This is just one of the hundreds of tragic stories in the CDC comment section:
I write this from the intensive care unit waiting room, a suicide letter on my lap. My beloved wife is currently an ICU patient due to under treated chronic pain.
10 years ago we had it all. 3 beautiful children, a lovely home in the suburbs. We were “the American Dream.” I had a job that allowed me to take on the household expenses solo so my wife could be a stay at home mom. In a moment it all shattered.
My wife was rear ended by a kid who was on his cell phone while driving. Her injuries, besides the regular bumps and bruises included a stress fracture in her back, a sprained neck and wrist and a concussion.
Doesn’t sound bad, does it? Except that for months, the pain increased almost daily. Physical therapy did not help. The trips to the chiropractor left her in tears afterwards from the pain. Almost a year after the accident, I came home from work and she was in bed still, in so much agony she couldn’t move.
A MRI shortly after this day showed multiple damage to the discs in her neck and back, the stress fracture not healed properly and severe spinal arthritis. It was then she was referred to pain management. Her PMP was amazing. She was treated with dignity and respect. She was put on anti inflammatory medicine, along with ER OxyContin and 10 mg oxycodone for breakthrough pain. With this my wife could almost go back to her “old life” as she called it. Yes, she had some bad days. But on good days she could do light housekeeping, a little bit of yoga, even work part time. She did every single thing the PMP asked of her. Not once did my wife break her pain contract. Several times her provider called her “an ideal patient.”
9 months ago he took early retirement. The new PMP has been the polar opposite. Immediately he cut her pain meds to less than half her previous doses (which never increased since she went on them), increased her anti inflammatory meds and put her on Neurontin (by now she’s started having severe sciatica). He said that “All his patients will be off opiates in a year unless they’re dying of cancer.” Several weeks later, her pain was increased dramatically, her behavior was erratic and she developed a GI bleed. She took up smoking cigarettes and stopped doing self breast exams because “If I get cancer he will at least treat my pain.” I truly believe that by now the Neurontin was affecting her behavior, as was her increased pain. Her PMP’s solution? He added Lyrica to her prescriptions, instructed her physical therapist to “challenge her” and told her to “Stop trying to make me your dealer.”
This lack of compassion, professionalism and accusations has destroyed what self esteem my beautiful wife had left. Up until recently she fought her pain with every step. She started eating healthier, she exercised as much as she could, she tried every legal option she could think of. Opiods are a last resort for her. The severe pain she faces every minute of the day (which has been made worse by the naproxen thanks to kidney disease and stomach ulcers), to be treated in such a derogatory manner, coupled with the Neurontin and Lyrica became too much.
The love of my life attempted suicide in a last ditch effort to stop her suffering. She will survive….today. However her blood pressure is incredibly high, as is her heart rate. Her kidney function is so poor she may need dialysis. She is requesting to be DNR. And even now, the doctors are refusing to give her pain medication.
Chronic pain does kill. It has destroyed the beautiful woman who I love so much. It has killed us financially. It has ruined my children’s lives. It has destroyed our faith in the medical profession.
Please, don’t let this happen to another family. Please allow doctors to treat all pain patients with what works for them, including the option of opiods.
I thank you for your time.