Posted by RycePapers | Filed under RycePapers
We have all done it. We’ve said ‘I can’t afford it’ or ‘It’s not worth the cost’ or ‘That is too expensive’. In other words, we did a cost-benefit analysis and decided not to spend our money. A cost-benefit analysis, done well, allows you to compare choices and calculate if it is wise to spend money. I used it recently because my cast came off (yippee: two-handed typing again) and I needed to get movement back into my right hand.
The morning I left to get my cast removed, a CBC radio program talked about people with less income having poorer health outcomes. I got to experience this first hand, pun intended. When my cast came off, and an X-ray showed the bone had healed, the doctor asked me if I received benefits. No, I told him. He gave me two photocopied sheets of paper with exercises for hands and wrists and told me to do them. What about physiotherapy, I asked. Clearly he was surprised and said, ‘Oh, here is a list of physio clinics in the area.” Because I didn’t receive benefits, he did not even intend to mention physiotherapy as a course of action.
In my experience, physiotherapy helps me heal faster. The bones in my wrist lay unmoving for five weeks in the cast. They were stiff and the muscles around them were unused. Perhaps my hand would have recovered without physiotherapy, but why take the chance? A cost-benefit analysis for the health of my valuable hands told me physiotherapy was a better course of action, despite the cost, than choosing the free option of just doing the exercises. I wanted the best chance of recovery and would do the exercises and the physiotherapy.
The initial session in physiotherapy lasted one hour and cost $90. The follow-up sessions cost $60 for 30 minutes. Sean measured my strength, and it showed my dominant right hand now measured only half of the strength of my non-dominant left hand. Clearly I needed exercises to build this strength back up. One session he worked as a bone crusher, manipulating the many stiff bones in the interior of my palm. I put on a brave face and went home and took more Advil. A friend’s mother is a nurse and she suggested taking pain killers BEFORE physiotherapy to make the experience less, well, painful. Thanks Mrs. B, good tip.
What the doctor could not tell me, due to time limitations and the many other people waiting in the fracture clinic, involved the level of discomfort I would feel and why it was important to use my hand as naturally as possible, even when it hurt. He only had about 5 minutes with me and gave me the bare bones plan. I took the photocopied sheets to my physio session. Sean demonstrated the exercises, gave me weights to use, gave me more exercises, made me do the exercises, and showed me how to tell if I was doing them properly to get my hand back in top shape.
If we just consider the cost of taking some action, and don’t explore the benefits, we can make poor decisions that end up hurting us down the road. Whether it is flossing your teeth, saving for retirement, or getting physiotherapy, these are actions taken today that will bring future benefits. Not instant gratification, but long-term benefits. You are investing in your tomorrow.
When I looked up cost-benefit analysis on the internet, one site described it as a technique “…used to determine whether a planned action will turn out good or bad.” What a joke. It’s not magic. Cost-benefit analysis takes thought, and time, and widens our perspective. It doesn’t make a decision for us, but it helps us to make more informed decisions.
That is what’s on my mind today, what do you think?