By taking care of the ones who care for us we all win.
That’s why it’s time for Pain Care Providers Day.
—Did you know? For every 21,276 pain sufferers in America, there is only one board-certified pain management specialist. One in EVERY THREE adults in America suffers from pain. Doesn’t seem that they all are going to be adequately treated for their pain, does it?
Consider this: Chronic pain lowers productivity, even for patients who continue to work full time. Pain may often interrupt someone’s ability to carry out their job at peak performance. At these numbers, chronic pain becomes a serious economic problem for the nation. That is even before one considers the added costs of treatment for those who are able to obtain help.
The difficulties in obtaining help for chronic pain have been described often and well in recent months. I have read stories of attitudes patients must deal with, from untrained physicians to family members, friends, employers and co-workers. All too often, they hear:
-You look just fine! You don’t seem to be in pain.
-You don’t need to take anything but Tylenol for pain.
-Come on, suck it up! Everyone hurts somewhere now and then.
-It is probably all in your head. Have you tried seeing a psychiatrist?
-What do you expect, at your age? You are not a spring chicken, you know!
I could go on, because like other chronic pain patients, over the years I have heard it all.
A few weeks ago, I posted a Christmas message in which I stated I was looking forward to 2015; that this year would be a year of hope and purpose. I described my gratitude for my changed circumstances, due entirely to the concerted efforts of caregivers. I am particularly grateful today for my primary care physician, who insisted that I see a pain management physician. The latter would become both the expert who would successfully treat my severe chronic pain, and a very active supporter through the months of emotional chaos that accompanied major life changes as I made the journey to being once again at home in my own body, and in my own mind. “Gratitude” just doesn’t even begin to describe what I owe for the rare respectful listening, caring, believing, and helping that I have received.
That only describes the role of my physicians, How blessed I have been with friends and family who have cared, listened, transported me for medical care, and done chores for me that I could not do for myself. Who called and/or emailed regularly, to check on me. For those who prayed for me, and who rejoiced with me when I was back on my feet again, and back in the classroom teaching – where I most wanted to be.
How many of you readers know someone who has pain a lot of the time? How many know of spouses, children, parents, or friends who give of their lives to care for people who live with constant pain and disability? If you are like me, once you stop to think about it, these folks are not rare. They are all around us!
We who have been blessed with caretakers who make all the difference in our world, and in our ability to survive, want to make MARCH 20th a NATIONAL PAIN CARE PROVIDER’S DAY. We want to celebrate these selfless individuals who care and give so much; those physicians who – despite draconian pain medication laws in many states with criminal prosecution for overlooking them, still keep on doing their best to help as many of the many pain care patients as they possibly can.
PLEASE HELP US THANK THESE CARETAKERS. TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES. WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN, AND ASK HIM/HER TO PROMOTE NATIONAL PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY ON MARCH 20TH. WRITE TO YOUR GOVERNOR; YOUR MAYOR. LET THEM KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO SHOW OUR GRATITUDE FOR THOSE WHO CARE FOR PEOPLE IN PAIN — ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO CANNOT CARE FOR THEMSELVES.
Please. Give us the chance to show our gratitude in 2015.