Death panels, opioid crisis and chronic pain

“The Law”

The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it. Frederic Bastiat French Economist 1850

One hundred and sixth eight years since this was written about the French government we are seeing the exact same thing occur here in America. The opioid hysteria has created a barbaric, evil, and insidious regulation and severe restriction of pain medication while at the same time enriching a few who use the force of law to profit from the misery and pain of others.

I’ve been in chronic pain for over thirty years now. It all started with a severe case of Ulcerative Colitis that required a major surgery to save my life. It didn’t go well. That began my horrible and terrifying relationship with physical pain.

My main relationship in my life since I can remember has been pain. It is always with me, demands my attention, and requires me to attend to it day and night. It is persistent and unrelenting.

I’ve been fortunate to have doctors who’ve in the past believed that I shouldn’t suffer needlessly and provided me with pain medicine. This helped me to eke out, somewhat of a life, in between the hospital stays and surgeries. Even with pain meds I still hurt but as long as I know I can take one or two at night to rest and sleep I can endure the pain throughout the day.

That has all changed since the hysteria machine around opioids has been unleashed upon us. My GP was providing chronic pain management with opioids for the last three years. He stopped this year in large part, I believe, because of the fear of attracting unwanted attention from regulators.

What makes this so insidious is that he isn’t even in trouble for anything yet, and he chose to stop for fear of something that may or may not happen in the future. My pain is a certainty. It’s easier for doctors to say no then it is for them to take a risk. You’ll here some say they are afraid of losing their licenses but that to me is an excuse for not wanting to stand up for their patients and their supposed principles.

When good people don’t stand up, tyranny and injustice multiplies. I’m experiencing that myself with my recent attempts to obtain pain medicine. My GP referred me to a pain clinic. I called them and after a week of back and forth phone calls they finally decided they didn’t accept my “limited benefit plan”, didn’t accept new self-pay patients and didn’t treat GI patients.

I did ask them if they knew of any pain clinics that did treat people with GI related pain and they said no. So long story short I called all the doctors I’ve known for about thirty years and they were no help, I called about ten pain clinics and none accepted my insurance, and almost none treated GI related pain and they didn’t have anyone they could recommend me to. One did wish me the best of luck though.

I did find a couple on my own that would consider treating me but they couldn’t guarantee that the doctor would deem me worthy of a prescription for pain killers until he saw me. I’d have to come in for an initial assessment. In order to see the holy doctor I’ll have to shill out $375 – $600 for the first visit depending on which pain clinic I decide to go to. This is insanity.

On top of the initial charge for the “assessment” if they are so “merciful” to grant me one of their precious prescriptions for pain killers, I’ll have to come back for monthly visits like I’m some kind of goddamn parolee. And each monthly visit will run around $200.

I’ve seen this process of demonizing people in pain slowly developing over the course of my thirty plus year odyssey of pain. I remember when doctors were told they could no longer call in pain pill prescriptions, I remember the first time I heard a doctor express concern about the DEA when I asked for pain medicine, and I remember when I was forced to sign a pain contracts and get urine tested every 90 days like I was a convicted criminal. All of these incremental policies did nothing to ease my pain or make me “safer” from myself. Instead they are what has led us to where we are today.

The Law has been perverted to reap profits for the pharmaceutical industries, the doctors and the addiction industry. Their profits are paid for by the misery and pain of millions of Americans who have no lobbyists and have been abandoned by the medical community.

Besides the profits that those who benefit from this type of hysteria are raking in, I belief there is a dark undercurrent at work as well. We are rapidly approaching more and more regimented healthcare. Chronically ill folks like me are a drain on the system in the eyes of central planners. I do firmly believe there are those who believe in the tenets of centralized medicine who would prefer I was not around soaking up “healthcare resources”.

Pain pills are extremely cheap though. Last year including doctors visits for chronic pain management plus the cost of my pain medicine added up to around $600. Now I’m stuck with a tab, if I’m able to obtain a prescription, of around $3800. That is insane. But my surgeries and hospital stays have cost insurance companies millions. If I stick around I’ll more than likely need more surgeries and hospital stays.

When did it become okay to bully people in pain? When did it become okay to treat people in physical pain like criminals? When did it become okay to rape them with insane costs for doctor visits? When did it become okay to make people in pain ashamed or afraid to ask their doctor for pain medicine? When did it become okay for doctors to refuse to treat people in pain? When did it become okay to deny one of the only truly effective treatments medical doctors have at their disposal?

The options for people in pain today are worse then they’ve been since before the discovery of the effectiveness of the poppy plant to alleviate physical suffering thousands of years ago. Those who are in pain and denied or restricted pain medication are effectively being forced to live in the Stone Age.

I believe that those in chronic pain are being pushed into making some extremely difficult decisions. The choices are to find alternatives on the black market, try to continue in agony or end their life. All three are a death sentence handed down by the uncaring, ignorant and greedy individuals in the government and the medical industry.

Living in pain is like being in hell. The one description of hell I liken it to is not the fire and pitchfork type but the cold and desolate hell, where God is totally absent. If you believe that God represents all that is good in the world then living in physical pain is the absence of all of that.

Being in pain makes life unbearable. The equation that everyone makes each day is, “is the pain of life worth the results of your actions?” For me the answer is many times no.

A few years ago Sarah Palin (I’m not a fan) was lambasted for daring to suggest that Obamacare had provisions for a death panel in order to ration healthcare. Today we are seeing this concept put into action. Chronic pain patients are being denied the very treatment that would save their lives. The new opioid regulations are effectively a form of a “Death Panel” but it’s so diffused throughout the system no one takes responsibility for denying people in pain the relief they need to continue living.

I believe that a part of the medical community, some in the insurance industry and many in the government are all too happy to get rid of the chronic pain patient because they are easy targets, they soak up resources and remind them and others of the failures of modern medicine. Most chronic pain patients have had multiple surgeries or have an intractable disease that modern medicine can’t treat effectively. This is another driver of the propaganda pushing the opioid crisis narrative. The opioid hysteria is focusing on the wrong target. Pain patients aren’t the problem. Only about 1% or less become addicted. The opioid overdoses we hear so much about are really caused black market drugs laced with illicit fentanyl. Many pain patients are being pushed into this market by the increasing cost, time demands and humiliation required to obtain life saving pain medication. The very law meant to save lives is killing people while others make a tidy profit. (I’m not against profit. I’m against individuals and industries using the force of government to obtain it.)I’m not an addict. I’m just in pain. My abdomen hurts all the time. From adhesions pulling and stretching my insides to a pancreas/gall bladder/bile duct issue that hasn’t been properly diagnosed or treated, I suffer everyday of my life from the time I get up to the time I finally fall asleep.I wish I was stronger but the pain wins everyday. If I keep busy enough I can keep its shouting down to tolerable levels. But once I stop moving it returns like a bullhorn from hell. Pain medicine simply helps dial down the volume. The Law is meant to protect individual rights. It has been perverted today, as Bastiat wrote, to enrich a small group of people who use the force of the government to satisfy their greed while violating the rights of individuals. They are using the Law to violate my natural right to consume what I choose and to bear the responsibility of my choices. Pain medicine isn’t an evil that should be locked away behind armed government agents and doctors who are either scared or greedy, but should be available at the low cost the market puts on them for those who choose to take them. Physical pain creates a living hell for millions of Americans. It destroys hope, severs relationships, and poisons the mind. Pain medicine can help ease their physical and emotional suffering. I do have an appointment to see a pain doctor on April 4th. It will be at his discretion if he prescribes pain pills or not. That’s after I fork over $400 for the initial assessment. Where else do you give someone $400 for a service and don’t have a right or ability to know if the service you are seeking will be provided or not? It is insane how far this opioid hysteria has gone. On the surface the purpose of all these punitive and restrictive laws are to protect people from themselves.They are said to save lives but all they are doing is ruining the lives of millions of peaceful, productive and suffering fellow Americans whose bodies have already betrayed them. This further betrayal by the medical system has too many pain patients making the awful but understandable decision to end their suffering the only way they know how. They are being forced into taking their own lives due to the barbaric and unfeeling bureaucratic machine that cut them off from the one thing that allowed them to stay alive on this planet.Death is the only way out for those suffering from intractable pain if they are denied pain medicine. I’ve contemplated it in the past myself and have struggled with those type of thoughts during this stressful stretch of time while trying to find a doctor who will help me. I won’t go to the black market. I don’t trust it. So I can either suffer another ten days or so and hope that the doctor will find my suffering worthy or I can end my time here on planet Earth. I’ve tried alternative therapies like Kratom and Cannabis, both of which for me help with withdrawal symptoms, but not so much with the pain. I’m miserable tonight. I know I’ll wake up in pain and I’ll go to bed in pain tomorrow. It’s 4:00am and I have to get up at 6:30am to get ready for work. I’m so tired of hurting. I know if I kill myself those closest to me will be devastated. They like me for some reason even though I feel worthless, unreliable and unsociable most of the time. I known if I do end my life the little ones in my life would be most hurt. I read one time that if you have children in your life who love you and you commit suicide, it’s like hitting them in the head with a hammer. I won’t do that tonight. That’s why I’ll get up in a couple hours. That’s why I’ll continue on another day. Brad

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