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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Harbour Cafe

In a disheveled cafe I have sat and worked. Unflustered staff work servicing a slow trade of students and shoppers. It’s atmosphere is under appreciated and as of today no more.

I like it here. I have seen the same people slaving over their laptops working, I have seen attached couples looking and talking, planning and plotting. Seen individuals waiting expectantly for friends, partners and lovers to arrive.

Several weeks ago their sandwich bar was empty at the start of the lunchtime period. Only a few pieces of cake were to be found. The chap said the delivery had not arrived, but I suspected differently. Since then the shelves have always been under stocked.

It was not a surprise to hear they were closing. What did surprise and please me was the straightforward message giving to their customers on the front window. … had a good time here … time to move on … thank you. That, to me shows how they did value their customers.

So, thank you in return for providing me a small haven of piece and quite in a busy city centre. I wish you all the best in the future.

Last week I sat here and cried

How a week changes your life thoughts. I sat in this very cafe and cried to my self. I rested my forehead in my hands in an attempt not to be seen but really wanted someone, yes a stranger, to tap me on my shoulder and ask.

I am sitting here on a baking day, (waiting for the predicted heatwave) amongst people who appear to have no problems. There are eight of them, seven women and one chap. Could be work friends and are chatting about everything under the sun: Gentlemen Jack, it’s forth coming replacement – demanding no one gives out any spoilers.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

A women, who I suspect is a cross dresser, is ordering her meal. Her covered head could reveal more, but it matters not to me.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

The staff here are a collection of mature people all of whom have a strong purpose of service. They are busy busy people who serve their customers with dignity and pride. I don’t see this type of service in any of the chain coffee places.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

I hope they are, as I now know my shell is soft and bruises easily and I am always on guard for a glancing blow to my feelings.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

Thinking back over the last month

It’s only been five days since I was told I did not have cancer and the more I think about life now the more I appreciate how that threat had an impact on my life and was a burden.

I don’t want to sound dramatic and over state my view when I write this, as I feel I must remember the 4 in 10 men who have been through the same range of feelings as I have but with a different outcome. Although I have not got cancer I am now one of the 1 in 10 who may still be diagnosed with prostrate cancer in the future.

At the end of the three month or so process, from initial concern to conclusion my work for my employer slowly ground to a trickle where the easiest of task were enormous. I could not focus or pay attention and had lost the biting interest in work that I have always had. I worked on small snippets of work at home and did the same when there.

My thoughts consistently revolved around the other significant problems I have. The priority was my family problems then University work. The family problems are well documented here, but had to be serviced (and still doing so) the whole time. The Uni work had to be a real low priority where I did things but did not worry about the quality, in fact it was used as a diversion away from everyday affairs.

I appreciate all the people around me at work more than I can thank them form: for how they still included me as team member when I was there. It relieved the silly pressure of me being embarrassed around them as I knew I was underperforming.

My line manager was always kind, always had time for me and never worried me with the concerns he had due to being short staffed. I owe him a dept of gratitude that over time I will repay.

My family have been good and we have just got on with everything as it comes. My better half has worked her socks off supporting all the family with everything that is needed and one day normality will resume.

For anyone who is involved with prostrate cancer please think board and keep a check on reality. I was lucky and I would be writing differently if my news had been negative.

… and again … for the fourth time

I think we are not believed. For the fourth time we are being questioned as to what we knew about our son and partners drug use.

We have explained our position, understanding and knowledge of drugs – not a lot, but I think we are not believed.

We have requested training on drug awareness to help us in the future and said we would not tolerate anything if we suspected drug use and would act immediately if we suspected anything what so ever.

The full compliment

In the process of becoming Special Guardians a process has to be followed inside a framework of guidance and to a 26 week time table. It culminates with a three week period where people (the panel) read all the paperwork and prepare for a panel sitting; where we are formally interviewed to support the application to have our grandson live with us as we will be his Guardians.

It is something that cannot be fully appreciated before the start, but the time and effort is draining, both mentally and physically, particularly when you feel you have lost the plot or can’t see why they need to know a remote piece of information. But the goal has to be kept in sight all the time – Safe Guarding.

We, the family that is, have meet or been involved with:

  • 1 Social work – child and parents
  • 1 Social workers boss
  • 1 Social worker – grandparents
  • 1 therapist – mother
  • 1 day nursery manager – child
  • 3 general practitioners – mother, father and both grandparents
  • 1 Fire safety inspection (Fire Engine and crew)
  • 1 Health and safety inspection
  • 10 to 12 sets of forms to complete – 40 hours
  • 2 full medicals – grand parents
  • 1 child developmental medical
  • 2 change grow live courses – parents
  • 1 narcotic anonymous session – farther
  • 35 hours of interview for grandparents
  • 10 hours of joint interviews of grand parents
  • 4 case meetings in social services offices
  • 2 case meetings in our home
  • 10 hours of parent interviews

There is still time needed to complete the process.

The more we talk to all the people involved the greater the understanding of what safe guarding is expected to deliver at the real sharp end.

It is still a difficult time.

Results …

After a wait I have the results of the biopsy …

27 samples taken – none cancerous.

The relief is instant.

It the small things in life …

Not a big earth shattering thing but …

I have just got home and heard my wife laugh for the first time in months.

Breaking a trust can never be undone

I have been questioned why I did not intervene if I had concerns about drug taking when we visited our son and his partner while collecting and delivering our grandson.

It’s simple, lack of evidence. If anyone makes an accusation and in effect calls someone a liar without corroborated evidence then the ramifications are immense. Forget slander; it’s the end of a relationship. In our case it would have broken our family apart. Sorry’s will not cut it. Trust has gone forever. It may look fine and dandy three or four years later but the latent defect in the relationship is still there.

Please don’t think I am saying we were not concerned, but the only drug I can identify is cannabis due to its smell. We were told cannabis was not their concern. Any other drug and I am lost. It was other drugs!

When we visited, the house was often tidy, often untidy. Being untidy, particularly with an active child is not a crime. An early riser is our 3 year old grandson and a partner who has sleeping tablets means she has to go to bed early, which places addition pressure on family routine and duties.

Our son works hard and we often recognised sleep deprivation. Our sons partner often was tired and again sleep deprivation was not an unacceptable diagnoses.

Getting my point across to the social services was difficult. I pointed out that when they act without evidence, using their instinct, they walk away with impunity, and don’t have to pick up the pieces of a false allegation. We have not got their instinct!

Caution and evidence is required.

It occurs to me honesty is a fickle concept

Over the last four months my life has been dominated by a two major activities. Concentrating on the Special Guardian process for this particular blog reveals that each of the social services branches I and my family are involved with do not always understand what they have agreed with each other.

My concern is: we now find out that the process we are going through is to be used as evidence in the decision about whether our son and partner are fit and proper people to raise their son. It had been explained it was a separate process and was a backstop in case it was needed; i.e. if returning the child to home was not done.

This is not denying this has to be asked or what the outcome is to be, but how the social services are concentrating on the negative aspects of the situation in away that seems to be sacrificing two people who are desperately doing everything asked of them under the guise of child comes first.

I feel that if they had joined-up thinking and actually looked deeper than their individual responsibilities and worked collaboratively to solve the underlying issues the parents the BIG problem would be solved on route.

It appears to me they are positioning themselves on the self righteous side of life and going for a split up as it is safe. It will destroy five people in a stroke. There will be no return. Five peoples lives gone,

Yes, I hear and read all the documentation produced, which I have previously criticised for being incorrect and inaccurate, but it is when I stitch together what they say and do when presenting their own position to us, I see a trend away from there declared aim of keeping the family together.

Trust is being diminished.

Reality check – needed regularly

Over the last few weeks, possible five, my posts have ranged over associated subjects that read in isolation do not directly appear to relate to the mental health of my family and I. This is the dichotomy: mental health cannot be divorced from individuals, or families in the same way other medical conditions can – let me explain.

A broken bone can be plastered, a skin cut dressed, elective surgery has predictive objectives and outcome; all can be traumatic. Relevant to me; cancer can be cured (please don’t flame me). Those around you observe your recover as plaster is removed, dressings removed, recover takes place; crass I know; I am still alive.

For mental health sufferers only those who know your problems are in a position to detect change. It’s all hidden behind cloths and bravado. So the great public in the street, shops, busses etc. can’t detect your anguish that preoccupies your daily life. They just witness your current manner, posture, body language and facial expressions.

In my minds eye, many conditions may cause temporary depression, which in an otherwise healthy person will fade with time, the love and support of people around them.

In my opinion mental health suffers retain this load and it becomes accumulative and creates another layer of ‘hurt’ that has to be assimilated into their very isolated perspective and takes effort to manage and longer to shed.

In my situation, father, I worry deeply about my families health, physical and mental health at the moment.

This is the third cafe I have sat in today typing frantically to express my self. Absolutely no one knows what I feel and the load I carrying. Not even my family who I know unreservedly support me. I am their rock that I hope they have anchored their feelings to. I am their unquestionable support that is there for them 24/7. I am the provider of moral encouragement. I unpick and unpack what they can’t understand or comprehend and return it in bite-size portions of understanding.

Please, I am not saying I can’t cope, I have to, but I have my own mental health issues to resolve as well.

So, this is getting around to say: if you see an individual person in a busy cafe, or sitting on their own in a busy park, don’t panic. They may well be just passing the time while waiting to meet someone, but they could also be wanting to be amongst people and not sharing anything. They may be wishing someone is going to acknowledge they exist. They may be grieving for someone, (death is not the only thing people grieve for.). They could be wanting to see a change in someone in their life. They may understand exactly what they feel they need, but is out of reach. They may not be getting the level of support they have been promised.

How strange – a chap just sat opposite me and acknowledge my existence – that is a good feeling, I need no more.

Take a introspective interest in them: that’s not befriending them for the sake of it, just be compassionate in your thoughts; they could have a perfect life with no concerns, (great) but yet again they could be suffering in silence on the inside.

Getting back to my wayward blogs: all events in life register somewhere in the brain and wriggle around there to make connections.  Some remain unconnected and unresolved and create problems like PTSD – for me earlier in my life.  Those that are connected are either good, bad or indifferent and affect every connection there is – this is not scientific, just my feeling, including your mental health.

Concluded the same as the general advice

No matter what he did it was never appreciated, and always not enough. A conclusion was arrived at independently, but we agreed

Summarising our sons expressed feeling: If I can do no good and always suffer repercussions then do less and be in the same position. This removes the constant harassment and pressure to perform.

So, skilfully he is going to cut his ties with his ex-partner and maintain his relationship with his children. This will not be without trauma and tantrums from her. (Gaslighting and Boarder Line Personality Disorder.)

My forward thinking concern is future relationships for them both. The sooner she identifies there is a break in their relationship and she can no long dictate life for our son the sooner she will accept their only ‘life connection’ is their children the better.

It harsh to say this, but their children need to grow up in a safe and unbiased environment where partners are not being challenged or defending their actions morning, noon and night. A toxic life style is not even appropriate for just adult families.

This is not ideal but looking at the underlying causes and environment is necessary.

It just keeps coming

Our son has been urinating blood for over two months and not done anything about it.

He had been to the doctors in the last week and had been given a hospital appointment. During the last week he was sent home from work as he could not walk. Another visit to the doctors as the pain was unbearable and pain relief was prescribed.

A short car journey to the seaside for a visit was made on Friday. I usually park on the outskirts of the city and bus in. He could not get out of the car to make the short bus journey. He tried three separate times and could only cry in pain.

Accident and Emergency hospital was my solution. I had to get a wheelchair to transport him from the car park and still in pain we arrived.

Kidney stones were mentioned!

Inaccuracy of meeting notes

A report is being prepared on our suitability to be Special Guardians of our grandson. Information is therefore being gathered over time and we get to see a record of the meeting notes etc. I am surprised at the quality of wording and the inaccuracy of the text in the meeting notes.

The meeting notes should be unbiased and reflect the truth spoken about the facts presented by all those who have commented. They are, in effect, minutes of a meeting: which can be used as formal evidence at a future time.

I spent an evening going through the last set of minutes and annotated them with comments and questions as I felt that in many places they did not reflect the fact as they exist.

I raised this with the chairman of the meeting, who it transpires was the author of the minutes, and he was surprised about my concerns and asked me to write them down.

A bigger concern is the quality of the final report that is going to filed with the family court and used to make life changing decisions in private about all of family.

Special Guardianship

The need for our grandson to be safe and secure is what is driving us both. His needs must be met for him to flourish.

The process of becoming a Special Guardian is very detailed and stressful. It has a time constraint so a timetable is critically important. Paperwork and paperwork and just just in case you missed it, more paperwork. We have now each had 20 hours of interviews. In which we have visited our childhood through school, into work. Our relationship with our parents, family and friends. Our relationship in our marriage, our parenting skills and motivation for doing this, our financial stability and health. Hmmm! Ah! References taken up, and CRB checked done

Our grandson is not immune in this process, he has had a health and development medicals, and been assessed by the play-school and health visitors and has had work done with him by social services.

This process is based upon fostering, and is supposed to be less onerous, but rigorous all the same.

I have been surprised at how much I have done, and we have done together; and with just a few more forms and interviews left will be relieved shortly. We have about a month to wait.

Pot calling

At Christmas time a little coercive force was applied to ensure our son was always in contact with the mother of their children while they were with him and away for a break with us. Nothing wrong with that. The preliminary incommunicado was due to the constant abuse he was receiving from his partner and his phone was turned off.

Last weekend the mother went away with her father from Friday until Sunday, which became Monday. An accident happened with one of the children and immediate contact was necessary. Her phone was uncontactable. (Could be off, could be no power.)

It took contact, via FB, to get a message delivered to her. A friend collected the elder child from the hospital to allow our son to concentrate on the younger child.

Her mum managed visit on Monday and another on Tuesday just as the child was being formally discharged in the afternoon.

Strange, but motherhood means different things to different people! Yes, pots calling black comes to my Mind?

Not surprised, but pleased in a way that my suspicions, while founded, were slightly wrong

Recently, based on observations and a little research, I thought a family member had the traits of someone Gaslighting someone. It was the narcissistic traits and the relentless nature of her behaviour (two, three years) that caused, and still do cause, that underlying feeling of uneasiness about her motives and her desires for the future.

Now a diagnoses of Boarder Line Personality Disorder has been given it now becomes a reality that can formally be addressed. This will, like all the other mental health things going on in our family, take time. Whether any relationships can be salvaged is unlikely.

Mentally paralysed – all paths blocked!

I have reached a point where I am mentally num and dysfunctional. The situation of my life has six distinct activity areas. At the moment they all need to be fed, watered and tendered, but I cannot move, I cannot focus on anyone thing.

Work, University, Cancer, Special Guardianship, my son, his partner are the broad headings. Their order shifts all day long. But there is always one that is more dominant. I have great difficulty in choosing a priority for any length of time.

Yet again I am in a cafe convincing myself I am working on my final piece of work for Uni as that is the priority, but a thought crept passed my study eyes and BAM it’s gone. What is my priority?: I know, I’ll introduce a plausible diversion and still convince myself I am working. Yes it worked – I am typing this – bugger.

In thought now and I realise I have not a real moment for my own personal thoughts, and this (typing gibberish) is my only release but it’s still about the load I have with me. It’s not a true escape!

I only read this yesterday and don’t know who to give credit to, but: it’s like being on a route on a map and being halfway there only to be told you are on the wrong map.

Yes …. I am emotionally lost …. I have not even got the energy to beat my self up.

It’s fantastic it happens at all!

I expect you might already subconsciously manage your own thoughts about the world in an orderly way. I do. But I now appreciate my mood is a big controlling factor. If I am happy, my blog reflects that; if sad, melancholy; if cross I want revenge.

I now also appreciate that my feelings at the time also fall within a particular stereotypical role model(s) that I transition through all day long. I am a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, an engineer, a photographer, a confidant. Ah, I almost forgot, I am in individual, me – divorced from all role models!

Add to this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I feel there are three level of consideration in any activity I witness and then after a passage of time want to write about. It is perhaps this passage of time that allows organisation and reconciliation of thoughts to take place to balance the contamination and introduce perspective, which then brings in life’s baggage.

So now there are five interactive processes involved in any memory activity before I start to write, which is then dependent on the command of the written language of English I have and the effort I want to expend. It’s a wonder how all this happens: not only for me but anyone.

D-Day: Operation Neptune

The day of my operation is a strange day. I sit here knowing and watching the day happen around me. My day is detached from the hospital world and the greater world outside.

The television news is reporting on the anniversary of the D-Day Landings and there is family chatter happening in patches around me, along with purposeful people organising everyone.

People who are not patients are ushered out of the waiting area while old news footage of the D-Day Landings are shown on the news reports.

I am not comparing the situation I am in with those people 75 years ago today, in fact contrasting their situation.

I am safe. I have good prospects, even considering the prospects of Cancer. The future has a plan and on the whole I have a good level of control over my life without anyone trying to kill me.

Those chaps who were boarding the landing crafts were in an inherently unsafe place, the odds of survival were low. While there was a plan, I expect they only knew from the last command they were barked at as to what to do next. Lastly they had no control over anything, apart from putting one foot in front of the other while putting themselves in harms way FOR ME.

Hindsight comes with 20/20 vision of history and is a biased view of outcomes that are designed to placate the negative feelings of what you/me or the country has done on our behalf.

Again this is speculation but I suspect the thoughts and emotions of those chaps were based upon the same level of headline details I have about current affairs and those chaps thoughts were tempered with the fact the war had been going for an appreciable time, so the spectre of the outcomes of defeat outweighed the fears. Duty to friends, family, society in general and the country was the driver.

Not many veterans are left to make the historic journey but each one did more than they can be thanked for.

Told the good folk at work

I could not justify not telling them about both situations … my performance is poor.

I have only told my line manager, a project specific manager and two very good young chaps who report to me about my plight.

As my exploratory operation is on Wednesday, and it could be good or bad I felt they should know.

My involvement with the project has dwindled and in effect I have withered on the vine. I should have challenged a lot more events that have happened, but knew I could not resolve them in a timely manner to keep things on side. Starting a challenge needs to be managed or the vacuum it leaves is more disastrous than not challenging: others feel they have succeeded over you.

Neurological tests

As it was not clear what type of neurological problem I might have so I was referred to my GP for tests. The results were a big surprise.

Full blood tests were done and I was expecting a magic arrow to hit a neurological marker. It did not! But it found an unsuspecting high PSA Level – an indicator of activity in the Prostrate glad.

Six weeks later and another PSA test revealed it was even higher result, which was a cause for concern.

So a digital inspection was done looking for problems with the Prostrate glad. Problems identified! It was swollen.

Following this was a high intensity MRI scan was done. This revealed three swollen areas. All graded at a value of two but there existence could not be understood. One area would be at grade two would not have been a problem, but three needs to be further investigated.

Two weeks, or there about, it was a biopsy operation to confirm or deny the existence of Prostrate Cancer.

Now waiting for the results.

The original cause for concern was shelved as recent scans would have revealed any significant problems. That could be for another day!

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