Pain Management not Just a Global Issue

 It is well documented that patients with terminal illness in general do not receive what experts would consider appropriate and continuous pain relief. This is an issue even more acute globally. And the reasons are equally well documented: no access to morphine, HCP attitude, family concerns, lack of knowledge on how to treat.

On a very small scale and in many regards unrelated I witnessed this. Thursday I had to go to have a dental implant removed. It went from a scheduled procedure to an emergency one. I was able to contact my previous DDS who referred to a very good oral surgeon. Prior to him beginning I played 21 questions just to make sure I knew what was what. I asked about postoperative pain. “Do you have any ibuprofen at home?’ was his answer. After my WTF look and saying “you’ve got to be kidding me” he relented and said he would write a script.

The procedure was quick. I left the office with a ton of lidocaine on board. Not so bad. I got home laid down and within 30 minutes my face felt like I was hit with a brick. Acute, sharp, and relentless is how I would characterize the pain. Ibuprofen? In a pig’s eye? It would not even begin to touch this. Filled the Rx and found some relief behind the pain, not in front of it.

I will confess that within 24 hours the pain was resolved. Still, to feel like I needed to beg to get a strong analgesic that was in fact needed was a bit of an issue. This does not compare to chronic pain associated with terminal illness. I witnessed this with my wife in hospice and how well and professionally the pain management team kept ahead of her pain and was able, even when Donna could not communicate, to read her body language to know when they needed to change or increase medication. This was not the same. I do not expect an HCP who is board certified as a dental anesthesiologist and oral surgeon to understand pain and terminal illness. But he should know about pain and its effective management. Really now he should.

His first reaction was to not offer an analgesic unless asked. I was put into the role of a drug seeker. If I did not have that Rx I would’ve been on the phone demanding he call it in. Wasting his time and mine. At the very least he should describe the level of pain for how long and ask me what I thought I wanted. Not think he knew me better then he did at our first meeting. In some small small way this is the state of pain management. 

It Just Seems So Obvious

“If the United States and its partners bought all of Afghanistan’s opium, a major source of corruption in Afghanistan would disappear, violence in Taliban-affected areas would fall, world supplies of heroin would crash, and a global shortage of morphine — a source of much hidden suffering — could be alleviated.”

Over 5 billion people worldwide have ‘low to nonexistent access’ to opioid painkillers. As of April 17, 2012 over 1,800 members of the US military have died in Afghanistan. 

Both these statistics are unacceptable. I do not know what it is like to loose a loved one to war. I do know first hand what it is like to it to watch a loved one suffer a death from cancer. If it was not for the brilliant and dedicated professionals at the hospice and their ability and expertise to administer morphine I cannot imagine witnessing her death. 

And that is the problem, those who have the power to make a difference to so many do not know first hand what those who’ve lost a love one to war or to terminal illness and death. Let alone those who are dying. Otherwise these statistics would be fixed.

Adults, learning, and online: They are connected.

Old news that deserves to be revisited: Pew Research Center ‘The Social Life of Health Information, 2011’ I would venture not much has changed in a year. This is just a sample of the data rich survey and report. 

Of the 74% of adults who use the internet:

  • 80% have looked online
  • 34% have read someone else’s commentary 
  • 25% of internet users, or 19% of adults, have watched an online video about health or medical issues
  • 23% of social network site users, or 11% of adults, have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates on the site.

 Adults using online resources are seeking a solution to a problem. Do you know the problem they want to solve as it relates to your brand or service? Do you understand where they are in there learning? What are you doing to ensure your brand or service is presenting a problem-centric message to those seeking solutions? Brand-centric messages do not connect with the deep needs of a someone seeking to learn. It does not connect an adult to you and your brand. And least we not forget social media is not an add on after thought if you are going to include it make sure it is tied to and part of your strategy.

Have you thanked a typeface today?

There is something reassuring about type. It has a feel, a personality. Type whispers right into the ear of the reader the soft context of the words. This love is a result of being married to a graphic designer for 30 years and gifting her early on with antique type books. Did you know:

The most common ligature is the “&” (ampersand). This was originally a combination of the letters “e” and “t”, et, the Latin for “and”. However, the ampersand is generally no longer considered to be a ligature — but that’s how it started out.”

Just imagine sitting down and designing a font. I can’t.