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The Cost of DIY

I will admit it, I am a do-it-yourself kind of guy.

When the starter on my 2002 Toyota Camry died, I decided that with the help of YouTube I could change the starter and save money on mechanic fees. Two hours and one lacerated right thumb later, I had a new starter installed and I proudly bragged to my wife, Tova, that I was as good as any mechanic. Tova is not one to be impressed easily, and she eyed my bandaged thumb and remarked that I could only change one more starter before both my thumbs were out of commission for the season.

Of course, when I arrived at work the next day to treat patients I had to explain what happened, and someone pointed out that I may have saved $87.00 in labor, but I spent 2 hours of time which totaled $43.50 per hour. At the time I was earning $27.50 per hour as a physical therapist working for the well-respected TIRR Memorial Hermann treating neurological disorders. I had $76,000.00 in student debt and I was earning $57,000.00 a year with a doctorate in physical therapy. Every dollar was important, so I figured I had to work 3 hours to pay for the starter.


One day, a patient arrived at his therapy session and proudly showed me the prosthetic leg he fabricated in his workshop.

This patient was an engineer and he decided that he could do a better job than the prosthetist in creating a prosthetic limb. I stared in disbelief at his wooden leg and asked him what he did not like about the lightweight, aluminum leg he had previously received from the prosthetist. The patient responded that he enjoyed the freedom of fixing his own leg without the hassle of making an appointment and traveling to the prosthetist to have his leg worked on. Mind you, a prosthesis rarely needs maintenance. 

At that moment, I understood the “cost” of “do it yourself” people.

We are usually trying to gain control over a situation that can seem out of our hands and we are not comfortable with relying on someone else. Sometimes, we tell ourselves we are saving money or time, or worst- we are going to do a better job. This is mostly not true and any honest and self-aware individual will admit that 8 out of 10 times the do it yourself project turns out “OK” or “pretty good”, but hardly ever will that person admit to doing as good a job as the professional or saving time in the process.


Therapy SPOT – Bellaire provides rehabilitation and therapy for orthopedic and neurological disorders, whether for pediatric or adult patients and be it land therapy or aquatic therapy. We appreciate the DIY patient and will show you the most efficient exercises to manage your symptoms in a way that you can take control and rely on us less. Sometimes, it is just worth it to work with the professionals. Most commercial insurance is accepted and we offer excellent rates for the uninsured.


Give us a call 832-588-3552 or email me [email protected] to see how we can help

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