chronic illness

When it comes to chronic pain, opioids are the go-to treatment. But in light of the so-called "opioid epidemic," what are the viable alternatives for people living with pain? And what is it like to live with physical pain, knowing it will never fully go away?

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., a big group gathers for "T'ai Chi for the Heart" at Turning Point, a healing center in Leawood, Kansas.

"We typically start with meditation, then we do our warm-ups and start T'ai Chi movements," says Al Hussar, who's been coming to the class for more than five years.

Hussar has diabetes, and he's supporting a wife with multiple sclerosis. Others in the room also suffer from chronic illnesses, or are supporting chronically ill loved ones.

Growing up, as the searing pain of a sickle cell crisis would spread through her veins, Tanjila Bolden-Myers would ask her mother if this time, it would kill her.  

“I ask her now to this day, ‘Mom, how did you look me in my face and not break? Every time I asked you that?’” said Bolden-Myers, now 38. “And she was like, ‘No, baby, you’re not going to die this time. You’re not going to die.’”

Ford-UAW Test Could Affect KC Worker Health Care

Jun 24, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Ford Motor and the United Auto Workers Union today rolled out a pilot health care program that might ultimately affect  workers at the Kansas City Claycomo Assembly Plant.

The program would help the chronically ill and was also expected to reduce health care costs.

Ford, the union and the union’s retiree health care trust revealed the program at the company’s Dearborn, Michigan headquarters.

If it works in Michigan, Ford’s head of labor affairs Marty Mulloy said it could be used in places like Kansas City or Louisville, which have larger numbers of retirees. 

Every individual will face it at one time or another during their lifetime: a chronic illness affecting them, a family member or a close friend.