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To Anyone Who Has the Power to Help People With Chronic Pain

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There are those of us who simply can’t just bury our heads in the sand.

There are those of us who are depended upon.

There are those who can’t ignore the pain because they live with it every minute of every day with no way to turn it off.

There are those of us who care and want to turn it off.

There are those who had some relief with opioids and narcotics but now are being deserted, alienated, marginalized and forgotten.

There are those of us who keep fighting, advocating and reminding those who choose to ignore the cries, sobs, screams and pleas of the person with chronic illness and pain’s need for help.

There are those of us who bear witness to the pain, who cannot ignore it. It is within our hearts, our homes, and is all-consuming in our worlds.

There are those of us who after the long search for answers, treatment, empathy and action from those with power to make change, to protect those in pain who can’t advocate for themselves, can only sit on our hands and watch while our children, spouses and loved ones writhe, cry, sob and scream with pain. It is too disheartening for those of us.

There are those of us whose lives have been halted, dreams unfulfilled, lost and forgotten. No joy. No hope. No life.

There are those of us who are now just too tired. Too tired to even bury our heads in the sand.

Where are those others?

There are those who turn their backs, who can’t or don’t bear witness, perhaps because it is too painful — too painful to even contemplate.

There are those who believe the problem will go away… just ignore it, choose not to believe it. It is easier to be angry and accusatory: This can’t be so, it’s all in your head, you are a liar, lazy, a malingerer, being over-dramatic. It’s easier to believe this than the truth: Agony is real and is tormenting someone, someone you may love or just someone… one of those people.

There are those who are ignorant, who don’t understand, who don’t have a capacity for empathy.

There are those who simply can’t handle the truth and so must ignore it, deny it and wait for it to go away.

There are those who will disappear until it goes away or until they themselves finally do. After all, it’s sad. Who wants to deal with that?

There are those who can put their head in the sand. If living and dealing with a loved one’s chronic pain is not in their immediate world, and sometimes even if it is, as is the case of extended family or friends, they may choose to ignore, disbelieve, or wait for it to go away. “Are you better yet?” No. Chronic illness and chronic pain doesn’t just disappear. Neither does the patient’s soul and need for love, support, and compassion.

But, they are “those” people, not you. You, the doctor, politician, neighbor, friend, and relative can choose to ignore “them,” demoralize and deny them their cries, for help. Or, you can pull your heads out of the sand and demand humane treatment for the chronically ill from our legislators, congressmen, senators and governing regulatory agencies. Chronic pain survivors must not be denied access to opioids and narcotics that have been used to afford them their only relief, if only minimally, in daily pain.

Those people are not drug-seeking addicts. Those people are patients!

Patients, not addicts! They deserve to have relief while further research and development of better pain management alternatives are sought and advances in cures for chronic illnesses are made!

There are those of you who have the power to do something!

Hear my plea, I beg, from those of us who find ourselves alone.

I can’t bury my head in the sand.

I bear witness to the pain.

I am one of those people.

I choose to help.

Which one of those people are you?

Originally published: July 11, 2016
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