Quite a few of you (very kindly) have been emailing and contacting me to see how my dog is doing. Currently, at this moment in time, she is still fighting with everything she has. Her abdomen has swollen (as we knew it would) but she is in no discomfort or pain, is still happy to trot off for a walk, eats like a horse and is milking it for all the cuddles and love she can get.
My final vet bill came in at £7631; of this the insurance have paid £3441, so I am still working on trying to find the difference. Also, her normal vet produced me with a bill of over £600 for her very first visit, which I paid and asked them to supply me with an official receipt so I could put in a claim to my insurance (just-in-case). They took the claim form from me, looked it over to check I'd filled it in right, told me they would "sort it" out for me. My insurance never received the claim, and it is now too late for me to file one with them for the amount. To say I am fuming would be an understatement for I had to use an overdraft to pay them the amount in the first place, so I now have to find that amount as well. It's just been one thing after another, and I have honestly felt as though the very people who are meant to be there to help, have in fact caused me more problems. I know to some people this is a small amount (lucky you) but to me it might just as well be a million. I take home just £615 per month (the joys of running your own business - oh, you thought people who ran small businesses were rolling in it? You could not be more wrong; my previous staff have earned more than I do) so the first vet's bill cost me a months wages. The remaining I have from the amount the insurance paid is 5.5 months worth of wages. Thankfully, the kindness of a few friends, and some completely random strangers (I hate that I can never thank them personally) helped me raise £330 towards the bills (although the justgiving site take 5% of that amount) but that's half a month I don't have to find. The rest, I have no idea where it is going to come from. I can sell my car (it's still not enough - and I still owe money on it) but that is it. I have nothing else.
It does piss me off slightly (a lot). I was brought up to do everything the "right way". Never take anything from someone, if you want something you get off your arse, work for it, and earn it (a motto I've always stuck to until recently). I was told it doesn't matter how awful a job may be, if you are without one, you take whatever is available to cover your bills (I hated working in the factory back-in-the-day yet I did it to pay my bills). Until recently I have never asked anyone for anything (other than the vile scum who conned me - I've asked him many times to pay me back; he is the reason my life took the downward financial turn and found itself in the state it's currently still in). Good work ethics were instilled in my - I've had just 7 weeks off sick in 31 years of working (one of those my boss forced me into her car to take me home as she didn't want me at work spreading my germs). For 5 years I worked for someone who allowed me just 14 days holiday each year (I worked 6 days a week for her too). For 10 years my boss gave me 21 days (again, I worked a 6 day week). In the 11 years I've worked for myself I've allowed myself 8 days a year, so, as you can see, I have always been a grafter. I've put the hours in, got sod all back out really, except job satisfaction, and knowing that I've worked for every penny I've earned - that's why it was so hard to set up the fundraising page; I have never asked anything of people. It literally made me cry every time someone was kind enough to make a donation; to think these people thought that much of me to help, was a feeling I could never describe. In a way it's been the making of me. It's made me realise that there are people out there who are full of kindness. A lot of people who made a donation told me "you've already paid-it-forward in more ways than we could ever pass on to you". One acquaintance (not even someone I have much to do with) said to me "you've done more for me than you could ever know; just being there when I needed someone, had nobody else, was a truly wonderful thing to do".
I got it wrong with the dog though; boy did I get it wrong. I should have registered her in my Mum's name - she is a pensioner. Had I done so all the treatment she's had, all the bills, all the surgery (including the surgery I cannot afford to let her have, which will improve her life vastly) would have been done. She'd now be free of the current illness, on the road to recovery and possibly with us for another 3/5/7 years; we'll be lucky if she's still with us in 3 days. Had I done that her bills would have been paid for, because my Mum could have gone to the PDSA and got her fixed, for nothing but a donation, of whatever amount she could afford. Yes, we got it wrong there. Or did we? Had we done such a thing we would have been nothing better than the conman who screwed me out of so much money, or those who claim single parent benefits when they live with their partner (I've known a few of those in my time). In my opinion though, it really doesn't pay in this life to try and do things the "right " way. I couldn't' be someone who doesn't, it's not in my DNA, however, there are times I wish that I could. However, having said that, while those who do it right do end up getting shit on from a great height (why do the scum always get away with it?) at the same time it's also shown me there are people out there who care, and to be cared about and thought of in a kind way, is never a bad thing. It won't clear the debt I was left with, it won't fix my dog, it won't find the gas leak we have at home so we can finally cook again and have some heat in the house, but at least I know (some) people care :)
I've learned things about myself through all of this. I've spent so much of my life looking at myself through my own eyes, which were scorched by the negativity which surrounded me growing up. I believed I was being bullied because I was worthless as I grew up. I know now, that is not true; they bullied me because they were jealous. I didn't get that at the time, I didn't understand how anyone could have been jealous of me. I had nothing. My parents worked their arses off just to make the ends meet (again, they believed you worked for what you had). Often there was only just enough money to put the barest of foods on the table. They struggled every single day for the small amount they had. Mum knows now they shouldn't have bothered; they should have gone down the social housing route. They would have been so much better off if they had; she would be so much better off now she's a pensioner if they had. They didn't though. They knew they could just about earn enough to buy their own home, do it "right". Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but they definitely did it wrong. I believe those girls who bullied me did so for several reasons - all of them, through jealousy. I always got on better with boys than girls - I grew up in a very male orientated world, so 99% of my friends were boys. This did not go down well with other girls - jealous. While my parents didn't have anything, we (my brother and I) were not decked out in designer labels) what we did have from them was love and attention. I believe a lot of the girls who bullied me so badly did so because they were depraved of such a thing. It took me such a long time to realise such things, so for years I continued living my life, feeling as though I wasn't worthy of being treated better, hence why exes were able to con me, shit on me and treat me so bad. Why certain "friends" were able to get away with the behaviour I allowed them to get away with (all of whom I now realise treated me in such a way because they were jealous - and because they were two-faced lying using cnuts, but jealousy was the main part!!)
Crazy as it sounds, my dog being so poorly has taught me so much about myself; about the kind of person I am, versus the kind of person I thought I was. It's reinforced the strength I've been building over the past few years, and while I would much rather come to this conclusion in my own time, and not because my much loved dog is going to die (probably before this time next week - although I have thought that a few times and she's still surprised me) but because I could have saved myself a lot of hassle, hurt, pain and anger. If only I'd wisened up to these people, learned that I am better than I believe myself to be, things could have been so much different. However, there is a lot of life left in me yet, and while I can't alter my financial situation (unless I win the lottery - that would be nice) I have got rid of the people who were causing me such angst, I have altered the way I allow people to treat me (I've bitten back quite ferociously in recent months - at times shocking myself at my behaviour, because I never believed I had such venom within me (40 odd years of suppression will do that to you)). Going forwards I will cry, many times - especially when my dog finally stops fighting as hard as she is. I will get stressed about where the money is going to come from to cover bills; I will also get angry, although this time not about how shit my life at been. I allowed those people to get inside my head, make me feel the way I did, because I thought so little of myself. I don't think of myself that way any more, I don't look at myself that way any more, I now know I am better than how I have allowed myself to be treated (that doesn't mean I won't hold my hands up and admit when I have done wrong). Those kind people who have tried to help in recent months have done so because at some point I've touched them during their lives; I've shown them a kindness or compassion and this was their way of being able to pay-it-forward themselves. Knowing that, I will admit I feel humbled (because they've helped) but also I feel pride (a sin, I know). Pride that even while I was thinking about what an awful person I must be, I was still putting myself out there for other people, without even realising I was doing it.
Yes, there are still people out there who will do all they can to cause as much pain and misery for me as they can, but if I've learned anything in the past few months, it's that these people need confronting, the issue needs to be dealt with and everyone needs to move on - not easy when you have no clue who hates you so much that they would try to cause as many problems for you as they can; in that case it's hard to go to the source when you don't know who the source is, but not giving a shit about it (I can't change what I don't know) appears to be working :)
I've also learned to 'live-in-the-moment'. I've spent way too much time worrying about what might/might not happen about something/anything. All that has done is add to the stresses of the everyday world I am dealing with. Now, I am trying to accept I cannot change something which is going to happen, and worrying about it until such time as it occurs is doing me no favours. I have to take each day as it comes, deal with whatever that day throws at me, and move on. For all I know, tomorrow may never come, at which point I will have spent time worrying about it, stressing over it, for nothing, as it will all be moot if I'm not around to experience it.
Maybe this new-found confidence, this new approach to life will finally see my financial situation change too (I have to believe it will). When it does I'll be able to enjoy this new life I'm forming, experience some new things, see/visit places I dream of. Life is cruel to some, wonderful to others. We are each on a different journey. How we get to our final destination can often be taken out of our own hands. There's nothing we can do about that. What we can do is try to make the most of every bad situation; learn from it, and try to move on from it - easier said than done, I know, I really do know, but if just one person reading this can relate, decides to 'take-the-plunge' and tackle their issues head-on, then I feel that maybe, just maybe, another can see them tackle their issues and move on, and so a snowball effect begins. We can't change the world in one go, but we can change our attitude to the people who are sharing it with us. A little kindness can go a really long way. Believe me, I really do know. The kindness shown to me has made re-evaluate my whole life, my whole reason for being. I've removed all the 'deadwood' from my life, had another major issue resolved (after way-too-many-years) and know, that going forward, as tough as it's going to be, at least those who were so intent on putting me down, who went out of their way to make me feel so useless and unworthy, will not be around to continue playing their cruel games. Yes, my dog is dying; that little fat bum has helped me learn so much about life, the people I allowed into mine, and while I will be devastated and utterly heartbroken when she finally breathes her last, I hope because of her I can move forward enough that the next chapter of my life becomes what I always believed it should be.
We can't change the past, but we change our attitude as we move into our future.