Mixed blessings!

Well, I have to say this past  week or so has been mixed bag  of  life’s up and downs!. Some good, and some not so good.

After the terrifying problem of my leg giving way, thus causing me to collapse in April, I have been patiently waiting to find out more about the diagnosis and prognosis of my arthritic left knee. The news last week wasn’t particularly good, but a little better than I thought or hoped  it would be.

More x-rays have clearly shown severe degeneration of my left knee, caused by osteoarthritis….in other words wear and tear and age! In addition to this over  many years I have endured cartilage  problems in both knees requiring  several lots of surgery and causing most of my meniscus to be removed. For those of you out there who suffer arthritis, I’m sure you are well aware of the severity of pain during major flare ups. The best way to describe it is like having a hot poker pushed right through your knee-joint and out the other end and the poker wiggled about just for good measure!

The prognosis is quite simple, although I am classed by the medical profession as still being quite young for a knee replacement, that will be the course of action they have told me they will need to take. It is the intention however to hold off for as long as possible, may be another 3 or so years,  by ensuring that medication and physiotherapy exercises  can help with the pain management during severe flare ups. In addition to this I have now received a steroid injection directly into the knee to help with the more recent flare up late August/early September that I  had, and I am allowed further ones in the future. But there is a limit to how many one can have, as this too can cause its own problems. I have to say this past week has had its bonuses, the injection has worked remarkably well, and at the moment the pain is under control. 🙂 That has to be a good thing.

I also spent a wonderful day in Scarborough on 4th Sept, luckily I had the knee injection in time to be able to enjoy my day out and do enough walking to say that I could walk without any pain. That has got to be a first in over 6 months!

My day in Scarborough meant I could finally do something I have been wanting to do for many a year……..finally see Herriot country!  A thoroughly enjoyable day out, with some lovely company thrown in. And of course my camera in hand. Oh what a perfect day!!

Back to work on Wednesday bought more ‘mixed news’. As my regulars are aware I should be losing my job at the latest by the end of this year, under our TUPE regulations in 2011.

It seems almost everything we said at the TUPE/Redundancy meeting last year is now coming true! The two companies involved set deadlines to achieve certain transitions of the business. At the time we told them they were ‘unrealistic’. The past 14 months have proved our knowledge of this in everything that has been happening.

In the first instance it was assumed those of the 29 of us on the redundancy list would all be gone by the end of last year, then that was extended in to March 2012.  But it was guaranteed  we would all be gone by  end of June 2012, no jobs at the new company site and everything was running to schedule. Company politics?

Deadlines for us leaving have been extended at least 3 times including up to the end of this year, just in time for Christmas. Then last week…..guess what, yes you guessed right it’s been extended yet again  into March/April next year, and may even be extended to June for the remaining few.

However, one thing is certain our lease on the business premises is up in June 2013 and therefore we will all be gone by then, including the remainder of the colleagues who were not TUPE’d last year.

In a real sense this has given us all a breathing space for a few more months. A little longer to receive a monthly income, a little longer to pay the mortgage and household bills, and a little longer to increase our chances hopefully of getting that new all important job, especially at the time of the year when there is more of a chance to gain a new position elsewhere. Lets be honest, Christmas time is NOT the ideal time to look for a new permanent job. In addition to this it will add a further year of service on to our redundancy pkg and help to give us just that little bit more financial security until we find ourselves a new job or career. Realistically we have all had to weigh up the pro’s and con’s that suite our individual needs, and decide whether to stay until the end or move on before then.

The strange part is that now the two companies are realising their completion/redundancy deadlines were unrealistic, we the mere employees who know nothing actually got it right! But  still no one has turned to us and apologised for having put all our lives on hold for this long, and what’s more no one has turned round and said ”sorry, you were right and we were wrong”.  In addition to this,  a few vacancies have been created at the new companies premises in the UK (how long these will last… no one knows) which are effectively our existing jobs that will continue in the UK, even though we were categorically told 14 months ago this would not be the case. Apart from a few of my younger and much lesser service colleagues applying for these jobs, I think it’s only fair to say the majority of us have lost our trust in the new company, and would actually benefit better by taking the redundancy package and finding a new job elsewhere.

Thinking back to April last year when we were first told we would be losing our jobs, or even as recent as the early part of this year, I couldn’t think of a ‘ideal situation’ for my future, it was difficult to comprehend in my own mind where I would be at this point in time this year. So much worry, stress, health problems physical and mental, and yet in a way, I suppose these past few months have been a chance to take a step back and consider for once what it is I want to do and need to do that is right for me rather than consider what I should do because it is the right thing to do.

At least a few more months breathing space,  a chance to gain even more experience and service, and more importantly now my mind is more clear a chance to consider what I do want to do for me and what’s right for my future. I have often heard people say ”things happen for a reason, although at the time we can’t understand why”.  I think this is one of those occasions!! Indeed mixed blessings!

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