An unexpected and major "aha" moment had my attention. Something strange happened after I read the introductory paragraphs of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, United States, 2016. My body immediately and strongly reacted before I could logically consider the guidelines and their implications. I could hardly breathe. Hot tears dripped onto my cheeks, and my stomach felt like someone had grabbed it and twisted hard. The unfamiliar and strong gutteral reaction lasted for hours.
Was it despair or fear or deep concern for the people with chronic pain who would be negatively affected? I knew how and why the guidelines were created. What was this new and uncomfortable sensation that rendered me inarticulate and with no appetite for the rest of the day? Was it foresight that in the future people would look back at the guidelines and wonder why it was acceptable for our government to stigmatize, denigrate, and torture people with chronic pain?