Few options for pain

Those who suffer with chronic pain have few options. They can turn to prescription painkillers, which can lead to addiction, or they can look for a safer alternative. There is a safer alternative called marijuana, but most people frown upon it because of the stigma attached to the very word.

It seems to me that those who endure chronic pain day in and day out are in a catch 22. They can go with prescription painkillers or they can go with marijuana, which is frowned upon by society as a whole. What are those who suffer with chronic pain going to do? Or do we want them to just go cold turkey?

The attitude of some toward chronic pain is similar to the attitude of those who have never been addicted to anything. They simply cannot understand how anyone could be addicted to things like cigarettes or alcohol. They simply don’t understand, but a person suffering from chronic pain knows and their hearts go out to those sufferers.

I understand what it is like to lose the will to live. I’ve been there and I know all about that. My heart goes out to them and I tell them that there is hope to be had in Jesus. We can have hope in Jesus now, but still something needs to be done about the chronic pain that so many thousands of people live with everyday, 24/7.

Tom Sprague

East Machias

Caregivers need help

Caregiving is a labor of love. You take care of your loved one’s personal needs, you are their safety officer, their advocate.

My wife, Deb, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Deb used to read two books a week. That went away. She started having cognitive problems. Her condition continued to worsen and she stopped working.

Slowly, the ability to cook, to read, etc., went away. In 2013, I reduced my work hours to give Deb greater care. Finally, in 2014, I stopped working, retiring three years earlier than planned. We lived on Social Security and savings. Medical insurance was more than $1,000 per month until I was eligible for Medicare.

Caregiving is on the job training. You regularly change routines and activities as your loved one’s condition deteriorates. Deb now lives in an assisted living facility. Even though Deb has a new residence, it is still my job to be her caregiver, particularly as her advocate.

Caregiving is costly. Not just in dollars, but in the physical and emotional toll it takes. In my case, I had to retire three years early, coordinate adult daycare services for Deb, and ultimately place her in a facility. These services are expensive. The financial burden on the whole family can be devastating.

Caregivers need support so they can do the best job possible for their loved ones. I urge our elected leaders to do all they can to bring supports and services to Maine caregivers next session.

Tom O’Connor


Trap, don’t poison

Reading about the wide-spread rat problem in the Oct. 11 BDN was both enlightening and disturbing. It was good to read that some people were dealing with the problem with various traps, but very upsetting to read that rodenticide was being used in some cases. Everyone needs to be aware that when they poison a rat they are also potentially poisoning other creatures, both wildlife and domestic pets.

When the rat eats the poison, the rat body becomes bait for something else. If a hawk or fox, for example, eats the poisoned rat (as is very likely to happen), then it will die also. As will a cat or dog.

Snap traps, have-a-heart traps, electronic traps all have their limitations, but will work. Please do not use poison that will make the dead rat into a death trap for raptors and scavengers such as hawks and eagles, fox, fisher, coyotes and, of course, your own pet cat or dog.

As cold weather sets in and mice look for winter housing, putting out mouse “bait” can be just as bad. Poisoning mice in your home can result in tragedy if your pet then finds and eats the poisoned mouse.

Keep pets and desirable wildlife safe; trap, don’t poison.

Sue Shaw