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Hi, friends! I had the traditional duodenal switch on 04/24/2024 with Dr. Joshua Roller in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My surgery experience was fabulous and I have had zero complications following surgery. I haven't even so much as vomited since surgery. I am 5 weeks post-op and feel great! I wanted to let folks know, though, that it is their "company policy" to only provide FMLA/short term disability coverage for 2 weeks. I had done a lot of research on this surgery prior to having it and was expecting 4-6 weeks for recovery. I had previously (in 2019) had a surgery to remove my gallbladder and 2 weeks was so unbelievably inadequate for me to recover. No one asked me about my FMLA or disability paperwork until my group dietician appointment the day before my surgery (as I was an out of state patient from Ohio). The nurse said, "If anyone has FMLA paperwork, we will take it now. We provide 2 weeks off work. Any longer and we need documentation of complications to extend it." Since I was in a group setting, I felt uncomfortable contesting this. I spent a significant amount of time in distress over this, as I wouldn't even be home a full week or on solids for more than a day before they said I should return to work. They would not budge on this policy. Thankfully, my employer allowed me to take 2 extra weeks of leave, but that was a privilege extended to me and my job was not legally protected during those extra two weeks. Additionally, I was not paid at all for those extra 2 weeks because according to Dr. Roller, I only "needed" 2 weeks, not 4 weeks. I am struggling a lot financially post-op because of this, as my short term disability company has a waiting period and I only got paid for a few days of work while being out for 4 total weeks.

Roller's office is phenomenal in every other way and like I said, my hospital stay and my surgery itself have been everything I hoped for and then some, BUT I think that this issue is a pretty big one for some folks. I was in no shape to return to work at 2 weeks post-op and genuinely feel that Dr. Roller's office needs get rid of this policy where they paint every patient with the same brush. I am chronically ill in other ways and I should not have needed to have complications from surgery to qualify for more than 2 weeks off from work. This disappointed me greatly.

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13 minutes ago, returninghalfherweight said:

Hi, friends! I had the traditional duodenal switch on 04/24/2024 with Dr. Joshua Roller in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My surgery experience was fabulous and I have had zero complications following surgery. I haven't even so much as vomited since surgery. I am 5 weeks post-op and feel great! I wanted to let folks know, though, that it is their "company policy" to only provide FMLA/short term disability coverage for 2 weeks. I had done a lot of research on this surgery prior to having it and was expecting 4-6 weeks for recovery. I had previously (in 2019) had a surgery to remove my gallbladder and 2 weeks was so unbelievably inadequate for me to recover. No one asked me about my FMLA or disability paperwork until my group dietician appointment the day before my surgery (as I was an out of state patient from Ohio). The nurse said, "If anyone has FMLA paperwork, we will take it now. We provide 2 weeks off work. Any longer and we need documentation of complications to extend it." Since I was in a group setting, I felt uncomfortable contesting this. I spent a significant amount of time in distress over this, as I wouldn't even be home a full week or on solids for more than a day before they said I should return to work. They would not budge on this policy. Thankfully, my employer allowed me to take 2 extra weeks of leave, but that was a privilege extended to me and my job was not legally protected during those extra two weeks. Additionally, I was not paid at all for those extra 2 weeks because according to Dr. Roller, I only "needed" 2 weeks, not 4 weeks. I am struggling a lot financially post-op because of this, as my short term disability company has a waiting period and I only got paid for a few days of work while being out for 4 total weeks.

Roller's office is phenomenal in every other way and like I said, my hospital stay and my surgery itself have been everything I hoped for and then some, BUT I think that this issue is a pretty big one for some folks. I was in no shape to return to work at 2 weeks post-op and genuinely feel that Dr. Roller's office needs get rid of this policy where they paint every patient with the same brush. I am chronically ill in other ways and I should not have needed to have complications from surgery to qualify for more than 2 weeks off from work. This disappointed me greatly.

Seems pretty standard. I had 2 weeks off when I had my sleeve and when I had to have the revision to bypass a year later, also had 2 weeks then. I think they tend to only give longer if you have complications. Otherwise I think 2 weeks is pretty typical. Some doctor's offices will give longer if you specifically ask for it (not mine) but I don't think that's typical.

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Posted (edited)

I thought FMLA was up to the employer, not whomever did your surgery. Or did the surgeon's office have to sign off on something verifying that they expected it would take x-number of weeks to recover (??). It's been several years for me but I don't really remember - but it could be that my clinic had to state that I would require so many weeks to recover. My employer was the entity that granted the FMLA, though. But as far as the rest of your post, yes - I would think it might take more than two weeks to recover from the DS. The surgeon's office probably should have said that you might need up to (however many) weeks...

although sleeve2bypass is correct - two weeks seems pretty standard. Although the vast majority of people have sleeve or bypass, which aren't as extensive.

Edited by catwoman7

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Posted (edited)

FMLA is granted by your employer, but the doctor is the one who says when you can return to work and if they say two weeks, your employer only legally has to hold your job for two weeks. :(

Like I said, I did a lot of research prior to taking leave and saw some went back as soon as 2 days after their surgery, others took the full 6 weeks, but the most common leave time was 2-6. Given that timeline and my previous experience w/ surgery, I expected 4 weeks would be the best situation for me. I am not sure there should be a "standard" for these surgeries. Most of us are very obese and have varying comorbid conditions. I'm not saying that some people cannot return at 2 weeks (or even sooner), but this should be a private conversation that takes place between a patient and their provider and should be customized to the specific patient and their needs. The door to conversation about this should not be slammed on the patient.

Edited by returninghalfherweight

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I'm pretty sure I was told 2 weeks also, though I don't work full time so I was able to go back part time, and I was tired. I can understand not feeling up to it, though standard is 2 weeks. I think the significant piece here is that you have a few issues that are also affecting your recovery time, and it's unfortunate that you weren't able to feel heard about your specific situation. How are you feeling now?

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21 hours ago, returninghalfherweight said:

The nurse said, "If anyone has FMLA paperwork, we will take it now. We provide 2 weeks off work. Any longer and we need documentation of complications to extend it."

i may be missing a point here, but doesn't the nurse's statement leave the door open for an extension? are u able to provide documentation? i should think this would be as easy as a written statement?...

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Like I said, 2 weeks is standard, but the door is open to longer if needed. Some people take longer if they personally feel they need it, but that's if the employer (and potential accumulated PTO time) allows. If you had any complications, you could have had longer from your surgeon. But since you had a fantastic recovery, there was no need for longer other than you wanted it. Which was then up to you to secure, which you did. That's typically how it goes.

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