Merry Little Christmas
As Wilson turned, and began to walk away from House, who still lay groaning in a disgusing heap on the floor, the New Jersey doctor managed to rally himself and turn over onto his side. As he did so he locked eyes with Wilson for a moment, before the other doctor turned away… stealing pills under a patient's name was a new all time low even for House, although not entirely unexpected.
"Wilson…!" House croaked, weakly wiping the vomit from around his mouth and chin. "It's not what it looks like."
His colleague and best friend simply shook his head, eyes, boring into House, oozing with hurt and anger at him… House realised that he'd let Wilson down, hurt him more than he'd possibly ever hurt him before, and deceived him. Although he'd never been very good with handling emotions, especially those of the people closest to him… the people he cared about… the simple fact was that pain was easy, a single pill could provide almost miraculous relief, emotions were complicated, and required House to open himself up to his more vulnerable side. Even so he did his best now to explain.
"Please Wilson, don't go." He pleaded, "It's the leg… the pain's been bad for the last few days now… it became unbearable this evening… I didn't know what else to do… I couldn't get the vicodin for myself… I had no other choice…"
"There's always a choice House!" Wilson growled.
With this however another muscle spasm wracked House's injured leg, the tendons twisting themselves into tight knots beneath the damaged tissue, and he immediately doubled over with a pained grimace and whimpering "But the pills didn't hep." He groaned, gripping the leg and burrowing the tips of his fingers deep into the flesh below his trouser leg in an attempt to massage the knots out. This only caused him to dry heave however as the pain increased, reaching a level close to unbearable, the tears streaming down his face.
"God House… why didn't you tell me?" Wilson sighed, all trace of his previous anger now evaporating, to be replaced by deep concern as he hurried back into the room and knelt down by his friend's side. From this distance the perspiration glistening against House's clammy skin, and pale complexion became even more apparent, and he rubbed the older doctor's back in soothing circular motions in an attempt to calm the violent succession of dry retching wracking at House's ribcage and abdomen.
"Wilson…" House coughed, once he'd finally managed to compose himself, biting back the pained scream in the back of his throat. "Could you remove my pants leg? It hurts!" He asked in a whisper, although as Wilson went to gently grasp the injured limb between his own warm palms the scream escaped him and House buried his fingers even deeper into the flesh of the limb, drawing blood from underneath his fingernails.
"House?" Wilson, slightly alarmed by House's response immediately went to grab his friend's wrists with this, holding them tightly away from his body in an attempt to prevent him from injuring himself further. "Greg? I just need to get my bag from the car, I won't be gone long."
"Don't leave me!" House begged.
"Well, well…" Wilson suddenly heard footsteps, the unmistakable tread of heavily booted feet, and recognised the familiar although not entirely welcome tone of a male voice behind him, turning to see Tritter standing in the doorway to House's apartment. "It seems like the junkie's pills have finally backtracked on him." The Detective purred. "What happened? Finally swallowed more than he can chew did he? Or perhaps it was something new this time… something stronger? Think he could handle the harder stuff did he?"
"What are you doing here Tritter?" Wilson growled.
"Just checking up on an old acquaintance at Christmas time." The older man smiled.
House still lay whimpering at Wilson's feet, his clawing fingers once again finding the flesh of his wounded thy an boring deep into the muscle, his whole body going rigid in his friend's arms as he began to shiver.
"Come to gloat at the consequences of your vendetta?" Wilson remarked bitterly as he turned his attentions back to focus on House, not liking the sound of his friend's ragged and raspy breathing, who was now delirious with pain. "It's time people like you began to realise that some people need drugs in order to survive… perhaps now you may learn to understand the reasons why doctors prescribe prescription medications once in a while!" With this he took the stethoscope from his coat pocket where he'd casually thrown it after his shift at the hospital had come to an end earlier in the evening, unbuttoning the top few buttons of House's shirt and listening carefully to House's heart.
"What's the matter with him?" Tritter asked, approaching House's doubled up frame cautiously, his own curiosity pricked to see House, his eyes wide with the pain, pupils dilated, and his breath beginning to come in long, rasping, rattling breaths. Wilson threw the stethoscope aside in frustration.
"I don't like the sound of his respirations." He shook his head. "The stress of the pain he's under is putting an intolerable amount of strain on his heart… I need my bag from the car!"
"Don't leave me." House pleaded again.
"Don't worry," Wilson reassured him. "I'm not going to." Before turning to Tritter "You're going to have to get it for me." He ordered.
"Me?" Tritter scoffed. "Oh no… he's brought this upon himself…!"
"Look…" Wilson snapped, finally losing his patience at the Detective with this. "I don't care what you think of House, but I'm a doctor and I also happen to be his friend, and right now he needs treatment… so unless you want to stand by and watch another man suffer I'm going to need your help!"
Perhaps it was the tone of Wilson's voice, the urgency behind his words, or the sight of House still whimpering and writhing in the other doctor's arms, but Tritter, with one lingering look at House, appeared to relent with this, reluctantly nodding.
"Where is it?" He sighed.
"On the back seat." Wilson replied brusquely, tossing the keys in his general direction, before turning back to House, although before the Detective left the room the two shared an albeit brief glance of understanding, silent hanks conveyed in Wilson's sombre expression, before House emitted another choking sob, commanding all of Wilson's attention for a moment, and when he turned back Tritter was gone.
Meanwhile Wilson tried to remove House's pants leg, in an attempt to provide him with some tempory relief from the additional pressure it was putting on his injured limb, although as he unbuckled them at his friend's waist House reached up to grasp Wilson's hand with one cold and clammy palm, the other still massaging his thy almost compulsively. He didn't say anything, but the look in his eyes conveyed all that Wilson needed to know… it was a silent 'thank you' between friends. Then suddenly he was overtaken by another wave of pain, overwhelming him, his grasp upon Wilson's hand slackened, his eyes rolled into the back of his head, and he let out a strangled groan.
"It's alright House." Wilson soothed, gently taking hold of his friend's flailing hands and resting his tightly clenched fists against his torso. "Shhh… I'll be able to give you something to help make you feel a little more comfortable soon, then we can get you to hospital, get a spinal catheter and IV meds set up…"
"No… no hospital…" House begged. "Not at Christmas. Just give me something for the pain, heat pads for the cramps, a hot bath, let me sleep it off in my own bed… I'll feel better by the morning."
"I didn't think you cared that much for Christmas." Wilson smiled.
"I don't…" House laughed, his raspy breathing turning into a choking cough with this, prompting Wilson to put a hand out to steady his friend. It was at this moment that Tritter walked back into the room however, placing the black leather medical bag down beside Wilson. The Detective grimaced, and recoiled at the sight of House's deformed muscle.
"Bad isn't it?" Wilson turned to him with eyebrows raised.
"I suppose it's worse than I imagined." Tritter confessed, watching as the younger of the two doctors began arranging an assortment of medical supplies; rubber gloves, antiseptic, sterile needles, vials of meds and syringes.
"House, I'm going to give you a shot of morphine in your spine." Wilson explained with this, already beginning to roll up House's T-Shirt. "You're going to feel a sharp pinch, possibly some lower back pain, and you have to remain very still for me now…Tritter…" He asked, turning back to face the Detective, "You're going to have to hold him!"
"Who? Me?" Tritter asked, slightly alarmed, and already beginning to back away.
"Yes, you!" Wilson exclaimed. "This is a very risky procedure I'm about to do, but if he's refusing to go to hospital, and the spinal catheter, the only other option is to sedate him, and he's in too much pain for it to have any likely effect… but if I get this wrong I could paralyse him!"
"Can't you just give him some pills?" The Detective wondered.
Wilson shook his head. "No, his pain is too far advanced, the amount of medication that would be required to treat him could kill him, and it would take too long to take effect."
Suddenly, as though to emphasise Wilson's point, House was racked with another shooting impulse of intense pain and let out another agonised scream, muffled only as his hand immediately reached for his mouth and he started chewing on his fist.
Wilson immediately intercepted as he started to draw blood, pulling his hand away.
Tritter took one disgusted look at the writhing figure before him and sighed. "What do you need me to do?" He asked.
"Keep one hand above his head to support his neck…" Wilson instructed, adjusting House's position so that his back and spine formed in a distinctive curve formation. "Now ring his legs up into a foetal position and hold him there… House, I know this hurts," the younger doctor assured him as House protested with a strained whimper at the sudden change of the position of his injured leg. "But you need to remain as still as you possibly can… hug your legs, keep them in that position… Tritter, hold him tightly!"
Holding House firmly in the position Wilson had instructed, the Detective flinched as he watched Wilson gently clean an area of House's lower back with antiseptic, and remove an extra long needle from it's sterile packaging before attaching it to a tiny syringe, making him loosen his grip slightly.
"You need to hold me tighter than that!" House snapped.
"Ready?" Wilson asked as he filled the small syringe with the clear liquid, checking it for air bubbles before feeling along the length of House's lower vertebrate.
"Is it going to hurt?" Tritter asked, slightly squeamishly, and Wilson, looking at him, nodded. He wasn't at all sure why he was trying to hide his answer from House. He was all too aware that the doctor already knew the scale of the discomfort he was about to endure, but he was trying to spare him the reminder.
As the needle pierced House's flesh he let out a weak moan… but it wasn;t until it enetered his spinal canal that he began to scream, and when the drug was finally initially released into his system the pain and the pressure became unbearable.
"Not much longer now Greg." Wilson soothed, using House's first name and gently stroking his arm reassuringly, as he slowly deposited the rest of the drug into House's system until the syringe was empty. Before he could then carefully extract the needle from House's back, and finally House was able to relax.
"There," Wilson smiled, as Tritter was finally able to release his grip, and House looked up at him, his face pale, almost grey, and covered in a thin film of sweat, eyes bloodshot. "Breathe easy now, the morphine should start to take effect soon… but I'll stay here with you tonight just to be sure."
"Thank you Jimmy…" House sobbed.
The morphine didn't take long to take effect once it was in his system, and Wilson was finally able to assist an exhausted House off the floor, run him a hot bath, and start him on IV meds and saline, before injecting him with a mild sedative into his IV line and settling him into bed.
By the time he walked back into the small living room of his friend's apartment Tritter was already getting ready to leave.
"How is he?" The detective asked.
Wilson sighed, looking back in the direction from which he'd just come, and towards the partially closed door of House's bedroom. "We'll know more in the morning," he responded. "Thank you for your help tonight."
"I want you to know that I didn't do it for him…" Tritter replied. "For either of you."
"Who for then?" Wilson frowned.
"For myself… I'm not an ogre Doctor Wilson…" Tritter explained. "This way I can still stand up in court, face him in the dock, and know that my conscience is clear!"
Wilson stared at the detective in disbelief at this, shaking his head disapprovingly. "But surely you've seen tonight that he's not a junkie…" He exclaimed. "He needs the pills to manage his pain."
"I'm not about to make any judgements on a mans physical condition based on the evidence of one evening." Tritter shrugged.
"No, just the evidence of a few minutes spent in a consulting room with him." The doctor snapped. Wilson could hardly believe, after all he'd seen over the previous few hours, what he was now hearing.
"That's up to the jury to decide now I'm afraid…" Tritter shrugged, collecting his coat casually from where he'd thrown it over the arm of House's couch earlier in the evening, and heading for the front door. He stood on the threshold for a moment, between House's warm and welcoming apartment and the outside world. "Goodnight Doctor Wilson, and I really do mean it when I say that I hope Doctor House is feeling better soon." Then he closed the door behind him, and with that he was gone.
Wilson rubbed his tired eyes wearily at this, crossing the small living area to click the latch on the door, before, hearing his friend begin to groan in the adjacent room, heading to check on him, and in search of some sheets and bedding to turn the couch into a makeshift bed for the night. Tritter was a problem for another day he thought sombrely to himself, for now House still had more pressing issues to worry about.