I just read Kerry Smith’s story: A Missed Opportunity .
Kerry, hello and welcome. Thank you for writing that story.
How many of our readers could have written that story?
My readers and friends in pain, it is time to speak up.
Some of you know me as a writer for the National Pain Report. How many of you know my story?
I hid my disease from the world for 25 years for the sake of my career. Opioids are “narcotics” (so is cocaine, surprisingly), and everyone knows that people who use narcotics are of a certain ilk.
Do you know that word, ilk? The word ilk carries a specific negative connotation. So do the people who live with daily intractable pain.
To most Americans, we are of that ilk.
We are untreated or under treated at best, and have to rely on medication we neither desire nor enjoy, to do the things in life most people take for granted — wash our clothes, shop for and cook a meal, care for children or parents, or even sleep for more than 2 hours without being awakened by pain.
My training is in computer engineering. I hold degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, but I’m also a writer, and have awards from the Society for Technical Communication. I wrote the MacUser column, Power Programming, in the late 1980s. I’ve been published by other technical journals, and by Microsoft Press.
During the final phase of my career, I worked as an expert consultant for attorneys pursuing patent litigation. When that work stopped, it was not for lack of success or productivity. I helped win every case in which I consulted.
I have a knack for finding cases of software infringement in a haystack of documents, email, the odd design note, computer code, etc., but my strength lies in explaining the complex world of a computer algorithm so that your average jury would understand how it could be stolen.
Today, I try to apply this gift to explain pain, pain management, and related subjects to readers of the National Pain Report.
I was never told why my services were no longer needed — but I suspect that someone in a law firm that extended across half the world and employed over 1,000 attorneys discovered my little secret:
I use “narcotics” on a daily basis. I have done so since the early 1980s.
My doctors who write the prescriptions call them opioid analgesics. Most people call them pain pills. I’ve even read that one doctor calls them “Heroin Pills.” But to most Americans, they’re narcotics.
Hell, by then I couldn’t work anyway. My spine disease had progressed to a point where the demands of work could no longer be met — I was done.
So here I sit, writing what I can to support people like me who live with daily pain along with the men and women practitioners who still have the courage to treat us, because they know that they have a moral and ethical obligation to do so.
I’m slow. I’m not as productive as I once was. I can’t hold more than one or two things in my mind anymore, because pain occupies a large portion of my consciousness.
I’m not asking for your sympathy… I’m asking for your cooperation.
America needs to know what it’s doing to us. Your friends, family, neighbors, the people with whom you speak every day, all need to know the truth about chronic pain and invisible illness, what we need to function in this world, and how our resources are dwindling.
Without your help, the prescription of opioid analgesics — pain medicine — may be outlawed for the treatment of all chronic conditions.
These fools are even talking about limiting opioids to people who have had major surgery, or have terminal cancers.
Please — become alert to the problems we face.
I’m not asking you to blow your job — we all need to put food on the table and pay our rent.
But do what you can.
Do it for me. Do it for Kerry. Do it for yourself.
Forgive me Nike — Just Do It.
Tell the world how important pain medication is to you, how you don’t get enough anymore, and how unmanageable your life has become — not because you’re addicted — but because you’re consumed by pain that could be treated with adequate opioids using evidence-based medical science.