Friday, September 28, 2007

Some good news for a change!!

Tonight I get to write about something good in my pain filled world for a change. Richard Paey who was a 47 year old Ivy-league lawyer with a wife, children and a good future was injured in an automobile accident a few years ago. He ended up with spinal cord injuries and from what I have read about him, he ended up with a botched surgery to make things even worse. After that a life much like my own, of agonizing pain.

Long story short, he was charged with possession of narcotics in Florida my home state by an overzealous prosecutor and sentenced to 25 years in prison, even though the man was in a wheel chair and in unbearable Chronic Pain. Many organizations including one that I am a member of The American Pain Foundation appealed to then Governor Jeb Bush to grant the man clemency which he refused.

Well GOOD NEWS!! Thanks to Governor Charlie Crist, Richard is out of prison wheel chair and all. The irony of it all is he was getting better treatment in prison,(implanted morphine pump) than before he went in. The picture I am using above is actually one of his cartoons he drew while in prison. Thank You, Governor Crist, for your compassion, and Good Luck to Richard. I hope you get the treatment you need.

The following is an update by The American Pain Foundation. who worked so hard to get him released.
Richard Paey Granted Full-Pardon and Clemency

Richard Paey, the 48 year-old pain patient who was sentenced to 25 years in jail in Florida for "drug trafficking," was granted a full-pardon and clemency Thursday, September 20, by Florida Governor Charlie Crist and his Cabinet. The Governor's pardon and clemency order illustrates the kind of understanding and compassion that needs to be much more present in our medical system and in the ranks of law enforcement, regulatory, and prosecution systems.

The American Pain Foundation applauds Governor Crist’s sensible and compassionate act in righting a situation that should have never gotten so out of control. The American Pain Foundation also commends the tireless work of the Paey family in motivating and galvanizing the pain advocacy community to take a stand against the unfair treatment of people in pain. The emotional and financial toll inflicted on the Paey family by Florida law enforcement is simply unacceptable.

Richard's prosecution symbolizes the moral decay of our law enforcement and prosecutorial system that chose to see a person in severe chronic pain as a criminal and drug dealer rather than an individual in severe medical crisis seeking a solution for his pain. Law enforcement and prosecutors are not medical experts and should not be permitted to perpetuate a state of fear among people with legitimate pain needs and the medical community that serves them. Richard’s case is a shining example of what can happen when law enforcement and drug abusers dictate medical policy.

Treating desperate pain patients and doctors who treat them like common drug dealers is insane. There should never, ever, be another case like Richard Paey. The American Pain Foundation is committed to supporting the rights of people in pain through education and advocacy. Efforts to prevent the diversion and abuse of pain medication must be balanced so they do not interfere with appropriate and effective care for people with pain.


Friday, September 14, 2007

It would be nice to hear the TRUTH!!!

I walked out of a spine surgeon's office about nine months ago not believing what he had just told me. I had pretty much made up my mind to have another surgery, this time a fusion of L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs. As I started to leave I ask him if he was sure that this would help me. He replied and I quote "Sure, you will feel so good that you will come back for another one". I couldn't believe what he had just said.
I looked at him and replied "in your dreams". This doctor is supposed to be one of the best minimal invasive surgeons in the country but I have done to many years of research on spine surgery to believe a statement like that. It seemed totally out of character for a professional and I never went back to him.

What ever happened to True Informed Consent. I will tell you where it is, it has fallen by the wayside by many Spine Surgeons. To be fair and thanks to the internet not all surgeons are this way. There are many good and ethical surgeons that are up-in-arms about things such as this. That is why a group of surgeons have started theAssociation for Ethics in Spine Surgery.

"In a study published in WebMD done by a group of Surgeons at Switzerland's University of Lausanne Medical Centre, Dr. Bertrand Graz and his colleagues state that "Doctors overly Optimistic about back surgery". In their study a total of 197 patients were included for back surgery. Prior to operating, their surgeons were asked to predict how much surgery would improve their patients quality of life. The surgeons predicted that 79% of patients would have "a great deal of improvement" and 20% would have "moderate improvement". A year later when questioned, 56% of the patients reported no significant improvement in their
health. The article went on to say that this was not the first study that surgery is not the cure-all for low back pain that many patients think it is, or the first to suggest that surgeons do a poor job of predicting which patients will benefit the most from back surgery."

My own personal feelings after having three surgeries, I don't think there are any cures for spinal problems at the present time. Maybe someday there will be. In the mean time the pain goes on.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A very bad Day!!

I am sure that most people who live with the levels of Chronic Pain that I do will tell you that one of the worst things about it is the Loneliness. It eats you alive because all of a sudden people don't have time for you and Yes "THAT INCLUDES YOUR OWN FAMILY". Even writing about pain when I am in so much pain at times is almost unbearable

Most of the time I do a pretty good job of keeping things in perspective but today wasn't one of them. My ex-wife, the mother of my two sons is dying of lung Cancer. My youngest son has always run from reality when it comes to things like that. He called me last night to tell me that she was back in the hospital and then got upset with me because he said he didn't like the way I reacted. When I asked him to explain what he meant he couldn't.

I had called him two or three times previous this week and of course I got the same answer that I have gotten for years. Dad, I am busy right now. I will call you right back. He didn't of course but I have grown use to it because he never does. Neither of my children call me any more to ask me how I am doing, if they can do anything for me, however they will call if they need something from me. Strange? Not really.

People can relate to cancer, heart problems, strokes, lung problems and I could go on. Just the word Pain, or Chronic Pain just doesn't seem to register in the human mind as being anything serious. Hell, what can you expect when most of the medical profession feels the same.

Sometimes I want to just stop writing even stop trying to even think about it. It is hard to believe with so many millions of people in this country in pain that it continues to be ignored especially by the state and federal law makers. I thought in this country you were presumed innocent until proven guilty, yet the majority of people that have had surgery after after surgery and still live in unbearable pain are stigmatized as just drug addicts. This is absolutely pathetic. Even many of the fighting men and women who have sustained severe damage are running into the same problems. This my friends is a disgraceful shame.