The medical profession has come a looong way since the horrendous epidemics that have taken place in the past 2000 year or so. Bubonic plague? No problem. Spanish flu? We’ll take care of it. HIV/AIDS? Yu. We can now even treat the immunocompromised to lengthen their life span, improve their quality of life, and decrease their morbidities.
So, what exactly is it that’s burdening both patients and doctors in 2018? Chronic conditions. Conditions that are all but a few non-infectious in nature – arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, diabetes and many others. While patients with these conditions appear “healthy” to their peers, in most casese their underlying condition cause them agony and pain. This reduces their quality of life drastically.
It’s not just their body which suffers though. The lingering pain or discomfort compromises their mental health, social relationships, and work. These patients often resort to taking many days off from work and spent copious amounts of money on treatments for hopes of finding a solution. “Kirsty Buhlert-Smith, [a chronic pain sufferer], estimates she’s spent $150,000 trying to treat her chronic pain,” reported by ABC News. It’s easy to grasp then why most patients such as Kirsty also have tremendous financial burdens put upon them that makes their lives even more difficult.
As if all this was not enough to deal with, chronic pain suffers are often faced with a stigma from their peers whom believe the pain is so-called fake. It is understandably hard for peers to imagine how someone who appears to be healthy can be experiencing so much pain. That’s why it is crucial to educate everyone about chronic conditions so they can better grasp what it would be like to be in the patients’ shoes.
While Kirsty is not the first to be affected by chronic pain, she has publicized the effects – whether physical, mental, or financial – so that others can better understand what it’s like to be in her shoes. She has also highlighted an obstacle the medical industry is now faced with. With all the recent medical advances, we are now able to increase the life span of many. But what good are all those extra years if they are spent in isolation and agony?
This is the problem of today. This is what we must solve. And this has to be done.
Read more of Kirsty’s story as reported by the ABC.