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Kevin Korenthal: The politics of pain

Posted: March 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.

I am often stunned when I hear people, some of them friends, confess that they do not follow politics.

It confounds me that anyone wouldn’t want to follow the activities of the people who are supposed to represent us in our government.

These are the people who have the power to directly impact your ability to start a business, provide for your families, the way you live your life, and the decisions that you can make as an individual.

But as closely as I follow politics, even I sometimes misjudge exactly how far the tentacles of big government have reached into our lives and deeply affect what should be our own choices to make.

As some readers may be aware, I was involved in a serious accident while riding my bicycle just three days before Christmas.

Numerous bones were broken in this accident, and the biggest problem that I have had as a result is the inability to keep ahead of the pain.

The pain is a constant companion that sometimes becomes so unbearable, I can’t even begin to describe it. Fortunately, my doctor and I have discovered what seems to work reasonably well for me.

Unfortunately, the medication that helps me to get through each day as I continue to inch toward recovery requires more effort than the average prescription to obtain.

The first time after my hospitalization that I needed to retrieve this medication was a rude awakening for myself and my wife.

Rather than being able to have the doctor call or fax the prescription, we had to drive to the office and pick up an original hard copy. This was extremely inconvenient, as it was 4 p.m. on a Friday when I was informed of this and I was completely out of the medication.

After running to the office to pick up the prescription, we went directly to the pharmacy and were informed that because of one piece of missing information, a date, they were unable to fill the prescription.

They couldn’t accept a phone call or fax from the doctor’s office to fix the error. We had to return to the doctor’s office and get the form completed.

By now, it was nearly 5 p.m. on a Friday night. We had to make a hurried trip back to my doctor’s office, complete the form, and return to the pharmacy. By then, we were late for another appointment and very frustrated. Had we gotten to the doctor’s office just a couple of minutes later, I would have had virtually no pain control for the entire weekend. I might have ended up back in the hospital just to get pain relief. Why was this so hard?

A little research and it didn’t take long for me to figure out. The problem: Government. You see, Uncle Sam says that in order to keep addicts from abusing painkillers, we have to restrict them for everyone.

We need to make people suffering in pain, many of them with restricted mobility like myself, jump through proverbial hoops in order to live their lives in some modicum of comfort.

The Democrats talk about how decisions between a woman and her doctor should be a matter of privacy when it pertains to "choice".

Yet they have no problem sticking their noses in my choices when it comes to pain management. What about my right to privacy? Shouldn’t my doctor and I be able to come to a decision about my own treatment without the government getting involved and telling us how much pain relief I can have or how I have to obtain it? After all, my body, my choice!

Republicans aren’t innocent either. They claim to want to keep the federal government small, but they vote time and again for these onerous regulations that take choices away from individuals.

I know that it gives these legislators the warm fuzzies to think that they’ve made a difference in stopping drug abuse, but what about the people who are suffering so that they can pat themselves on the back?

I feel a great deal of compassion for those who find themselves in the grip of addiction.

I also understand the heartache that it brings to their families, but addicts will always find one way or another to get drugs.

The only people that this really hurts are law abiding pain sufferers like myself, who just want to get better and not be forced to live in agony in the meantime.

Kevin Korenthal is a Canyon Country resident. Right Here Right Now publishes every Friday.


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