Rieder likens his experiences trying to get off prescription pain meds to a game of hot potato. “The patient is the potato,” he says. “Everybody had a reason to send me to somebody else.”
Eventually Rieder was able to wean himself off the drugs, but not before receiving bad advice and going through intense periods of withdrawal. He shares his insights as both a patient and a bioethicist in a new book, In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle With Opioids.
Press play button above to hear interview.
In 2015, Travis Rieder, a medical bioethicist with Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics, was involved in a motorcycle accident that crushed his left foot. In the months that followed, he underwent six different surgeries as doctors struggled first to save his foot and then to reconstruct it.
Rieder says that each surgery brought a new wave of pain, sometimes “searing and electrical,” other times “fiery and shocking.” Doctors tried to mitigate the pain by prescribing large doses of opioids, including morphine, fentanyl, Dilaudid, oxycodone and OxyContin. But when it came time to taper off the drugs, Rieder found it nearly impossible to get good advice from any of the clinicians who had treated him.
But as I stood on the archaic plateau, I was riveted. The broken columns of once-mighty altars rose like spirits in the pure air. A timeworn stadium and a prodigious stone amphitheater reigned silently over the mountain. The Temple of Apollo, where the Oracle dispensed her cryptic prophecies, was ringed with paths trod by truth-seekers who had labored up the steep valley from the Corinthian Gulf.
The peaks of Mount Parnassus shimmered on a warm spring afternoon above the temples of ancient Delphi. In a verdant valley below, silver-tipped olive trees stretched to the sea. The sun traced a golden arc in the azure sky. On a flat plateau surrounded by this natural theater, I looked up to find myself standing at the center of the world.
At least, the center of all things as the ancient Greeks knew it. In front of me was a black ovoid stone, known as the omphalos, set on the spot in Greek mythology where two eagles loosed by Zeus crossed paths at the earth’s nexus. It marked Delphi as one of the greatest enigmas of the ancient universe.
The learning curve was steep: “I couldn’t read; I couldn’t write. I could see the hospital signs, the elevator signs, the therapists’ cards, but I couldn’t understand them,” he wrote. The aphasia — the inability to understand or express speech — “had beaten and battered” his pride.
But he refused to give up. With age and prestroke physical conditioning on his side, he had convinced himself that “100 percent recovery was possible as long as I pushed hard enough.”
Strange as it may seem, the stroke Ted Baxter suffered in 2005 at age 41, leaving him speechless and paralyzed on his right side, was a blessing in more ways than one. Had the clot, which started in his leg, lodged in his lungs instead of his brain, the doctors told him he would have died from a pulmonary embolism.
And as difficult as it was for him to leave his high-powered professional life behind and replace it with a decade of painstaking recovery, the stroke gave his life a whole new and, in many ways, more rewarding purpose.
From a Forbes.com article by Larry Light. Interview with Rick Kahler, founder of Kahler Financial Group, in Rapid City, S.D.:
“You have nothing to worry about if you live in one of the seven states with no income tax: South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Florida and Alaska.”
The best way to escape paying taxes to a state you no longer live in? Move to a state with no income tax first before relocating abroad. You must prove to your old state that you have left and have no intention of ever coming back.
This means moving for real—cutting as many ties to your old state as possible and establishing as many as possible in your new state. You will want to sell your home, close bank accounts, cancel any mailing addresses, change healthcare providers and health insurance companies (including Medicare), be sure no dependents remain in the state, and register to vote and get a driver’s license in the new state.
“Overlook” is a tribute to Western Nebraska. Nebraska is known for it’s cows, crops and college football — my intent is to showcase the unique landscapes and dramatic skies that the panhandle has to offer.
“I began production in 2016, but my urge to explore Nebraska’s panhandle came after a road trip in 2014. I shot hundreds of timelapse clips since my initial trip, and have narrowed it down to my favorite 25 scenes for this film.
Next time you are planning a trip, or driving down interstate 80, consider a short detour to these incredible locations.”
Filmed and edited by: Jesse Attanasio
Music by: White Space – Big Score Audio
Alphonse Mucha, born in Bohemia, came to Paris in 1887. Over the next 8 years, he emerged from obscurity to become the most celebrated graphic designer of the Art Nouveau movement. His intricate designs and gorgeous subjects were so popular that he produced pattern books for fellow designers and students, and his publishers repurposed his advertisements for hundreds of other products.
“I predict you will be famous”
But his style and status all started when he met the legendary Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress of her day. Mucha’s first poster for her not only launched his graphic design career, but elevated her fame, as the public buzz for the image was completely unprecedented.