A Misery Too Great to Bear

I’m dismayed, but not surprised. to hear about pain patients whose lives became unbearable after their opioid medication was dramatically decreased or even stopped.

These patients had spent years trying all kinds of other methods to control their pain but lived with the curse that only opioids eased their pain. Once denied their only option for effective pain relief, these patients had no choice left but to escape their incessantly tortured bodies entirely.

If you let someone die by denying them their only source of drinking water, they call it manslaughter. But if you deny them their only effective source of relief from constant, grinding, miserable pain until they literally end their own lives to escape it, they call it “healthcare”. What a travesty!

A Misery too Great to Bear  

People in pain are dying,
a reluctant calculation,
the only option left to escape
a misery too great to bear.

While we struggle with our pain,
our government has decided
to snatch relief from opioids
away from us for our own good.

They say one pill begins the end,
addiction guaranteed.
We say we need a powerful shield
only opioids can provide.

By policy now unarmed, defenseless,
we are stalked by pain through every moment.
It hunts us down relentlessly,
sinks fangs in deep and feasts.

It rips the flesh and breaks the bones,
cracks the skull and snaps the spine,
with license to do just as it pleases,
impunity guaranteed by decree.

We are sent out naked now
to battle this rampaging pain
with methods long disproven, yet
“believe and it will be” they say.

Denied our armor, medication
callously denied by guidelines,
we teeter at the ragged gash
where soul was ripped from body.

How much pain and for how long
can we be asked to bear,
while experts coin their catchy phrases,
call our pain “catastrophizing”.

A catastrophe indeed is pain:
It traps us in the wreckage,
wandering the sad remains
of tortured flesh that cannot heal.

What we know is pain, we feel
only pain, exploding pain,
pain so bad it breaks our will
to live like this forever.

Pain dominates, annihilates,
ruthless in its roaring rage, while
helpless at the feet of the beast,
we lie sacrificed for addiction,
and overdoses not ours.

People in pain are dying,
a reluctant calculation,
the only option left to escape
a misery too great to bear.


This poem was also published in Pain News Network on 5/2/2017
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