Dr. Allison Cameron heard her pager beep, and looked down at the number it flashed. She rolled back stool she was sitting on from the microscope she had been looking into and rose, walking over to the phone on the wall. She dialed the code for the Emergency Room and identified herself to the desk nurse.
“We’ve got a young man down here asking for Dr. House,” the desk nurse told her. Before Cameron could ask for a name, the nurse went on. “He said his name is Jason Anderson. He’s alone and frankly, I’m amazed he got here on his own. He doesn’t look good, Doctor.”
“On my way.”
Cameron grabbed her pager and sent quick messages to her partners, Doctors Eric Foreman and Robert Chase, to meet her there. From the conversations they’d had with Jason over the past few weeks, the fact he had come into the Emergency Room without an entourage forcing him to do so could only mean his problem had taken a nosedive.
She arrived in the waiting room to find the usual chaos, and had to look around for the desk nurse. She spotted her standing beside the end of a row of seats where someone was seated slumped forward, elbows on the thighs, head in hands. She recognized the copper hair.
“Jason,” she said as she approached. Jason raised his head just enough for her to see his blue eyes, which were glazed and pinched with pain. He was also ashen, which was a feat considering his normal skin tone was a natural tan. Cameron nodded to the nurse, who nodded in return before heading back to her desk. Once Cameron reached Jason, she sat down beside him.
“Hi, Doc.” Jason’s lips twitched in a smile that didn’t fully materialize. Cameron frowned in concern and laid her hand on his arm, feeling subtle trembling in it.
“How did you get here? You’re in no condition to drive.”
“Sheer stubborn tenacity?” he quipped, wincing and, if possible, going even paler. He squeezed his eyes closed and raked his fingers through his hair before pressing them to the back of his head.
“Are these the same symptoms you told us about?” she asked, seeing Foreman coming towards them out of the corner of her eye.
“Yeah.” Jason’s breath hitched as he ground his teeth, squeezing his head between his hands.
“Let’s get him out of here, to a bed, before he drops,” Foreman suggested as he took hold of one of Jason’s arms. Cameron took the other and they helped Jason to rise on shaky legs, guiding him to the first empty examination room they came to. By the time they got to the room, Dr. Chase had arrived.
He was just in time because Jason pitched forward, limp in the doctors’ grasp. Chase helped catch him and scooted Cameron out of the way so the two men could lift Jason onto the gurney.
“Chase, call House,” Cameron requested as she took Jason’s pulse. Foreman found a blood pressure cuff and wrapped it around his arm, inflating it.
“Jason, can you hear me?”
Jason tried to open his eyes at the command in the female voice. He was trained to respond to that tone of voice, but it wasn’t Mark’s voice or the Chief’s voice. He wasn’t sure whose it was.
“Jason, I need for you to open your eyes.”
The voice was insistent, but Jason felt as if he was floating, his body being bumped around, making things hurt too much for him to ignore.
Something bright flashed into his eye and he hissed at the flare of pain it invoked.
“Come on, Jason. Open your eyes for me.”
He didn’t want to open his eyes, if that flare of pain was any indication of what he was going to feel when he did.
“He just walked right up to the desk and asked us to page Dr. House,” another female voice that he didn’t recognize said. “He didn’t look well and stood there for a moment, then walked over to the closest empty seat and dropped into it. There was no one with him.”
“House is on his way,” the first female voice said, and the bright light was flashed into his other eye. Jason tried to pull his head away, but the movement caused even more pain. His head felt as if a spike was being driven through his brain at the base of his skull. He waved a hand to try and force the light away, but another hand grabbed his forearm and forced it down to his side.
“I need a toxicology done, stat,” a male voice said.
Whoever had forced his arm down kept hold of it. He felt a prick in the top of his hand. He hated needles and tried to pull his arm back.
“Jason, I really need for you to talk to me. We need to know exactly what’s going on.” It was the female voice again.
He felt the prick in his hand again. That angered him enough that he yanked his arm back, hard. He heard a startled yelp, and a clatter of things falling onto the floor.
“What happened?” Another male voice, but this one had an Australian accent.
“He’s not cooperating,” the first male voice said.
Jason had an easier time remembering accents, and it hit him who one of the men was. Chase, one of the doctors on House’s team, was Australian. He then realized the woman who had been talking to him was Cameron.
“Jason, tell us what’s happening,” Chase ordered. “You told Cameron these are the same symptoms you’d been experiencing?”
They knew what he had been going through, even if they had been just as skeptical as the ISO medical team. They were going to see it as it happened now. They’d see the pain was real, not a figment of his imagination. They’d figure out what was wrong with him. They’d prove he wasn’t going crazy.With an overwhelming sense of relief, Jason managed to open his eyes to a squint. His vision was so blurred and doubled, he could barely make them out. “Yes,” he repeated and closed them again.