Saturday, 29 October 2011

A week of ups and downs

This week, more than any other, has been a week of ups and downs for me but, unlike a rollercoaster, it has come with corresponding emotions.

On Monday, I had a meeting with the new manager of the project I volunteer with over a situation that has brought the project to the brink of collapse.  All that was required of her was a single name and the assurance that future matters be handled by myself as Chair of the Service User Advisory Group (as that is where the alleged incident took place).  It was an attempt that was supposed to regain a bit of stability for the project and some justice for my colleague - it failed.  I did, however, get some satisfaction for both of us later in the week but I'm getting ahead of myself.

On Tuesday, after yet another fairly useless group therapy session, my soon-to-be ex-wife and I took our hamsters to the vets for their free health check.  Of the five, three hamsters had to have treatment and a stay at the vets.  Rocky was found to have an abscess on her abdomen, Spot had a mass on his testicle and Sleepy was suffering from some unknown problem.  We left them at the surgery feeling as though that would be the last time we would see them as we have already lost one hamster, Fluffy, on the operating table and three others through natural causes.

On Wednesday, I received the divorce papers I knew were coming but was still surprised by.  What hurt most was the way I was portrayed as a bastard with no redeeming characteristics at all and I was left thinking 'is this the way my wife really sees me?'.  She said she tried to explain that it was my mental health problem that caused the problem, neatly side-stepping her contribution to the break-up of the marriage, but she still let them say such horrible things about me.  She said that she would drop the proceedings if I wanted but I know that neither of us would be happy if she did that.

On Thursday, my soon-to-be ex-wife and I went shopping and she picked up the trophy I was going to be presenting on Friday.  Thankfully, this time it had been correctly engraved (this was his second attempt).  We also received a call from the vet telling us we could pick up the hamsters although we could have elective surgery done on Spot to remove the mass on his testicle.  Spot had had X-rays taken and there were no masses in his lungs so it could have been a harmless growth but we elected to have the surgery done.

That evening, I had a call from my colleague to say that the people who provide the training for the project had lost their dog to cancer, following quite a long battle. 

Friday was my triumphant day.  I had planned for weeks to honour my colleague by presenting her with a bunch of flowers and a small glass trophy for all the hard work she has done to build up the project she works for.  Unpaid overtime, constantly running from one end of the county to the other and putting up with a lot of crap from her 'bosses' - she has had a lot to contend with.  We had a meeting with the mental health commissioners who had paid for the project and we had the rest of the project team and some service users along too.  The purpose of the meeting was to give our evaluation of the project and the service users were there to tell the commissioners how the project had affected them personally.  As a bonus, I had three extra bunches of flowers to give out - one to the project administrator, one to the trainers (who lost their dog to cancer) and a final bunch to give to the commissioner who put in the most amount of funding for the project.  The service users stories were powerful and, I was hoping, persuasive, although when the lead commissioner gave her speech, I am left with doubts over whether we will get further funding from them.  Three of the service users presented the flowers to the three other recipients and I then gave my pre-prepared speech honouring my colleague before presenting her with her trophy and flowers.  She didn't blub as I hoped she would have but, from what I was told later, the looks on the faces of her 'bosses' and other team members were payment enough.  I struck a blow against them that they will never forget, which was a wonderful bonus to giving my colleague her well-deserved pat on the back.

That evening, I was able to pick up the hamsters from the vets.  Spot's mass turned out to be an abscess so we made the right choice to have the operation performed.  Rocky still needs a little treatment on her abscess but is coping well.  Sleepy's problem could not be determined although the vet believed it to be some kind of genetic problem as Sleepy doesn't really look like a hamster, more like a cross between a hamster and a mouse or rat.  The vet told me that we shouldn't expect Sleepy to live too long.

This morning, my soon-to-be ex-wife found out how true the vet's words were when she found Sleepy dead, curled up in her little coconut house.  Our four remaining hamsters seem OK at the moment but Rocky and Spot still need some treatment with daily antibiotics and a careful but thorough cleaning.  So like I said, it's been a week of ups and downs this week.

Until next time...

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