Together we will beat cancer


Worrying about Work

17 Dec 2017 23:57

My mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and a really poor prognosis of life expectancy in September. The diagnosis completely floored us as a family and as I live a considerable distance away I had to stay off work and care for mum. Arrangements also had to be made for my dad to move into a care home as he has dementia and mum was his sole carer.  I'm getting help with care but I don't want to be anywhere but here right now. 

Initially my employers were understanding and my line manager said I should get signed off work by my GP in order to stay with my parents and care for my mum.  Mum has now outlived her prognosis but she is very frail and is not going to live much longer and day by day I can see her deteriorate further. 

The problem I have is that my employers are putting pressure on me to get back to work in the new year. I can't bear to leave my mum now and I don't think I could function at work even if I did go back now but I need to keep my job not least of all to pay my mortgage and bills. My sick pay will be cut to half from next week but I could just about manage on that for a month or two if necessary. I just don't need the added stress of occupational health assessments and workplace interviews just now. 

I just don't know what to do for the best but I don't want to regret not being with my mum until the end.

Re: Worrying about Work

18 Dec 2017 09:31 in response to CathS
Hi Cath and sorry to hear of your mom's diagnosis. Would you not be able to take a years sabbatical from work? Is there no other sibling that could help? When my mom was in same situation in Canada it was very difficult leaving. I was also pregnant with my daughter. The last time I saw my mom was when i left her at the hospital. I had very sensitive pregnancies so had to come back. She passed away 2 weeks after my return and I have regretted not being there to say goodbye in person when the rest of the family was at her bedside. All my family live in Canada. Jobs will always be there but your mom won't be. Perhaps speak to Macmillan nurses about some advice on employment, the situation, etc. It is very difficult on all sides but I hope it works out.

Re: Worrying about Work

18 Dec 2017 09:44 in response to CathS

Hello Cath; so sorry you are having work problems as well as caring for your mum.  It sounds as though you work for a company with well-defined sickness procedures - maybe a public sector employer.  I was a manager in a local authority and dealt a lot with sickness issues.  If you feel you cannot give up on your job (even temporarily - Jbains makes a good suggestion if you can do this) will your GP sign you off for a little bit longer?    At the same time difficult as it is you will need to understand your employer's position.  They cannot let long-term sickness run indefinitely without perhaps sending you for a medical examination and having a meeting with you (do you have a trades union representative to help you?)  They have to keep their business going and need to plan how to do this in your absence.  Can I put this bluntly - do you think that when your darling mum does pass over once you have tidied up her affairs you will be able to return to work?  If your doctor does not sign you off again then you could ask for a short period of unpaid leave.  If this is a possibility you should speak to  whoever you have your mortgage with and ask for a short break or reduced payments.  Difficult as it is you need to think as clearly as possible as after  your mum passes over you don't want the hassle of your life and finances having fallen apart.  The best thing would be to have your job to return to and arrangements already made with your mortgage company.  I know this is so hard - my father died in similar circumstances and I was all over the place - he lived 300 miles away.  But I was so pleased I had my job and colleagues to return to and no unmanageable financial problems as I would not have been able to cope.  My best wishes.