Pain management is one of the most poorly understood and executed issues in today’s health care system.
According to the Canadian Pain society, up to 75 per cent of pain sufferers receive “inadequate treatment for acute, chronic, post-operative and end-of-life pain.”
The Canadian Pain Coalition sums it up in its description of its Pennies for Pain fundraising campaign for pain education:
“Chronic pain can be devastating, debilitating, demoralizing and sometimes deadly. It destroys lives and families. Because chronic pain is misunderstood, undertreated and undermanaged, Canadians suffer needlessly.”
On May 6, one man set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia on his bicycle with a goal of raising $10,000 for the CPC Pennies for Pain campaign, but more importantly to heighten awareness of pain issues in Canada.
Daniel Fugère, has always had a dream of riding across Canada, but felt like it had to mean more than simply a personal journey to “appreciate and experience Canada’s beauty in its entirety.”
The Montréal native’s trip brought him to Yorkton last week where he told Yorkton This Week he has some personal connections with pain issues.
“I’ve known several people that were suffering from [chronic pain] for several years,” he said. “There’s been my grandmother, she suffered of immense back pains for 10 years. She’s now passed away, but just seeing that as a child really inspired me to take on this challenge for her and everyone else who’s suffering from such conditions.”
Fugère has also seen the issue from the professional side.
“My father is a doctor who specializes in treating patients with chronic pain, and throughout his many years of practice, I have seen how debilitating and serious this condition can be,” he wrote in the official CPC preamble to the journey. “I noticed that this issue is not widely discussed among the medical field, nor is it well recognized by the media, by social institutions, and by the general public.”
In Yorkton, some members of the Saskatchewan Registered Nurse’s Association (SRNA) joined Fugère for the Yorkton-Melville leg of his trip. Glen-mary Christopher is a professional practices instructor for Sunrise Health Region and president of the SRNA pain management professional practice group.
“For us, we think it’s a really wonderful convergence,” she said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work to connect health care providers and to start to bring some form of connected resources together for people in Saskatchewan because right now there really are no formal pain services, whether you’re talking about acute or chronic.
“Although there is now a wealth of information about how to deal with chronic pain, of course it takes a long time for that to get to the front-line practitioners. So, there’s a lot of great momentum happening in Saskat-chewan right now, in terms of organizing our resources that we have so this is a really lovely convergence to have this bike ride come through and be able to raise that level of awareness.”
Of course a cross-country bicycle trip has not been without its own share of pain.
“It’s hard to describe ‘cause there’s so many different ways it can be tough, but the prairies are hard because I have the wind against me,” he explained. “It’s a very dominant western wind that I’m having; it never stops.”
Despite the wind, he enjoyed his time in Yorkton.
“Yorkton was really cool,” he said. “I went to the Hometown bike shop. He fixed my bike for free; that was amazing. He’s a really cool guy. People are nice, we’re in Canada, so really nice people, but it’s always fun to feel like I’m so supported.”
So far, Fugère is halfway to his $10,000 goal.