House
The Socratic Method

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Pennies From Hell

Establishing shot of the hospital, as an EMT's voice tells us that the mother is thirty-eight and that, following her respiratory arrest, she was intubated and fully oxygenated. In the lobby, Friedman paces back and forth in front of someone whose face is hidden by a newspaper. The noise of all the steps causes the someone to drop the paper in annoyance. It's House, though, so he could just be jealous of Friedman's ability to reverse direction so quickly. Friedman asks House whether it's a good hospital. House, rather politely for him, says he likes the chairs. They do look pretty comfortable, but that could be because I and my oversized laptop are currently stuffed into an area small enough to make Gary Coleman a little claustrophobic. A doctor emerges, and Friedman rushes over to him to ask if his mom's okay. We focus in on House in the foreground as the doctor tells Friedman that his mom had a small pulmonary embolism, broken off from a larger clot in her leg called a deep-vein thrombosis. Friedman busies himself writing this down in a small notebook as the doctor asks if his dad is there. Friedman says that his dad is running a little late, and then clarifies, "He's dead." As far as times to employ gallows humor, I'd say having your only living parent be a schizophrenic whom you're charged with taking care of is pretty far up the list.

The doctor tells Friedman that his mom's blood-alcohol level was .12 at 10:30 in the morning. You'd think the glass frog would have had the decency to keep quiet until 5 in the afternoon. Friedman says he gave her a drink to calm her down, but that it was her first "since Monday." At the doctor's accusing stare, Friedman confides in a low voice that his mother hears voices. The doctor speculates that she's an alcoholic, and the DVT was caused by her passing out and remaining immobile for long periods of time. He tells Friedman that they've put his mother on blood thinners, and that he should be able to take her home the next day. Friedman says it must be something besides the alcohol causing the thrombosis. House can keep silent no longer. I doubt I caused anyone any sort of embolism with that revelation. He grandly announces that of course it's the alcohol. He limps over and says that the guy is a professional doctor: "Plays golf and everything, I bet." I bet House tells people he can't play golf because of his leg, when in fact he's been banned from every single country club in the state for doing things like yelling "Fore!" when he hasn't hit a shot. Or, worse, the opposite. House adds that the doctor wouldn't just presume that the mother is an alcoholic without doing tests and having proof positive: "Doctors like this -- they don't just make assumptions -- they do the work!" You kind of have to admire the unmitigated gall. The doctor looks reasonably amused through all of this, and tells House that he'd be happy to refer House the case, since House is so interested. House asks Friedman how old his mother is, and Friedman dumbly asks if House is a doctor. House confirms that he is: "Did I ask you how old she was? I forget." Hee. Poor Friedman looks absolutely flummoxed. Kid, since your mom's going to be out of it for a while, she probably won't begrudge your taking a little sip from one of those airplane bottles yourself.

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