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.
My summer electric bills in Ashburn were never under $500 – I’d love to know how you did that
Angela Frisby says
Did everyone check out the fundraiser bracelets on the homepage? $5 plus $1.75 shipping! Just email me and I’ll give you my address and when I recieve your money, I’ll ship your RALLY FOR RYAN bracelet! They are a great way to spread the word. I wear mine every day!
Having been a nurse for over 17 years in Pediatric home care I have seen the extraordinary financial burden caring for a child at home can be. The cost of just some of the basics like hand soap and paper towels each month can be overwhelming. As a member of the board for Yes!Grace Rocks, a reminder that you can apply for a grace grant 4 times a year, one per quarter. Please feel free to go to the website and apply, it would be a pleasure to help pay an electric bill for you or purchase something Ryan really could use. Thanks for your honest posts, Ryan is daily in my prayers.
Omigosh! And they keep raising it! In some areas, such as Carroll Co., MD electricity has doubled. I would have to move to a cabin with a fireplace and kerosene lamps. Actually, that is not a bad idea when I think about the price of heating oil for the coming winter! Check your email for a possible idea. Love and prayers.
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Praying you who are all going through these nightmares will have the strength and guidance you need. Always praying for healing. Tell Ryan Hi from me.and God bless (He will). love Gail
Carla Liberty says
Every day there are many of us who are trying to think of ways to help you. The hidden costs you mention are just another thing that frustrate us. “Just add it to the pile” is a saying I commonly use at work, or at home when frustration builds. Just know that you are not alone, and we will never abandon you!
With that said, one of the things that we’ve come up with is another fund raiser opportunity for Ryan. I mentioned it before in another post, but we are doing a Karaoke Fundraiser at Mediterranean Breeze in Herndon over the holidays so that the college kids can participate. (12/17/2011). I figured this would be a great opportunity for people to not only enjoy doing a fundraiser (fun-raiser!!!) but also promote that Christmas/holiday spirit FOR RYAN. Since the vote for the license plate was such a huge success, I was wondering if we could open up the blog for naming the fundraiser. It needs a catchy name! When we get the name, I will contact the media outlets for coverage. I would like to get WMZQ involved since they did your last interview for the Broad Run/Briar Woods game fundraiser.
Lifting you up in prayer, as always!
Gail Doyle says
Carla, That sounds like a great idea and sure to be a huge success. Count me in, any possible way I can help from here ,would be more than glad to. Talk soon. L. Gail
Why don’t you guys try looking into seeing how much it would cost to add solar panels to the roof of the Diviney house, and put fundraiser money towards that?
Unfortunately I think the energy tax credits are done, but in the long haul it’d be a pretty good investment.
Carla, could you call me, I have a question for you. You can reach me 5:00-9:00 at 703-726-1655. Thanks, Gloria
Andrea- Thomas' mom says
I am sorry that you are in such a bad place right now. When I get to that place, Thomas always does something “out of the blue” to bring me back up.
I truely know the hidden expenses that we encounter. The insurance will pay for the ventilator to keep Thomas alive, but they will not help with the electricity to keep it running….I told the nurses one time that we are going to have to start bagging Thomas to save money- you should have seen the looks!!HAHAHAHA! I actually used a meter at one point and I think there were over 30 pieces of equipment that use electricity for Thomas’ care atleast daily- the numbers were astonishing. Then there is the toilet paper\kleenex for the nurse-the fact that lights are on 24hours a day along with the tv or radio to keep the nurse awake…..handsoap….hand sanitizer….l, like you could go on and on…
You are not alone. Ryan is not alone. There is a reason somewhere in all of this. Prayers for strength coming your way.
I didn’t even think about the cost to accommodate nurses! Yikes!
You are both loving, wonderful, devoted parents.