Asset Protection

Trick or Treat? Asset protection is only good for assets. I wish there were physical protection also. The tragedies that can take away your family’s financial security come at any time and it only takes a split second. Medical problems are always one of the tragedies that are mentioned as a threat to your financial security. As you may remember, my health history is the kind that wipes out everything a family might have. This year Halloween brought us a trick, and we didn’t get a treat.

On Halloween, Kristy and I went home to eat lunch. We are having a little construction done on the house, and we walked up to see it. Our house is on a hill. Some of the construction has put loose dirt and little rocks on the front lawn. Kristy turned around to go to the house while I kept talking to the contractor. A second later she gave a low scream and I turned around to see her on the ground. She said, “I broke my leg.” I ran down and after one look, I had to agree. The foot was about 110 degrees off of where it should be. When the foot points toward the back of the leg instead of the front, there is a problem. Event the best asset protection does not protect ankles.

The contractor and I got her into the car and I drove her to the ER. The ER was pretty quiet, so we got in and she was put on a fast track. X-rays showed that the tibia was broken in two places and the fibula was broken like a green stick would break. That ruins your day.

I called my boyhood friend, who is an orthopedic surgeon in Salt Lake City, and asked who we should try to see in Provo. He gave me a name, Doctor Mitch Larsen. By some miracle, Dr. Larsen came to the hospital immediately. The doctor said it would need to have a plate on the fibula and the tibia would have to be screwed with some big screws. She would need surgery.

This was Friday, Halloween. He couldn’t do it on Saturday, because the local insurance company makes the doctors take a day long class once every three years, and Saturday was his day. I said, “So, they have to teach you that they control the patient’s care, and they teach you how to screw the patient?” He smiled. Monday and Tuesday he operates in out-of-network hospitals, so the earliest he could do it was Wednesday. Then he said that he could maybe call Sunday morning and declare an emergency and get into the operating room.

I am only home about one out of 5 Saturdays. We were really blessed that I was home this weekend. Kristy had a to-do list a mile long for Saturday, but I ended up just taking care of her. They were keeping her on heavy pain medications, so she would drift in and out of consciousness. I did get some of the list done, but I got to postpone most of it.

The doctor called late Saturday night and said he had gotten the operating room for Sunday. We got up at 5 AM this morning, and they started on her at about 7:30 AM. They let me watch while they used an ultrasound unit to give her a “nerve block” to help with the pain for the first 24 hours, and then they rolled her in to the operating room. The operation would be done under a general anesthetic. I am writing this while she is being operated on, so I don’t know the outcome. It should be ok.

The break is actually very common. The ankle twists until the front of the tibia is pulled away by the tendon that is attached there. That leaves a chunk of the tibia free floating. Then the ankle continues around. The tibia breaks again higher up, and then the fibula breaks. Not all of the bones are broken. The ankle is free floating, and it continues around as far as it wants.

We have good insurance and can afford the co-pays. If there isn’t insurance, this becomes a major financial tragedy for the family. The asset protection you have done then becomes critical, because it is entirely possible that you could lose everything, just because your spouse is walking across the front lawn.

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