Today would have been the 47th birthday of an old friend. He was a remarkably bright presence, and his smile made the world a better place. I miss him.
I met him when he was starting college at Columbia University and I was starting Medical School there. He had a back issue he had been dealing with, and it seemed odd to me. I sent him to a Neurologist who found a spinal cord tumor.
He underwent surgery and radiation therapy which stabilized the mass. He went on to finish his degree, get married, and have children. The one thing he could not control was the pain.
Narcotics, Toradol, spinal stimulators, medical marijuana, and all other attempts were not met with success. Still, he lived with a smile on his face and was there for all.
Finally, after 25 years of suffering, he ended his life. He had a party to celebrate the 25 years, it turned out it was just to say goodbye. I was not there.
The point of the story is that pain cannot be ignored or disregarded, be it temporary or chronic. Take it seriously, and save the medications for when you need them.