The other day when Sue was going through our normal household bills, she asked me “do you remember how much you use to pay for electricity?”. Prior to Ryan’s attack, we took turns handling the finances. I’d say we’d switch this responsibility every two years or so. So, I dug deep into my limited memory and seemed to recall paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 – $250 during the summer months, when the air conditioning was running nearly non-stop.
Sue looks up and says, just as matter-of-fact as could be, that we now pay over $450. Worse yet, this is not the highest. This $450 was during a month when we weren’t running the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber (HBOT). No way around it, the HBOT is an energy hog. For a total of ninety hours a month we are running two compressors simultaneously to provide this therapy to Ryan (oxygen and inflation). It throws off an enormous amount of heat (which would be fine in the winter, if it didn’t more than offset our natural gas bill) that we must cool.
Oh, and the highest electric bill? Just over $675!
I call these “Hidden Opportunity Costs”, drawing off my business education. These are expenses, related to Ryan’s injury, that get buried. They are lost in the mix. In this case, the hidden opportunity cost  of the most expensive month for electricity is $325 ($675 – $250). I do take inflation into account, but for the sake of this example I ignored it.
Sadly, it doesn’t end with just the electric bill. It touches every aspect of our household and lives in varying degrees. Beyond the purely quantifiable financial costs, I could go on-and-on about the tradeoff we face in an intrinsic sort of way.
We trade happiness for sadness. Hope for despair. Sleep for the care of our son. Intimacy for parental duty. Visits with Kari for weekends giving therapy.
Simply stated, we forego ourselves for everything.[poll id=”33″] See previous poll answers here.
 Opportunity Cost – The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action.