4 Surgeries and 67 Days in Hospital: $3,729.40

In a classic confrontation between a 1963 Olds 88 and a maple tree, the maple tree won.

I crunched a leg and knocked myself silly in a car wreck when I was twenty.

Classic Car

This was the car before the tree customized it much more radically than I could ever imagine. It was My Father’s Oldsmobile, but I got to dress it up for Saturday night dates. (Nancy wasn’t impressed.)

The “fashion” then was to

  • remove the inner headlights because real drag racers know engine needs ram-air induction,
  • pop the hubcaps because real drag racers don’t want their hubcaps flying off,
  • jack up the front springs because real drag racers know that weight transfer is important,
  • paint the rear wheel rims 1/2 black and 1/2 white because real drag racers need to know about wheelspin off the line,
  • shine that baby up because real drag racers know wax makes things slippery.

This is the car that I drove to a trophy winning finish at Ononadaga Dragstrip in Class I/SA (I Stock Automatic.) The Olds had a massive 394 cubic engine but only a two-barrel carb. This gave the car great torque at a low horsepower. Since the classes at the drag races were determined by weight to horsepower, this gave me an advantage – well for that night at least.

Yup, I was a real drag racer with My Father’s Oldsmobile.

Remember the commercial starring The Shat and his daughter Melanie?

William Shatner & Daughter for Oldsmobile – 1988!! by videohollic


I wasn’t racing when I crashed. They make sure there are no trees alongside the dragstrip.  I was on my way to work at the mill.

After the crash, I spent 67 days in the hospital, Sixty miles from my home. My injuries were severe enough that the local hospital decided I needed to be moved to the nearest “teaching” hospital where the experts could try to piece my leg back together and fix my noodle.

I found the bill from the University of Michigan Hospital while packing up some “important papers” my parents kept.

Here are the highlights:  If you want to see the itemized statement (one page) click here.

  • 4 surgical procedures
  • 42 Xrays and EKG
  • 40 Labs
  • 29 meds
  • 2 docs
  • 67 days in the hospital

Total Charges: $3729.40 less insurance of $3,363.65, balance due from patient = $365.75.

Pretty good deal actually since the leg lasted over 40 years before my ta – da – dummmmmm Total Knee Replacement.

Not sure my parents got such good deal on the noggin repair however.




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4 Surgeries and 67 Days in Hospital: $3,729.40 — 3 Comments

  1. OMG that’s GREAT- I spent 9 weeks in the hospital and had 2 brain surgeries and I guarantee your total bill equals a day of my stay!!!!! Since then I’ve had a total of 8 brain and spinal surgeries….I guarantee its over $500000 for my total costs!!!!!

    \great blog post father.

  2. Though looking back, the costs are miniscule compared to what they are today, I have to think $365 was still a lot to swallow back in the 60’s.