Precious Old Tabby Kitten

I started my day bringing my 15-year old Tabby to the vet. Apparently, she’s old (!!!) and the vet says her organs are fine and that it is mainly her bones that are degenerating. I truly believe that really, it is about my cat’s quality of life and not quantity. I just don’t want her to be in pain and I am glad that the inflammation she had last week seems to have subsided a little. She’s sleeping a lot better now and that to me is the most important thing.

Cancer seems to be on everyone’s mind now. Many people surrounding my mother has cancer and she is being very supportive to them. She has a friend with cancer who spends every Tuesday afternoon at our house (while I am at work). My mother cooks whatever it is this lady wants. My mother’s commitment to some of her friends surprises me sometimes. Other than my brothers it seems, my sisters, my mother and I aren’t really good friends. I’ll miss my friends’ birthdays etc. just because and I am highly unapologetic for that. My mother is generally the same way but she has a soft spot for friends in need. I have a soft spot for people in need, but I don’t want it to cost me valuable “me” time.

My younger brother flies home from university later on (in a few hours) and I have to do the airport pick-up so it’s bed time for me and I’ll elaborate more on other stuff later on.

Resigning from my Post!

I put myself in a real dilemma as of late, when I applied for a scholarship to pursue a PhD. Of course, I did this in full consultation with my boss. This morning, I spoke to him about a few concerns I had. One was that under the terms of my employment, I am required to resign giving one month’s notice. I don’t have any annual leave to spare so I wouldn’t be able to surrender some leave. If I am to leave for further studies, it would be either end of August or early September and therefore, by this time next month (assuming I do leave), I would want to be done wrapping up my office work at this time.

Another concern I had was if I submit my resignation and don’t get the scholarship. Would I be able to rescind my resignation? I was advised by the head of the department of public administration that I could rescind, as long as I do so before the date that the resignation would take effect.

Finally, a third concern I have is the fact that I just have a lot of work that might be a little too complex for the existing staff. This is because they do not have work experience in a few things that I am currently responsible for. They could learn but not in one day. I would need time to train them in specifically what I am dealing with.

The conclusion and decision taken is to therefore resign tomorrow, to take effect a month from now. If I don’t hear from the Scholarship council then I will think about rescinding the resignation… or not.

Rich People Solving Poor People Problems

I don’t work for the UN. It isn’t a secret that people who work in multilaterals like the World Bank and the UN get well paid (relative to many other locals regardless of your job). This might be similar with Regional Economic Communities e.g. the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Over the last few weeks, we were invited to attend a UN conference abroad and I was nominated to represent my country. My office does not have petty cash the way it used to so I was asked to process my visa with my own money and then they would reimburse me. This is acceptable to me albeit something I am never too happy about (on principle, it is not staff’s job to cover the inefficiencies of offices).

My issue isn’t with my office. I filled in the vendor form the UN gives you to fill in when you are invited to attend a conference etc. and they usually transfer Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) to your account. I usually fill in these forms in no time and they usually never give me a hassle about anything. This time though, I don’t know if I was dealing with newbies/ junior staff/ incompetent staff but they kept coming back and forth to me asking me about this and that, telling me they aren’t sure that the money will be sent to my account etc. and the most recent email from them was telling me that I might have to cover all expenses first and then after the conference, they will send me my DSA!

I replied to them telling them that this was unacceptable to me and that if they are unable to transfer the funds on time, I will just cancel the ticket they already booked for me. I don’t understand how the UN can expect me- someone who is employed by a developing country’s government, to cover the costs of 5 days hotel+ whatever else. And to think they already booked me at a hotel with a price tag of over $200 a day for me to cover first. HELLO UNITED NATIONS!!! STEP the F UP. Those of us stupid government folk from “shit hole” countries don’t get paid anything close to your wages!!! We can’t shit out $ 1000 for hotel for a few days! This is what happens when rich folk try to solve poor people problems.

“3 months to Live”

“Time flies”. What a common saying and yet, it seems to be so true. My latest blog entry before this one was last week. Since then, I have moved office from my own relatively large office space to a cubicle. Why? I told my boss he needed to use my office as a meeting room and in no time, the office was refurbished. Admittedly, I do prefer my cubicle now. Mainly because I believe it is better for camaraderie. This does not mean there aren’t disadvantages but…

My mother’s friend who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer was told over this past week since finding out she was sick, was told many things. First, she was in her final stages. Second, there is hope and she would have to operate. Third, it isn’t serious (or that was what she was told by her kids/ telling other people and today… she has 3 months to live.

This friend of my mother is the 3rd of her close friends who has been diagnosed with cancer within the last year. One was diagnosed with breast cancer, another one was diagnosed with cervical cancer (HPV or not, cancer is cancer) and finally this one, with ovarian cancer… the other two went through radiation/ chemo and seem to be doing relatively well.

Perhaps most important to me though is my 15-year old cat. She was twitching and I noticed this. My sister took her to the vet who said she might be in terrible pain because she has an inflammation near her leg. The vet isn’t quite sure what exactly is inflamed but she was given dexamethasone ( I believe a variation of this) and has an appointment next week.

Update July 20th, 2018:

We went to casualty earlier when dropping off my mother at the hospital. My sister has terrible migraines and I decided maybe she needed a shot for the pain (later, she opted for pills instead).  We then went to the ward my mother’s friend was in. Her kids were there too. We greeted my mum’s friend and her kids. To me, the lady looked worse that what my mother had described.

I told my mother that at this point, one thing we really need to do is by food for the kids (or cook). We bought them some pizza to take home since it’s usually their mother that cooks for them.

The kids were given an option- put her in an assisted facility for 24 hours care or bring her home. The kids opted to bring her home and pay for a full-time carer.

We Waste Time Wasting Time…

This week has been very similar to the ones before- hectic. Even when I was on holiday at the beginning of this month, it was hectic because it was not a holiday to relax but to get certification for my PADI EFR and rescue diver (see previous entries).

Today, I went home for lunch after picking up sis from town. My mother went to my sister’s room (she’s only here on holiday) to tell her something, and when I walked in (I think it was to ask my sister something), I saw my sister’s and mum’s face carrying a very serious look.

My mother had just found out that one of her best friends has not only been diagnosed with cancer, but the cancer is at its final stage. It is important to note at this point that my mother is not very knowledgeable about cancer (not that I am either but…).

My mother has been friends with this lady for a while. I remember meeting this particular friend because her daughter, when she was only a baby, went to Singapore for heart surgery (if I remember correctly) and we went to Singapore often as well and from there, my mother and this lady’s friendship blossomed. She became a family friend and her son is one of my younger brother’s best friends too. In other words, we are family friends.

This lady has been a true friend to my mother- at least in my observation. In one of our trying times, when food was scarce, she would send one of her kids to our house every day, to bring food she cooked. I will never forget this generous gesture that was not only for my mother but for me and my sister.

When I came back from my Master’s last year, I found out that my mother had stopped talking to her. For what reason? After hearing only one side, I believed they made a mountain out of a mole hill. My mother found out that this lady’s ex-boyfriend did not like my mother around because she is a terrible drunk (my mother is a terrible drunk, I don’t like her either when she drinks). My mother was upset because this friend of hers did not tell her until she broke up with her ex-boyfriend. This lady on the other hand asked my mother to remove her ex from my mother’s Facebook and my mother said she didn’t have to because the lady’s ex is a friend of hers also and she didn’t have to be part of the conflict. Like I said, I’ve only heard one side of this story.

My mother heard the news from my brother’s best friend- the son of this lady. He told my mother that he will be going to the hospital (this lady is now admitted to hospital) and I don’t know if he offered or she asked but she will be going with him to visit her. My mother has a big heart but she isn’t always in touch with that heart… until it is jolted. When my mother was discussing this with us, she believed that the cancer was not truly in its last stage but instead, this lady has been admitted because she will be thoroughly washed and the cancer will be cleaned out of her system.

When I say my mother isn’t too knowledgeable about cancer, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t know it kills. Sometimes, we also say things we want to believe and at this point, I am not going to breakdown the hope my mother has for our family friend. At this point in time, the lady does not yet know she has cancer. Her kids do. According to one of her kids (who told my mother), they told the doctor that they should be told the news because their mother isn’t strong enough (yet) to take it, especially with her high-blood pressure.

Every once in a while, life reminds us of what is important. We waste way too much time wasting time… time we want to spend with the people we care about, the people we love… we are upset because we want to be the one who receives love and forget that love is something you give but not necessarily receive and we should never expect it either.