“I really do have to go for a while so that you can rest. You have dark circles around your eyes.” Janet stroked Oscar’s thin cheek.
“Sleep well. I promise I’ll nip in again before I go home.”
“Awesome, I’ll look forward to it. Don’t forget.”
“Do you really have that little faith in me?”
“I suppose I did once Mum.”
“I don’t blame you. Bye, you get some rest and try to drink some more of your ensure to build up your strength.”
“I will do, see you.”
Milly quietly wheeled the obs machine towards Oscar.
“That time again?”
“It has to be done.”
Oscar waited anxiously for the blood pressure cuff to inflate. The machine beeped.
“109/65 that’s better. The extra fluids have done the trick. I’ll just do your temperature. 37.2 yes, that’s back to normal.”
“I probably just look a bit pale. Still, it’s better than looking like someone has slapped both of my cheeks.”
“Would you like another drink? You’re prescribed another ensure?”
“Can I pass? I’m not sure if I could stomach it at the moment. I’ll just stick to water if that’s okay.”
“I’d advise the ensure.”
“I’d rather not waste it, plus I’ll probably need the toilet again!”
“It’s up to you. That’s fine you’ve done pretty well so far. We’ll weigh you again before you leave. It’s common for someone to lose weight throughout their chemotherapy treatment, so don’t worry. Tell you what, I’ll leave one of the juices on the side for you later.”
“Okay, thanks.” Oscar rolled onto his side, brushing the strands of hair from his pillow. He picked up the small bedside mirror, examining his hair. It looked different, he held the mirror at an angle, so he might see the back. Oscar swallowed as he noticed the small but noticeable bald patch just above the nape of his neck. He ran his fingers over his skin, shuddering at the bizarre sensation.
‘Thank God I brought that hat!’ He thought. ‘I’ll be needing it very soon.’
“I really didn’t want to wake you, but I have to go very soon, my train’s in an hour, I wanted to have one last chat with you before I left.”
“Okay, I’m really going to miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too. I’m not going to lie, I’m worried about you being alone in the house with her. If she gives you any crap don’t take it!”
“I hate arguing with her, I’m too tired these days.”
“Yes, well that’s understandable. Your hands are very cold, I’ll turn that fan down. Having it on full power is doing you no good now that your temperature’s gone.”
“Please call me as soon as you leave hospital.”
“Of course. I promise.”
“How organised are you for the baby’s arrival? Do you have everything?”
“We’re going quite well actually. We’ve got a Moses basket, changing stuff, baby grows, nappies, some clothes and a few basic baby toys. I’d say we have the essentials.”
“I brought you something which I don’t think you’ll have. This was yours, but it’s still in really good nick. Your Grandma knitted it. I know how much she meant to you, so I thought it might be a nice idea to return it to you.”
Oscar gently unwrapped the rustling tissue paper, revealing an intricately designed item.
“Oh my God! It’s absolutely beautiful, what a gorgeous shawl, it’s perfect. I’ll treasure it, it’s almost an antique.” Oscar grinned.
“That fact that it’s almost 21 years old doesn’t quite make it an antique. Always hand wash it though, I’m not sure whether it would survive the washing machine.”
“Probably not, it’s so delicate.”
“This was also yours.” Janet handed Oscar a small blue cardigan with small metal buttons.
“Thanks so much, did Grandma make that too?”
“No, actually I made this one when I was pregnant with you. I went through a phase of knitting, I quite enjoyed it actually and I was relatively good, even though I do say so myself!”
“What happened to all the things you knitted?”
“I can’t find them, I think I gave some of them to my sister, your Aunt Ruthie.”
Oscar wrinkled his nose. “For Harold.”
“I’m really sorry about that by the way.”
“You know, that time when I completely lost my rag with Harold.”
Janet laughed “Oh that, I’d almost forgotten! I’m not! You did me a favour. Seeing the back of Ruthie was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“You probably wont remember, but she wasn’t a nice person Oscar.”
“Hmm, I can’t, not really.”
“She was just a snob, that’s all. I was probably a little jealous of her too, she had everything and took great pleasure at laughing in my face when our little family wasn’t doing so well.”
To be continued……