DOUG FORD AND MY LEMONADE STAND....CAPPING PAIN MANAGEMENT

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As children we are taught that if we are given lemons we are to make lemonade. But what if someone snatched away your lemons? Then you’re just left thirsty.

Twenty-two years ago life handed me a batch of lemons. After many false starts I was able to squeeze the juice from that fruit and make a fairly palatable drink - still bitter but with just enough sweetness to continue drinking. Today I learned that Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, intends on withholding all but the rinds of those lemons.

I am a chronic pain patient. Twenty-two year’s ago I suffered a severe cervical cord injury. After two surgeries and years of follow-up treatment the upshot was that I would live with debilitating pain and its subsequent limitations for the rest of my life.

Not surprisingly the first stop on the long road that is pain management was narcotics. Finding that even Fentanyl was falling short I found myself on a twice daily dose of Methadone. And for thirteen years I lived with chronic pain that was finally manageable. Problem was, that opioid left me virtually lifeless. I sleep-walked through my 40’s. Those thirteen years were fraught with bitter lemons indeed; in fact so bitter that it became a daily fight just to drink.

When it came time for my pain specialist to retire I seized the opportunity to re-work my pain management plan. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a young, enthusiastic doctor who was embracing a pain management technique known as ‘nerve block injections’. This treatment involves a series of injections which result in the neurological blocking of your body’s pain signals. It is basically a form of anesthesiology, a medical practice that has been effective for well over 100 years. Think....the lidocaine injections you receive in the dentist’s chair.

Honestly, I didn’t hold out much hope for this strategy. Happily, I was proved wrong. Today nerve block injections are my primary method of pain control. These injections, in conjunction with some minor narcotics, have given me a quality of life that, for a long time, I believed to be unattainable and I have been able to make a fairly decent lemonade!

However. Today I attended my weekly injection appointment only to be informed that Premier Doug Ford has plans to place severe restrictions on my access to this - frankly - lifesaving treatment.

Our provincial government is currently in arbitration with OHIP and the Ontario Medical Association with regards to both the dosage and frequency of nerve block injections. Ford is proposing a four injection limit, four times per year. To put that into perspective - I currently receive twelve injections on a weekly basis.

There is little information currently online with regards to the thinking behind Ford’s plan. Given his very public stance on prescription opioid use, one has to wonder why he would target a viable treatment option to those very narcotics he proposes are so damaging. Nerve block injections are NON-ADDICTIVE and NON-OPIOID!! I have to assume that his plan to hit chronic pain patients on two separate fronts simply comes down to a matter of dollars and cents.

This potential move by Doug Ford will have a real cost in terms of human health and human lives. The suicide rate among chronic pain patients exceeds that of the general population by 18-22%. I myself struggle with a condition nicknamed ‘the suicide disease’, and while I have fortunately climbed over this obstacle others may not be so lucky. Especially if Doug Ford follows through on his plan to remove nerve block injections from the arsenal against chronic pain.

I implore you to stand with me and make some noise. Do no let Doug Ford make this short-sighted and nonsensical move.

You will see much more of this coming from me in the weeks ahead and I apologize in advance for my soap box. But I cannot stand idly by as Doug Ford and his bottom line dictate my very well-being! 

Please sign this petition and pass it along to your friends. Stand up with me and lemonade stands all across the province!!

 

 


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