds yields copious amounts of pus and blood. Patient reports his condition has been ongoing for nearly twenty years. Multiple visits with infectious disease specialists and dermatologists have not yet revealed a reason for the condition.'
"Gross." Cameron said aloud, even as Chase said; "Cool."
"Okay." Cameron grinned happily. "29-year-old female first suffered a seizure a month ago. Lost her ability to speak; babbled like a baby. Present deterioration of mental status. All tests conducted show pristine CT and MRI, all blood work appears normal."
"Sounds good." Dr. Wilson said suddenly, and all three fellows jumped nervously to find him standing in the doorway.
"Really?" Cameron asked, and Eric exchanged a look with Chase that was somewhere between irritation and amusement.
"Really." Dr. Wilson promised. He stepped into the room and held a hand out for the chart. "I'll give it to him in the morning when he gets here."
Cameron held the chart out for him to take, even as Chase spoke up. "Wouldn't just make more sense for us to give it to him when he gets here?"
"Trust me, it's better if I give it to him for now." He took the chart and gave them a wave. "Good job today, guys. Take it easy tonight. Tomorrow the fun starts."
Eric sat for a long moment; his gaze following Dr. Wilson as he headed back down the hall toward Oncology. Chase broke the silence by gathering up the remaining charts. He rose, clutching the pile and smiled bravely.
"Well, I don't need to be told twice. I'll run these down and then I'm headed home." He paused long enough to grab his briefcase before heading for the door. "G'night."
"Night, Chase." Eric called absently. He, too, got to his feet along with Cameron. They each silently straightened up the conference room before gathering their things and heading for the elevator. He made his way to his car alone; silently replaying Dr. Wilson's words in his head. A week ago; he would have been ecstatic at the prospect of working on his very first case with Dr. House. Now, he only felt a vague sense of disquiet. Thus far, working with Dr. House was like nothing he had ever imagined. The position had already taken him to places he'd never considered.
If he was honest with himself; he'd have admitted they weren't all places he'd wanted to go.