“This I believe…” Our book, “In Pain We Trust” began with an essay Kevin wrote for his “This I Believe” essay, “Listening has the power to save lives.” We wrote our book to show how listening can save lives. The book has been well received. You can hop over to vickiwhiting.com to check out the latest book news. We’ve been on television, radio, in newpapers and giving speeches to share our message of patient centered care, healthcare advocacy, and, of course, listening. Hospitals and nursing programs have adopted to book. We receive emails each week asking questions, thanking us for sharing our story.
It is good that something good has been able to come out of Kevin’s experience. The best thing, however, is Kevin’s happiness. He’s living a normal life with mild chronic pain. We’re trying botox shots, trigger injections, physical therapy and weight increase in an effort to clear up the final remnant of pain, residual from his life-saving surgery. In the meantime, we’re working to switch Kevin away from his regular use of low levels of narcotic pain medication. As it happens, there is a natural alternative that is not addictive, increases appetite, is not depressive and won’t cause constipation, there’s just one hurdle standing in our way.
Kevin’s pain doctor, family physician, counselor and pharmacist all agree that medical marijuana would be a far better option for Kevin’s situation than the opiates he currently uses to manage his pain (for $10 a month.) The only person (remember, the Supreme Court voted that corporations are people!) that doesn’t agree is our health insurance company. Marinol, the prescription version of medical marijuana, is priced at $575 for a two-week supply. As a Business Professor, I suppose I should have a level of esteem for a company that has figured out how to charge more than five times the price for a product that is inferior to one that is widely available in numerous states, but I don’t. The insurance company won’t pay until we retry all of the medicines that Kevin took four years ago, way before we knew about his blockage, way before the surgery, back when Burnie ruled Kevin’s life. Prilosec, Zantac and a GI cocktail made up of lidocaine, pepto bismol, and anti-acid. Six weeks on each medicine. Give me a break.
So that’s where we are. There are options available that I am considering. Should you get a call asking you to post bail for me, would you? On your way to post bail, be sure to call the press. I can see the headline already, “Mom Arrested for Getting Child off Addictive Narcotic Medicine.”
In the meantime, Kevin gets better, he fills out college apps, works at a nearby clothing store, eats (!), and has a blast with his friends. He travelled to China with a high school exchange program where the heavy emphasis on duck did nothing for his appetite, but the experience did much for his enjoyment. He came home eight pounds lighter than when he left, his six-foot frame down to 110 pounds. Don’t worry, though, we are in the process of fattening him back up.