Monday, October 25, 2010

Unused Benefits

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It sounded like such a great option before Lukas was born.  Something that I would certainly be taking full advantage of.  In reality though, I have not and hope to never use it.

Sick Child Daycare.

My employer contracts with a respectable local hospital to provide the service.  It is part of my benefits package.  The service is just as described.  If your child is sick and can't be at their normal daycare, you can take them to the hospital and leave them at the sick child daycare facility.  They get checked out by a doctor, then get to use the child friendly facility while you go to work.

I'm pretty sure most of my readers are parents and can easily see the problem with this concept.  So can I, now. However, while we were expecting Lukas I thought that I would be taking advantage of this benefit often.  It hasn't worked out that way.  In his nearly 3 1/2 years, I have yet to load him up and take him to this facility.

That's because, as a parent, the last place you want to take your already sick child, is to a strange place - a hospital no less - where there are other kids sick with what you imagine are a whole range of contagious illnesses. (true, this time of year that would almost be like dropping him off at preschool) Personally, I haven't been able to do it.  I don't imagine that I ever will.

Still, if there is an emergency at work and there was absolutely no other option, I would give some serious thought to leaving my son at such a facility.  But I imagine it would be a toss up between that and just taking him to work with me. Thankfully my work is such that, even the most dire circumstances can wait for a day, or more when the duty of parenthood calls. 

So, that's where I found myself today.  At home with a sick boy.  And, although I can monitor my work from home and take care of any necessary fires that arise, I count myself lucky that I can be here with him, providing fatherly comfort.

Then again if most parents also feel this way, perhaps the sick child facility wouldn't have any other sick kids there after all.

How about you readers? Would you, or have you taken your sick kids to such a place?

18 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

I couldn't do it. Maybe it's my hospital phobia, maybe it's just my inability to leave my kids with strangers; whatever the case may be, I can't see myself doing it. I've cancelled appointments when I'm sick, and had others cancel when their child is sick (my wife is a SAHM, so I've never had to cancel due to child illness), and thought nothing of it. We're all human; we all get sick.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I don't have kids, but if I did I just don't think I could drop them off, sick, at the hospital. I worked at a hospital in college and I still remember the meetings we used to have about the number of people who die every year due to hospital malfeasance and drug resistent staff infections.

Didactic Pirate said...

I've got a hospital phobia too, and my kid has always had a phobia of everything remotely doctor-relate, even from a very young age. She would've spazzed out if I'd taken her to a hospital and left her there.

Glad you're able to stay home with a sick on those rare occasions when it's necessary. Definitely makes all the difference.

Lady Mama said...

Honestly, I hate the thought of taking my kids to a place like that. I was at home with one sick child (and one healthy one!) today too, and he was miserable and just wanted to cling to me the entire day. Like you, I'm in the very fortunate position of being able to be at home with them when they're sick. It's good that such a place exists though, for parents who have no other option.

Ordinary Dad said...

I agree, I think I'd pass on dropping my kid off for some medical research if they weren't feeling well. that would just be scary

Steve said...

I'm not aware of any such concept over here. On reflection perhaps that's a good thing: a sign that there is an acceptance that time off will sometimes be needed. In my experience, family, friends and childminders (in that order) tend to take the strain in circumstances where time-off is not immediately an option.

Eric said...

I'm going the other way from everyone else here. If my wife wasn't a SAHM, and this was available, I would take advantage of it. I would assume they know what they are doing and understand that people go to the hospital because they are sick. But I'm sure the daycare has more than adequate air filtration systems. employees are staying germ-free, etc.

This is also coming from the fact I have four kids under five and not a month goes by when one of them are not sick. There is no way I or hypothetically my wife could be calling in every month without fear of our jobs.

Jessi said...

In theory, I'm not opposed to it, and in this day where something like 40% of women report that they can't take time off when their kids are ill, there is certainly a need. But when my girls are sick, they want our home, not my mom's home or my grandma's and certainly not a hospital. Of course, if she had something like, say, pink eye, where going to school were not an option, but she felt fine and was ready to go explore and play, I might consider it. Which is kinda icky when you think about it.

MichelleLCSW said...

It SEEMS like a grand idea, but I don't think I could take my son there, even though I'm a single mom and it could be helpful. I end up saving all of my annual leave and sick leave so that I can take off for when my son is sick or there are snow days or whatever else pops up (last year I had to take a week off when he had the swine flu!). I am lucky enough that my work situation is such that they understand my son comes first, and the world won't end if I'm not here (even though I manage a large clinic in a hospital).

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Scifi - Yes, I am the same way. It would have to be catastrophic for me to do this.

@Megan - Thanks for stopping by. That would be a concern of mine too.

@Didactic Pirate - Yes, it is quite civilized to be able to do so.

@Lady Mama - True. But I am glad my employer doesn't press us to use it. Says a lot about them.

@Ordinary Dad - Haha. Yeah, I can't imagine the parent who would say "Yeah, try some new drugs out on him while you're at it".

@Steve - Yes, most likely a good sign for your society.

@Eric - See, you are the exception that these services are there for. Which is why ultimately it is a good thing for some folks.

@Jessi - I know. I am just glad we have other options and don't have to use this one, even though its a good option for some.

@Michelle - I would do it before getting fired, but that would be the last possible option for me.

Captain Dumbass said...

Luckily we have enough family support around that it isn't an option. Don't think I could leave a child at one though.

Keith Wilcox said...

No, I wouldn't do it either (or at least I wouldn't want to). I hate hospitals, and I especially hate taking my kid to one, even if it's just for a cold. Thankfully I can be at home all the time so we've never had to think about it. But, unlike some people, we don't have a family support network near us so, if I did need to go out to work, we'd would have had to consider an option like that, as much as I would have hated it.

Otter Thomas said...

I probably would have never thought of that. That is another reason why I love my wife. She thinks of all that stuff. We would never use it since one of us can always be home if necessary.

Fragrant Liar said...

Yes, but they made me take them back!

Heh.

Not really. My kids are older and now have little ones of their own. However, if I saw them do it, I'd have to leave work and go fill in on the home front. Just seems weird to drop them off in a strange place when they already don't feel good and aren't up to that kind of thing.

inertia said...

we have a 3.75yo toddler, and 7wo twins... the toddler came home from daycare last week with gastro, and I was subsequently infected.

My wife and I were both home for the 3 days of infection, and dealing with the twins plus a sick toddler, while also trying to contain the contamination, was difficult to say the least...

If this facility were available, I would use it to keep the toddler away from the twins - and to give us a break through the day.

inertia said...

also... we have access to an occasional care place (for healthy kids!) that we have not actually used for the reasons you mentioned above - leaving the kid at a strange place seems counter productive to me! Maybe I need to do a couple of casual vists with her to get some familiarity.

Sybil said...

I wouldn't use one, either. I believe, through my husband's job, that they help pay for someone to come to our house if our child can't go to their usual child care. Since I am a SAHM and my husband's job is really quite flexible when he needs it to be, it's never even been on our radar. I can imagine, though, with two working parents what a god-send that would be!

PJ Mullen said...

If I wasn't at home with my kids I would, like you, be hesitant to take advantage of that benefit. The thought of what the other kids are sick from would be enough to make me use a personal day if necessary.