House, M.D./Sports Medicine
Sports Medicine is the twelfth episode of the first season of House, M.D..
Star baseball pitcher and recovering cocaine addict Hank Wiggen suffers from severe bone loss, and House takes the case on referral from Wilson because he is a sports fan. Foreman - who is dating a pharmaceutical representative - suspects Wiggen is on steroids, and although Wiggen refuses a drug test, the steroids tests are negative. House insists steroids are the problem, but the treatment does not work. House's staff come up with a new diagnosis which would require a kidney transplant. Wiggen's wife Lola offers hers, but because she is pregnant, she would have to get an abortion, which Wiggen refuses. Meanwhile, Wilson excuses himself out of attending a monster truck rally with House. Wiggen exhibits new symptoms, which House realizes are the result of a suicide attempt he made to avoid the abortion. House learns Wilson's real reason for declining the monster truck is he is having dinner with a woman named Stacy. When Lola shows symptoms, House realizes she and Wiggen are suffering from the same disease, and he and Chase narrow it down to marijuana, which Wiggen was hiding from Lola. In the end, Cameron and House attend the rally together.
- Carol Moffatt, Patient #2, Patient #4 and College Student: Four patients House diagnoses in under 70 seconds when he wants to leave early to buy monster truck rally tickets. Carol Moffatt is an adult female complaining of leg pain. House sees her engagement ring and ill-fitting running shoes and concludes she is running too many miles to fit into her wedding dress. He tells her, "New shoes, less miles, and ixnay on the afternoon Cokes. You're gonna look beautiful." Patient #2 has red eyes and says he is unable to remove his contact lenses, but House says he is not wearing contact lenses. Patient #4 complains of "numbness in my feet and hands, uh, constipation," and penis control problems. House deduces the patient is a dentist who has had too much exposure to nitrous oxide and needs Vitamin B12. The College Student at first claims he is blind, but he says he is joking and needs a doctor's note excusing his hangover to his English lit professor. House says, "Make friends with the dentist. He can give you the note and maybe a little nitrous to take the edge off."
(See the Medical Dictionary for all definitions.)
- Wilson presents Hank Wiggen's case to House as osteopenia, but both an MRI and PET scan turned up no cancer which might cause it.
- When House presents Wiggen's case to his staff, he says the CHEM-7 shows signs of kidney damage. Foreman hypothesizes steroids abuse.
- Foreman asks Cameron to cover for him, but she bows out for an oncology seminar.
- When House diagnoses four clinic patients in under 70 seconds, he says Patient #2 is "trying to remove [his] corneas." He tells Patient #4, a dentist, his problem is overexposure to nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.
- Foreman and Cameron corner House to say Wiggen tested negative for steroids, so Foreman suggests the problem could be amyloidosis or a lymphoma, although neither a biopsy nor a CT scan turned up cancer.
- Despite Wiggen's clean steroid tests, House finds shrunken testicles, which he calls hypogonadism. He prescribes Lupron.
- When House's treatment of Wiggen fails, he goes back to the drawing board. House lists his symptoms, including osteopenia and hyopogonadism. Cameron attributes the latter to a lack of testosterone. House confesses the lung problem was due to his prescribing Lupron. Chase suggests a failure of his adrenal glands, or Addison's disease.
- When Wiggen suffers tachycardia, Chase orders insulin and D-50. Foreman also orders Kayexalate for his increased potassium.
- Although Foreman and Chase race to save Wiggen during his heart problems, his heart rate drops, and Foreman says, "He's not responding to the atropine."
- House says Wiggen is hallucinating. Wilson asks if he could be dreaming, but House says he has no REM. Wilson hypothesizes he could be on digitalis.
- When Sharon the pharmaceutical rep meets Cameron and Chase, she says, "If the patient decides to go the dialysis route, we've got some product you should check out." Later, when House tells his staff to include Lola's inability to smell into their diagnosis of Wiggen, Chase hypothesizes cadmium poisoning.
- "You Better Stop" by Robert L. Wyckoff: At the bar, Foreman discusses his upcoming date and House's need for money with Cameron and Chase.
- "I Never Saw It Coming" by Windy Wagner: Cameron and Chase meet Sharon, and House arrives to discuss Lola's symptoms.
- Wilson bows out of a monster truck rally because of an oncology conference, but he later confesses he is having dinner with someone named Stacy, who is coming in from out of town. Wilson clarifies it is "Stacy the constitutional lawyer." House says, "You thought I couldn't handle this news." He asks if Wilson and Stacy talk often, but Wilson says they do not. He offers to call it off, but House says, "What is this, eighth grade? I'm fine. ... I have no right to be upset. You two were friends. You should see her. Say 'hi' for me." Nonetheless, House is disturbed by the revelation. This is the first reference in the series to a constitutional lawyer named Stacy from House and Wilson's past.
- House and Cameron: When Wilson declines his invitation to a monster truck rally, House invites Cameron. She asks, "Like a date?" He says, "Exactly. Except for the... the date part." At the rally, Cameron asks House if he has ever been married. House avoids the question at first, but he responds, "I lived with someone for a while." This is the first reference in the series to House and Cameron dating.
- Foreman: Foreman is first seen waking up after a night spent with Sharon, whom he has apparently just met. In 1x09 - DNR, he had told his mentor he was seeing someone who "could be" serious, but now he appears to be single. It is possible Foreman lied to his mentor to impress him, or perhaps the relationship with that invisible woman eventually proved not to be so serious.
- House/Holmes Connection: House diagnoses four clinic patients in about one minute. House is based in part on the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his iconic hero in part on a medical doctor in the military who could diagnose patients without meeting them in person.
Behind the Scenes
- Producer Cameo: Bryan Singer, executive producer of the series and director of the pilot, makes a cameo appearance as the director of the commercial which Hank Wiggen is filming in the opening scene.
Allusions and References
- The New York Yankees: During the commercial filming, Lola reminds Hank Wiggen, "Because you're clean, you're starting Opening Day against the Yanks," and Warner Fitch encourages him to "show 'em what you're gonna give the Yankees!" Later, when Wilson presents the case to House, he says, "If we figure out what's causing the osteopenia, we can reverse the bone damage, then do the surgery," to which House adds, "Beat the Yankees and save the free world." Still later, when House learns Wiggen's problem is not steroid abuse, he asks his staff, "Who shares my suspicions that the Yankees were somehow involved?" Finally, near the end of the episode, Cuddy consents to letting House lie about drug use on the report, because, "It means someone can actually beat the Yankees." The New York Yankees are a Major League Baseball team in the American League, often reviled by fans of other teams because of their many World Series wins, high-priced players, colorful and overbearing owners and managers and devoted and vocal fan following.
- Cy Young: Wiggen autographs a baseball card for Wilson with, "To Jimmy Wilson, the Cy Young of medicine." Cleveland, St. Louis and Boston pitching great Denton True Young was nicknamed "Cyclone," or "Cy." He holds the pitcher record for most career wins, and the award given each year to the best pitcher in each league is named in his honor.
- ERA: House reads Wiggen's stats off the back of a baseball card and says, "His ERA was two point one." ERA stands for "earned run average," an average of the earned runs (runs scored by hits or walks) scored against a pitcher divided by each nine innings he has pitched. A lower ERA is thus better for a pitcher, and today, an ERA of under 4.0 is very good.
- 24: When House meets Wiggen, he says, "Hi, I'm Dr. House, and this is the coolest day of my life." This is a reference to another FOX show, 24. In the first season, the voice-over narration at the start of every episode ended with, "I'm Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life."
- Sammy Sosa: When House tells Lola she is pregnant, he says he'd rather talk to her "better half. And by 'better half,' of course, I mean the one who struck out Sammy Sosa on three pitches." Samuel Sosa Peralta is a Dominican baseball player, who, at the time this episode aired, was playing for the Baltimore Orioles. He is best known for his years with the Chicago Cubs, including his 1998 home run race with St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire to break Roger Maris' 1961 record (although both broke the record, McGwire ended the season with more home runs), and the 2003 scandal in which he was caught playing with a corked bat.
- Randy Johnson: When Wiggen's heart problems start, Cameron - who has been annoyed by sports analogies - says, "His heart rate is 130 and rising, like a Randy Johnson line drive." House says, "'A' for effort." Randall David Johnson is an American baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees who has become one of the most feared pitchers in the game.
- Hippocrates: House visits Warner Fitch at the ballpark and notices his clubbed fingers. He says, "Hippocrates noticed that a lot of his friends who also had that tended to frequently grab their chests and die." Hippocrates of Cos was an ancient Greek physician who became known as the father of medicine because he rejected superstition and treated medicine as a science. Among his discoveries were that the clubbing of fingers is often a sign of heart and lung disorders, and for that reason, club fingers are often called "Hippocratic fingers."
- Mick Jagger: When House tells Chase, Cameron and Foreman that he knows Sharon is sleeping with one of them, he says, "The groupies sleep with the roadies in order to get to Mick." This is a reference to English rock star Mick Jagger, who is lead singer and frontman of the Rolling Stones.
- Veterans Stadium: House says there is a new symptom, "Inability to smell." Foreman disagrees, because Wiggen had told him that his room "smelled like the men's room at Veterans Stadium." Veterans Stadium was an athletic and concert arena located in Philadelphia, home to both the National Football League team the Philadelphia Eagles and the Major League Baseball team the Philadelphia Phillies. It was demolished in March of 2004.
- Grave Digger: At the monster truck rally, House makes a comment to Cameron about Grave Digger. Grave Digger is a monster truck team created in 1981 featuring Dennis Anderson as the flagship driver. It's possible that when House said that "Grave Digger never disappoints," it's in reference to Anderson's aggressive driving which often resulted in crashes and general destruction.
edit to Grave Digger: Grave Digger is a monster truck that appears annually at Englishtown Raceway Park in NJ, presumbably where House and Cameron went for the monster truck rally. They have rallies there twice a year. House is right: Grave Digger never disappoints!
- Although tests were negative, House is convinced Hank Wiggen is on steroids. He marches into Wiggen's room and says, "Hi, I'm Dr. House, and this is the coolest day of my life." He then whips off Wiggen's bedsheet to reveal shrunken testicles. Wiggen insists he is clean, but House says, "Your lips say no, your prunes say yes. Hypogonadism. Isn't that a great word? Thanks, we don't get to say it nearly enough."
- Cameron: You want it to be his kidneys, because if it's his kidneys, then maybe we can treat it, maybe we can fix it, and if it's cancer, then he'll never pitch again. If this were a regular guy who came in and broke his arm lifting a box, you would've packed him up and sent him home.
House: My God, you're right, I lost my head. All life is equally sacred. And I promise you, the next knitting injury that comes in here, we're on it like stink on cheese.
- House: Hank Wiggen peed on me. What do you think these pants are worth on eBay?
- House: Okay, so who is it? C'mon, she's sleeping with one of you. (To Cameron.) Oh, God, please tell me it's you.