Letters to the editor: Sept. 12, 2018

Sept 11, 2018
Ana Ramirez
Melissa Akridge wraps a wound on the arm of her husband, Richard, in August. He recently had surgery on his elbow to anchor a nerve and on his hand to release the same nerve that was causing his fingers to claw.

Re: Sept. 9 article, “Unintended targets: How pain patients suffer in the opioid crisis.

I, too, use opioids for pain relief.

I don’t schedule anything before noon either, because it takes a long time to get up and around. It allows me to function: getting groceries, cooking and doing household chores. I also use massage, chiropractic care and acupuncture — all at my own cost. I’ve never increased the number of pills I take.

Unfortunately, I end up feeling like I am doing something wrong. I read about it, I hear it on television. The message is that everyone who takes opioids is an abuser. My doctor told me the new policy is to decrease and eventually stop the use of opioids. We ended up compromising on five fewer pills. Ridiculous.

Could I stop taking them? Yes. But what alternative treatment will give me the pain relief and allow me to function as I do now? I am a patient in need of relief, not an addict.

DENISE WOLFGANG, AUSTIN

Re: Sept. 9 article, “Unintended targets: How pain patients suffer in the opioid crisis.

It is hard to believe that before 1900, Americans could go to a pharmacy and buy opium — and nobody thought much about it. The prohibitionists have been so successful in demonizing drugs that it seems inconceivable that we could ever return to that. There would be addiction, but it would be a straightforward medical problem, not the craziness we have now.

GEOFF BRADFORD, AUSTIN

Re: Sept. 9 article, “Unintended targets: How pain patients suffer in the opioid crisis.

Most chronic pain patients have concurrent and untreated mental illness, psychological stress and social factors that all contribute to their perception of pain. Many are not willing to undergo intensive treatment with physical and psychological therapy, which has been shown to significantly improve quality of life more than medications alone.

By default, humans want the easy way out. The answer to it all is not an easy one, but it is simple: If we can get patients to undergo a holistic and integrative approach to treating chronic pain — which includes a combination of psychological therapy, physical therapy, targeted exercise programs and dietary modification — that, in conjunction with certain pharmaceuticals, would manage their pain better than any amount of narcotics.

The million-dollar question though is how do we get them on board with this plan when swallowing a pill is a hell of a lot easier to do?

CAROL ANN LINEBARGER, AUSTIN

Re: Sept. 9 article, “PolitiFact: How Cruz’s ad distorts what O’Rourke said about protests.”

PolitiFact recently rated as “False” a claim by Ted Cruz that Beto O’Rourke is grateful that people are burning or desecrating the American flag.

Actually, O’Rourke gave a very thoughtful answer to a question asking about his position on flag desecration. As PolitiFact points out: “O’Rourke didn’t even address flag burning in his answer, instead focusing on his support of protests for civil rights and other causes.”

Let’s forget about political philosophy for a moment and focus on personal integrity. Time and again, PolitiFact has rated Cruz’s statements as “False.” To say that Cruz is ethically challenged would be something of an understatement. His penchant for hyperbole and downright untruthfulness is appalling, and his presence in the United States Senate is a stain on our political system.

He is unworthy of the position of United States senator and should be voted out of office this November.

MARK W. BIERNER, AUSTIN

Regarding the drumbeat to impeach President Trump, there’s no rush. Trumpism is the tea party drunk bottoming out in the gutter. And we need to let Trump’s version of the politics of hate continue to its conclusion and demise. Painful to watch, but necessary.

In Texas, Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn remind me of no Republicans I grew up with in suburban Houston. The Republican parents of my friends did not wake up in the morning and say, “Boy I’m glad some people don’t have access to health care.” Or, “Let’s find ways to prevent the ‘wrong people’ from voting.” Or, “Let’s reduce funding for public education.” The parents of my youth had a sense of humanity, now missing with tea party Republicans.

So, let Trump’s attack on decency finish its nasty course. Trumpism is crystallizing voter’s options looking forward. And my crystal ball says better days are ahead.

MICHAEL HOVIS, AUSTIN