Monday, December 5, 2011

They Shoot Horses Don't They?

I have an appointment outside the office on the 12th of December with a gentleman who plans to saw off pieces of my upper and lower leg bones. He says this is absolutely necessary and all part of a construction project known as Total Knee Replacment (TKR). A football injury from the dark ages of sport finally finished off my left knee. One can only get by with bone on bone for so many years. And for the past few of those years, the pain has gotten worse and worse. I finally had to give in.

So I will be spending two or three days recovering in the hospital followed by a week or two at home. Doing this during the holidays is just my way of avoiding unnecessary and boring social interaction with people who only come around this time of year (they know who they are.) I am told that barring complications I should be limping back to work the first week of January and will likely be back on the golf course this Spring. It remains to be seen if the artificial knee will be as good of an excuse for poor play as was the arthritic one.

I do feel like I am in the mainstream of the “aging baby boomer cost of rising health care” tsunami. For 30 years I never broke down. Over the last ten years, it’s been one thing after another. The good news is that they can really fix stuff these days. At this rate, I’ll feel better in my 60’s than I did in my 40’s. But it doesn’t come cheap (I’m sure my TKR will cost 2 or 3 times more than the first house I bought.) It also begs the question: At what point do we quit fixing old worn out people parts? If you leave it up to the old worn out people, the answer is never. So I guess the bigger question may be who SHOULD be answering it? And the other big question is what can we do to make the original parts last a little longer. Virtually all of my broken parts have been sports, exercise, over-use or accident related. I probably should have done some things differently, but I had a lot of fun banging this old body around.

Now I (along with the insurance company and society and my family) will ultimately pay for it. Frankly, I don’t see a major game-changing solution to this rising healthcare dilemma. We have a growing demand for health services/products/parts and a growing supply of health services/products/parts to meet that demand. As long as we can pay for them, the bill will keep going up. So just put this TKR on my tab, OK?

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