During the worldwide pandemic of 2020 the US there have been unprecedented numbers of patients who have had their intractable, chronic pain conditions cured.
Dr. Lumbago is an emergency department physician at Sacred Heart Hospital. He is also the director at the Commission for Research Advancement and Productivity (CRAP) in New York. “In my 40-years of experience I have never seen anything quite like this. Not since they enacted EMTALA have I seen so few patients coming in.” He is of course referring to the normal droves of back pain, chronic pain, sciatica, and workmen-compensation patients that regular his ED. “In a normal 12-hour shift we would see eight, maybe ten, of these patients. Since February not a single one!”
Without hemorrhaging money on nonpaying chronic pain issues the department is in serious danger of turning a profit. Mrs. Penny Pincher, spokesperson for Sacred Heart Hospital, underscored the severity. “If our ED turns a profit, it could end us. The doctors who have been clamoring for new equipment and higher pay cannot win. Even in the face of massive profits we [the administration] must be unwavering in our ‘we don’t have money for that’ campaign”.
Emergency department visits for chronic pain are down 96% in March 2020. This is the largest single month decline in recorded history. Generally, the most frequently variable effecting chronic pain behavior is weather. It is well established that there is a direct connection between meteorological activity and chronic pain. The vast majority of chronic pain patients can tell when it will rain more accurately than the most seasoned meteorologist. However relief from their symptoms has been equated to the search for Atlantis.
Fifty-seven year old Ms. Pang of Manhattan’s Upper East Side is astonished at the relief in her chronic pain. “I used to have pain every day. Aches and pains since I as eighteen. I am also allergic to every pain medication except dilaudud. I usually visit the local ED at least once a week for medications after I take two Xanax with some wine. With the pandemic I feel great. I am able to stay at home, work from home, sleep at night, my body aches are gone and I am saving so much money on turmeric I paid off my condo!”
Needless to say there is a silver lining to every problem.