ON MY NERVES, Chapter 5: Houston, We Have A Problem
The only surgeon in the world who can fix House's leg ends up being a patient herself… So, now what?
Rated M/Adult for language.
Kind of a short chapter, but there's more on the way…
All the usual and applicable disclaimers and warnings apply, such as don't like - don't read; I don't own House or any other characters, or anything or anybody else, blah, blah, blah…
On My Nerves, Chapter 5: Houston, We Have A Problem
House MD fanfic by NiteJasmine
It was almost 11 AM the next morning before anyone realized that Dr. Kit Tomlinson was missing. She was normally in pretty early, but with her surgical schedule the day before, her staff hadn't expected her to be in until later in the morning. They had not started calling or paging her until after 9. But when an entire hour went by with no response, they grew concerned. That was not like her, not at all. She never ignored her cell phone or her pager. And then after another hour elapsed, Nurse Carrie Allinson placed an urgent call to inform the Hospital Administrator and alerted Security. A fellow nurse had been quickly dispatched to check her condo, and it was determined that Kit was not there. So a full search of the hospital property began.
Security was already somewhat ahead of the game, they had been searching for a missing patient from the psych ward for most of the night. Larry Harding. He had a habit of constantly finding ways to dodge taking his meds, and his manic paranoia and the voices would return. He was not considered dangerous, he had never hurt anyone outright. He would slip away from the psych ward, and usually just found a quiet, dark place to hole up until the staff found him. He would put up a weak, brief struggle, but then would be returned uneventfully to his room and given his meds.
It was shortly after 12:30 when Security got a 2 for 1 special. Dr. Tomlinson was discovered, lying unconscious on the floor of the Quiet Room off the Doctor's Lounge on the third floor. There were no apparent injuries that anyone could see, but she was unresponsive and could not be awakened. She was rushed down to the ER. The missing patient, Larry Harding, was also found. He was hunched in the corner of the room Kit had been found in, babbling to himself and staring up at the ceiling.
When the staff tried to question him about what had happened, he became very agitated and upset. His only reply was that the voices were very loud today. He just kept chattering that same thing over and over again. No one could get anything else or any other information out of him.
He was taken back to his room in the psych ward and put in soft restraints, just to be safe. The staff there was shocked to learn that Larry could have actually hurt someone. But that was certainly the way it looked. He was given his medication along with a mild sedative, and it was decided to try and question him again later, after his meds could take effect and he had a chance to calm down…
House woke up feeling pretty well, the Varoquil 21 was doing it's job admirably. He ate a little bit of breakfast, but really wasn't all that hungry. Carrie checked in on him regularly, making sure he was staying hydrated. Aside from running only a slight fever, he was detoxing fairly comfortably. He still couldn't believe how relatively easy this all seemed to be going. Even considering the brutal pain spike that had hit him yesterday, he had to admit that overall, he was feeling pretty damn good.
He couldn't wait to see Kit. He rarely if ever looked forward to seeing other people, and he couldn't remember the last time he had actually felt exited to see anyone. But she was an exception. He was incredibly impressed with her and her entire operation here. Her staff, her drugs, and her procedures. This entire wing, the whole Institute, all completely centered around the surgical skills of one single person. Kit really was the center of this universe, and he felt damn lucky to be included in it. It was all absolutely mind-blowing. Plus, just having her in the room made him feel good. He was looking forward to chatting with her again today, and hoping she would be pleased with his progress. And he was also hoping to find out how long it would be before she could do his surgery and give him his whole, new, normal, pain-free life. He again allowed his mind to toy with the idea, getting more and more comfortable with it. It made him near giddy with the prospect. He decided to try and contain himself and kill some time with the Game Boy. He picked up the little unit and switched it on, immersing himself in Mario's world.
Lunch came and went, House ate about half of it. The food really wasn't that bad here, it was pretty good actually. Now, if they could just do something about the pathetic choice of cable channels…
Shortly after that, there was some kind of commotion going on out at the nurse's station. He figured it was some kind of patient emergency and ignored it. A few moments later, Carrie came into his room and stood next to him, looking very serious. He paused the game and stared at her. His good mood quickly faded. Something was obviously very wrong. Had he done something? Were they kicking him out? Where the hell was Kit?
"Greg," she said, haltingly. She took a deep breath, then continued. "We're going around and letting everyone know... Dr. Tomlinson was… attacked last night. Right here in the hospital, by a deranged patient. We don't know any of the specifics. All we know is that she is currently being treated in the ER and that she has not regained consciousness yet."
House felt his heart drop and his stomach tighten. No, no, no… Not her… Not now… Not when I'm so close…
"We will continue your detox treatment, as planned, you still have an ample window of time to stay on the Varoquil 21," she continued. "And we will let you know just as soon as we hear anything further."
Carrie reached out and patted his arm, then turned to leave the room.
The last part of the statement caught his attention, snapping it into focus.
"Wait," he blurted out. "What do you mean 'an ample window of time' for the Varoquil? Is there some sort of time limit or something?"
Carrie stopped and looked at him patiently.
"Greg, all that information was in the package of consent forms you signed. Varoquil 21 is one of the drugs specifically designed by Kit to help patients get through pre-surgery detox and pain management. It's an excellent drug for short-term use. However, it is definitely not an option for any kind of long-term treatment. None of these specialized drugs are. They all have a safe treatment usage window of 30 days, max. And especially with Varoquil, anything beyond that time frame and the liver and kidneys begin to degrade rapidly. Within 45 days there is complete and irreversible renal failure."
House felt his own stress level ramping up. The full realization hit him that he only had a certain time frame for this to all happen, and the clock was ticking. Fuck.
"And if Dr. Tomlinson doesn't recover…" he started to ask, but Carrie stopped him.
"Don't worry," she said calmly, trying to reassure him. "You've got plenty of time. Think positive. I'm sure Kit will be just fine. I'll keep you posted."
House sat silently in his bed after she left, lost in thought. His mind began swirling with an ever increasing mix of worries and doubts and fears. He shut off the Game Boy and set it aside. He had completely lost interest in it.
The ER team worked on Kit rapidly and efficiently. They all knew her, and word about what had happened had spread through the entire hospital like wildfire. Attacked in her sleep by a psychotic patient. It was unbelievable.
Initial tests and examinations were quickly run, but unfortunately, they revealed nothing. Amazingly enough, all the results and readings were normal. And no signs of physical trauma could be found anywhere. The lead ER doctor could find absolutely no reason why Dr. Tomlinson should be unconscious. She was completely stable, but remained unresponsive. Frustrated, he ordered that all the test results be double checked, there had to something they missed. The nurse reported back to him shortly after that, informing him that all the test results had been verified. They could find absolutely nothing wrong with her.
"Then why the hell isn't she awake?!" he demanded loudly. Nobody in the ER had an answer.
He firmly believed that there had to be some kind of head injury. Yes, that had to be it. That was the only thing that explained her near-comatose state and why she wasn't responding. So he ordered an MRI, stat.
He hung his hopes of a solid diagnosis on the MRI. He felt positive that it would reveal the problem. If it did not, he had no idea what he was going to do…
Dinner time eventually came around, but the entire tray had sat completely untouched by House. He just laid on his bed, staring out the window, trying to fight back the overwhelming disappointment and fresh waves of hopelessness that were barraging him.
He pressed the call button again, for the fourth time in the past hour, to inquire on Kit's status. Carrie's voice responded calmly and evenly over the speaker that there was still no change, and that she would be sure to let him know as soon as there was.
He sighed heavily and laid back on the bed, closing his eyes. So close. To be so close to having his life back, only to have it yanked away by some fucking psychopathic idiot. It made him angry. No, it made him absolutely enraged. He decided to channel that energy into determination. He would not admit defeat. Kit Tomlinson would recover. She would be alright. She had to be. And she would be, goddammit. If he had to personally go track her down and treat whatever her injuries were all by himself… Then, that's what he would do. Both for her, and for himself.
He finally fell into a fitful sleep much later, well aware of the sound of the softly ticking clock on the wall just outside his room…