Managing work and doctor appointments

I was recently laid off and I am currently working temp assignments. It is difficult to schedule doctor appointments, and I am concerned that when I find a permanent job it will send the wrong message to be out of the office for appointments. I was at my last job for over ten years so it was never an issue.

I would love to know how others handle this.

Oops, “laid off”

I gotta say I think the American system of time off is completely dysfunctional. Most of us get a limited amount of vacation (2 weeks compared to Europe's 7?) and holidays, then we often get a sick day a month. Are you sick one day a month (discounting weekends). I never was. So we are forced to "call in sick" for appointments, for "I broke up with my boyfriend and I need my space", for I celebrate a non-traditional/non-Christian holiday" for "I'm having a great time and just don't want to head back from the beach" to just plain "I need a day just for me." We all do it, bosses know we all do it. A few years ago I worked for a company that had PTO, "Paid Time off". What a revelation! Other than the usual holidays we got 7 weeks off to use as we wished. You could call in sick (when you actually were sick), or plan ahead for a day off for appointments or 3 weeks off for vacation. For bosses it had the advantage of having planned absences rather than "called in" ones, and also helped morale. For those of us like me who are never sick I got to go to Mexico for a month! It works. But when I changed jobs back to the usual system I saw how broken it was.

Ok, rant over, and unless you can convince a company of the advantages of PTO, you are stuck with what you got. One advantage is that is becoming more and more common for places to allow for flex time - for 4-10 hour days or a 9/80 schedule (every other Friday off). If you work somewhere with those systems or any flex time at all (like coming in an hour late and working an hour longer the next day, etc) you should take advantage of it. When I worked 4-10's I quickly got used to the extra couple hours and treasured my three day weekends. Then you have a Monday or A Friday for your appointments.

Ok, what if you don't even have that? First of all how many doctors appointments do you have. Some of us, unfortunately have multiple specialists so they add up with eye doctors and dentists thrown in. But is there something you can condense? I hear so many people who see their doctor or endo every three months just automatically. Is that really necessary? (if it is, it is). I am now required to see my doctor every three months because I'm on Medicare and I have to remember to schedule and then think of what to use it for!

So if you are left with the call in sick nonsense, perhaps you can schedule a couple appointments for the same day. All my specialists are at least an hour away in the nearest large town so it's to my advantage to have two appointments on the same day (bracketed by shopping and lunch of course!). I work hard to prevent my time and energy being devoted too much to medical stuff (as a Type 1 that is already 24/7) and bunching them up makes it seem longer in between appointments. Also check with your providers, many doctors now have extended hours for their working patients.

Where there's a will there's a way. Though disclaimer: I currently am retired and only work part time. But it wasn't so long ago I worked full time and taught at night! But personally, if I were looking for a full time job today I would ask about options for flex time and get that Friday or monday for appointments. It's also great to shop when the stores are less crowded.

My former employer allowed me to take a full month off and travel, plus I had every other Friday off, as you mentioned. They followed the European style of time off and vacation until new management came in. It's been a challenge starting over.

Sounds like a hard job to lose, Carol. I hope you find something good ahead.

My attitude towards taking care of my basic health needs, such as seeing my doctors, was to use accrued "sick time" for this purpose. I'm retired now but when I was working, I would often leave work early and use sick time to see my doctors. Most of the time, management would cooperate with this arrangement. When they started to object to using sick time this way, I just called in sick for the entire day.

We're human beings subject to all the vagaries of human health. I don't buy into some 19th century idea that employees are some machine-like robot and can show up to work for 40 hours, week-in and week-out, just like clock-work.

Unfortunately, PWDs have more health care maintenance than people without diabetes. That's a simple fact. It's also a fact that most health care providers keep office hours congruent with most work schedules. The way I see it, we are a package deal and employers need to accept the good with the bad.

I get personal time off, so using my time off for doctors visits cuts into my vacation time. My strategy is to take advantage of evening and weekend hours. My endo has weekend and evening hours. I also see an internist which is part of a large teaching practice which has weekend hours and an early morning walk in clinic. If non of that works I fit the visits into the beginning or end of the day to minimize the impact.

Thank you everyone for your comments. I am so appreciative and value your insights!

I did have hassles with one dept head regarding my one day every three months for appts. (Of course, she took lots of short days for school plays and watching her kids play soccer...) Anyway, I didn't take any other time off, and my appts were always schedule 3 months in advance, and the leave slip signed long before I missed a day. Anyway, one thing you might be able to do until you get settled into your new, good job, is to take advantage of "off hours" for labs drawn, and see if your MD9s) will do a telephone apt with you. At least you'll meet whatever A1C requirements exist in your health coverage (I have to have an A1C every 3 months to keep coverage for my pump).

Zoe, your statement "I am now required to see my doctor every three months because I'm on Medicare.." raised my BG! Still, Love ya. But must admit, this is all so scary. I don't care what any of you say, T1 has been and is a nightmare for me.

The Americans with disabilities act protects people with health issues who need a reasonable accommodation at the workplace. I think that an employer would have a very hard time defining a few hours off here and there for doctors appointments as anything other than reasonable…

Just schedule your appointments as far in advance as possible, inform your employer of those appointments well in advance— as long as it is “reasonable” it is protected by law. Telling them at noon the day you need the afternoon off would probably not be reasonable… Or would calling in sick the day of because you have appointments, etc