I haven't had many real friends during my career. People usually take one look at my façade of sarcasm and Herculean defiance... and subsequently bolt to the nearest Exit sign. I don't make it easy for anyone, true friendship is a not a diagnosis but a work in progress. Boring although ultimately necessary to survive in the world outside of the chosen profession.
Wilson has been a steady influence on my life throughout my career. At first, the thought of diagnosing him kept me interested. His eyes were crossed, almost glazed at times. At first I thought of brain tumours or eye injury. During the first couple of years, I nagged him incessantly to visit the optician, to which he finally gave in with a heavy sigh and flagging shoulders. I went with him, asking all the pertinent questions and then found my initial diagnosis was wrong.
Wilson didn't have a brain tumour.
He had no eye injuries.
Then the fits started. I found him flopping around in my office one boring July evening and excitedly referred him for an MRI. My initial diagnosis was fresh in my mind; brain tumour. Grumbling, Wilson tried to explain that he knew the signs of cancer very well, thank you, and would recognise them in himself instantly. Besides, the fits weren't physically damaging for the main. He would simply stand and sway like a tree caught in a firm breeze.
Undeterred, I mapped out his entire brain with both MRI and CAT scans. I was particularly interested in the occipital lobe, what with the vision problems. Nothing there. No tempting tumour to lure out of the darkness of Wilson's brain. I checked the scans several times obsessively. No tumour. AT ALL. This was turning out to be the biggest puzzle of my life.
Around the time he started seeing Amber, I had a hard time letting him go on his whirlwind romance. I was jealous, sure. More than that, I was fearful Amber's inexperience of the medical profession would do Wilson an injustice. I preferred to be around Wilson, my brain silently working on his own particular diagnosis.
He had been complaining of loss of vision and had had several fits over the course of three months. When Amber died, he was fitting several times a week. He even fitted at the funeral.
Again, all the tests led to a grumpy and upset Wilson. I wanted to burrow into that Wilson brain and take a look inside, see if the scans were missing anything. Even Cuddy was beginning to get worried about our colleague. Wilson refused to allow any exploratory surgery, however.
He said the Head of Oncology doesn't need that type of exploration and then thanked me for my ongoing interest.
Of course, I didn't allow that to stop me. I often knocked him out and ran tests on him whilst he was dreaming of everything Amber. There was no cancer, no signs of anything except a fairly healthy brain. Wilson was fast becoming the patient of my dreams; something truly unique was happening to him that had nothing to do with epilepsy or brain tumours.
I had always dreamed of having a new disease, one that had never been diagnosed before.
Being the first, I could name it House Malady, something I'd been dreaming of since I entered the world of medicine.
Wilson was my A Game. He was my number one priority, even if he didn't know that the majority of the time. When we stopped talking for months, it was pure torture. I would often hobble around outside his house at all hours, peeking through windows and startling him when he saw my bushy, paled face like a spectre through the glass like an obsessed lover.
He would raise a glass of scotch and salute me as if I were a ghost he knew he would never exorcise. Amber had really screwed him up, albeit unintentionally. I was angry that she had had this devastating effect on him. I was angry at him for allowing it to.
After he had refriended me and started to look at me with those puppy-dog eyes, I knew I had him all to myself. It wasn't my fault if he mistook my interest for love and it kept him close. I would sarcastically quip about our relationship and his eyes would glaze over in a fantasy.
When we ran over the mysterious symptoms of his illness, Wilson became quiet and reserved. I could see he was losing the battle. He looked at me seriously, his eyes boring into mine, then asked me to diagnose him with something they could understand.
I picked thymona out of a hat and ran interference with our colleagues as we started to look deeper, trying to find the answer. He was now running out of time. He even allowed me to drill into his brain and root around for what was causing his illness. He was fitting several times a day, not evoking attention from anyone.
I always knew when he was having one. No-one else really saw them. His eyes would glaze over and he would just stand still, slightly swaying. I guided him to the nearest seat and sat beside him until he came out of an almost trance-like state.
After faking my death, I decided to concentrate on my one big mystery. Wilson was deteriorating, fast. Everyone thought he had thymona, stage two. I knew differently. I had tried various remedies in an attempt to heal or flush out the mysterious enemy. Nothing had worked.
Weakening by the day, I now tried the more serious medications. Chemotherapy, adapted to Wilson's singular need by a laboratory up in Wisconsin. It cost a lot of money but I had plenty. I also had connections and could tailor drugs to help him as best as I could.
We now had a deadline. I didn't expect Wilson to survive for more than eight weeks in his current condition. I corresponded with cancer specialists around the world for any new insight. I regularly updated Wilson on test results and new ideas. He barely even registered my name but it was a comfort to speak to him about this strange disease.
Finally, the medical profession recognised a new form of cancer. One that fled from every test like a devious little whore. Something we couldn't fight and now I had a new focus. To find the cure for a disease that had taken my best friend.
Wilson wasn't around to hear the name of his mystery illness and when I wrote down the title I began to curse myself for being overly sentimental.