It has been almost five months in my journey with no pain medication. How’s that working? Well, I’m still here. Many others are not. Their pain is too great. Suicide rates are on the rise…
A painful flare can be somewhat controlled and frequently curtailed with pain medication. The worst pain, treating it with an opioid, will last for two, possibly three days. At least for me. (Everyone is different). Pain medication allows you to get out of bed and function, appearing almost normal to friends and family. You will still be bedridden at the onset of a flare, but eventually, after a day or two of rescue medications, you will be able to carefully get up. You can join in life activities again with your pain levels decreased due to the opioid you take that was prescribed for you by your medical doctor. As your flare subsides, you taper off your rescue pain medication and prepare for the next excruciating episode. You are somewhat rested, mentally in a decent place, and the intense pain has subsided. You are ready to fight the next flare.
This is a relatively common flare experience from what I’ve been told by others and what I, myself, go through;
The pain begins to go from the normal uncomfortable pain to the terrifying, body–crushing pain. The intense pain that takes your breath away. There is no out. You know you’ll be in this amount of pain temporarily, but for how long can you take this extreme amount of pain? You are bed-bound but can’t sleep. If you attempt to get out of bed during this flare, you will more than likely lose your balance and take a tumble. You will probably pass out. (Yes, frequently I pass out from the intense flare pain.) You will be nauseous, you won’t be able to take deep breaths, you will cry. You wish you could just die. You take muscle relaxers, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen. Dumbs you down but doesn’t take away the pain. You take other over-the-counter medications you pray will help. You may try to use alcohol to self-medicate. The fog rolls in… you are experiencing cognitive difficulties now. Fibro Fog. You can’t put a sentence together, you get lost going from one room to the next. You are entirely unable to help yourself in any capacity. You may be on your way to the emergency room. (I don’t go anymore because I was called a ‘drug seeker.’) Finally, after one week or two… possibly more, the crushing pain ceases and regular pain returns. The fog lifts. You are physically exhausted, mentally spent, and dreading the next painful flare because it will come again. It always does…
I haven’t been a medication–abusing addict, ever. I’ve used opioids for twenty years, as directed, but what the hell do I know? I’m just an adult, chronic pain, patient. I read medication labels and follow those directions. (Yes, there are directions on every bottle, and they are quite simple to follow.) Now, I have had my access taken from me. Some individuals don’t follow the directions on the label. They take more than directed and/or steal them from those that have this medication prescribed for their pain. These abusers have ruined my right to access readily available pain management medication. I’ve been denied the fundamental right to medicine that provides me comfort, reducing the extreme pain I experience because of my diagnosis.
So, I’m not going to die from severe pain just because I do not have access to pain management medications. This is basically a quality of life issue. Not having access drastically reduces my quality of life! These pain management medications are available! It’s like saying there are antibiotics you need to fight the flu, but you aren’t going to receive any because there are those who misuse this medication. There are too many people taking these antibiotics irresponsibly; therefore, you must suffer through the flu for as long as it takes. Realistically you get the flu once a year. What if you got it every month? Does that seem like a sound decision to deny you access to a medication that would curtail the severity? What would your quality of life be like? It would suck. That, my friends, is the big deal!
Does this make sense to anyone? We do not have an opioid problem in this country! We have an addiction problem!!! (Addicts also need the right kind of help with their disease.) The next time you hear about the ‘opioid epidemic,’ please speak up and set the record straight!
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