Your Role in Medical Care

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Think through your role in your partner's medical care.

Consider sitting down and directly talking with your partner.

Discuss whether you are able to, or want to, go to doctor's appointments, treatment visits, or medical tests.

Ask your partner how he or she wants or needs you to be involved. If it would be difficult to honor your partner's requests (for example, if you cannot take time off from work without losing pay or risking your job), think together to find solutions.

Perhaps you could ask a friend to go with your partner once in a while, or talk with your supervisor or employer to figure out how you might manage this during work with the least disruption.

Your involvement also may change over time. For instance, you may not want, or need, to go to each treatment appointment, but you and your partner may decide that you should attend meetings with the oncologist or other members of the treatment team whenever the discussion will focus on planning, test results, or progress.

Plan ahead if you decide to go with your partner to medical appointments.

If you and your partner decide that you will go to doctor's visits and treatments, you may need to take time off from work. You may hope to keep your work and private lives separate, but this can become difficult to do. It may help in the long run to be clear and upfront about what you are trying to manage.

When approaching your employer, be specific about what you need and when you need it. If you say, for instance, "I would like every third Thursday morning off for the next 12 weeks," both you and your boss will find it easier to make the necessary adjustments to minimize any loss in productivity or concerns among co-workers.

Don't forget to arrange for additional childcare when necessary.

You may need to accompany your partner at a time when your children are usually at home. Finding childcare during a weekday can be tricky, so give yourself lots of time to make these arrangements. Ask relatives and neighbors to pitch in, call local organizations that provide one-time or last-minute childcare, such as, or see if someone in your official support system can help out.

See The Daily Routine: Making It Work.