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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:08 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Back in Forster., after two operations on my neck, front and back The Beechcraft King Air turboprop air ambulance was cosy but really cool for ther 300kms flight back home (plus ground ambulances at each end). Now hitting the rehab gym for a couple of hours a day. Gonna be fit when they let me out of here!
My neck is now solid like a stack of casino chips reinforced by a titanium cage. Fortunately for sailing, vertical movement has not been reduced, while horizontal has been reduced by about 20 degrees, bugger all considering that 4 of my 7 cervical vertebrae are now bolted together.
Just got to wear the "Aspen" horse collar (I asked for a "Thredbo" one, but just got blank looks.lol
In May, they will finally fuse my lower spine (L2-L3 to existing L4, L5, S1 fusion from 22 years ago), and THEN I will be able to go swimming again, the first time since 2014!

Ask me what I think about needing to keep my feet totally dry while sailing my TI. I am so over that......

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:26 pm 
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Location: Houston, TX
Glad that's behind you Tony. Why the dry feet?

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“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:42 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
I didn't mention that I also have diabetic ulcers (already had a couple of toes amputated), and the remaining ulcer on my big toe is proving difficult to get rid of. Hopefully my current stint in hospital will give it a chance to finally heal.

I have taken way too many hits for the team! This is my fifteenth hospital admission into eight hospitals since the start of 2015. "Only" two more to go though, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Boy do I have a lot of sailing to catch up on!

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:03 pm 
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Location: Kailua 96734
God's way of telling you to get a monohull again, Tony. With a crew!

Heal quickly, Mate- and stay that way!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:06 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
My gob is truly smacked!
I just received a statement from my health fund listing what they paid out for my recent neck surgery, fusing four of my seven neck vertabrae. Holy crap!
2 nights intensive care unit $5,200
14 nights private room $14,400
2 operating theatre $12,100
44 Prosthesis bits $44,432
That is about $76k so far...
Then there is
The surgeon about $ 4.500
The anaesthetist guessing $ 1,500
Ground Ambulances $ 800
Air ambulance $ 3.700
26 nights Rehab hospital $15,470
The eye-watering total is about $102k!!!
(think about this my US friends...)
I paid an excess of $250 (payable once a year), while the above costs were paid by my health insurance apart from the $6k doctor bill covered by Medibank, our national health system.
Should I mention that on 10th July, I return to the hospital for two lumbar spinal fusions, and most of the above costs will be repeated!

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


Last edited by tonystott on Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:42 am 
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Location: Houston, TX
So Tony, are you saying your out of pocket cost was $250 that year? Are your taxes in Australia ridiculously high? What has been your experience with a national health care system? Does it work better in your experience? Big debate here in the states.

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“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:53 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
vetgam wrote:
So Tony, are you saying your out of pocket cost was $250 that year? Are your taxes in Australia ridiculously high? What has been your experience with a national health care system? Does it work better in your experience? Big debate here in the states.

Hoping to not open a can of worms Greg, but I firmly believe USA should look to the experiences of countries like Australia for health care.

Some years ago, a left-leaning government created "Medicare", which provided universal basic healthcare to everyone.
In order to limit overall costs, "common fees" were established by the government for various medical services (including the humble general practice GP doctor out in the suburbs), and if medicos charged more, insurers were banned from covering the gap. Similarly, public hospitals offered multi-bed wards, operating doctors were as provided (is no selection of particular surgeons, so many doctors were newly qualified, and "boutique" doctors stayed away from the Medicare system) Waiting lists could be quite long in non-emergency cases.

But the up side (and boy, is it an important one!) NOBODY DIES from being unable to afford medical attention. That is not an unrealistic expectation of a civilised society.

Some GPs make a good living "bulk-billing" their patients, meaning that the latter have no out of pocket expenses seeing their GP. This has the deliberate benefit of limiting the number of people turning up at ER departments at hospitals, and encouraging people to seek medical attention before a problem escalates.

The government pays for Medicare by charging a tax surcharge (I think it is about 4%) which can be reduced if the taxpayer takes out private medical insurance. Private patients enjoy some attractive advantages, such as:-
Choice of specialist
Reduced waiting list time
Private rooms in hospitals (including private hospitals if desired)
Cover for elective surgery (strictly controlled by the government. eg no government subsidies for cosmetic surgery, and bizarrely, limited government subsidy for my spinal surgeries which are deemed elective.. WTF??)

Obviously, people on higher incomes will elect to take out private health cover rather than wear the tax surcharge. Private insurance premiums vary greatly, depending on extent of cover (medical, hospital, extras, dental etc, age of patient etc, while pre-existing illnesses are handled by extended waiting periods), age when starting out with the cover (premiums ramp up the older you are when you join up). For instance, my cover does not include maternity expenses lol!

In my case, as a 71 year old pensioner, I chose to have hospital-plus private health cover, and then negotiate with the specialist surgeon, for them to charge the no-gap common fee. My GP bulk-bills for my visits, so no out-of-pockets, and when in hospital, almost all costs are covered (physio, registrars, rehab equipment and assistance etc) With a fortnightly premium of $54, I am hugely in front!. (2015 $70k, 2016 $30k, 2017 prediction $200k)

Sorry for the long-winded masssively off-topic reply Greg. To be honest, most of us here in Australia can't understand how US society can even contemplate milliona of pwople "falling through the healthcare cracks" due to being unable to afford treatment

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:16 pm 
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Location: Houston, TX
Thanks Tony. Not often we get to hear from someone who live the experience of a single payer health care system. I think it would actually drive costs down in the US. Our medical care has not really been market driven as long as I remember.

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2016 AI - Spinn & Jib
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“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:16 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Looks like I'm getting a wedgie! (5 actually)

Saw my orthopaedic surgeon on the weekend (he drives 350km each way on a Saturday to see us "country bumkins"), who advised me that he is not adding two more levels to my existing fusion next month, but six (WTF?)

Turns out that I have been stooped over for so long due to sciatica that he is going to fit subtle wedges into the front of each new level to build in some spinal curvature to help straighten up my posture. He has assured me that the top ones (Thoracic 10, 11, 12 linked to Lumbar 1) will not restrict my bending to any extent, but I will be complementing the surgery with intensive physio to optimise flexibility.

My spine will overall be about 40% fused and supported by titanium rods - people be careful lifting stuff!!!

All in all, a pretty piss-poor excuse to justify a couple more air ambulance trips!
It is hard to believe that I have no further surgery planned after this... it has been way too long a road

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
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Location: South Florida
tonystott wrote:
vetgam wrote:
So Tony, are you saying your out of pocket cost was $250 that year? Are your taxes in Australia ridiculously high? What has been your experience with a national health care system? Does it work better in your experience? Big debate here in the states.

Hoping to not open a can of worms Greg, but I firmly believe USA should look to the experiences of countries like Australia for health care.

"Universal" healthcare in the US is marginal and will get much worse if the current bills in congress go through. It is pathetic that the "richest" country on earth cannot provide healthcare for its population. There are many other countries which the USA could look at to learn how to do it right, but Americans think they are the only ones who know how to do things right (after they exhaust all other wrong ways as Churchill said).

I hate to get into this healthcare debate crap, but had to put in my 2 cents. I'm done.

Tony, glad you are getting good care. Get well and get sailing.

Keith

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:06 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Well, my adventures continue...

On July 17, the surgeon fused another six vertabrae to the three done way back in 1995.

This went really well for a few weeks into recovery, until I woke up one day in agony.

The surgeon flew me back to Sydney via air ambulance, and began investigating for the cause of my total disaster. In due course, he discovered the the additional strain on my original fusion from the six new levels caused several screws to loosen in my sacrum (the triangular bone at the base. of the spine.

Fitting slightly bigger screws fixed the problem instantly, so much so that they got me out of bed and walking the very next morning. Unbelievable!!!

So I now have 42% of my spine fused, but I am only a few weeks away from being able to get back on the TI.

Amazing...

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:33 pm 
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Location: Houston, TX
Way to go Tony! Welcome back.

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2016 AI - Spinn & Jib
2012 AI - Spinn & Jib

“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
– Charles G. Davis

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:45 pm
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Hey Tony,

When they start fitting you with an exoskeleton (there can't be that much room left inside for any more extensions!) we can start calling you "Robocop" - if only your surname was Murphy! :-)

Get well soon and you'll be ready to hit the water when the weather starts picking up.

Cheers,

Mike.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:45 am 
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Mike, I already have an exoskeleton with titanium cages linking nine vertabrae at the bottom and four in the neck at the top.

Only thing is they are all under the skin!

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:17 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Bigger! Due to having been bedridden for over eleven weeks, my muscles have wasted away (

I discovered that I can hardly lift a foot off the ground, and even my breathing is laboured..

The doc has cheerily informed me that with concentrated exercise, I should be back to normal in about three months!!! Faaark. I don't recall being given a brochure extolling ways for bedridden patients to mnimise the problem

Oh well our summer starts here in December, so I should be ok by then. .

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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