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The Cost of Joint Replacement

Speaking as someone with deteriorating joints (quickly in the case of my knees) and living through watching my mother’s joints deteriorate, the science (and business) of joint rehabilitation and/or the cost of joint replacement is a topic very near and dear to my heart. Ted.com does another very interesting (shorter) talk about this affliction that will hit many more folks than Cancer will, and may end up costing the medical industry a great deal more in the long run (with more people living longer, but being immobile because of issues with joint deterioration (or the catch all phrase Arthritis for now)).

The science of replacement of Hips and Knees are now pretty straight forward, but what about shoulders, ankles, and even more interestingly lumbar work (specifically the spinal column), what can be done there?

When you are in your 80’s, are you going to be able to walk to the corner store?


Arthritis and injury grind down millions of joints, but few get the best remedy — real biological tissue. Kevin Stone shows a treatment that could sidestep the high costs and donor shortfall of human-to-human transplants with a novel use of animal tissue.

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Eye Care: A Video

What do you do in a country where 200,000,000 need eye care yet most can’t afford it? This fascinating talk from Ted entitled How Low cost eye care can be world class outlines how this is being done in India.

India’s revolutionary Aravind Eye Care System has given sight to millions. Thulasiraj Ravilla looks at the ingenious approach that drives its treatment costs down and quality up, and why its methods should trigger a re-think of all human services.

As usual it starts with a driving force, and it expands, but eyesight is something that folks in North America just assume you go and get fixed (for most folks), but in India that is not the case.

The business side is interesting too, about the economy of scale that can be put on a problem, is this model possible in North America?

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Another Hospital User Fee

So Michael James and Larry MacDonald both commented last week about Hospital and Medical clinics and their User Fees, and I was exposed to those and a few other interesting charges as well.

This past weekend I hung out in the Emergency room at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario), due to my daughter assuming that her knee can bend sideways (I guess I should be happy she didn’t try to bend it like a dog’s back leg like Napoleon MacCallum did in the NFL). The visit was long and I believe I have been exposed to most of the respiratory illnesses out there, however there was another interesting charge that came up.

Yes, I had to pay for parking which wasn’t cheap ($13 for 5 hours), however, the interesting charge that came up was the cost of having to buy crutches for my daughter (whether we really need these crutches remains to be seen). The crutches cost $30, and I had to pay with direct withdrawal or cash (no credit cards). The no credit cards part seemed quite odd, given not many people I know wander around with $30 cash in their wallets, but the fact that the Crutches only cost $30 was interesting.

The last time I got crutches, it wasn’t that much either (it was for me, I decided running fast and then placing my foot in a gopher hole and almost shattering my ankle might be fun), so are these aluminum crutches somehow subsidized? I think I can claim them on my insurance so I am not that worried, but I was more curious about whether these were somehow subsidized, or are crutches just that cheap? Anyone know?

Whether any of the odd bacteria/viruses I was exposed to take hold in my body, remains to be seen.

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Random Thoughts: Let’s all skate!

Now that the Rideau Canal Skateway has opened for it’s 40th year of operation, I think we can say that Winter has come to Ottawa. The canal is one of those things that you just assume is there and when it is not, you wonder why not. Will I skate on it this year? I don’t think so, but it is still a possibility (how ever slim that might be) that I may.

Given the horrible sites we are seeing on TV from the Haitian earthquake I urge my readers to find Aid Groups (the Red Cross, or your Church) and give what you can to help out. For those who are going there to help, you have my respect and my hope that your good works help those in need.

Birthday Blogs

Given it was someone’s birthday this week, what was new in the Personal Finance blogosphere? Let’s just poke around and see:

  • Michael James points out that not all Hospital User Fees have anything to do with the care you receive at your hospital. Luckily he didn’t try to buy something in the cafeteria!
  • Larry MacDonald continues this discussion with his post about the Inner workings of walk-in clinics and the other fees you can incur if you simply want a wart removed!
  • Million Dollar Journey is most definitely putting their money where their keyboard is, with My Financial Goals for 2010, I am astounded by his (her?) intestinal fortitude to write that kind of challenge for themselves.
  • Preet at WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo.com points out that January’s Returns Predict Rest of Year’s Performance 74% of the time, which is an interesting idea. I have found that the team that scores the most points in most NFL games, win, but I can’t be sure.
  • Gene (a frequent commenter on this blog) asked the Canadian Capitalist about Opening a US Dollar Self-Directed RRSP account with Qtrade and the Capitalist (as usual) brings up some important points to consider. Glad to see Gene knows who(m) to ask these kind of questions to (i.e. not ME).
  • Gail Vaz-Oxlade comments on the problems with a prominent golfer with her article Out of the Woods?, OK, it has nothing to do with that, but still an interesting article about the CDIC.
  • Ellen Roseman asks Who has seen the wind? asking if anyone has started dealing with Wind Mobility, I await to see someone say “Yes it works for me”, before I change my carrier.
  • Can Skinner Conditioning be used for aversion therapy to stop folks from buying into Ponzi schemes? Canadian Financial DIY wants to know.
  • The Four Pillars tries the daunting task of explaining how a Metropolitan Mass Transit system thinks with The TTC’s Idiotic Approach to Fare Increases hopefully they won’t look at Ottawa’s OC Chancepo, or they may go off the deep end

Enjoy the winter!

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Holiday Cheer Volume 6: Taboos

For my regular readers, I am so lazy swamped over the holidays that I am taking some time off and putting up a “Best of” anthology until the New Year (January 4th to be exact). Enjoy two Best of posts a day over the Holidays and have yourself a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The year slowly draws to a close, but fear not good reader, I still have a few more morsels of financial fun for your reading satisfaction. Tomorrow will be a real corker, but I don’t want to get you too excited so here are three more interesting post from the past year.

Taboo Subjects With Kids (2009/12/01)

Larry MacDonald asked me a few questions for an article he is working on, and it caused me to think a bit more about a subject that it is important as parents to talk to our kids about. This subject is taboo in most families and is certainly not a normal dinner table topic, and I must say that as a child growing up my parents never brought this subject up, and I must also admit that most of what I learned about it initially I learned “on the street”……

Click here for the complete Post

Men’s Health  (2009/12/17)

More studies are coming out that are pointing out that thanks to Erectile Dysfunction medications (like Viagra) men seem to be getting healthier…….

Click here for the Complete Post

Sometimes the Problem Changes (2009/10/20)

As part of my every day life, I help out at my Church with the computers (remember volunteering is a good thing to do), and one of the weekly events that should happen is back up of the computers at the Church (as it should for all of us, are you doing backups?). For the longest of times I used a CD-RW (read write CD) to back up this data, but over time the data set grew, and eventually we had to use 2 CD’s to accomplish the task……..

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