In keeping with my new policy to stop suffering in silence, I emailed a link to my post entitled “New Mexicans don’t care about each other,” to the following people (Re:  Thinking of you).  No, I wasn’t comfortable doing it, but someone has to speak up…

First, to Lynn S.Hart at New Mexico’s State Medical Board, because…

Tue, Nov 4, 2014 2:56 pm
Re: Pain Doctors

Dear Ms. Hart,

As you are aware, pain patients are tragically facing the inability to access medical care, including not being able to find a doctor who is brave enough to prescribe pain medications. I have been contacted by pain patients in New Mexico who are begging for information on pain doctors who will continue their opioid therapy, and I want to help them. I have advised patients to call a doctor’s office and ask if the doctor still prescribes medications — other than that, I don’t know what else to tell patients.

If you have any suggestions, I sure would appreciate it. If you are able to send me some names of doctors that might help these patients, I would agree not to publish it on the internet. I would really like to help these people — won’t you please help me to do that?

Johnna Stahl

Tue, Nov 4, 2014 4:06 pm

Is this true?

Amy Frank says:
October 24, 2014 at 9:14 am
I understand what the doctors are saying. I’ve read many articles about doctors going bankrupt. Already in New Mexico I can not get hydrocodone prescribed. The PCPs hang up signs saying we do not treat chronic pain patients. I’ve also contacted the pain clinics here in New Mexico. They are telling me to be large minded and not to expect to use hydrocodone ever again. I had one PCP tell me that opiods create pain and if I just walked I never would have had chronic pain. I know now that I will have to live with level 10 pain on a constant basis. I had tried all other treatments as I had had chronic pain for 20 years. Hydrocodone was the only medication that helped me.

Sent: Monday, November 10, 2014 6:38 PM
To: Hart, Lynn S, BME
Subject: Casper the Ghost

Ms. Hart:

You know, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being ignored. It’s a little like being invisible. Or maybe it’s like screaming in the middle of a forest — no one’s listening, and anyway, no one can hear you. Have you ever felt like Casper the Ghost, Ms. Hart?

Being disabled by constant pain, there’s not much benefit I can offer — to anyone — stuck as I am in this prison. And yet, I thought if I could help other pain patients, then my life wouldn’t be totally useless.

Help me to understand your choice of ignoring my emails. Is it because you can’t help? Don’t want to help? Don’t know how to help? Should I have asked someone else for help?

Because your silence just says to me that I’m not important enough for you to respond to — and I just thought you should know how that feels.

Johnna Stahl

Mon, Nov 10, 2014 7:43 pm
RE: Casper the Ghost
From: Hart, Lynn S, BME, BME

Nothing of the kind, Mr. Stahl. I am preparing for our last quarterly board meeting of the year. I have forwarded your emails to the Governor’s Council on Drug Overdose Prevention and to several board members. I do not have the ear of the Governor nor to Legislators [which I have proven to be false] who have all been telling the boards who license prescribers of controlled substances to pass rules to sway the tide of over prescribing; prescribing that has resulted in NM being #1 or #2 in the country in prescription drug overdose. I will keep the board informed, but the board is not setting this policy direction on its own. [Yeah, I know, there’s the DEA, too.] Are you also writing to your elected officials? I hope so.  [Aren’t you one of my “elected officials”?]

Lynn S. Hart
Executive Director
New Mexico Medical Board

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 10:57 pm
Re: Casper the Ghost
From: painkills2@aol

“The growing concern regarding opioid addiction and fatal poisonings involving opioids has obscured a potentially equally clinically relevant problem of intentional self-harm by overdose.”

Tue, Nov 18, 2014 11:32 pm
Re: I completely understand your position
From: painkills2@aol

I didn’t expect you to help me, Ms. Hart. (Is it “Ms.”?) And I suppose it wasn’t very nice of me to shame you into responding to my email. I don’t know what I was thinking… I can barely help myself, why did I think I could help others? And what made me think that you would help me do that? I feel rather silly about it, after the fact.

I know there’s nothing I can do to change the minds of people who blame certain drugs for abuse and addiction, instead of facing the actual reasons for these problems. After all, it’s a lot easier to pretend that the actions of State Medical Boards, along with the DEA, are actually making a difference. And if trying to help one small group of people — those who suffer from addiction — causes harm to a much larger group of people — millions of chronic pain patients — well, I guess them’s the breaks. Can’t please everyone, right?

I mean, pain isn’t a tumor, like cancer, that can kill you. Sure, suffering can kill you, but it takes awhile, so most pain patients aren’t in danger of dying, like, right now. More under-treated pain means even more people on disability, and for longer periods of time; but that’s economically beneficial for doctors, so no worries there. It also means more people in poverty, but that’s not the Board’s problem.

I completely understand your position.

(Ms.) Johnna Stahl

[No further contact.]

The email was also addressed to:






Ouch (and aah), my ears just popped… Maybe I can get some sleep now?

3 thoughts on “Because I can’t sleep…

    • I usually only resort to sarcasm when I’ve tried being nice first, although my pain levels usually have something to do with the level of sarcasm I choose to use. But not everyone gets my sense of humor, which is usually pretty darn sarcastic… and has a tendency to get me in trouble. 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment, Zyp.


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