House 5.12 “Painless” Recap

House 5.12 “Painless” Recap

House 5.12 "Painless"Hey folks! Julia Thorne here, your new recapper for “House.” Let’s get this baby started!

It’s a dark and stormy night. No, really. A man hunches over his desk, scribbling madly as the thunder rattles outside. The camera zooms in on his desk and we see him write, “I’m sorry,” before signing his name: “Jeff.” Jeff looks pained. Or constipated. I can never tell. We pan over to a picture of his wife and little boy, looking far too happy about their trip to the Grand Canyon. Jeff slips off his wedding ring (Oh no! Maybe he’s having an affair.) and drops it on top of his note and grabs his keys. He stares at his closet for a few moments before taking a few shirts off the hangers. You know what, Jeff? I have the same problem sometimes. Can’t find anything to wear, so you grab a handful of clothes and start piling them on until something looks right. You go, dude.

We switch to a Jeff’s wife, piloting their minivan in the dark and stormy night as she berates little Zach for forgetting his hockey stick. She will turn this car around, damn it! Zach moans about what a crappy hockey player he is and asks Mommy to name one kid worse than him. Mommy pauses for a couple seconds too long, and we get our first glimpse into Why Zach’s Going to Need Some Serious Counseling as an Adult. She makes a last-ditch attempt to toss out the names of a couple of the other kids on the team, and Zach’s eyes light up for a moment, but COME ON.

The minivan pulls back into the driveway in the dark and stormy light. Mommy sends Zach to get his stick and the garage opens to reveal a sweet, metallic blue, 1971 Chevelle SS. Rowr. But what’s this? There’s exhaust coming out of the tailpipe! Zach and Mommy go, “Oh, crap!” and I think, “Well, at least he wasn’t cheating.” Mommy smartly barrels out of the car, calling 911 as she goes, before turning off the ignition and hauling her husband’s limp body from his sweet ride. Zach naively asks why Daddy’s car is on. Mommy starts CPR while Zach continues to stare at his mostly-dead Daddy (our second glimpse into Why Zach’s Going to Need Some Serious Counseling as an Adult) until Daddy sputters to life and mutters a regretful, “I’m sorry.” Duh! You said that in your note already. “I just,” he continues, “I couldn’t take the pain anymore.” DUN DUN DUN. Sounds like a case for…

Dr. House! Hiatus was far too long. The next scene opens mysteriously on a bathroom. There’s heavy breathing coming from the bathtub, but it’s only House, messing around with his messed up leg in the water. Get your minds out of the gutter!

Cut to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (henceforth referred to as PPTH), where House hobbles in, Cuddy hot on his heels. House makes a Jungle Book (awww) crack about “Mowgli” (a.k.a. Cuddy’s newly adopted baby) making her late for work. Cuddy is not amused. They banter back and forth — Cuddy’s stressed that it’s time for budgets, House thinks she’s a crappy mom — and Cuddy reveals that Cameron already turned in House’s budget. House reacts like someone just told him Britney Spears has been selected as the new Secretary of State. Looks like House owes Cameron a favor. Oops!

Instead of making House dress up like Gordon Freeman from “Half-Life 2” and prance around with a crowbar, Cameron instead asks him to take a look at Jeff, who’s experiencing, “chronic pain all over.” House was expecting “whipped cream and tongue depressors,” which is nowhere nearly as cool as Gordon Freeman. Apparently, Jeff has seen seven different specialists in three years and all have failed to give him a diagnosis or relieve his pain. House starts on the obvious metaphor for the night, “Oh, I am fascinated already. It’s like I’m treating myself!” Owww. Anvil hit my toe.

Cameron calls him stubborn and they keep bickering while Foreman, Thirteen, Kumar (sorry, I just can’t call him “Kutner”), and Taub look uncomfortable. House insinuates Jeff’s just looking for drugs (like him!), but Cameron tells him that Jeff has medicine cabinets full of narcotics. Thirteen suggests fibromyalgia, but Cameron jumps all over her, pointing out that a diagnosis that offers neither an explanation nor a cure is not a diagnosis. Oh! Burn! I smell a catfight coming on. Foreman jumps in to save his little lovebird and they bicker more about diagnostic criteria. Cameron lists off Jeff’s symptoms: abdominal pain, severe headaches, and periodic muscle cramps. Taub thinks the guy is just a nutjob, and the pain is psychological because, “sane people don’t attempt suicide.” Okkaaaay. Kumar is with me on this. House orders a pain profile (to rule out psychosomatic pain), a search of the home, and a refill of his own Vicodin. And a doughnut. You know, priorities.

Taub gets assigned to the pain profile. Jeff looks like crap, but insists he’s not depressed. Stupid, yes, but not depressed. He has a lot of trouble sleeping. Taub then chats with Jeff’s wife, who confirms that his sleep cycles are pretty erratic. Oh, and he’s ridiculously calm, despite the fact he’s in debilitating pain. It’s a coping mechanism. Taub says they’ve seen this with other patients. I wonder who they’re talking about. Zach says Daddy is very helpful around the house, “he’s really strong,” and used to be a good hockey player. Awwww. Too bad the kid’s in denial.

Meanwhile, Foreman and Thirteen are checking out the house, where they find a “pharmacy’s worth of pain-meds” that’s freaky-well organized. Foreman agrees with me about Jeff’s sweet ride. He also wants to know why Thirteen’s been giving him the cold shoulder since they kissed. She’s just been busy. Oh, and metal polish could cause nerve damage, and the Chevelle is pretty damn shiny. Except Jeff owns a body shop and a heavy-duty mask, so he’s probably not careless enough to get it in his lungs. Foreman asks Thirteen out for dinner, but she refuses. The denial train’s hitting everyone tonight! Thirteen’s afraid of hurting Foreman because she’s going to diiiiieee soon. Whine, whine, whine. Oh, and then they find quail meat in Jeff’s garage. Huh?

Back at PPTH, Thirteen thinks Jeff’s been getting food poisoning from the quail. Taub thinks the food poisoning symptoms could be confused with the carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s still all in his miiiiind. House thinks it’s rhabdo (which, according to my nurse friend, is short for “rhabdomyolysis,” or the breakdown of muscle fibers), so they have to do biopsies on all his muscles. Ouch. House leaves and man, is he whiny today or what?

Muscle biopsy. Ewww. Zach watches and hopes that if Daddy just stops eating quail, everything will be alright. Except Jeff’s right arm starts to hurt and he starts to go into cardiac arrest. Hello, counseling!

Back at House’s pad, his phone is ringing. He ignores it for a few rings, long enough to pop a couple pills. At PPTH, we find out that Jeff has a pulmonary embolism, which means it wasn’t all in his miiiiind. Take that, Taub! But it’s also not rhabdo. And it’s getting worse. House calls back and says Jeff probably has chronic pain and a pulmonary embolism. What? Now House is a psychic? But no, it’s after midnight, so it must be a heart problem and… he says something else about the lungs, but all the medical lingo is making my brain hurt. Kumar thinks it could be cancer syndrome like Trouseau’s, which would explain the blood-clots, the pain, etc. House tells the gang to look for tumors. He hangs up the phone, rubbing his leg and looking up at the ceiling when he hears the sound of running water (it ain’t raining). He sees wet spots. Like any sane person, he pokes it with his cane, resulting in a cascade of water that breaks through the ceiling and comes splashing down on top of him. You might want to call a plumber, House.

Back at PPTH, Jeff’s getting a CT scan. Kumar and Taub bicker about the Nature of Suicide. Kumar thinks someone close to Taub must have committed suicide for him to have such an extreme outlook on the topic. Taub shuts him down. Kumar finds something on the CT scan, but first…

…we join House again, who took my advice and got himself a plumber. And, like most plumbers, he’s being a royal pain in the ass. Because guess what? House’s insurance deductible doesn’t cover the damage to the pipe because it was pulled apart. Damn those negligence clauses!

Meanwhile, Foreman and Thirteen are holding hands. Awww, how Junior High of them. (Okay, not really. It’s an exam.) Foreman’s still feeling shunned, but Thirteen doesn’t want to traumatize him. You know who’s really getting traumatized here? The audience. But I digress. Kumar and Taub bust in, saying they’ve found air in Jeff’s intestine. Foreman orders an angioplasty, among other things, and Thirteen hustles out of there before Foreman can hold her hand again.

House returns, Foreman relates their diagnosis, and House shoots it down until he hears that there’s air in the intestines. He hobbles over to Jeff’s room, where Kumar and Thirteen are about to insert a catheter. House tells them to cancel the angio because Jeff has been blowing into his IV tube. Suicide Attempt Number Two! But, you see, Jeff just wants to die. And House, stubborn guy that he is, just won’t let him.

Cut to Cuddy’s nursery, where House is punching a stuffed giraffe. No, really. Cuddy wonders who the hell is watching the suicidal patient, because the entire gang’s with her at the moment. She also thinks House stinks. (“Scent of a man!” he roars.) Cuddy’s freaking out because she’s got a home inspection by social services in less than 24 hours. They go back and forth and House concludes that “Foreteen” is right. Huh? Are internet ‘shipper names really making their way onto the show now? Wow. House orders an “ischemic forearm test.” On their way out, Cuddy shoves some baby garbage into Kumar’s hand, ordering him to take out the garbage, for he is her employee and she can make him do whatever the hell she wants. Or something. Also? Her baby is damn cute.

Back at PPTH, Thirteen runs into Janice, a fellow Huntington’s sufferer/treat-ee. She’s doing well. Yay! A glimmer of hope!

Kumar and Taub are doing the “ischemic forearm test,” which, despite it’s official-sounding name, seems to consist only of squeezing a tennis ball. Jeff asks his family to leave, because they’re making him uncomfortable. His left arm — the one with the tennis ball — is hurting somethin’ terrible. He cries out and drops the tennis ball before grabbing at his left leg.

Thirteen approaches Foreman and accuses him of switching Janice’s appointment time so she would run into Thirteen like a “bright ray of sunshine,” in his attempt to get into her pants. I… what? Foreman denies. Thirteen feels dumb.

Kumar and Taub are confused how Jeff’s pain could jump from the left arm to left leg, skipping his trunk entirely. House is half-listening, looking for the name of a lawyer online. Kumar and Taub debate the body-brain dilemma before House suggests to Cuddy that they cut off Jeff’s head. Just joking! They need to give him a shot of lidocaine below the brain stem to numb his body and see if the pain stays. If it does, it’s in his brain. Cuddy thinks it’s too dangerous, and she’s also pissed at House for calling her in when she’s got the social services visit in the morning. She finally caves (“Do whatever you think is right.”).

The next morning, Cuddy is again freaking out over the social services visit. The dude shows up early. Cuddy’s apologizing for the mess in the house while social services asks if she’s got any guns in the house, any pets, etc. before giving her the okay and encouraging adoption. All her worrying was for nothing!

Jeff gets ready for the lidocaine shot. He and House debate the Nature of Pain for single men versus a family man, and the expectations each bring with them. More anvils. Cameron looks in on the surgery from the observation room. After a while, Jeff says his legs are better. Not all the way better, but better. Yup, folks. He can still feel the pain. House is befuddled, as am I.

Back in House’s office, a pissed-off lawyer stomps in and slaps a bill down on the table. See, Lawyer Dude is pissed off that House used his name in a threatening e-mail to the insurance company about his pipes. Next time? Lawsuit-ville. Anyway, pagers go off and we cut to Zach on the floor in the hallway, screaming his little head off. House is suspicious, and stomps over to Jeff’s bed to uncover a bottle of isopropanol, which he was going to drink in another suicide attempt. He orders dialysis and calls Zach a bad actor (agreed), and Zach pleads, “Please! Please just let him die.”

The PPTH gang fires off other possible diseases at House. They fail to mention Lupus, of course. They run out of ideas, and House suggests that Jeff used to have an injury, which caused the pain, but when it got better, the drugs continued to create the illusion of pain (“pain receptors read pain killers as killer pain”) and orders Jeff to be taken off the drugs. The PPTH gang thinks this is ridiculous and Thirteen asks how House would feel if he was taken off Vicodin. Oooh, watch out, Thirteen. You just made it angry.

At Cuddy’s house, Wilson brings the baby a gigantic yellow duckie (ADORABLE!!) and Cuddy’s beating herself up for tossing a dirty diaper in her trés expensive briefcase, among other things. Wilson thinks she’s being overly dramatic — she passed, after all. Except she passed by “their” meager standard, and failed by her own. Wilson wonders why women always do “that.” “Fail?” Cuddy asks. Ouch. No, apparently they create ridiculous standards. And men are lazy, and blame others for their shortcomings. Again, OUCH. Wilson thinks she needs a helper, at work and at home.

Back at PPTH, Jeff is being strapped to his bed, and he’s not liking it. Kumar is still bugging Taub about the suicide debate, and Taub reveals he had a colleague who tried to commit suicide and failed, nearly destroying his family and friends in the process (“A selfish ass.”). House watches from outside the room as Jeff makes animalistic noises inside. When Foreman approaches, he also insinuates that Foreman entered Thirteen into the drug trials because he was thinking with his downstairs brain.

At House’s apartment, there’s a gigantic scorch-mark about the stove and a hole in the ceiling (“first time making cherries jubilee”). The Punk Plumber is back, and House is hoping that the damage to the pipes will be covered under his policy’s “accidental fire damage clause.” You betcha. Except House’s pipes weren’t damaged during the fire. His neighbors were, so their pipes are getting repaired. Drat! Foiled again!

Jeff, meanwhile, is in terrible pain. House gives up and Jeff’s wife pleads with him to just get her husband well enough so he can leave the hospital, go home, and kill himself in peace. Wow. messed up. House agrees.

The next morning, the pipes are fixed because House bribed the plumber to lie on the claim, even though it cost him more than the entire cost of the repair. Turns out House has a bit of an authority complex. Who’d have guessed? He’s still insisting he didn’t break the pipe. Oh, and just before the plumber leaves, he starts scratching his balls, which is a moment of epiphany for House. Really. House decides that the initial abdominal pain was actually testicular pain, which was a symptom of epilepsy. Jeff confirms this, eventually and they get him on epilepsy meds ASAP. Yay! The family surviveth! But Zach’s still gonna need counseling.

Kumar asks Taub if the “selfish …..” was him. Taub denies. Not sure if I believe him. In the treatment room, Thirteen is getting her Huntington’s treatment. Foreman comes in and notices her IV is leaking a bit. She stops him on his way out to get it fixed and accepts his invitation to dinner. Foreman tells a nurse that the IV was leaking, and the nurse comments that the medicine smells something terrible, doesn’t it? Foreman goes, “Whaaaaaa? I didn’t smell anything.” The nurse concludes she must be on the placebo, then. Oh noes! Thirteen’s tiny ray of hope has been crushed!! I wish I could say I care.

In the ER, Cuddy approaches Cameron. She wants Cameron to take over some of her duties. I smell trouble!

At House’s apartment (again), House readies his bath and grabs onto his handicap-bar to hoist himself into the hot water. Except the bar rattles the piping quite violently. Ooops! Guess you can’t win ’em all.

Next week: Cameron! House! Power battles! Something with neurological problems!!

That’s it, kiddies. Comments and feedback are much appreciated. See you next week!

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