Oscar gazed reluctantly at the shepard’s pie, prodding the soft mashed potato with his fork, it did look good, but he wasn’t hungry. He took a spoonful of potato, forcing himself to swallow, gazing at George and Daisy who were tucking into their portions. Oscar tried a carrot, chewing it slowly, every mouthful unbearably hard to swallow.He took a sip of water to help the food go down, attempting to eat another mouthful. Daisy looked at him sympathetically.
“It does get easier, I promise. Don’t over force yourself. How’s about cutting the shepard’s pie in half and just focusing on that one half for the time being? That’s what I had to do early on.”
“Okay, I’ll try that Daisy, thanks.”
Slowly, but surely he ate half of the Shepard’s pie and vegetables, his first proper meal for weeks. Daisy glanced at him with her reassuring eyes.
“There. You can’t run before you can walk.” Oscar gazed at her empty plate.
“How did you manage to eat it all?”
“I feel better in myself in general, the first stage of chemo is the worst. Now, I’m focusing on putting a bit more weight on. Just eat little and often and you’ll be fine.”
Little and often, that’s what Ava said at the beginning. Oscar bit his bottom lip, nodding. He glanced at George who has also eaten everything minus the carrots.
“I bloody hate carrots!” He grinned. “Don’t look so scared Oscar, we’ve all been in your shoes, starting chemo is scary shit. It’s fear of the unknown, I mean, not knowing how your body is going to react. I like it on the wards though, it’s nice having other people to chat to.”
Oscar nodded. “Absolutely.”
“It’s also great having a supportive family, mine have been amazing but the best thing is chatting to other cancer sufferers, people who understand. I don’t think some people realise how crap it makes you feel. Do you know what I mean?”
“Yeah, some people aren’ t very sympathetic.”
“Exactly, these things take time. Have you tried your milkshake?”
Oscar picked up the small bottle of Ensure plus.
“One of those is about 330 calories alone they’ll help you gain weight in no time at all. They’re quite nice actually, hardly McDonald’s milkshake standard but drinkable.”
“Ah good.” The memory of his last McDonald’s trip with Ava flashed through his brain. He bit his bottom lip. George averted his eyes, continuing to eat his dinner. Daisy stared at Oscar and then George pushing her finished tray to one side.
“I won.” She grinned, obviously attempting to lighten the mood.
“Daisy, why do you always have to turn everything into a competition?” George sighed.
“Because I’m awesome!”
Oscar laughed. “Thanks you two.”
“Cheering me up. I’ll stop feeling sorry for myself now.”
“Ah, you’re not. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You missed your ice cream!” Oscar eyed the small ice cream in it’s polystyrene pot.
“It’ll probably be mush by now.”
“I dunno, they’re a weird texture. I can never decide whether I like hospital ice cream or not. They don’t thaw.”
Oscar opened the lid, taking a spoonful. “I get what you mean, frozen but not. It tastes okay actually.” Oscar took three small spoonfuls and gave in.
“Really sickly too.” She continued. “I like the tea’s and coffee’s in here although, I’m seriously going to have to cut down on sugar when I leave hospital. I have about 3-6 spoonfuls depending on my mood.” She grinned.
“Hmm, I haven’t drunk much tea and coffee recently. I might give it a try.”
“Then you can try my 6 spoonfuls of sugar trick, it will help you gain weight. Side effects include fillings and loss of teeth.”
“I didn’t think that was particularly funny.”
“I did. It feels good to laugh.”
“It’s visiting time again in half an hour, is your Mum coming back?”
“Yeah, she should be.”
“Lovely, are you two close?”
“Erm we’re hopefully beginning to understand each other.”
“Oh okay.” Daisy smiled softly. “My family are a bit eccentric.”
“Yes they are.” George laughed. “I love your Mum though! Remember that time that she told me that I looked like Jude Law? I loved life that day.”
“You do have quite a similar jawline.”
“Loads of people tell me that. Guess I just can’t help being hot.”
Oscar grinned. “You don’t half blow your own trumpet!”
“Is that a euphemism?”
Daisy coughed, a spoonful of ice cream catching in her throat.
“Daisy, don’t die on us yet babe.” George chuckled.
“George do you ever stop talking and is there any need to be so dirty minded?”
To be continued….