Went to a neurosurgeon this morning. He looked me over and reviewed the MRI images. We agreed the best course of action is surgery. He's going to see about getting me in within the next couple of weeks. He works out of Adventist Medical Center where Beth and her mom worked for years. The general consensus is the guy has a lousy bed side manner, but is an excellent surgeon. I did call a couple of other places, one had their new-patient scheduler on vacation with no one covering and the other could get me in for a new patient consult in say. . . March.
The surgery will remove the bulging disc in the base of my neck, trim away the growth of bone spurs that is also present and then fuse the two vertebrae together with an artificial disc and a metal plate with screws. Sounds fun eh?
At HP I have the full week of Christmas and the week of New Years off which will provide a nice recovery time without missing scheduled work days. I may miss a few days depending on when in the next 2 weeks I go in for surgery. It's bad enough not having insurance, but to be risking my position by taking too much time off.
The surgeon is cutting his fee in half for a cash patient. Everything on his side will be about $5000. However this doesn't include the "facilities charges", which is everything else other than the surgeon. The surgery room, nurse, anesthetist, etc., I can only guess at. I have two options for where to have it done; at the hospital with an overnight stay, or at the East Portland Surgical Center as an out-patient (3 hours in and out).
Beth's mom has had this done three times (different vertebrae). I'll start saving for the next time, and praying there won't one. I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone.