life health dying


Any of us could be the next opioid victim


A few years ago, I lay for three hours on a hospital bed with pain from kidney stones. The first shot of morphine had little impact; the second got me to a much better place.

Now, I read this: “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent,” from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

I simply have trouble fathoming the potency of this drug. I feared the addictive power of morphine, but fentanyl is in another world.

When you hear of the opioid crisis, think of fentanyl. It’s a big part of it but not all of it.

It takes a doctor’s prescription to get this schedule...

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Opioid epidemic leaves trail of pain


A beautiful young woman gets the job of her dreams. A major airline notifies Rhonda she has been accepted as a flight attendant, and she goes out to celebrate, as anyone would do upon getting her dream job.

The dream turned into a nightmare on that evening in 1987. A car crash broke Rhonda’s back, ribs and almost severed her right foot. “Her foot was literally sewn back on,” says her sister, Kathy. “It shriveled up to size 3 while her undamaged foot was a size 5.”

Rhonda could not have known then, but she was about to begin years of living with severe and chronic pain -- the kind that does not go away, that affects everything you...

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Fentanyl has a very dark side -- Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella...


Anyone who has ever had serious pain -- the kind that disables you, causes you to curl knees to chest -- knows how the body and mind can crave pain relief.

For me, it came with kidney stones some years back. After three hours untreated in an emergency room, I finally received a doctor-approved shot of morphine, then a second, then relief. Deliverance. I was willing again to go on living -- having not been so sure a few minutes before.

Morphine, it turns out, is child’s play when it comes to pain relief. Fentanyl is serious stuff -- 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl is prescribed to only the most serious...

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Plan ahead for important healthcare decisions


There are too many “special” days with which to keep up, so I missed one this month that I wish I hadn’t -- National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16. Missing the day, however, does not mean we have to miss the point.

The day “exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.”

The 50-state annual initiative promotes providing “clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare...

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Texans spending billions for booze


Texans are going to bars and drinking deep of alcoholic beverages, according to a story in the Austin American-Statesman.

Beer, wine, and mixed drink sales reached almost $6 billion in Texas last year, an increase of 6 percent over 2014.

This figure saddens me. Some of it accounts for just basic refreshment. Some people drink a beer in the same way I drink a Dr. Pepper. Some people drink a glass of wine for health benefits. Some people just like the taste. But, I suspect, most of the alcohol is consumed to alter one's mood -- to help unwind at the end of a day, to become more loose at a party, or to hide from life's pains.

That...

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‚ÄčIn Search of Common Ground: Grand Jury Reform, Black Lives Matter and Pro-Life Advocacy


Our criminal justice system is broken in regard to grand juries.

Many people are familiar with the roles of law enforcement, judges, and lawyers in the criminal justice system. Most people are decidedly less familiar with the important, but often hidden role of the grand jury.

A grand jury is a group of 12 citizens of the county where the grand jury sits, able to read and write, not under indictment, etc. The most common role of the grand jury is to listen to the facts of a case and determine if probable cause exists for charges alleged against a defendant.

While both grand juries and trial juries are made up of lay people who must...

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It is good to stand with God in valuing life


Walking into the airport. Approaching the first security checkpoint.

Officer: Final Destination. Me: Washington. Officer: Purpose of your trip. Me: Evangelicals for Life meeting. Officer: Keep up the good work. (fist bump)

All of us who care about the sacredness of life from conception to natural death need to keep up the good work. We have shown over the past 43 years that the Supreme Court does not determine right and wrong even though it may determine what is constitutional and unconstitutional.

Quite simply, it is wrong to take another life simply because it is inconvenient to someone for the life...

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