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How long did you have off work - dh has cancer

(22 Posts)
Zisterhood Tue 21-Feb-17 15:52:49

Hi I'm looking for some advice really. My dh has been diagnosed with colon cancer so far I've taken no time off work although some days have been really hard to hold it together and I sometimes go off for a little cry and some peace in the ladies! He's going into hospital at the end of the month for a big op and work have told me I can have 3 days off. Can you tell me what time you needed off? I feel like I'm already struggling and he hasn't even started treatment yet. Three days feels like nothing. I feel like I haven't got to grips with this shock diagnosis yet let alone the road ahead.

Heirhelp Tue 21-Feb-17 15:54:31

Sorry to hijack but this came up on active.

Sorry you are going through this OP. If you need time off to deal with the stress of the situation then go to the doctors and get signed off.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 21-Feb-17 15:56:21

It's very difficult. A friend of mine had to give up her job because her employers were not accommodating at all. I think 3 days is a bit mean. Though presumably that's paid leave. Could you ask for unpaid leave at all?

ChicRock Tue 21-Feb-17 15:57:59

Under these circumstances I'd be allowed to take up to 2 weeks annual leave if I wanted to be paid, or otherwise I'd have to take unpaid leave.

Do you have any kind of illness insurances in place, e.g. We have one that covers our mortgage payments for up to 12 months?

I'm sorry you're going through this. If it comes to it and you feel you have to stay off work you should go and see your GP.

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 21-Feb-17 15:59:36

I haven't yet, on,y the odd afternoon or day when I attend an appointment that I would like to seethe consultant or support him in his first chemo. I am fortunate that I work 4 days and can be flexible to a point and it's very local and my mother will pick up the children or they go to friends on the days after chemo when he is not feeling to good but to be honest although he doesn't feel great he is ok to pick up the children from school and then I am home at 5 to feed them and I only work down the road so I can take them to school. This is early days though as he is due to large operations in the coming months dependant on how treatment goes

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 21-Feb-17 16:02:17

And agree 3 days off for a big op is not great of them, have you any annual leave left at all? Is there any one higher at your company you can see or is their a policy in place about what is available to you should you need time off to look after a husband or wife?

Zisterhood Tue 21-Feb-17 17:13:34

Thanks for the replies. Five I am sorry that you are going through similar.

Yes 3 days is paid I couldn't afford to take unpaid. hospital isn't particularly local and parking is costly. I do have annual leave but will need that at various other times i.e. School hols.

I've sat here thinking about it and I think really it's time for me that I need as well as supporting dh. He'll be in hospital for 2 weeks in itu to begin with. I'm still in shock I keep expecting a phone call to say there's been some kind of mix up and he doesn't have cancer.

I think I may go to the doctors and get signed off for a week or two. I feel I need to come to terms with this new situation I can't offer the support I want to when my head is in a whirl like this.

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Tue 21-Feb-17 17:20:04

That sounds very stressful Zisterhood. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you are at a state to be signed off by the doctor for a couple of weeks. Would that be on full pay?

How are you planning to use the three days? The day of the op and the day after, when he's in recovery/high dependency. Is that unlimited visiting?

How much do you know about the nature of the operation? As in how long, how many days before on main ward with (possibly) limited visiting?

Do you have a plan yet for when he comes home? He's not likely to want to be alone all day for at least the first couple of days, so you may need to arrange some support then, maybe a family member if you have to work?

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 21-Feb-17 18:50:12

Oh zister I can totally relate to the feeling of its not happening to you and your DH. Look into car parking fees, when DH goes into have che,o he only has to pay for one hour, has a form he signs and then we go to the car parking place to pay, it may be that your hospital has a similar policy for patients under going treatment for cancer

Zisterhood Tue 21-Feb-17 21:23:31

its a big operation he's having 6 or more hours with 3-4 day stay in itu. He's expected to be in hospital for week and a half then he'll come home and recovery is approximately 6 weeks. I don't want to leave him for long periods on his own, at least not to begin with.

If he needs chemo or radiotherapy parking is reimbursed however surgery car parking isn't reimbursed. Fair enough, it does however all add up, it's probably best part of £10 per day parking. I guess it's the same at all hospitals.

OllyBJolly Wed 22-Feb-17 07:49:59

My sister was diagnosed with brain tumours in 2014. I've had to reduce my hours to part time working.

When DSis is in hospital I find it much easier to work. She is well looked after in hospital and she feels safe. It's the other "stuff" that I'm needed for - clinic appointments, chemo sessions and just general support. I would guess at least one day each week I have to keep free. Sometimes that's planned - like clinic - sometimes it's "drop everything and get there" when there's a crisis.

(When she was in ITU she wasn't even conscious that I was there!)

OP, diagnosis is a shock and you may well be unwell yourself and can be signed off. I just want to say that in my experience, it's a long haul and if you have an unsympathetic employer you might want to "bank up" time when you can so you have some flexibility if you need it later.

flowers It is awful I do sometimes find myself thinking that I'd love a break from it all, then I remember it's not me that's got a horrible debilitating illness.

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Wed 22-Feb-17 10:16:42

Can you get a weekly ticket for the carpark? They are often a lot cheaper.

Chasingsquirrels Fri 24-Feb-17 08:45:36

@Zisterhood Sorry about your DH.

I had a couple of days off when DH was diagnosed in Apr 16 - we were just in shock.

Then a couple of weeks later he was emergency admitted to hospital for a fortnight and I spent most of my time there - popping to work which was 10 mins from hospital for a hour or so at lunchtime when they wanted you off the ward. I used that time to eat lunch and keep my workload moving - delegating etc. I then had the week after he was discharged off - but that was planned as we were getting married.

Work just put all of the above missing time to compassionate leave. But DH is a partner there and I'm not sure how they would have been for me if it hadn't been DH, IYSWIM.

I then had very little time, I'd drop DH at hospital on chemo days and pick him up on the way home. I work 25 hours a week so could flex round that. Mostly he was okay during the chemo period apart from the 3-5/6 days after when he just slept.

I've now stopped work at the end of Jan as things have deteriorated, I've got enough TOIL & holiday to cover Feb but I don't expect to get paid after that. I'm going to put in a claim for Carers Allowance.

It might be worth you seeing your GP about your own mental health and whether you would get a sick note.
Depending on your sick leave policies you may get full pay, or it may be SSP.
I don't know enough about Carers Allowance to know if you'll be able to claim that (my DH is terminal so now has automatical entitlement to PIP which is then a gateway to other benefits - you are in a different situation).

Wishing you and your DH all the very best.

OllyBJolly Fri 24-Feb-17 10:39:06

That sounds so difficult Squirrels

Depending on your sick leave policies you may get full pay, or it may be SSP

This would only apply if the OP was actually sick herself; it wouldn't be paid to care for someone else. She could take dependents leave, but this would be unpaid. She might qualify for Carers' Allowance.

I found the McMillan nurse to be so knowledgeable and helpful.

Chasingsquirrels Fri 24-Feb-17 12:48:17

I agree she needs to be sick - but that could also cover stress related sickness, hence my mention of her seeing her GP about her own state of health.
But no - I agree on it's own she wouldn't get ssp because she was off work caring for someone

OllyBJolly Fri 24-Feb-17 13:20:25

I agree she needs to be sick - but that could also cover stress related sickness, hence my mention of her seeing her GP about her own state of health

You're right - and it's so important to look after your own health. I just want make the point that this could be a long haul. I'm really lucky in that my work is flexible. If this had happened ten years ago I'd have had to find another job or give up work.

Chasingsquirrels Fri 24-Feb-17 14:12:34

Oh total agree that it could be a long haul - and have seen some of your other posts about your sister flowers.
With my DH it was never operable or curable, just palliative care to extend life, and apart from the initial problems just post diagnosis he was reasonably well through chemo and kept working himself which enabled me to keep working.
Further down the line that has changed for us, he is no longer well and I am no longer able to cope with working and caring for him.

I hope the OP & her DH have a better outcome and following surgery and recovery her DH returns to full health, and that she just has this period of pre & post operation to get through.

I also do see it from the employers side, unless the OP is ill they don't have to pay her over what could be a reasonably long period of time while she careers for her DH, and it could be a not inconsiderable cost for them to do so.

Zisterhood Sat 25-Feb-17 14:49:10

Thanks all for your replies. Squirrels I'm so sorry to read about your dh and the situation you are in. My dh has been told he needs chemotherapy before any operation can take place now.

This really is a rollercoaster. I'm learning to take each day as it comes - it's a learning curve for me. I was always planning ahead holidays, days out get togethers.

MrsNuckyThompson Sat 25-Feb-17 15:58:03

Take holiday or unpaid leave. It's not like they're stopping you from doing that I assume??

Chasingsquirrels Sun 26-Feb-17 15:23:24

@Zisterhood. I hope the chemo goes as well as it can and he can then have the operation. I'm sure there is a recent thread on here about coping with chemo which might help.

My DH had his first chemo session as an inpatient towards the end of a 2 week stay, and was discharged the next day. He was quite unwell anyway but the chemo itself just made him very tired on about days 3-5.
Subsequently his chemo was 3 weekly, took all day due to the combination of drugs and flushes. He generally felt a bit jet lagged then totally fatigued days 3-5 but apart from that mostly okay although the side effects accumulated over the course of the sessions.

Musicaltheatremum Fri 10-Mar-17 20:03:57

I would sign you off sick with stress. I don't think you can concentrate properly on work when you are stressed like that. I had 6 weeks off after my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour and 3 months off when he was terminally ill (one month before he died and 2 months after) As a GP partner we have to pay for our locum cover after a month (but that's why we have insurance) but I think you need to get your head round the diagnosis and maybe get back to work once he is over the worst of the op.

SingaSong12 Fri 10-Mar-17 20:17:34

There is a range of support out there - McMillan are great for local knowledge. If you aren't signed off and can't take leave/want to save it there might be a transport service like this. That might mean that you could maybe leave early for when he gets back after the treatment

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