The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letters to Editor

Dear Editor:

"Something to be Proud of"

Congratulations to Superintendent Grimm, Jeanne Serven, Dale Buss, Karen Rima, Jeff Nichols and the entire West Central teaching staff.

No Child Left Behind, teacher accountability, curriculum mapping are all buzzwords for our educational leaders in today's school.

At our board meeting last Wednesday night President Lonnie Brent and Superintendent Ralph Grim could not contain themselves any longer, they moved the announcement on Unit #235 test scores up. The news was not good, it was absolutely outstanding!

Test results at every grade level and in each area of testing indicate that our students are meeting or exceeding state requirements by surprisingly large percentages. If this was compared to an athletic event, it would be like hitting in 43 straight games or qualifying for playoffs.

The good news is that these results came in the course of one year. The better news is that our team of educators have only just begun. Stay tuned for bigger and better results. Unit #235 will become known for its academic excellence as well as excellence in its sports program.

If you see a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, or a support staff person take a moment, tell them thanks and let hem know that we expect a lot more in the way of academic excellence.

Richard W. Clifton

Can You Ever Go Home?

by Ron Bowlyow

With your permission, I am going to vary from the usual stuff and write something a little different from my ordinary. It is a subject near and dear to my heart and involves a very special person.

Before I begin to tell this story, I want to make it very clear I am not attacking medical professionals. As a health care professional for over forty years, I have great admiration for the jobs they do. But no profession is perfect and there is one flaw I want to expose. The second point I would like to make is that I have permission from my niece to tell her story without divulging her name. Some who read this will recognize her and many will not. I just feel it is a story that needs to be told.

My niece just returned from a four week stay in a drug rehabilitation facility. We are not talking about the amenities of the Betty Ford Clinic but a bare bones, heavy handed facility that helps people with dependencies to chemicals kick the habit. No gourmet meals, no spas, no massage therapy-but they get the job done.

This journey was a wake up call for my family that shook the strong foundation upon which our Christian values are based. Needless to say, my niece never dreamed this could happen to her but it did. Now for her story.

A couple of years ago she suffered orthopedic trauma and sought pain relief. A nonphysician prescribed an appropriate mild narcotic which helped alleviate the discomfort. Prescriptions were written and renewed with little regard to potential addictive qualities of this medication. My niece continued to verbalize the need for relief and the prescriptions were renewed. This continued far too long.

This past winter my niece had abdominal surgery for which she sought pain relief from the same health care professional. Once again the same highly addictive narcotic was prescribed. And once again, the prescribing went on far longer than it should have with no regard to potential addictive qualities. My niece asked for pain relief and she got it.

It was then that I moved back here and noted her behavior-slurred speech, pinpoint vision, and loss of her ability to function as a mother, housewife, and all around sweet young woman. I mentioned my observations to other family members and learned that she continued to be on this particular narcotic in spite of the surgery taking place six weeks prior and a surgery that should not have caused such lasting discomfort.

My niece was then diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and required surgery on both wrists as well as surgery on both elbows to release pinched nerves. Again, she received numerous prescription refills for the same addictive narcotic for a very prolonged period of time. Upon further investigation, it was determined that her behavior was deteriorating, she was sleeping throughout the day, unable to function and when she was in the presence of family, she was unable to function at times. Getting her to admit her addiction and seeking treatment is history now. It took the efforts of the entire family to support her, her husband, her children and her parents as this saga unfolded.

This story needs to be told because it could happen to anyone. I cannot tell you the number of people who have come to me, knowing this story, and telling me of the many times they have had narcotics prescribed for pain relief that were so strong they could not tolerate them. In spite of this, they were often offered more. I admit that after a dental procedure, this same narcotic was prescribed for me. Never having taken it before, I filled the prescription and took one pill. I was in lala land. I did not like the feeling it produced. With two curious sons in my house, I flushed the pills and have never taken another one.

My niece sought pain relief. She did not want to become an addict. She did not ask for this. She placed herself in the hands of a health care professional and now has to live with this addiction for the rest of her life.

She did not beg for toxins that take away ones ability to function. She did not realize until it was too late, that this medication is highly addictive and should only be prescribed for short periods of time.

What happened to her should be a wake up for everyone.

And it is my hope that she can come home with her head held high, proud that she had the ability to not only admit that she had a problem, but the will to deal with it. I am extremely proud of her for the awful journey she has endured and for the challenges she will meet as she continues to get her life back.