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Please Remember This About Chronic Pain Patients During the Opiate Crisis

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The opiate crisis has been such a slap in the face to chronic pain patients. Yes, I am all for eradicating addiction and whatnot, but you cannot do that whilst simultaneously trampling a very large group of people in the process. You see, we use our opiates to be able to live. To get up in the morning, go to work (if we actually can), be a semi-functioning human being. We are physically dependent on the drugs, not psychologically dependent. There is huge difference. My body requires medication to function in flare-ups, but I do not enjoy taking them. I’m fact, if there was some way to not take them and have less pain, enough to sit on the couch, then I would be all for that.

Unfortunately, the people making these laws have not ever seen a day of chronic pain. I can guarantee you that if they had, we wouldn’t have this problem. If they walked a day in my shoes with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, erythromelagia, chronic migraines, and hereditary lymphedema, then I bet the laws would change quickly. Keep in mind, I only listed the pain related syndromes I have. I’m not just dealing with chronic pain. There are so many other conditions I deal with mixed in on a daily basis. I am completely disabled and it’s a good day if I can make it out on to the couch to watch TV. This medicine allows me to control flare-ups and to not have to sit in pain for hours.

What people don’t understand is that we are not just “chronic pain.” We are not a derogatory term. We are people, each and every one of us. We want to have a life too. Pain medication let’s us do that. Many people with chronic pain are allowed to contribute to society because of pain medications. Some are nurses, accountants, own a business, and are helping people. Taking away pain medications is not just harming us, but also those who are benefited by who we also serve.

I understand chronic pain is weird and mysterious to the “normals.” You get hurt, take medicine, get better. This pain, however, just keeps going on and on. Nothing can fix it, but there are medicines that can help it. We know that you probably will never understand how we feel. You can, however, have sympathy. You can imagine what it would be like to hurt every day, all day, for the rest of your life. Hard to think about, right? That’s how we feel too. This is the life we have, however, and we are trying to make the best of it.

Please be a part of helping us. Do the human and decent thing to do and let us continue to have at least a little bit of quality of life. Do the right thing, let us keep our pain medication. Remember, none of us just has a billion dollars sitting around. We can’t afford what insurance doesn’t cover and insurance doesn’t cover anything experimental. They don’t cover non-FDA approved treatments. We are limited. Pain medications are a portable, relatively inexpensive thing that helps. If you are going to take away, then you must replace. Remember we are people too, just like you. We just need a little help.

Getty Image by Jelena Danilovic

Originally published: July 30, 2018
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