In short, when used appropriately, absolutely not.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that for those people living in severe chronic pain, it is necessary. I don’t care how many degrees someone has — if you have not lived in chronic pain day in and day out, month after month, year after year than you do not have a clue what it is like. I do believe caregivers have a unique perspective as well to understand but bottom line, if you have not lived it, you cannot possibly fathom what it is like.
I don’t really want to talk about our friends and family right now. I want to talk about people in the medical profession.
Aside from a handful of doctors that I have come across (I am sure there are more,) I truly despise the medical community. I do not trust them. I feel as though they do not trust me. Most don’t look at me as a human being but rather just another patient. And most importantly, the majority do not seem to have a clue what it is someone with a chronic, invisible illness goes through.
This whole issue of narcotics and doctors and hospitals walking on egg shells with people with a disease that you cannot see is BS. I understand that the side effect of constipation and slowing down the bowel is a very real thing. I do not and never have discounted that. But in my opinion, why doesn’t a doctor take each case one person (aka HUMAN BEING) at a time. I have heard from some of my inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) friends that their GI team simply doesn’t believe in it or you have to truly fight to the death, or be dying, to receive any. And again- I understand the risk.
Let me explain a little more.
There are many reasons an IBD patient goes to the ER or is admitted to the hospital. Flare ups, malnutrition, too much bleeding, surgery, dehydration, bowel obstructions are just some of these examples. There are also all different types of IBD patients. Some have Crohn’s Disease while others have ulcerative colitis. Some are male and some are female. Some are children while others are older. Some have severe cases while some have been luckier so far. And also *here is the kicker* some patients have had the disease for years and have been through a plethora of things while others are newly diagnosed or have been diagnosed a while but their disease is just now starting to get worse.
Did it ever occur to anyone that those people who have had years of experience with their disease actually knows their body and understands how medications impact them? Do people think we want to make ourselves worse by knowingly taking something that is bad for our system? It is so crazy to think about really listening to the patient and letting him/her choose their course of treatment?
One of my points is… there are so many different type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patient. So why have a blanket rule or just continue to read articles and attend conferences that completely bash the use of pain medications in these patients when there are exceptions? I am certainly not saying “don’t attend these conferences or read up on the latest information.” No way. I want my doctor to be on the cutting edge of research. However, I also want my doctor to look at me separate from other people. I want my doctor to possibly read some things where being on pain medication saved someones life. And trust me, being a chronic pain patient myself, having pain meds when needed 1000% saves a person’s life.
Think about it.
When you are able to go to school or work, spend time with family and friends, attend a practice or get your workout in, do errands, get things done around the house, be present while spending time with your loved ones (or even colleagues) as opposed to just fulfilling an obligation when you feel like you are dying inside… it changes everything.
Your perspective on life. Your day. Your family/friends day. Your overall health (being out of pain increases the chances that someone will focus on physical activity and make smarter food choices.) Your hopefulness. Your sleep that night. I could go on and on…
On a very quick different note, I also suffer from chronic daily migraines. They have been utterly unbearable and life altering. My experience with trying to seek help has been outrageous. Most recently, I had a doctor make up his mind about me before he entered the room. Look at the pictures below. He did not even ask why I had those things on my body. Not to mention, my stretch marks. Why? Because he was never planning on helping me anyway.
I just ask..or rather, plead, that those of you in the medical world do your best to look at the whole picture. We all know the laws are ridiculous and to anyone reading this who has the power to do something about THAT, I would be honored if you emailed me at marisa@journalingIBD.org.