If you read books set in the 1920s and 1930s there is often a scene where the doctor rolls his eyes after a housecall to the town drunk. “Old Mrs. Whitewater just calls me for the booze in the cough syrup.” It was during Prohibition and the Volstead Act had made pharmacists and physicians the only approved purveyors of alcohol.
If you go to a modern Emergency Room for, well, pretty much any blasted thing but especially kidney problems, you are encountering our only approved purveyors of narcotic pain relief. The adversarial nature of Emergency Room providers and patients is both sad and embarrassing. I’ve gotten to the point that I’d rather lie in a whimpering puddle of agony than visit the ER. The last visit was at my husband’s insistence and I only went along because I remembered the East Tennessee woman who died a few years ago from what started as a kidney infection.
Now here I am, 14 days out from the start of this last round of stone-passing and infection. My stones often don’t show up on the CT scan…turns out they’re too small. Unfortunately I’ve passed so many that my system is all torn up and hurts no matter how small the stone. But wait. I’m off-topic.
I’m not at all in favour of saying “if it’s a drug, let people buy it from the store!” That goes down an area into ridiculousness. Even after the repeal of the Volstead Act there are still restrictions on what you can buy where and when. (Wine in grocery stores in Tennessee is apparently the equivalent of Black Tar Heroin.) But when I read countless articles _in medical journals and on responsible medical discussion groups_ that all say that every one of my conditions has been shown to respond–and go into REMISSION!– on cannabinoids…
I’m angry. I’m just so angry. Instead of a system where I can purchase the medication that would return me to society on a functional level…you know like how people with allergies can buy Benadryl…I’m stuck in this thing. This system where the “helpers” automatically view you as a manipulative enemy, where instead of finding an effective disease modifying regimen folks like me are stuck trying to convince adversarial care-givers that we are in fact being honest about our disease processes and not just in it for the cough syrup.
I’m far from the first to liken the illegality of marijuana to Prohibition. I’m also far from the first person who has cried while reading medical journals, while seeing that there is help, pure and clean, but that help is forbidden by bureaucrats who don’t understand the problem.
I won’t take it until it’s legal because I don’t break the law. I don’t break the law because that integrity and dignity are often all that I have to cling to when I get rushed to the ER and face “care providers” who see me as something less worthy of their care because the type of care I need is not available anywhere else. You know…now that alcoholics can buy liquor they rarely go to the doctor for cough syrup unless they have a cough. Doctors are free to treat more demanding and emergent cases.
The percentage of addicts drug-seeking in the ER is estimated to be anywhere from 5-45%. Notice anything? Even at its highest estimate–which includes those who are admitted for overdoses from using illegally-obtained Rx narcotics–THERE ARE STILL MORE PATIENTS WHO NEED MEDICAL TREATMENT THAN WHO ARE JUST CRUISING THE ER FOR DRUGS. But as long as the doctor is the only place for pain patients to get help, then this is going to be an adversarial culture.
If we get marijuana legalised, regulated and integrated back into society on a par with alcoholic beverages and OTC medication it can only be better for us in the long run. It’d certainly be far better for me.
Hat tip to Mike Duran who used the image for another purpose altogether and would probably be horrified to see me using it for this. But still. I love the sentiment.