I have no idea what my reaction and recovery will be to the surgery, radiation, and whatever else is coming my way, so I wanted to know what options were available regarding flexible schedules, time off (paid or unpaid), even short-term disability if it came to that. I am salaried, and do some production support, which means I often work overtime (including nights and weekends) and nobody bats an eye. Not so when it's the other way around. The HR person seemed to be pushing me toward taking an unpaid leave of absence, which
- requires a detailed statement from my doctor (preferably at least 30 days before incapacitation, but as soon as possible) saying what I can and can't do, and how many days/hours of work I won't be at 100% capacity
- will require me to pay the entire insurance premium, just like COBRA
- is subject to managerial approval, based on the needs of the business.
She helpfully provided a 2-page job description for my doctor to use to decide whether I'll be able to do things like "tune SQL queries," "develop SSIS packages," and "adapt to rapidly changing priorities based on the needs of the business" while recovering from surgery or undergoing radiation treatments. I told her that no one, not even a doctor, could possibly know in advance how this would affect me, but she was unswayed, and insisted that whatever was wrong with me, she needed to hear it from my doctor, not from me.
Throughout all this I felt like a child or a malingerer, or a child malingerer. The HR person, by way of wrapping up the conversation, said "Well, you certainly are getting an education, aren't you?" At which point I blurted out "God! One I never wanted." And then I composed myself and said my polite goodbye.