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Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Longer a Matter of If, but When

I met with a surgeon Feb. 23. He took more x-rays and told me that my left knee is plumb wore out (not in exactly those words). He said surgery should have been done several years ago. Not only is the cartilage gone but there are bone spurs all over the joint. When I asked if there were specific exercises I could do before surgery he said not really, ride a stationary bike if you can, do some leg lifts, but until those bone spurs are gone there is not much to be done.

He asked when I wanted it done and I said as soon as possible. But when I got home and started thinking about it I realized that I had not taken all things Medicare into account. I learned that hospital coverage ("part B") does not cover the doctor's costs - or, in fact, the anesthesiologist's. I would have to pay 20% of those costs in addition to a "hospital deductible". There is a difference between in-patient and out-patient status as well, so the transitional care might also require a 20% co-payment. I got to thinking that maybe I need a Medicare supplement after all.

I hunted around and found a supplement that looks right for me and signed up. As I understood what I read, this first surgery would not be covered if I have it done right away. I will probably have to wait a few months. I am going to call the agency tomorrow to find out if I read that right.

I am definitely having this surgery. My knees are too far gone for any other program to help them now. The surgery will be "minimally invasive" so I should be on my feet the day of the surgery, which is a relief.

Obviously this changes this blog. I really wanted to manage this arthritis without surgery but it has become so disabling that I am accepting the need. I am continuing to go to the gym because I am sure that the more flexible and strong I am the better.

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