Sunday, July 29, 2007

Whistling Past the Graveyard

A good friend of my neighbor, whom I will refer to as Bill (a pseudonym), just got out of the hospital after very nearly dying. He spent several weeks in critical condition with a burst and necrotizing colon, a complication of severe diverticulitis. For those who do not know, Diverticulitis is a condition where fecal matter gets caught in bulging pockets in the side of the colon, it becomes infected and causes a fistula, or hole, to form in the colon wall, spilling all of that infectious filth into the abdominal cavity. The result is not appreciably different from being gutshot, minus the actual gunshot wound. If anything it is worse. The surgeons drained several liters of pus and rotting colon from Bill's abdomen and used gallons of saline to rinse the filth out of his abdominal cavity. They pumped antibiotics into Bill to fight the ensuing sepsis and infection. He was also fed intravenously and was at one point on a ventilator to keep him breathing until the infection could be cleared from his lungs. Bill no longer has a colon, and has lost part of his rectum as well. He is now, several months later, well onto the road to recovery, albeit with a colostomy and all that entails. Unfortunately he and his family did not have disability insurance. They will likely have to file for bankruptcy or risk losing their home, and everything they have worked so hard for. Bill worked for a small company that did not offer disability insurance, and since he has had bouts of diverticulitis in the past, it was expensive to obtain it on his own, so he chose to do without. That is turning out to be a very expensive mistake.

If you come away from this post learning anything, come away with this: None of us are immortal. Many of us have life insurance, albeit often not enough, but comparatively few of us have short or long term disability insurance. In days gone by, that might have made a little more sense because most things killed you outright, but medical science has progressed to the point that things that 50 years ago would have killed us outright, now become long term disabilities. Auto fatalities have plummeted since the advent of airbags and seat belts and helicopter ambulances and level one trauma care centers, but more and more people are surviving crashes that used to be fatal with life altering disabilities. How will you and your family survive without your income? How will you pay for long term care? Many people are reluctant to contemplate their mortality, but it MUST BE DONE. You owe it to your family.


Blogger TxGoodie said...

Good post and painfully accurate. If my husband had of lived we'd of been in a world of hurt financially. I suppose I could of drug my bu** out of the house and tried to work, but I'm not trained for anything.

For years and years we were "insurance poor"....not lacking in it, but having a difficult time making the various payments. We didn't have long term care insurance, but now I do. It amazed me too that I could get a policy with my health history.

August 03, 2007 7:37 PM  

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