Imagine that you feel like you have the flu – but without the “sick” part of it (you don’t have the stuffy head, cough, etc.) – meaning your entire body aches, you feel like you’re running a fever, and you have ZERO amount of energy. Now imagine feeling that way every day. EACH DAY. Can you even imagine?
Okay, now let’s add constant neck and shoulder pain that hasn’t subsided in over 20 years. Constantly. In pain. For over 20 years.
Yes, 20 YEARS. 1040 weeks. That’s 7,300 days. 24/7 constant, chronic pain.
I’m sure that most of you CANNOT imagine what this feels like, but if you’ve got fibromyalgia, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
CONSTANT pain. Constant. Imagine your brain yelling, “pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain …” 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 52 weeks per year, for over 20 years.
This is me. This is my life.
And it sucks.
So what do you do when you’re in constant pain? You do WHATEVER YOU CAN to make the pain subside, or at least be less intense. But how? In the United States, getting a prescription for anything that contains a narcotic is almost impossible. Let me tell you how many times I was given a prescription containing narcotics for fibromyalgia.
Yep, zero times. (But I did manage to have a couple of prescriptions written when I was in so much neck pain I couldn’t move my neck, and then for my neck surgery. I always managed to mete out these pills.) Not until we got a rheumatologist in town, after I had gone through intensive physical therapy, after I had neck fusion surgery, was I given a prescription for hydrocodone specifically for my fibromyalgia pain.
Because HEAVEN FORBID should anyone be able to feel good! That’s against the law.
Yes, I left with a prescription for hydrocodone. A WHOPPING 5 mg. Wow. (To give you an idea, you can get aspirin with 8 mg. of codeine over the counter in Canada.) Now the 5 mg. didn’t take away the pain, but made it less severe. I can actually function like a normal human being! Now I don’t have to make those pills from my surgery last over an entire year. Never once have I obtained codeine illegally. NEVER.
So I’ve been going to this doctor for over half a year now. I went to pick up my THIRD prescription (that’s only three in six months, do the math, I didn’t take a pill every day), but I was told I needed to go pee in a cup for a random drug test because of the new federal laws. Even though I’ve exhibited ZERO signs of being a drug addict, I’m assumed guilty until my urine shows that I’m drug free.
That’s a problem for me. A huge problem.
WHY? Because I did WHATEVER I COULD to ease my constant, chronic pain. That meant I smoked pot. Marijuana, mary jane, reefer, blunts, call it what you will. I call it my lifesaver.
Fortunately, I couldn’t take that drug test right then and there because of a previously scheduled appointment. I would have failed that drug test on the spot.
I’ve had to give up marijuana to pass this drug test. So now I’m faced with a serious decision.
Do I give up the marijuana that had long-lasting effects on my pain? Or do I give up the pills that occasionally make me forget the pain for say, maybe an hour? Sometimes two, if I’m really, really lucky. And that’s only every other day. The pills, yes, do more than the pot, but only for a fraction of time. I can’t be popping pills several times per day because I don’t have that type of prescription. And I doubt I ever will if these federal laws continue to exist.
Do I get high from these pills? Not really. But why? Because I’m in CONSTANT, CHRONIC pain. Those pain pills actually treat the pain, and thus, it doesn’t make me high. Now a person not in pain? Would certainly be high. Yes, these pills would make you feel good.
But feeling good is a problem in the United States. We have a war on drugs here. We have people sitting in prison for doing drugs. For feeling good. Feeling good shouldn’t be a bad thing.
So here I sit, mad as hell. And I have EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.
I shouldn’t have to suffer when there’s relief to be had. Nobody should have to suffer. But we with CONSTANT, CHRONIC pain do suffer. We suffer from pain ALL THE TIME. CONSTANTLY. CHRONICALLY.
What’s so ironic to me is that I can go buy a bottle of booze, which totally impairs me. Pot doesn’t. (How many car accidents are caused by driving drunk? Too many to count. But yet, how many car accidents have you heard were caused by smoking pot? Yep, none.) Or I could go buy a gun without any background check. Both the booze and the gun could hurt numerous people. But thank goodness, I’m not crazy. I don’t want to get drunk, nor do I want to shoot anybody.
I don’t even want to shoot the lawmakers who passed these drug laws. What I would like, though, is for any one of them to “fill my shoes” for a day. Heck, not even a full 24 hours. Let’s just give him/her half a day of CONSTANT, CHRONIC pain. But no pills, no pot, no booze, nothing. Then tell me how you feel.
I’d just like some pain relief. That’s all I’m asking! That’s all we’re asking.
And then let’s have this one person tell me if these laws are worth it.
Because what the majority of Americans think about pot? Is not true. We’re not all lazy potheads, who sit around doing nothing, eating bon-bons all day long (because heck, if you get stoned, you get the munchies, right?) Before prohibition, marijuana was legal. As a matter of fact, it was ILLEGAL NOT TO GROW IT! That’s right, the hemp used from marijuana was used to make rope, which was very necessary in the shipping industry.
So … a bunch of folks set out to make marijuana users be BAD PEOPLE around prohibition time. Unfortunately, that misperception stuck. All the way into the year 2014.
Well, let me shoot down those untruths.
When I was in college (oh yes indeed, I went through college, got a degree, made the dean’s list, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, all while being high), my roommate mentioned something about stoners being lazy. “Really?” I asked? “They’re late, too. Never on time,” she said. “Oh?” I replied? I let her go on about her misperceptions.
“Have I ever been late for anything?” I asked. “No.”
“Do you think I’m lazy?” I asked. “Heavens no,” she replied! “You go to college, you work part-time.”
Well, guess what. I get stoned. EVERY DAY! Gasp!
Not only did I get that college degree (with honors), I worked every spare minute I could during college. After college, I got a professional position – where I excelled. And I still smoked pot. (I even went back to college to learn Spanish.)
Yes, I’m a stoner. And I’m not ashamed of it one bit. This marijuana is the ONE AND ONLY thing that has allowed me to survive the past 20-30 years. It has been my major source of pain relief. It was the only thing I could turn to.
A little bit about me: I am a professional woman, with a full-time, prestigious position, working almost 15 years for a world-wide company. I work with many folks who smoke weed just like I do. Some of us joke that if we had mandatory/random drug tests, our company would have maybe 3-4 folks left. The rest of us would fail that drug test.
We’re all UBER intelligent people. And we smoke pot.
Outside of work, I was on the Board of Directors for a non-profit agency for five years. I was the head of the Public Relations program. Still smoking pot. I helped our fundraisers go from $25k per year to $50k. I completed the annual fundraiser 100+ page catalog during the same time I was putting together my son’s school’s annual yearbook. Oh, by the way, I took all the pictures for that yearbook, too.
I hope you’re getting my point.
I’m not a lazy, no-good, good-for-nothing stoner. Not many of us are.
Lazy people are lazy people, whether they smoke pot or not. There are lazy people who smoke pot and lazy people who don’t.
But there are doctors, professors, lawyers, all sorts of professionals – respected members of society – that smoke pot. I’m one of those respected members. I’ve got a house almost paid off, I don’t have any bills outside of my monthly American Express card, which I pay off in full each month. I’m probably one of the most active parents at my son’s school. I volunteer regularly. I’m a good person.
You wouldn’t ever know by looking at me that I smoke pot. I have a lot of friends who don’t know I do. Because it’s still a bad thing … in their heads.
But not in mine. I know that I’m not a criminal. I’m a thriving individual that gives back to my community, sometimes more than 100 percent. I’m an overachiever. And I smoke pot.
So here I sit, writing this manifesto, marijuana free for an entire week. And I’m in pain. Bad pain. But in order to get that prescription for those 5 mg pills of codeine, I can’t get that other pain relief. Like I said, it’s a serious decision. Get some relief now? Or pay for it later with a failed drug test. So I remain pot free.
Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain. Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain. Imagine your brain repeating that every second you’re awake. Imagine being in constant pain. With no relief. Can you?
Because I’ve been a “chronic” user of marijuana for I’ve lost count how many years, it could take up to 12 weeks – or more – for me to pass a urine test. My next appointment with my rheumatologist is in a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll fail that urine drug test.
And I won’t be receiving any more prescriptions for hydrocodone.
That’s why I’m mad as hell.
Wouldn’t you be?
Well … I feel much better now that this manifesto is written and ready for the world. I’m sure all of you (or at least some of you) understand why this is anonymous. I mean HEAVEN FORBID should I have to pee in a cup for my employer.
To see other Manifestos, check out the Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge here.