Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Real Cost of Back Surgery

While I still have not received any formal statements, the 'bills' are piling up.

First there was the new car. Both our older cars had in excess of 150,000 miles, and Judy needed something reliable to transport me around. The local dealer was begging for you to take them off his hands and if your credit is good, you can still get a loan.

Next are the home 'improvements'. Beds, toilets, showers and chairs all have to be modified. This was not a big deal or cost for us because my previous hip surgeries had taught us what worked.

Next there is the cost for having someone do the 'heavy' lifting, the climbing and most routine home maintenance. It is easy to see why people move into a housing arrangement where all of that is taken care of by someone else. The frustrating part for me is that I would gladly pay a teenager to do some of these odd jobs, but there are none to be found.

The first snow pointed out what the wife has been hinting for years--that we need an electric start snow blower. Sure enough, the first snowfall came and Judy was not strong enough to pull-start our old snow blower. When our macho neighbor couldn't get it going either, I knew the time had come. My other neighbor, who recently had extensive heart surgery, was way ahead of me. He bought his wife a Toro last fall, and when we saw how it operated, we bought one the next day. (It turns out our old snow blower, which I had acquired for $25 some 5 years ago, had a cracked head. I ended up selling it, cracked head and all, for $25 on Craigslist in one day. I had previously made a private sale of my third car on Craigslist, so I highly recommend that method of cleaning out the junk from your house and garage.)

But the really big cost is for a full-time nurse, cook, housemaid and all around gofer. If you don't have a mate who can perform these tasks, you can't have the surgery. These bills from my mate are piling up, and she says I will never be able to pay them off.

So go ahead and have the back surgery if you need it. Between Medicare and private insurance coverage, your out-of-pocket expenses won't be too bad. But be ready for those 'incidental' costs. They are the costs that keep going and going and going!


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