Medical Torture 2.0
Those of you who follow me on facebook and twitter will know that I have severe spinal damage and chronic pain. You will also know that I, like many chronic pain sufferers, am adamantly against the ill-thought-out CDC guidelines that condemn doctors for prescribing opioids and make it that much more difficult for patients in pain to receive adequate care. My favorite – and yes, I’m being sarcastic – is cases of patients post-surgery being denied pain care. While the CDC says it has only issued “guidelines,” doctors are at the same time being penalized for providing appropriate care, and in the meantime, patients in pain continue to suffer.
Supposedly, this is all to stop drug addicts from overdosing. Well, why should legitimate pain patients, taking their medication in compliance with their doctors’ orders, have to suffer because some people choose to abuse opioids? It’s bullshit and what it amounts to is medical torture. It also leads people to acts of desperation.
My husband has a broken back. That’s not the actual diagnosis, but what it amounts to is a severe spinal fracture and a vertebra out of alignment pressing on nerves. He needs surgery but we’re jumping through all the hoops right now preparatory to that. It also means he’s in excruciating pain. My pain levels, on a scale of 1-10 hover around a six on an average day. I’m used to working with pain, I was a ballet dancer after all, but his are through the roof. His doctor wisely prescribed Vicodin (and I cannot tell you how his pain doctor bitched and whined about that when we booked the appointment. I flat out told the fool that if he refused to prescribe, we’d have our primary care physician do it because obviously we took the fucking Hippocratic oath more seriously than he did). It barely touches my husband’s pain, but it does allow him some quality of life and to do physical therapy (aqua therapy, since that is all his injury will allow). Once he has his surgery, he will taper off the pain medication and all will be well. This is our plan (though we dropped one surgeon because he hinted that he would not prescribe anything for the pain post a surgery for SPINAL FUSION. Wtf is wrong with these people?).
Ok. So, I take medication, Sannion takes medication. We keep them carefully lined up on a table in the living room between where we each sit. It works for us and we know where they are, and are able to take them right before bed, no problem. We rarely have anyone in the house and our housemate is utterly trustworthy. Today, while Sannion and I were at physical therapy, our housemate let a repairman in to fix some stuff. I ran into him while I was heading to the car and he apologized for not coming over yesterday as planned. He’d hurt his back badly. I told him if he needed to, our job could wait, and he should go rest, but he has two kids to feed and resting isn’t on the agenda. We thought no more about it. When we came back, we couldn’t find Sannion’s Vicodin bottle. (Mind you, we don’t move them. We have a standard place for them so WE won’t lose them!). We are 99% sure that our repair man pocketed the bottle in the five minutes that he was left alone in the living room.
I don’t blame him one bit, though we’re not in a good place now. We don’t dare ask our doctor for more, not until the 15th, when Sannion would normally see her. “Someone stole my opioid” is one of the textbook things people say when they’re drug seeking. The problem is, someone did steal them! So, now, my husband is going to be in terrible pain for a week. Thing is, we don’t blame the workman. Pain does this to people. It makes one desperate. It makes every minute seem like an hour of unrelenting agony. It makes every moment something that you will do anything to stop. This is a good man, this workman. I guarantee you his ethics are impeccable 99% of the time. This is not something he would ever have contemplated under normal circumstances. I also guarantee that he went to the doctor when he injured himself two days ago and was denied pain medication. He was desperate. This is the result of the opioid hysteria promulgated by our government for no God damned reason other than torturing people in pain. When you cut people off from medication they need you force them to do terrible things, to become drug seekers, to go out and possibly get illegal drugs, and any number of other dangerous and debilitating things. The suicide rate amongst chronic pain patients has, I read a couple of months ago, has risen by over 35% since these “guidelines” went into effect.
Doctors are torturing patients. They themselves are being ridden by a government that simply doesn’t give a shit about anyone. The people suffering are some of the most vulnerable. So remember this at the ballot box. People in pain – and sooner or later, age catches up to you all – are at the mercy of politicians without any.
EDIT: we now have a lock box for all our meds. *sigh*