Seven days since this round of chemo ended and Nick has a mouthful of ugly, painful sores. He has three new “crappy day” beads on his cancer necklace. Another day has been spent waiting for, and then having, a bone scan for his still painful wrist.
His Dad and big brother Frankie arrived on Feb. 24. The next day the staff tried to place a nasal gastrointestinal (NG) tube through Nick’s nose into his stomach to the tune of the worst experience since arriving here.
Nicholas has decided to collect one blue bead for a week’s worth of sleeps in the hospital rather than take one for each sleep, because there would be no room for other beads.
If they had a bead for puking his necklace would be huge. I joke, “Hey Nick, you’re becoming a ‘professional puker’. You could give lessons on how to throw up – lying down, sitting up, and sideways.”
He doesn’t look at me, the box of beads on his lap while he sits up in bed and his fingers struggle to pick a small bead out of its tray. Concentrating on his task and in a voice with a small chemo induced tremor I find endearingly vulnerable he replies, as if he’s given it some thought, “Thadbe OK, I’m puking anyway, but I’d hafta get paid.” And I smile, imagining people standing around taking notes while Nick heaves into a cardboard tray.
I’m thinking of french fries as I toss the full of white-foam puke cardboard tray into the garbage. Nicholas is already heaving into another. I grew up eating the best french fries at The Hut, an A frame burger joint a block from the Arrow Lake in Nakusp, BC.
They use clean oil and fresh potatoes and I drowned the piping hot fries in ketchup and vinegar and ate them out of the same rectangular cardboard tray.
If it’s summertime I can’t drive through Nakusp without stopping to eat a tray full sitting at a picnic table. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to eat out of one of these trays again?