When my sons were little, one of our favorite board games was the Milton Bradley game of “Life.” You select your playing piece, a small plastic car, then a spin of the wheel determines how far ahead you move on this simulated journey of life – choosing trade school or college, getting married or staying single, having children, planned or unplanned, establishing a career, buying a house — the steps that were part of the prescribed order of the day to a “successful” life. The object of the game was to get to the end of the journey with cash still on hand.
A year ago, my 27-year old son injured his knee playing soccer. After months of conservative treatment and continued pain, an MRI showed a fracture in the cartilage in his knee, an uncommon problem for a person his age. We worked together to prepare for his appointment with a well-referred orthopedic surgeon, and my son took good notes.
He called to tell me that two surgical options had been recommended, both FDA approved, one more “typical” and one more “experimental.” In fact, the doctor enthusiastically offered participation in a clinical study on the newer procedure, which from his experience he believed showed potential for longer lasting results. Still, both procedures were going to require significant recovery and rehabilitation, and the experimental procedure may or may not be covered by our insurance.