Tuesday

Needing Time Off for Surgery...

Received Tuesday, April 13, 2010
perspective and opinion OK, I need everyone's advice on something. I am a nanny for 2 wonderful families. We do a share and it is full-time (meaning I watch them at the same time, daily). I have been with family #1 since October 2008 and family #2 only since this past December. I love my job, the kids are wonderful and my bosses are all great. I work Mon-Fri from 9-6, get 2 weeks paid vacation (one week my choice, one week theirs), unlimited sick days and 2 personal days per year. Since September, I have taken two sick days when I was in the hospital, a few personal days when my dad was in the i.c.u and have used some vacation time. All in all, I rarely call in sick, I have never been late, I stay late often without a complaint and I am a great employee( imo:) ).

Here is what is going on: I have something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which is a disease that affects my weight, hormones, fertility, etc. Since I have had it, I have gained a great deal of weight. When you have PCOS, you are really, really resistant to losing weight. My doctors have put me on all sorts of medicine, diet plans, etc. I exercise, follow a healthy diet and take my medicine. Basically - the PCOS will only get better if you lose weight and because PCOS makes you so resistant to weight loss its kind of like a catch 22. I have been seeing an endocrinologist who recommended that if I ever want to be able to have children/get to a healthy weight, then Lap Band Surgery, which is a type of weight loss surgery, is my only option at this point. I have been seeing a surgeon and he just scheduled me for surgery in the beginning of June. My surgeon said its about a two week recovery period. If I ever want to have children, this is something that has to be done to try to reverse the PCOS. I am already (almost) 31, so I don't have a TON of time left to have children and as my surgeon said "the sooner the better". I truly wouldn't get this surgery if it wasn't my last option. I cannot tell you how incredibly frustrating it is to be going through this and how helpless I feel. Although I am actually pretty healthy at the moment, I am at a really high risk for diabetes, heart disease , etc. if I do not get my weight under control. I just want to be healthy and be able to have children. Obviously, I am a nanny and I love children and I would be devastated if I was never able to have them b/c of this stupid disease.

I am really nervous to request time off for the surgery b/c I hate the idea of having to inconvenience both of my bosses. Neither family really has any family members in the area to help out with back up child care so I am pretty sure that they will have to find a temp nanny. As far as finding alternate child care for the 8 days, I would be more than willing to help them look on craigslist, sittercity, etc., post ads, ask around, and do anything to help them from having to do the bulk of the work. I truly feel bad that I have to request this time and I wouldn't ask if it wasn't necessary. My boyfriend tells me that I shouldn't feel bad, I am entitled to the time off and its surgery; not a vacation!!! I really cannot have the same attitude and I cannot help but feel guilty and like they are going to be mad at me for taking so much time. I guess here is my question: All of you nannies or bosses, have you ever had to take time off for surgery or had a nanny take time for surgery or a medical issue? How did you feel about it? How did you work things out? Also, another issue is that, technically - I am only entitled to one week paid vacation of my choosing so how do I go about asking about the extra 3 days. I cannot really afford to not be paid but I also don't want to be pushy about it. I mean, technically, they could also be chalked up to sick days. Any comments, suggestions, or feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

28 comments:

VAnanny said...

OP, you have every right to ask for time off for this surgery. Do it quickly though. You need to let them know as soon as possible. I had to have surgery while working for a family. I sat down with the parents and explained everything including the recovery time and how it may (or may not) affect my time with the children. They were more than willing to work with me. When I returned, mom boss had prepared several meals that I just had to microwave and several activities that would keep the girls occupied so I wouldn't have to run after them constantly. (There was a risk of stitches being pulled out.) My point is the family you work for will probably be completely understanding. Tell them just what you told us. You have to better your quality of life. Good luck!

Toddle said...

You have every right to ask for time off for your surgery. Do it now so they have as much time as possible to find alternate care. I think offering to help them do so is a great idea. However, I do not think it is fair for you to expect to be paid for your time off. It is more than the agreed upon amount and they are going to have to pay for alternate care in your absence. You would not be paid for this time in any other job so why would you expect this to be any different?? I understand not being able to afford the time off but that is your issue to deal with not theirs. Good luck to you!

readitthrough said...

Toddle,

The OP has paid vacation time though? Why would she not get paid at least for the 5 days ? That makes no sense!

Phoenix said...

You sound exactly like my friend Barb. My advice talk to the moms about it they will be more sympathetic.

Toddle said...

You are right. I was unclear I guess. I DO think she should of course be able to take her vacation days for the surgery. I was referring to the days she is wanting them to pay beyond that because she can't afford to not be paid. I do not think she should expect them to pay beyond the agreed upon days off simply because she can't afford to take unpaid leave. That is not their problem and they are already going to have to pay for alternate care in her absence. It is not realistic or fair to expect them to pay her simply because she needs the money when it exceeds the agreed upon days.

Hypochondriac Much? said...

While I agree you do have every right to ask off and they'll likely give it to you, I don't know if I believe that you NEED lap-band surgery in order to have children. I've known several women with PCOS who have it very much under control and had no real problems getting pregnant. I'm including myself in this. Yes, I'm a bit overweight, but I have had it under control for the past 5 years so I don't get obese. PCOS is a hormone imbalance, so you go on hormone replacements and it is fine.

OP said...

Hypochondriac much,

Do you think for one second if I could lose weight normally that I would choose to have this surgery? The PCOS is making me resistant to the weight loss. Being overweight w/out of whack hormones is an obstacle to getting pregnant and that is a FACT.I have been on every medication under the sun and that includes hormone replacements. I have been told by numerous doctors , surgeons and specialists that this is my last resort. There are different levels of PCOS in case you don't know. Look up PCOS, Lapband and pregnancy and then get back to me. I too know women who have PCOS and have had children but that was only after they were able to get their hormones under control. I am UNABLE TO DO THAT without this surgery. I think that 10 different professionals in the field know a little bit more than you and would not be advising me to do a surgery if it was not necessary. This was not MY idea but THEIRS. You are the reason why I was hesitant to even write in on this blog and you are now the reason why I never will again and won't be reading anymore. How dare you judge me for this. Thanks to all who gave me good advice.

VAnanny said...

OP don't let hypochondriac discourage you from coming back! I'm a nursing student and I hear all the time about the use of Lap Band surgery for females with PCOS. Weight gain is a huge factor in infertility and we all know it can lead to other very dangerous problems. Hypochondriac, you're comments were rude and completely ignorant of the facts. Do your research before spouting off at the mouth.

Claire said...

OP,

Please don't worry about one challenging comment. I think you've got a lot of support here! I agree with the other commenters, and agree that if you have an upfront conversation with both employers, they will most likely be very responsive, and positive. They are lucky to have you, and I bet will be glad to help you get the care you need. Don't be nervous-- you wouldn't be asking unless this was really important.

A said...

OP, don't take any heed to what HM wrote, she is NOT your doctor,nor does she know you and your medical history. You came on this blog to get advice, of which you got plenty, don't let one unknown bully you off. This is a useful site, with lots of helpful material, and (mainly)friendly people.

OP said...

OK, took a deep breath and calmed down. I seriously cried. LOL. You are all right. I will just ignore ignorant comments. Thanks for being supportive you guys and keep the advice coming. I have since spoken to my bosses who were really, really nice about it but not sure how to negotiate the pay, etc. Also-one of them is asking me to schedule the surgery around their vacation time. Is that fair?

Claire said...

I think it's fair for them to ask for that.. although ultimately it will be up to the doctors/surgeons/hospital schedules to determine when your actual surgery is. But you can certainly let your employers know you are doing everything you can to schedule around their vacation. They will appreciate that.

dsi. said...

This is a serious medical issue that you need to address. If you explain the severity to your bosses, and they truly value the work you do for their families, they should give it to you without hesitation - especially knowing that you are willing to do all the leg work to find a temporary nanny. As far as pay, I'd consider this personal time and wouldn't expect them to pay at all since they will be paying another nanny in your absence and since this isn't a predetermined vacation time. If you can schedule during their vacation time, great that it could be counted as your vacation time with pay. Good luck! Please let us know how it works out.

Happy Nanny said...

I actually went through pretty much the exact same situation, except with a different surgery. I also work in a nanny with two different families, and ended up having to have surgery while working. I had multiple ovarian cysts that were causing ovarian torsion and hence some pretty extreme pain. There were only 3 weeks between when I went to the emergency room and when my surgery was scheduled, so it was really short notice for the families that I work for, which I was really concerned about.

That said, they were wonderful about it and were mostly concerned with my health and well-being, even though I felt really bad for inconveniencing them. One option that the families might have, depending on their relationship and how many children you care for, is for the two families to be able to cover for one another for some of the days when you will be recovering. That way only one family member from the two families has to take time off from work, and it could end up being only 2 or 3 days off of work per person, which is more manageable. Plus if you can do it, the parents could probably do it for a few days as well!

Another thing to consider is that sometimes the recovery time doesn't necessarily take as long as the doctors say. I was told it would take me about a week to recover from my surgery, which ended up taking 4 hours. After about 4 or 5 days I was back on my feet and off the pain medicine and able to return to work. While I wouldn't count on this, it is something to consider and let your families know, so that they don't have to take unnecessary time off.

My guess is that your families love you and want you to be happy and healthy and able to have your own children. It is a temporary inconvenience for them, and while it seems like a huge deal at the moment, in the grand scheme of your life it is going to be much more important to have the surgery and the inconvenience to your employers will be negligible. Take your paid vacation days and if you can do it when it is convenient to them, then great, and take the addition recovery days as unpaid. Acknowledge that it is annoying to them, but be firm about getting the surgery done. I was worried about offending or inconveniencing my employers when I found out I needed surgery, but allowing the cysts to grow more could have meant losing both of my ovaries and therefore my fertility, which is scary. Stand up for yourself in a considerate and respectful way, and I am sure everything will be fine.

PinkJulia said...

I had PCOS as well. It's really important that you do what you can do take care of yourself now in order to prevent disease later.

Think of what the families would do for their own children or for themselves.

Please don't feel guilty. Your body will thank you in the long run, long after the families are in your past.

world's best nanny said...

Hi, OP!

Good for you, taking your health into your own hands! I had Lap band surgery about 5 years ago. They did it laproscopicly (sp?) my down time was 5 days tops. Yes I was sore but I could do what I had to do. I couldn't sit on the floor so we moved toys and games onto the dining room table. I couldn't play "chase" so we played hide and seek. My kids were walking, so I didn't have to carry them. I also had to warn them about jumping into my lap.
I lost 100 pounds, I feel great. I off of my diabetes and hypertension meds. You have to work at it though. You can't get it done and then suck down plates of pasta and expect to lose weight. 1 thing I do miss is soda, I can't have it because it may cause band slippage.
Good Luck!

dadiswrongonthisone said...

you have to do what is best for your health. that is the bottom line.

no moniker said...

re-post for anonymous:
What the real question is do you want children of your own or a job for another year or two? Forget about money and your bosses. This is your life! Money will come and go as well as jobs but the chance to have children is a gift that you may lose. NEVER feel guilty about this. You bosses had their children and it's your turn.

Katlee85 said...

OP,

I wish you luck! My sister just had lap band surgery and it took her a week to recover. I do think that if you can schedule it around their vacation time, and the doctors will agree to it, do so. However, if you can't, make sure they know so they can be prepared.

OP said...

Actually, that was a typo on my part. I meant that since October 2008 ( which is a year and a half ago) I have used the sick days and personal days( 2 personal days in total bc my dad almost died of a brain aneurysm). I am not sure why I typed September-I think that is because that is when I started with the new family. In any event, I have hardly abused any time off and I feel that's not a lot of time to have taken in a whole year and a half!!!
Also, as I clearly stated already, I get 2 weeks paid vacation ( one week my choice and one week their choice) . Of COURSE I would be using this surgery as my vacation week, why on earth would I expect them to pay me for anything more after that?.
I am not even going to respond to your ignorant comment about lap band surgery because you clearly no nothing about PCOS and its effects. Ignorance is bliss!!

Claire said...

Anonymous:

What's wrong with you?

you need a moniker said...

anonymous:
Never feel sorry for taking time off for yourself. My example in question is that I had a very extremely life saving operation and was working for a person I thought was great. Boy was I wrong. Not only did she not visit me but she didnot bring the kids I had watched frombirth or even have them call me.. or her for that matter. And then she thought I only needed two weeks off when the doctor gave me two months off. Some employers are all about themselves and their families.. To hell with th nanny she can work to death..Do what is right for you and your health... Good luck.. If it is for you it will be there ... when its all done... :)

dummy said...

anonymous:
You can ask for the time off but don't expect to be paid for it unless that's the ONLY 2 weeks of vacation you'll be paid for. Lap-band surgery is optional & is usually for lazy, fat people who can't stop eating & don't exercise enough.
The fact that you've ALREADY taken 2 sick days and "few" (what's a few?) personal days off since September (Ummm...that's only 6 months) means you're not that great of an employee & sounds like you're abusing the unlimited days.

another dummy that needs a moniker said...

anonymous:
And you clearly don't know how to spell "know." ugh...a dumb nanny at that! How sad for those kids. :-(

Nom de Plume said...

Let's explain it to the people who are improperly misinformed about women with PCOS and why it's hard for them to lose weight.

PCOS causes insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, you process certain foods from simple carbohydrates to complex carbohydrates differently. Even protein at a point turns to sugar/carbohydrates as well. When you eat most foods, it causes a rise in blood sugar which in turn makes the person with PCOS gain weight. With each pound, it causes more insulin resistance. It's indeed a catch 22. The more weight, the more insulin resistant.

The alternative is a diet pretty high in protein, but again, at a point the liver converts 58% of protein to carbohydrates. It's a no win situation for someone with PCOS. Severe calorie restriction is one of the few ways for some women with PCOS to lose weight.

So please, don't assume to know how people with certain conditions bodies react. Many women with PCOS not only are on a diet, but exercise routinely to no weight loss at all.

A nanny who cares said...

When did this become a forum for people to attack each other? I have been a huge fan of this site for 4 years now and only in the last year have I seen such viciousness. It saddens me to think my one and only resource for people who can understand what it's like to be a nanny is now ruined by a few rude, people with nothing better to do with their time!

OP, I hope everything works out for you. This is your health and you need to do what is best for your health! There will always be more nanny jobs, but you only have one life! Take care of your needs first!

Jerky boys and girls said...

*sigh* Yet, another post filled to the brim with attacks on the OP. I've been a reader (and mostly lurker) on this site for YEARS; but in all honesty, it's becoming unbearable. I have never seen so much negativity in my life. Assumptions, accusations, rude/catty judgmental remarks - the list is never ending. I'm not sure how a once insightful, friendly "community" turned into such a bitter hate filled place, but it defeats the purpose of doing good (ie: reporting sightings to HELP families, giving advice etc). Keep it up guys, and pretty soon there won't be an ISYN to read any more . . . this is only the what, 10th OP I've seen in the last few weeks declare to NEVER return?! *SIGH*

Jakejack05 said...

It's okay to respond like you did to HM. :) Like you said it throws your hormones all out of whack. Not in so many words. . . Ha ha. At least it's preparing your for your hormonal pregnancy days.