Pubdate: Thu, 19 May 2011
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 Sun Media
Author: Terry Cloutier


Re: "People who need medical marijuana are not criminals" (May 12).

After reading the article by Linda Crabtree, "People who need medical
marijuana are not criminals," I realized how important it is that more
people with severe disabilities speak out on this issue. In my case I
have been diagnosed with polymyalgia. This is not to be confused with
fibromyalgia, which is a web formation of pain around the joints.

Polymyalgia, from my understanding, is excruciating pain in the joint
itself. The pain causes severe depression and the severe depression
increases the pain. I have found myself bedridden on many occasions
because I am unable to function due to the severity of the pain in
various parts of my body.

I have known many people who have either committed or attempted
suicide because their pain is so unbearable. Myself, there have been
days I could care less if I lived or not, however I would never
contemplate suicide because of the people who love me and I would not
want to burden them with grief or lose their respect because of what I
had done.

Many medicines have been prescribed to me in order to assist my
getting through my 12-hour work day. Some have worked for a little
while but most become ineffective. The side effects of some are very
disturbing and scary. Muscle cramping, bloating, rashes, increasing
appetite, fatigue (to the point of being compared to a zombie) and
getting out of bed six times a night to go to the washroom (can't be
good for the bladder) are a few of the side effects.

Most nights I am in bed by 9 o'- clock the pain gets to me so terribly
and depression at having to live with this disability starts to kick
in to my psyche. I have a doctor's note when I miss time at work but
have been warned about the time I am missing. Most times I go to work
in very heavy pain and usually miss time when I am totally unable to
function. Nobody can understand unless they have experienced it
themselves. My driving distance is limited, time with spent my
grandchildren usually results in agony afterward. Even walking my dog
is limited and results in pain.

Getting back to Crabtree's story, she is correct when she states the
Canadian government is out of touch. Personally, I can get my hands on
marijuana whenever I wish but I don't want to just light a joint at
random. My preference is that it be prescribed to me by a physician
and that it be kept under control. I need to work for a living and I
would love to enjoy my life to the fullest extent possible. My doctor
gives me a prescription to try and assist me and his words are, "My
goal isn't to try to extend your life, but to keep it as comfortable
and painless as possible." Believe me when I say he has given it his
best shot but maybe the time has come for the alternative option. Can
the side effects or the chance of addiction be any worse than some of
the prescription drugs I have ingested into my system? I somehow doubt

I, too, am not a criminal but cannot be expected to live in the
excruciating pain that has been thrust upon my body, jeopardizing my
job and sometimes putting a strain on my marriage. It is time the
Canadian government stepped up to the plate and recognized the situation.

Terry Cloutier

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