We Are Not Mad Junkies

By Christopher Horton, Guest Columnist

I'm 57, Australian, and a member of the chronically persecuted pain sufferer's club.

My membership came with an accident during a sea rescue. I was a rescue captain for 15 years, got smashed up at sea and have had 6 laminectomies. My legs were paralyzed at first, but after several surgeries I am able to walk again, but tough going. I've had enough surgery to be frightened of anymore.

Once upon a time I thought I was immortal. I have surfed 20 foot high waves and could hold my breath for nearly 5 minutes. I was also a truck and heavy machinery mechanic, trawler fisherman, logging engineer, and rode motor bikes. Now some days my motivation is very low.

I was well known for what I did by my local doctor, but time goes by and inevitably he moved on and new doctors had to be found.

At one time I took Physeptone (methadone) with morphine, but one day due to the refusal of yet another new doctor because of me moving town, the morphine was stopped. 

It’s a crazy world where you hear the doctors say do no harm and are afraid to help us, but bend over backwards for substance abuse patients. The same problems exist over and over, even with pain specialists I have needed to see to get approval for continued supplies of medications. I just deal with more than usual pain and no problem with addiction issues.



My neck gets this locked up sensation, a click and then I feel faint, headache, back ache and blood pressure sky rockets so high my doctor gets this strange look on his face. Dreadful medications that have other physical effects. All these things and if another surgery could help, I don't know if I could, it scares me. I shudder at the thought of it and getting older.

I don't talk about this much it's been a long road. I'm lucky. I’ve been married for 40 years to a registered nurse. She's seen everything in her career and comes with me when I see doctors. She knows how to tell them what to do for me.

I agree 100% about abstaining from addiction but with chronic pain it becomes part of the dilemma. For the record I take no more medication now than I ever have, choosing to put up with some discomfort. I have no choice if I want to do things and not suffer too much.  I hope the medical profession can get over the stigma other people prescribe upon us. 

We are not mad junkies, just people trying to survive.

Christopher Horton lives in New South Wales, Australia.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.  Send them to:  editor@PainNewsNetwork.org

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.