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Out with the old knees and in with the new this week

Tomorrow is the big day for me. Out with the old knees, in with the new. As one might imagine it’s both a time of excitement and apprehension. I’ve enjoyed excellent health throughout my life and have little experience with hospitals and such. All that’s about to change.

For a number of reasons, partly hereditary and partly hard living, I’ve worn my knee cartilage out and need a retread. The situation has grown progressively worse with each passing year and now I’m going to get it fixed.
The only reason for sharing all this personal information is that I suspect a lot of my peers are facing the same, or a similar, fate over the coming years and might be interested in the process. Particularly the preparation for being somewhat incapacitated for a month or more.

Several frustrations have arisen even before the surgery. Number one, I can’t figure out how much it’s going to cost. Now, it wouldn’t seem that little tidbit of information would be so hard to get, but it is. I believe that cloaking the cost of the surgery process behind a veil of mystery has to do with insurance adjustments. No matter the reason, the bottom line is I’m going to incur a really substantial expense (estimates range from $25,000 to $40,000) and I couldn’t tell you within $5,000 what my out-of-pocket cost will be. I suppose there’s always the prospect of a yard sale if it’s more than I can pay.

Frustration number two is the time required for recovery. The standard answer is, “it depends on you.” Now, are we talking days, weeks or months? “It depends on you.” How can I plan when I don’t know how long I’ll be out of commission? After all, I’ve got a business to run here. No matter. “It depends on you.”

So, assuming I’ll be out for weeks, what do I need to do in preparation? In addition to great health I’m also blessed with a great staff. Plus, for years, I’ve secretly been preparing them for this occasion by going on deer hunting trips for weeks at the time. Everyone here at the Mississippi Business Journal knows their job and they do it whether I’m here or not. Now that’s a load off any CEO’s mind. Yes, the payroll will be handled without missing a beat.

One friend, who will go nameless for obvious reasons, suggested I needed to execute a durable power of attorney since I might die. Now, that’s the kind of support one needs in times like these. Perhaps he has a point. After all, every time we go unconscious under anesthesia we’re “nearer my God to Thee.” I have a medical directive (don’t waste time and money on me if it’s unlikely that I’ll recover) and a will. Is that enough? Do I need a durable power of attorney? I honestly don’t know. I’ve got a week to see what I need to do about that.

As untimely as it might seem to me personally, this is probably a good time to think about a succession plan. How would the employees and customers react if I didn’t survive? Fortunately, wife Debra, who is active in the business and an officer in the company, would hold the controlling block of stock and could quickly rally the troops and get on with the business of publishing this paper. I have no worry in that area but it might be something for you to ponder.

Since joint replacement is so common nowadays, I plan to use this column as a sort of journal over the coming weeks to chronicle my progress, my pains and my gains. Fortunately for you I can’t scream on paper since I understand the rehab is excruciatingly painful. I’ll probably have to skip next week since I plan to be shot up so high on Demerol that anything I would write would be incomprehensible.

So, here I go, but before I leave I would like to thank all those who have known of my upcoming adventure and have been so kind in their encouragement and in wishing me well. It is truly heart rending to feel the warmth of friendship. For, after faith in God, relationships truly are the most important thing in the world.

Thought for the Moment
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
— Psalm 23:4

Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.


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