My father would have turned 94 today. Well, I suppose he still turns 94 today, but he’s a dead 94. In 1985 we flew to Hawaii for his birthday, it was my first flight. I remember when we first entered the hotel room, turned on the television, and the news was covering the plane crash of Delta 191 at DFW.
Based upon a recommendation I decided to give Taco Casa a try, which I always felt had a Los Pollos Hermanos vibe. I walked in the same time as another gentleman and sat in a booth behind him. He answered his phone and talked to someone for less than a minute and hung up. He then left the table leaving behind a large drink and four wrapped tacos. I sat there for about 15-20 minutes and he never returned.
If you’ve been keeping track, I’ve had three steroid epidurals, been going to physical therapy, and have been on pain medication. My pain is mainly related to the narrowing of space between my L4-L5 vertebrates. The space between them should be closer to 24 mm and mine is around 6mm. You can also add in herniation and arthritis. Sheesh, I’m only 41 and I sound old.
I visited my orthopedic on Friday and he’s now advising spinal fusion surgery. Funny thing, on Friday, I was over my deductible because it was still July. However, as of yesterday, August has begun and my health plan starts over and so does my deductible.
In case you are wondering, Tiger Woods’ fusion was at L5-S1, just one lower than what I’d be getting.
I asked if disk replacement (instead of a spinal fusion) was an option for me. It’s not because my degeneration would cause more stress on the adjacent vertebrates.
I asked if I could forgo surgery and just focus on pain management, like continued PT and medication. He said the issue isn’t so much my ability to tolerate the pain, but the nerve damage which could be permanent. I don’t feel like he was trying to scare me, but he stated the nerve damage most likely would lead to loss of bladder control and feeling in my lower extremities.
He encouraged me to get a second opinion, so I’m on the hunting for another. Without doing any research, the first place that pops in my mind is where Tiger went. He could have gone anywhere in the world but chose the Texas Back Institute. So at least I know they can treat half-Asians.
Circling back to my health plan and deductible starting over . . . even though my employer has chosen it to renew at the start of August, my flexible spending account aligns with the calendar year. I’ve already spent all the funds in it for this year but it will have a full balance when January hits. So it makes financial sense for me to get the procedure done in January. While I’m glad I’m not rushing into this decision and will be getting a second and probably a third opinion, I’m uncomfortable my health decisions are tied to timing and financing.