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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Letter of the Day

‘Let her have a shot at a semi-normal life’

Published:

I am the husband of a woman who has fought against severe fibromyalgia, scoliosis, sciatic nerve pain, degenerative arthritis, diabetes and episodes of congestive heart failure (CHF) for many years. Although she has been able to control her diabetes and CHF, the debilitating pain of her fibro, scoliosis and sciatica makes her life a fight against the odds each day. She can’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time, even with her walker. She can’t sit in one position for more than a few minutes, despite the comfort of a recliner. Many times I have seen her rocking back and forth, crying uncontrollably with the pain.

The third “patient” of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the suicide doctor, had been suffering from severe fibromyalgia. That is pain!

Percocet, Norco and Robaxin help to take a little of the “edge” off her pain — but not nearly enough for relief. Car and shopping trips are out of the question. I’ve been doing the grocery shopping for years despite my own physical handicaps. She has been a prisoner in her home for as long as I can remember; even the short walk to an outside bench proves to be too much pain for her to bear. At night, the simple act of moving her legs in her sleep (when she is able to sleep) produces so much pain that she screams out involuntarily several times per night. This is no way to live.

The “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” campaign is very misleading. The benefits that my wife could utilize through medicinal marijuana would be best in pill form, as smoking destroys most of the pain-relieving oils in the plant. Such a prescription would be held to the same standards as Oxycodone and other controlled substances available through the pharmacist — signature and ID required, no more than one month’s supply to be dispensed, and a doctor’s prescription required to obtain further doses. After all, doesn’t Florida have a “master list” of controlled-substance prescriptions available now to curb doctor shopping?

Worries concerning unauthorized use are not strictly limited to pot but extend to the controlled substances listed above as well. Misuse? Of course, there will probably be some instances. But to deny urgent pain-relieving treatment to the deserving many based on the actions of a few is without excuse. My wife does not desire to go out dancing in the park while smoking a joint, Colorado-style. She simply needs the pain relief and rest that her body must have to fight off the effects of her medical conditions.

Keeping the young, impressionable and chronically addicted away from such substances is a most noteworthy endeavor, one which I totally support — but please keep in mind those who truly need such an option. We’ll gladly overcome the procedural hurdles necessary to obtain this medicine.

All I’m asking the Florida Sheriffs Association to do is to refrain from this blanket condemnation. Who knows, it may not be the complete answer to her pain, but to the 63 Florida sheriffs who support a resolution opposing the legalization of marijuana out of 67 in the state, I ask them to let her have a shot at a semi-normal life. Please.

Ralph Gerber

Tampa

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