The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

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Chapter 7 Summary

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Hazel’s parents rush her to the hospital. During the ride, she tries to tell herself that the pain will go away eventually—but it is too much to bear. Privately she thinks it would be better to die than to continue feeling this way.

When Hazel next awakes, she is in the ICU, and she can hear a group of people nearby crying about someone’s death. She calls a nurse, who rushes to get her parents from the waiting room. A few minutes later, Hazel’s mom explains that fluid has been building up in Hazel's lungs. That has made it difficult for her body to get oxygen. It caused Hazel's recent aches and pains as well as her terrible headache.

The good news is that Hazel’s cancer has not gotten any worse. She will need to have fluid drained from her lungs periodically, and she has to sleep hooked up to a machine at night from now on. But she is not dying just yet. To sum up the situation, Hazel’s mom says, “It’s just a thing, Hazel…It’s a thing we can live with.”

Soon Hazel’s parents are sent out of the room. Alison, the nurse, feeds Hazel ice chips and amuses her with a content-free summary of the last few days’ news: “A celebrity did drugs. Politicians disagreed...A team won, but another team lost.” This is her way of saying that Hazel missed nothing important.

During their conversation, Alison mentions that Augustus has been in the waiting room almost constantly for the last few days. Only family members can visit patients in the ICU, so he has not been allowed to see Hazel. Hazel is relieved that Augustus cannot see her looking so terrible.

In all, Hazel spends “six undays” in the ICU. She spends most of her time staring at the ceiling and feeling bored. Her return home gets put off so many times she begins to wonder if she is “some existentialist experiment in permanently delayed gratification.”

When she is finally released, Hazel exhausts herself just dressing and taking a shower. Afterward she briefly sees Augustus, who gives her another letter from Peter Van Houten. Later, when she is alone, she reads the letter carefully. Augustus has obviously asked the author for advice on Hazel’s decision not to have a romantic relationship with him. She is relieved to see that Van Houten takes her side:

You mustn’t impose your will upon…a decision arrived at thoughtfully. She wishes to spare you pain, and you should let her.

After reading the letter, Hazel asks her parents to call the doctor and ask whether she can still make the trip to Amsterdam.

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