Helen has joined us and she has gone from healthy to, in my opinion, barely hanging on. I wanna introduce someone now that is very important to this conversation. This is Dr. Gerald Sacks. Dr. Sacks is the Director of Pain Management at the Pain Institute of Santa Monica. He completed a fellowship in pain management at Harvard Medical School. Suffice it to say, he is the expert and I have asked him to come here for you.
Thank you. Dr. Sacks, you and I have talked about this. She’s been on these opioids, not just using them, but abusing them for years now. What’s the impact of that on her body? This is very, very common. We’re in the middle, as you and I have spoken, of a national opioid crisis in this country. It’s amazing to me, watching all this information today, that there’s actually legitimate physicians willing to prescribe opioids for you. Because, to be perfectly honest, you’re not a patient that should be taking opioids at all. And taking long term, it can actually create pain perceptions in unrelated areas of the body, correct? That’s correct. Right now, you perceive the pain as in your abdomen, but also, you were describing pain in different areas. I know that you’ve had multiple surgical procedures and obviously have scar tissue, and all of those issues can and should be addressed by a pain management specialist, but you have to get the addiction solved first. Let’s do a hypothetical, Dr. Let’s assume that nothing changes, this is all much ado about nothing. She just goes home, continues down the same path that she is right now. Where is this headed? Unfortunately, it’s headed in a horrible area. Pain in subjective. We were taught, 20, 30 years ago, that whatever the patient told us, that was what the pain is. And unfortunately, that helped to create a situation where patients complain of pain and then we, as health care professionals feel that we need to address it and treat it. We do, but not with opioids in this particular case. What do you think about what Dr. Sacks is telling you? It’s scary. I don’t like being like this. This is not fun, you know, this is not a game. And I would love to be off the pain medicine and not have to worry about it. It’s horrible and the fear of getting back in pain is horrible. I’ve got a really hard question for you and it really involves the catch 22 that you find yourself in. There are very few times in our life that we make life or death decisions, but you’re gonna have one to make.