Having read Susan Estrich’s Feb. 13 commentary on the so-called war on opioids punishing innocent recipients of pain medication prescriptions, I’d like to share my experience and thoughts on the subject.
I suppose each patient is unique. However, there are many conditions common to those of us under this yoke of oppression.
Let me explain.
Now in my mid-70s, I’ve had to take prescription pain killers on and off since the 1970s. Although not addicted, I am dependent because of chronic lower back and pelvic pain that won’t go away despite the best efforts of my sincere and caring pain management doctor. And I have tried over the years many of the alternative pain-relieving methods that many claim can “substitute” for prescription chronic pain medication.
You see, because of recent Nevada legislation, doctors are hamstrung as to the pain medication that can be prescribed to someone like me who has built up a tolerance to pain medication levels. I have been taking the same dosage for the past seven years. The arthritis has worsened, the Grim Reaper has his evil eye on me and I desperately need a dosage boost. But because the tolerance level has been reached, my pain is no longer fully alleviated.
So now in desperation, the doctor has turned to some sort of expensive, invasive, nerve injection procedure under X-ray fluoroscope. All this because, thanks to Nevada law, he cannot prescribe an increased pill dosage.
Within the past four years, I’ve had surgeries on both shoulders resulting in untreated post-operative pain. The surgeon, by law, was prevented from prescribing adequate pain medication because I was already receiving the aforementioned pain killers. They, however, were far from sufficient because I had long before reached my tolerance level. Neither the surgeon nor my pain management doctor could increase the dosage just temporarily to alleviate the post-surgery pain. I was trapped in extreme pain for several days and nights.
I hope to continue living for another decade or so. But given that I am already at my pain threshold from worsening arthritis and a deteriorating spine, and the fact that the Legislature has put the kibosh on common-sense medication pain treatment, I am deeply worried my few remaining years will be spent in chronic unrelieved pain.
The Legislature is now in session. I pray and beseech that my humble message comes to its attention in time to correct a significant flaw in the law that, while well-intended, surely was not thought through. The law is clearly inadequate regarding enabling our pain management doctors to prescribe medications as they deem necessary for their patients in chronic pain.
I, and surely so many others in my situation, will suffer unnecessarily as our legislators continue overlooking this vital measure for our well-being. Meanwhile, many of us will not have our chronic pain fully managed.
David Peace writes from Henderson.