Thinking of you, Pat Tillman

If you haven’t seen the movie “The Tillman Story,” you should download or rent it as soon as possible.

This Memorial Day weekend, Truthdig commemorates the legacy of deceased U.S. infantryman Pat Tillman by republishing our most popular piece, “After Pat’s Birthday,” written by his brother, Kevin Tillman (pictured with his arm around Pat), and originally posted on Truthdig on Oct. 19, 2006…

(Photo taken 1/26/2015.)

And the drug war continues, with help from a renowned pain specialist

(5/23/2015) Medication hard to come by for some pain sufferers

Gary Snook is a 62-year-old Bitterroot Valley man who has never found himself on the wrong side of the law. And yet almost every time that he goes into a pharmacy to pick up the opiates he desperately needs to keep his horrific pain at bay, he feels like a criminal.

“The last time I tried to get my meds filled in Missoula, I was turned down at three different pharmacies,” Snook said. “I can’t go into an emergency room. They won’t treat me there. Yet when my pain flares, it’s so bad that I could die from a heart attack or stroke.”

Snook suffers from a relatively unknown malady called adhesive arachnoiditis that causes unbearable chronic pain. Ironically, it struck after physicians applied a series of steroid epidurals to his back in an effort to quell the pain he suffered following surgery for a bulging disk…

“You’re not really in pain,” he said. “You are in agony. It feels like you’re up to your neck in boiling oil. How bad is it? It’s suicidal kind of pain.”

Snook requires high doses of narcotics to keep the pain in check. He sought out one of the most renowned intractable pain physicians in the country, Dr. Forest Tennant of West Covina, California, for treatment…

I’m glad to hear that Dr. Tennant hasn’t abandoned all of his pain patients.

“I’m not a drug addict,” he said. “I’m drug dependent. The only crime that I’ve committed is that I’m sick. I can’t really figure out this concern over opiates. The only thing that they do for me is give me pain relief.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a rerun of ‘Reefer Madness,’ ” he said. “Do people really think that if I take an opiate pill that I’m going to burglarize my neighbor?”

“The people who are suffering like I am are not going to sell their pills, no matter what,” Snook said. “The people who have these problems do everything they can to ensure that there’s no diversion. They need their medication to survive one day to the next.” …

“Unfortunately, today there are drug addicts who are masquerading as patients with intractable pain,” Tennant said. “Unless a doctor is well trained, those patients can fool you. If that happens, it’s understandable that the medical board will ultimately have to step in and address that issue.”

Sure, Dr. Tennant, make people who suffer from addiction look bad.  Give doctors even more reasons to abandon patients.  As if addiction wasn’t a real medical condition.  And the interference of State Medical Boards is part of the problem, not the solution.

“Opiates are all bad,” Tennant said…

Yeah, this is a renowned pain specialist talking…  Perhaps because this doctor abandoned me, I’m a little prejudiced, but I can’t help it:  Fuck you, Dr. Tennant.

In Helena, Dr. Mark Ibsen has come under scrutiny after he began treating pain patients around 2011. Many of those had been dropped by their regular physicians. The State Board of Medical Examiners is currently considering sanctions against Ibsen for his alleged over prescription of narcotic pain medications…

“It’s been two years and there is still no ruling for me,” he said. “It’s been a hard thing for my family and my business. On the other hand, pain patients have been flocking to me because of the publicity. The word is out that I won’t abandon them.” …

With the current focus on cutting down illegal use of prescription drugs, Ibsen said physicians and pharmacists alike are “just terrified” to treat patients with chronic pain…

Terri Anderson of Hamilton believes the medical establishment needs to look elsewhere in its attempt to address the issue of pain in America. Anderson also suffers from adhesive arachnoiditis caused by misplaced steroids in her spine. She lost her civil engineering career with the U.S. Forest Service because of it and will rely “on high-powered opioids” for the rest of her life to address the “suicide-level pain” that’s been caused.

In her comments on the proposed national pain strategy being developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Anderson said federal regulators and policy makers must recognize the underlying problem that’s causing the need for opioids in the first place.

“Preventable medical harm is the third leading cause of death, and I have no doubt it is one of the leading causes of disability in our country,” she wrote. “Interventional pain physicians use the fear of opioid prescribing to fuel their profitable epidural steroid injection mills.” …

Where’s the national database for rape kits?

In October, we first told you about The Accountability Project, our initiative to uncover the extent of the rape kit backlog in cities across the United States. From the first four cities that provided data to us—obtained through public records requests—we discovered more than 12,000 untested rape kits sitting in storage facilities…

The fact remains that there is more about the rape kit backlog that we don’t know than we do know. There is no comprehensive, national data on the nature and scope of the rape kit backlog. Few state governments and no federal agencies track this data. Across cities and counties, there are vast differences in the way law enforcement officials track and report rape kit data. These are some of the reasons we’ve undertaken The Accountability Project…

While politicians are working to nationalize Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) — a blacklist for pain patients — they show no concern whatsoever for a national database for rape kits.  Are pain patients more dangerous than rapists?  Are there more drug overdoses every year than rapes?  Not even close:

There is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year… Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted…

How many children younger than 12 years old should be included in this figure?  If the CDC wants to talk about epidemics, why doesn’t it talk about rape?  Maybe it doesn’t consider PTSD, depression, and suicide as “diseases”?  As if we know how to categorize mental illness.  But if addiction is a disease, then so are PTSD, depression, and suicide.

Thinking of You, Timothey Zimmer

SPC Timothey R. Zimmer
Echo Co. 787th MP BN
27 Dec. 1992 — 30 Nov. 2012

Timothey Zimmer would have turned 20 two days after Christmas. He was a military policeman with the New Mexico National Guard; his grandmother, Barbara Wallace, is a member of the Patriot Guard… Zimmer was killed when the car in which he was riding was turning into the Cottonwood Mall parking lot from Coors Bypass and was “T-boned.” Zimmer was pronounced dead at the scene…

“May you rest in peace for your mission is now complete. I salute you.”

(Photo taken 4/3/2015.)

TMJ and cold water therapy

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ for short) is a condition that is usually treated by the dental industry, which makes it hard to get insurance coverage for treatments. But I don’t think it makes sense for a dentist to treat a major joint problem. Your jaw joints worker harder than any other joint in the body, and unlike other ball-and-socket joints, can move from side to side, up and down, and all around. They are also some of the strongest joints in your body. The disk that cushions these joints is not like the cartilage in your other joints — it’s stronger, and so far, has been found to be irreplaceable.

In the 1980s when I was diagnosed with TMJ, there was no such thing as a TMJ specialist (see above link). Since TMJ causes referred pain to your teeth (and face), I had plenty of unnecessary dental work (including extractions) before I was correctly diagnosed.

To arrive at this diagnosis, my dentist injected all the major nerves in my mouth with a local anesthetic, called nerve blocks.  Hours later as I sat at home drooling, my dentist called (he was a nice guy) and asked me if I still had pain.  Yes sir, I replied, the pain is still there. He then referred me to a “TMJ specialist,” who proceeded to try a lot of treatments that had no effect or just caused more pain.

This specialist told me a story about one of his patients who used to walk around all day with a cup of cold water in each hand to manage the pain.  Obviously, he was exaggerating, because it’s impossible to do anything with a cup of water in each hand.  But this was the best “advice” I got from that “specialist.”

It’s also difficult to do anything when you’re holding an ice pack to your face all day.  And I’ve found that ice therapy can lose its effectiveness when used too often, although I hold things like freeze pops against my face a couple of times a day (before I eat them).  So instead, I use cold water therapy throughout the day, putting bottles of water in the refrigerator and switching them out as the water becomes room temperature.

Muscles that become hard from pain and spasm give off a lot of heat, and the cold water can help reduce that heat.  You take a sip of water, transfer it to one side or the other, in the front, above or below, hold it for a couple of seconds to stretch the muscles or until the water is no longer cold. This doesn’t really help with the pain, but I think it’s more of a preventative measure that can sometimes help to reduce the amount of pain storms I suffer from. The cold water and freeze pops are also good for the throat tightness and dryness that can accompany TMJ.

Obviously, it’s a good thing to drink a lot of water, especially in combination with any medications you take for pain.  The only side effect to this therapy is the amount of time I spend in the bathroom, which can obviously interfere with sleep.  Reducing your water intake an hour or so before sleep can help, but suffering from constant pain always messes with your sleep patterns anyway.  As with most treatments for pain, there’s a trade off with cold water therapy, but I think it’s relatively harmless.

I can’t be sure, but I think cold water therapy may also help those who suffer from headaches caused by stress and tension, along with keeping your body hydrated.

Water:  it’s the new drug. (But I’d rather have bud.) (Hey, that rhymes.) 🙂

Famous People with the Gift of Dyslexia

Actors & Entertainers:

Harry Anderson
Jennifer Aniston
Orlando Bloom
Harry Belafonte
Charley Boorman
Jim Carrey
Danny Glover
Whoopi Goldberg
Susan Hampshire
Jay Leno
Christopher Lowell
Aakash Odedra, Dancer.
Keanu Reeves.
Kiera Knightley
Oliver Reed.
Billy Bob Thornton.
Tom Smothers
Vince Vaughn
Henry Winkler
Loretta Young

Inventors & Scientists:

Ann Bancroft, Arctic Explorer.
Alexander Graham Bell.
John Britten, Inventor.
Pierre Curie, Physicist (1903 Nobel Prize).
Thomas Edison.
Albert Einstein.  [Nickname:  “Addy”]
Michael Faraday.
Carol Greider, Molecular Biologist, awarded 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Jack Horner, Paleontologist.
Dr. Peter Lovatt, psychologist and dancer.
Dr. James Lovelock.
Paul MacCready “Engineer of the Century.”
Archer Martin, Chemist (1952 Nobel Laureate)
Matthew H. Schneps, Astrophysicist
John R. Skoyles, Brain Researcher

Musicians & Vocalists:

Brad Little.
John Lennon. [The world misses you.]
Nigel Kennedy, Violinist.
Bob Weir, Grateful Dead Guitarist.


Robert Benton.
Nicole Betancourt, Emmy-winning filmmaker.
Walt Disney.
Søren KraghJacobsen (Danish film director).
Steven Spielberg.

Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders:

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Enterprises.
John T Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems.
Henry Ford.
William Hewlett, Co-Founder, Hewlett-Packard.
Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA.
Sir Peter Leitch, New Zealand businessman
Craig McCaw, Telecommunications Visionary.
O.D. McKee, founder of McKee Foods.
David Neeleman, CEO of jetBlue Airways.
Paul J. Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s.
Charles Schwab, Investor.
Ted Turner, President, Turner Broadcasting Systems.
Robert Woodruff, President of Coca-Cola, 1923-1954.
Frank W. Woolworth.

Writers & Journalists:

Scott Adams, Cartoonist (Dilbert)
Hans Christian Andersen
Jeanne Betancourt, (Author of “My Name is Brain Brian”).
Stephen Cannell, television writer & novelist.
John Corrigan, novelist.
Larry Chambers.
Agatha Christie.
John Edmund Delezen, author of Eye of the Tiger and Red Plateau.
Andrew Dornenburg, award-winning author and chef.
Jane Elson, children’s author and playwright.
Richard Engel, NBC Foreign Correspondent.
Fannie Flagg (Author of “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”).
F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Gustave Flaubert.
Sally Gardner, children’s writer and illustrator.
Terry Goodkind fantasy writer, author of The Sword of Truth series.
Byron Pitts, CBS News Correspondent.
Patricia Polacco, Children’s Author and Illustrator.
Eileen Simpson (Author of “Reversals”).
Natasha Solomons, contemporary novelist.
Philip Schultz, winner of 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Elizabeth Daniels Squire(author of mystery novels).
Bernie Taylor, author of Biological Time.
Victor Villaseñor, author of bestselling novel, Rain of Gold
William Butler Yeats, poet.