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Old 28.07.2015, 20:00
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Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

I wrote a whole story explaining my situation, but it turned into quite the bitter story, so I will just try to stick to the facts.

Me: unemployed, new mother of 4.5 month old and I'm currently too ill to take care of him (alone)
Husband: C-permit, normally works long hours, but is currently taking time off to help me (but he is running out holidays fast)

My husband makes enough money for the three of us to live comfortably, as long as I'm taking care of the baby. Not sure whether we have enough to hire a full time nanny or pay for daycare, as long as I'm not working. (Assuming a solution like this would cost us around 2500-3000CHF per month.)

In a couple of days I'm flying back to the Netherlands (if I manage), so my mom can help me out with the baby, but this is hardly a permanent solution. Not only because my current insurance only covers emergencies abroad (and I need constant monitoring to get my dosage right for my hyperthyroidism), but also because I don't want to keep my baby away from my husband. And flying up and down will cost too much energy.
My mom is able to fly over occasionally, but also has obligations in the Netherlands, so she can't stay indefinitely either.

I'm hoping to get better soon, but in the meantime, I'm getting a little bit nervous. In the Netherlands, there is something that is called 'care leave', which basically means that if your partner becomes ill, you get time off work to take care of him/her.

Is there something similar in Switzerland?

Any advice will be much appreciated...
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:23
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

I feel for you! I have hypothyroidism but had a dad with hyperthyroidism. Both not easy.

I haven´t heard of care leave here (I know it is 10 days per year in Germany).

Anyway, as that doesn´t help you at all, try to post something on Facebook in the group Nederlanders in Zwitserland as well? There is bound to be someone who lives in the area and can help.

Sterkte!!
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:35
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Why don't you ask your doctor if there is a system where someone can come and help you at home here in Switzerland. When I was injured, the doctors were talking about getting me home help for when I was first out of hospital... I never got it as was just kept in hospital longer... but there is something available.
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:35
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Unfortunately care leave doesn't exist in Switerland, which can lead some families into dreadful difficulties

I really feel for you: taking care of a child while you're sick is dreadful.

I know that the Red Cross can send emergency child minders to your place to help if you're sick, and what you pay depends on your income.

In Vaud, the Soins à domicile help with daily tasks too, such as cleaning and such.

I'm sorry we're not closer to each other, I'd love helping take care of a baby!
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:36
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

So sorry you are feeling so bad. No idea about care leave- will look into it. I am hypothyroid too, but well controlled with thiroxine. Enjoy your time with your mum and have a good rest in the meantime. An Au Pair may be a solution for you as she would be there to help and not sole charge, and it is much cheaper. Depends on the language/s you speal at home though. Maybe your mum could advertise in Holland and you could interview when there and bring someone back with you. The Red Cross also maybe able to help with part care, and your Commune too - a doctor's certificate will help with finding a place and perhaps even financial help- but it depends on salary. Take care and get stronger so you can enjoy your new baby x (posts crossed re Red Cross Mélu)
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:42
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Your husband could try asking his employer about care leave. My husband was given 10 days care leave by his employers although they weren't legally obliged to do so. Maybe your husband has generous employers too.
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:49
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Sadly, it isn't only the hyperthyroidism. I was finally feeling better, but since a couple of days, I'm experiencing extreme pain in my joints. And it seems to pop up in a different place pretty much every day.

Not sure where it's coming from and the painkillers don't seem to do a whole lot. I already went to a rheumatologist today, but I will have to wait a bit before the test results come back. Or maybe I'm hypo now, which would be a miracle, considering how high my values were a couple of weeks ago. Oh yeah, I also got bitten by a tick a month ago. *sigh*

All I know is that every time I think it can't get any worse, it does.

I've read an au pair is not all that cheap and I have no idea how long I will feel like this. I would feel really bad about hiring someone, only to kick her to the curb as soon as I no longer need her.

I will explore the Red Cross option and I will ask my GP for advice too, thank you so much!
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Old 28.07.2015, 20:55
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Thyroid medication can have impact on your joints so it may just be a side effect. Not good but hopefully not anything else either!

But.... do have that tick bite checked out!!! That can have ugly reactions later on!
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Old 28.07.2015, 21:04
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

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Thyroid medication can have impact on your joints so it may just be a side effect. Not good but hopefully not anything else either!

But.... do have that tick bite checked out!!! That can have ugly reactions later on!
I agree! I already e-mailed my endocrinologist as soon as I started developing the symptoms, but no reply. Tomorrow I have an appointment with him and he has the results of my latest blood work, so let's see...

And I have tried to get the tick bite checked out. It wasn't in my body for very long, but it wasn't properly removed either. But for some reason the doctors all seem to dismiss the idea of it being Lymes' disease.

After some perseverance, my rheumatologist decided to include testing for Borreliose, but from what I've read, the tests are not too reliable either.
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Old 28.07.2015, 21:09
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

The ticks in Western Switzerland don't seem to be as dangerous as in other parts of Switzerland. And you would have noticed a strong skin reaction and spreading, if it was likely to be Lymes disease- so see what the tests say.
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Old 28.07.2015, 21:18
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Hello There,

I am very sorry you are not feeling well. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Contact your family doctor and ask them to schedule `Spitex ` or it might be called something else in your area. But it`s basically a service where a nurse is sent to you home to help out. The one in our region is this one :
http://www.spitex-zuerich.ch/
You can ask that they speak English if you don`t speak the local language.

2) Contact your gemiende to give you a list of the `TagesMutter ` mothers who take care of children for very reasonable price per hour. Ask the one who lives close to you to help you out, even if she can`t she would know many others in the area and you can start connecting to the mothers network in your zip-code.

3) I know this might not sound like an easy option but you can always take yourself and your child and check in the hospital stating your not feeling well and need medical care. They will take care of you , provide you with full 3 healthy meals and you can spend the day in the room, cafeteria, hospital garden , very simple walks and very little effort while your little one still entertained. When I was very ill with a small baby , husband who was frustrated with keeping up with work , taking care of me and new born , I just carried my baby and walked to our small village hospital and stayed there for near a month ! While my husband checked on us mornings before work and evenings after work. When I was asked by doctors if I wish to be sent home, I was very honest and told them I didn`t want to go as I was passing out or getting dizzy at sudden times and it is very difficult to look after a baby while I can`t take care of myself. Doctors and nurses were very understanding.


I am very sorry your going through this, I wish you all the best. It will get easier I am sure.
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Old 28.07.2015, 21:22
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

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The ticks in Western Switzerland don't seem to be as dangerous as in other parts of Switzerland. And you would have noticed a strong skin reaction and spreading, if it was likely to be Lymes disease- so see what the tests say.
Oh I forgot to mention, the tick bite was in the Auvergne area, in France. And it happened right next to a patch of land with sheep on it.

I did get somewhat of a rash, but this is also a common side effect of the meds I'm on. And everything happened more or less at the same time. I got bitten by a tick on Friday and started the meds for hyperthyroidism the Tuesday after.

Also, only 50% of the people that get infected with Lymes' develop the typical rash.

And I know that there are far worse thing out there than Lymes' disease, but that still doesn't mean I would like to have it. Although it beats Rheumatoid Arthritis any day of the week (which is what the doctors suspect).

Ok I'm driving myself insane now. Let's just hope it's a side-effect of the thyroid medication I'm taking. Will keep you guys updated.

Thanks again for your help and concern.
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Old 28.07.2015, 21:26
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

In which case, the sooner the tests can confirm or exclude, the better- so you, OH, family and docs can work out a positive way forwards. xxx
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Old 28.07.2015, 22:44
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Can one get the TSH tests in CH at will?

I know a certain hypo. person who adjusts his dose on his own accordingly every few months. He says that TSH and pulse rate is usually adequate for him to measure his Thyroid hormone dose after observing what his endocrinologist had been doing over the years.

The dose fulctuates a lot from 75mcg to 12mcg, depending on many factors including time of year, access to iodized salt, tap water, etc.
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Old 28.07.2015, 22:48
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

What do you mean by 'at will' - I get my TSH and T4 tested once a year- because my doctor knows that it is required. They won't test 'just for the sake of it'.
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Old 28.07.2015, 22:50
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Adjusting yourself is highly dangerous! So many factors that play a role and you may not be aware of.
I get tested once a year and whenever I think my thyroid is acting up. Self adjusting can lead to hot "knots".
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Old 29.07.2015, 01:03
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

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What do you mean by 'at will' - I get my TSH and T4 tested once a year- because my doctor knows that it is required. They won't test 'just for the sake of it'.
By at will I mean, can a Swiss patient just walk into a testing center, deposit blood sample, pay and get the results online or something, whenever they please, no questions asked.?

It was possible in the US and many of the routine tests were not expensive.
A lot of people I know did not have health insurance in the states, and thus they self-treated themselves or asked a friend with insurance to feign symptoms and get prescription pills. Sometimes through grey market online sites as well.
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Old 29.07.2015, 01:16
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

4.5 month old's are *intense* at the best of times!

Definitely speak to your local doctor about how you can get extra help for yourself and your baby.

It sounds like the red cross and/or spitex should be contacted. a friend of mine who is a single mum broke her foot recently and she was able to get help with a bit of cleaning and organising things around the house...it's important to ask!

Hopefully your mum will be able to give support and reassurance.

i got vertigo when my second child was about 2 and my older child 4 and a woman from school overheard the teacher mention I was very unwell, and she got my number and arranged to take my daughter home from school each day...she was a 'stranger' to me, but So kind.... i could not drive for 3 weeks and my 2 year old got sent to grandmas for the first 10 days during the day when my husband was not available.

Whilst it may not feel like a good solution, as said the last thing you want is for your husband to take so much time off that it affect his employment prospects... So it's important to ask for help early, for whatever you need..

Other coping strategies are talking to people who help you to feel good, reassurance that coping with a small baby is hard/overwhelming even we are well and healthy, so no wonder you feel overwhelmed! ...it will get better/easier... Get your shopping delivered, pay a cleaner ... Or even someone to just come an hour or two to help out with the washing, tidying or organsing.

As a mummy of a very small children I did not always want people to 'take the baby'....but for them to cook, clean up, fold a load of washing, pack the dishwasher, bring some fresh yummy food...made a big difference

Best of luck and hope you get helpful answers soon so you can stop worrying and focus on recovery!
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Old 29.07.2015, 09:54
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

Another idea for help might be asking around for a student who is willing to help. Right now it is vacation time until mid sept so students around could be happy to earn a few extra CHF. If you need them after that, you might be able to work a schedule with the student to accommodate the classes, even if s/he only comes a few hours a day.
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Old 29.07.2015, 10:14
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Re: Advice needed: extremely ill and taking care of a 4.5 month old

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By at will I mean, can a Swiss patient just walk into a testing center, deposit blood sample, pay and get the results online or something, whenever they please, no questions asked.?
You can have a test done by your GP, IIRC the cost was under CHF 200 - maybe quite a bit under - plus consultation fee.

But some, maybe many, GPs are really not conversant with endocrine issues, only screen for T4, perhaps TSH, and can't do much more than look at the numbers against a standard. You are better off seeing an endocrinologist who will do a more extensive test, looking at all parameters and antibodies. IME, the cost of a consultation and blood test by an endocrinologist was not much more than a GP, a pleasant surprise.

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A lot of people I know did not have health insurance in the states, and thus they self-treated themselves or asked a friend with insurance to feign symptoms and get prescription pills. Sometimes through grey market online sites as well.
This is wrong on so many levels. And dangerous.

There is research coming out that thyroid issues are being overdiagnosed and over treated in the US, largely in response to patient demand. Taking thyroid meds inappropriately can have serious long term health consequences.

You have health insurance here; go to the doctor. Start with your GP for an initial consultation and then if necessary a referral to an endocrinologist.

---
iPinky, I too will encourage you to look into Spitex. You can ask for it yourself, but if ordered by your GP in limited circumstances (at least in SZ, perhaps different rules apply in GE) your insurance might contribute towards the cost.

The organization in GE is here:
http://www.imad-ge.ch/fr/index.php

I hope you start to feel better soon.
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