Pain control and abuse prevention: Doctors should take responsibility

In the movies, pain is glorious. The runner pushing to the edge. The magic of childbirth. The soldier battles impossible odds to conquer. Pain? “Suck, it up, maggot, pain is nature’s way of telling you that you’re alive.” But, to the cancer patient, in the real world? Pain is nature’s way of saying “you may soon be dead.”

For a patient suffering from the dread disease, pain means more than torn tissues, invading needles and post-op wounds. It is more than nerves firing, fractures grinding and constricting bowels. To have pain for a cancer patient is to be reminded of the threat, the danger, the deepest intrusion. It is to be reminded that you are acutely mortal.

JAMES C. SALWITZ, MD, KevinMD.com

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