Author Archives: desirehigher

Opioids – Where is the Voice of Reason?


Opioids – the name throws fear into the hearts of many!  Why?  Because most do not have much experience with it; therefore they do not understand it.  And, as with most things that we do not really know but hear a few tales about, they immediately jump to fear and apprehension, condemning that which they ought not.

For a people who go to great lengths to admonish against stereotyping, judging, prejudice, and bigotry, it is shocking to see how normal they feel stereotyping and judging people with chronic pain.  From their own bigoted and prejudiced, “holier than thou” stance they have turned on all those who struggle with debilitating medical conditions, condemning them as drug addicts who simply need to be detoxified in order for their lives to improve.

One such woman, manager at a pain clinic who ought to have known better, said, “Our goal is to get people off of opioids, and improve the quality of their lives.”  When asked, “What if it doesn’t improve the quality of their lives?”, she quickly responded, “Then, we failed.”  No remorse for those people, no concern for their well-being, nothing to offer them except, “Our goal is to get people off of opioids, and improve the quality of their lives.”

While that might be an admirable goal for some, there are those who will never be able to live pain-free, and for whom opioids are what improves the quality of their lives.  Indeed, opioids are enabling them to be alive; to continue to function; to keep from becoming totally disabled and bed-ridden, barely able to move, and weeping from the pain; even keeping their bodies from shutting down and requiring exorbitantamounts of time, effort, money, equipment, and resources (i.e. dialysis, care givers, etc.) to stay alive.

Of course, if we allow society to continue down this path that the media is laying out, without standing up to them, people will be coerced into living lives filled with pain, and forced to make unpleasant, downright dangerous choices to find relief.  They may well turn to such “therapeutic” choices as drinking, illicit drugs, dangerous levels of over-the-counter drugs, or even suicide to escape the incredible, never-ending, unfathomable pain.

And that puts us right back where we started, only worse, because now it is no longer by accident.

Where is the voice of reason?

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Pain Team To The Rescue


A few years ago I talked with someone who worked as a pain specialist at a hospital.  She was part of a team that was there to help patients manage their pain.

I found that extremely interesting, and talked with her about their views of pain.

She pointed out that pain can be detrimental to a patient’s well-being.  It causes physical and physiological issues.  It can slow down healing, cause the patient to move around less which can cause muscle degeneration and greater chance of blood clots, increased sleeplessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, stress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

These are some pretty serious issues.

She explained that they had discovered that if you work with the patient, explain the pain cycle, discuss expectations, alternatives, consequences, and choices, the patient knows what is happening, what to expect, and what the possibilities are for dealing with the pain that is there as well as in case of increased pain.

They have found that it is MUCH easier to stay on top of, and handle, a smaller amount of pain than it is to let the pain increase and get out of hand and THEN try to decrease it.  It then takes much longer to bring the pain back down, and it takes exponentially more effort and/or medication to get the pain under control.

Her team was there as a resource so the nurses could call on them anytime when a patient was having trouble getting pain controlled.  They could use their expertise and work with the patient to review possible ways to bring pain relief.

What a novel and refreshing thought process.  The Pain Team didn’t run away from pain, they dealt with it.  And the patients were able to recover faster, enjoy life more, and relax rather than feeling tense, worried, and stressed.

Brilliant!

Thoughts On Pain


A few years ago there was a frank, open, and honest discussion about pain among patients, staff, family and community members that was quite enlightening.  Several important and interesting things were brought up that today’s “Opiate Abuse” culture could learn from:

  • Patients need to be included in discussions about their pain, and pain management plans.
  • People have differing pain tolerances – some can stand only a little pain while others feel they can handle a great deal of pain.
  • People have differing pain expectations.  They may not understand the full implications of what will happen and/or what options may be available to help them.
  • Clinicians sometimes expect that patients must be feeling pain (or shouldn’t be feeling pain) when that may not necessarily be the case.
  • Clinicians (i.e. physicians and nurses) should always discuss the following types of things with the patient:
    • How much pain can usually be expected in this type of situation?  How long could it last?
    • Perhaps some pain will have to be present, it is not always possible (or wise) to completely get rid of all the pain.
    • What is the patient’s expectation around pain relief?
    • Does the patient want pain medications?
    • Does the patient desire no pain medications?
    • Has the patient had reactions to pain, or other, medications?
    • What is the patient’s pain goal? (it may not always be zero)
    • What is the patient’s normal pain level? (esp. for chronic pain patients)

The important thing to remember is that every person is an individual.  The more open and frank the discussion between patients and clinicians is, the better the outcomes will be for all concerned.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to pain and pain management.  Person-centered care is the answer.  The more that society, government officials, the health care industry, and the media start working to that end, the better off individuals, their families, and the country will be.

Opioid Paranoia Consequences


Health care in the US was making such great strides just a few years ago with their “Person-Centered Care” philosophy.  They realized that the best outcomes happen when you treat each patient as not only a human being, but you include them in the “Care Team” and in fact, make them the focal point of that team.

Then along comes Opioid Paranoia, and suddenly the “baby is thrown out with the bath water”.

Rather than pulling together an interdisciplinary team (including the patient) and keeping the patient as the focal point, Opioids become the focal point and are deemed so dangerous that they become outlawed – by the government, medical society, and even the public at large – and NO ONE may use them.

But what about those who need opioids to control the pain they are experiencing that nothing else can solve, or even provide relief for?  Are they simply left with only such destructive, and in some cases illegal, options such as drinking, illicit drugs, catatonic drugs, or worse?

Please let’s re-evaluate the situation and realize this is NOT a “one-size-fits-all” situation.  Let’s go back to true “Person-Centered Care” and allow these folks the options that will enable them to at least function in their lives.

A New Way to Think About Service


Sunday I went to the Gospel Essentials class during Sunday School at church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  The lesson was about service, and giving service to others as Jesus Christ did.

The local missionaries were teaching the lesson, and they started by telling the story of a church member who lived in Alaska.  This brother (man) lived quite some distance from the church, so would leave Saturday night to be able to get there in time for church Sunday morning.  Talk about dedication!  And I have heard of others who did whatever it takes to be able to attend church services.

One day a General Authority from the Church came to visit this ward (congregation).  He heard about this brother and asked to see him before he left.  When they met, the General Authority said to this brother that he lived too far away to give service to the ward, i.e. he couldn’t do his Home Teaching.

This got me to thinking.  Whereas I was impressed at the lengths this brother went to to go to church, now I thought about the service we give in the church and that living far away would definitely cut down on how much you would be able to provide.  And I wondered if this brother considered moving closer to town so he could be of greater service.

From there I went on to thinking about my own circumstances and the amount of service I give.  I find I have my own limitations such as family needs, working full-time, etc., that do not allow me to serve as much as I would like to do.  And I have always chalked it up to doing what I can with what I have.

But perhaps there are some things I can do differently, or think about in a different way, to be able to serve more as Jesus did.  An interesting thought.

The missionaries didn’t know the end of the story, whether the brother changed anything or what, but it is a beginning to my story as I consider what more I can do to be of greater service to Heavenly Father and His children.  🙂

Decades, Sears, Feed The Children – What do they have in common?


If you were fortunate enough to see Heroes At Home today, you know what Decades, Sears, and Feed The Children have in common.  And there may be more that just those – I’m only halfway through the show.

You also would have a warm feeling in your heart, and gratitude for the service the brave men and women in the military give to our country.

In Heroes At Home, shown on Decades channel, 6 military personnel were spotlighted for the incredible sacrifices they and their families gave for this country.  And “we” gave back to them.  Sears donated rooms of furniture and furnishings to every family, and Feed The Children just donated 1 year’s worth of food for a family that was caring for not only their own children, but also for orphaned children in their extended family, and friend!  11 children in all, out of the goodness of their hearts.

I am humbled even more than usual by the many sacrifices that were made, and continue to be made, by our military, their family and loved ones – from the beginnings of this great nation, down through the ages and continuing today.

I am thankful to see people, organizations, and businesses who are reaching out and helping those people.  It is a small price to pay for the many freedoms we enjoy.

I feel a greater desire to help in my own small way to let people know I appreciate what’s been done.  And I want to help spread the word so others can know these things as well.

Happy 4th of July – and all that means to The United States of America!  🙂

When You Do Good, You Feel Good!


“When you do good, you feel good, and that is the Holy Ghost speaking to you. The Holy Ghost is a wonderful companion. He is always there to help you” President Ezra Taft Benson spoke about what the gift of the Holy Ghost will do for us.  “The Holy Ghost helps you choose the right. The Holy Ghost will protect you from evil. He whispers to you in a still, small voice to do right.”  (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 103; or Ensign, May 1989, 82).

I know these words to be true for I have seen the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life many, many times.  And when I have done good, made the right choices, I have felt good.

I have seen it in other people’s lives as well.  It doesn’t mean you have no problems, no issues in life.  But it does mean you can feel good, happy, even calm inside – even while experiencing the problems and issues of life.

Try it and see for yourself.  🙂