“Who did you chat to before I came in? Everyone else seems really quiet.” Oscar gazed around the ward where many people were sleeping or listening to their headsets.
“There was Alison, she went home. She was such a laugh. Mental that one!” Daisy giggled.
“Why what did she do?”
“Just some of the things that she used to come out with. She’s in remission now, so fingers crossed that she wont have to come back. We keep in touch. She went home a week ago. The first time I came in, there was Ruby but she, well…”
Daisy coughed nervously. “Passed on. it was very sad. She was only 16 and such a nice girl, it always happens to the best of people. It’s so scary, the fact that you can be talking to someone that very morning and they die a few hours later. Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that, that’s not going to help you. The cancer had spread to her liver and that was it.”
“I’m really sorry.”
“As I always say, death is just part of life. It’s not something I’m particularly scared of are you?”
“A bit. I guess it’s just the fear of the unknown.”
“How did you find out that you had cancer Oscar?”
“I’m trying to think how it started. Well, I’d been ill for quite a while, constantly ill I mean. I lost all my energy. I was convinced that I was anaemic and then I finally had a blood test. There were loads of abnormal white blood cells. I had a bone marrow aspiration and that confirmed it. I lost a lot of weight in such a short space of time, I think my girlfriend thought that I was anorexic. How about you?”
“The usual, I found a lump. Your girlfriend called you anorexic? That was rude. I’m not sure that I would have stood for that cheeky cow!”
“It was my own fault. I need to try to eat properly while I’m in hospital, but since getting Leukaemia my appetite has vanished. I don’t even feel hungry any more. Do you get that?”
“I did at first, now it’s more of a case of being completely off certain food. I wouldn’t touch some things that I used to love with a bargepole. It’s probably a good thing! Having cancer has helped me to eat healthily that’s for sure. I was getting fat! Now I just eat loads of salad. I really can’t touch red meat, it just makes me want to throw up, so I just tend to stick to fish and chicken.”
“Yeah, salad and fruit are always good.”
“Oscar you look shattered, so I going to stop talking now and let you sleep. It’s hard at first but you’ll get used to it. The beeping from the equipment just ends up blending into the background after a while, trust me.”
“Oscar sorry to wake you.” It was Milly. “I just need to take your blood pressure again, is that alright?”
“Of course, go ahead.”
“I see that you’ve been drinking plenty of water, which is great.”
“Yeah, but I’m regretting it now!” Oscar laughed.
“I’ll get you a bottle, I just need to write this down on your chart.” Milly returned with a cardboard urine bottle.
“I’ll just draw your curtains. Give one of us a shout when you’re done.”
Oscar relieved himself and placed the urine bottle on his bedside table, pressing his bell.
“I’ll take that away for you now.” Milly opened his curtains, walking into the sluice to dispose of the urine bottle. Oscar glanced across the room at the sleeping Daisy, she looked so youthful. He spied the small collection of books tucked away in his locker. He grasped the parenting book, scanning through its pages.
“Why are you reading a parenting book?”
Oscar jumped. “O-oh erm, my girlfriend’s pregnant, she’s due in about 14 weeks.”
“No way! You look too young! How do you feel about it?”
“In terms of timing, it probably couldn’t be much worse Daisy! I really can’t wait to be a Dad though! It’s going to be really hard I know, but I reckon it will prevent me from wallowing in self-pity.”
“You seem positive enough to me. What’s your girlfriend called?”
“What’s she like?”
“Slender and very pretty, with mousey brown hair.”
“No I meant as a person.”
Oscar hesitated. “She’s a feisty one that’s for sure.”
To be continued…