I ran across a news story this afternoon that spoke of dying cancer patients being denied pain relief –another insane, inconceivable part of the current hysteria about pain meds. It was not news to me by any means. One woman commented on the story by saying that she simply didn’t believe it. It sounded too awful, so she had no intention of admitting it could be true. I find myself half hoping she or one of her loved ones never find out the truth the hard way, half hoping she does, and soon.
I got to watch my mother die in unrelieved, monstrous agony during the first “crisis” of pain meds, when oxycontin first came in the news as being recreationally abused. Mom had leukemia. She should have died 2 ½ years earlier, because she had a very swift & deadly form of leukemia, Acute Myoblastic Leukemia (AML). By a complete fluke, they found the leukemia within a week of her bone marrow spitting out mutated white blood cells and was immediately flung into the hospital for high-dose chemo. She went into remission for a few months. Then relapse and more high-dose chemo. Another few months of remission. This cycle went through 6 iterations; every relapse could’ve been her death sentence. After the sixth round of high-dose chemo, the doctor told her that was it; if/when she relapsed again, the chemo would kill her faster and more horribly than the leukemia would.
The next relapse happened. We gathered to wait the end, which they estimated at about a month; they were good; it was about 5 weeks, by the calendar. The excruciating bone pain of leukemia, which I’ve read feels like every inch of every bone in your body is breaking constantly, without letup, began about 4 weeks before the end. She wanted to die at home; the hospital was several hours away, and my father wanted to be with her the whole time. That’s when the hysteria took over her life, her death, and my sanity. Some addicted recreational user morons were abusing a good prescription medication to get high, so they refused to give my mother anything at all for her monstrous agony as she was dying. They did permit her some children’s liquid Tylenol. Even after she was completely unable to swallow, that was the only thing the home hospice care “doctor” would permit; children’s liquid Tylenol. She. Could. Not. Swallow. Anything.
She died in unspeakable agony. I have no idea how long that month seemed to her; to me, who merely had to watch, it seemed to last years. For her, the utter and complete Hell probably seemed eternal. I’ve tried, in the over 20 years since, to understand how subjecting my beloved mother to Hell on Earth prevented even one recreational drug user from abusing anything. Or from ODing, or anything else. Guess what: I’ve failed at the attempt, and for a very good reason. It didn’t.
Now the opioid hysteria has consumed the entire country and once again, people are dying in needless, insane agony. The hysteria is based purely upon lies, PR, and a small group of phenomenally greedy people who hijacked the CDC process to enrich themselves. People are dying in needless agony, and people living with chronic pain conditions are being forced to live in agony, except for those who are in literally unbearable agony and kill themselves. People are being forced to undergo surgeries with no pain relief afterward other than tylenol or advil, as are people who are desperately injured. These policies are not based upon facts, or science, or medicine. Politicians are screaming about an “epidemic” which does not appear anywhere in the top 12-15 (at least) causes of death nationally. Over 100 times as many people die every day from alcohol, obesity, and tobacco as from opioids (legal and illegal). More people die every day from medical errors. From the flu.
Yet the hysteria rolls on, destroying lives and forcing people into monstrous, tortured deaths. Again, for no reason. The only people who benefit are the liars who benefit from agony and politicians who benefit from claiming they’re “doing something” about a “crisis” or “epidemic” which does not exist. I used to be a decent person who didn’t actually wish pain on others. That’s changed. The horrendous death of my mother, my own experience of decades of abuse for the crime of having an incurable health problem have laid down a baseline of rage that, along with my now-uncontrolled pain, is killing me quickly –though not quickly enough, it often feels. I now wish unrelieved, permanent agony on every one of the venal evil bastards who started this hysteria, every willfully ignorant person who perpetuates it, and even upon people who choose not to believe it’s actually happening because it just seems too awful to admit it’s real. I’m not a good person any more, and I don’t actually care. Because way, way too many good people, starting with my mother, were and are tortured every day simply because they have the temerity and stupidity to be sick, injured, or dying.
I frequently run across people saying the US has the “best health care in the world.” That is also PR bullshit; we’re behind every other developed country & some third world ones in life expectancy, infant mortality, and maternal survival, and we’ve been going downhill for years. A woman has a better chance of surviving childbirth in Costa Rica than in the US. These inconvenient facts also are too icky for people to verify or believe, so they elect to believe the PR bullshit because it’s more comforting –until, of course, their child dies needlessly, or a woman dies needlessly in childbirth, or they get injured or have surgery or are dying and are put through sadistic torture.
To the people who know damned well that I’m not lying; I’m sorry you know that. To the people who choose to remain willfully ignorant…the overwhelming likelihood is, you’ll find out the hard way. Even good, moral, hard-working people get sick and injured. Your turn will probably come. And don’t you dare come crying to me, because you helped perpetuate the torture by your willful ignorance and refusal to do anything but swallow the PR lies whole. I may be dead of rage or ill health or suicide by the time your time comes to be tortured, but even if I’m still alive, I’ll be in Hell ahead of you. Because I’m there already.