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Working Around Crohn’s Disease

People have asked me, “how did a nice Jewish boy wind up working for the notorious cocaine overlord Pablo Escobar in the late 1970’s and 1980’s?”. It’s a long story. After falling off the wait list to Harvard Law School and returning to Miami, I realized two things: I was not highly employable and I was about to be kicked off my parent’s Blue Cross. I felt I needed to make money to pay for the mountains of medical expenses I was soon to encounter. I’m sure there were other factors involved, but it was the nature of a chronic lifelong condition that led to that decision.

Forty five years later and after seventy trips to the emergency room and multiple surgeries, I can’t say, at the time, I made a poor decision. Maybe, if there was some kind of help back then to find a way to to maintain employment, things would have been different…

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Comments

  • Owenband author
    1 month ago

    Hi Irishgirl.
    I concur. But, I have to say that the worst part of dealing with Crohn’s, including with so called medical professionals, is that THEYcan not grasp how bad the pain can be. Usually when I have a potential obstruction and I’m rushed to Mt. Sinai by ambulance and where I’ve been treated and have records going back forty years, it could take up to a hour to go through triage and receive pain medication. My history is all there. But, they refuse to prioritize my need for immediate pain relief. Once I was admitted to a different hospital and did not get any pain medication because they thought I was there just to get morphine. Once they did the cat scan and saw an obstruction, the Dr. came up to me and apologized. F_ck him. Let the Doctor experience the level I was in and see how he likes it…

  • Irishgirl
    1 month ago

    i can totally understand your decisions, with absolutely no judgement. We do what we have to do to get through this. You sound like a warrior to me!! I have been so disappointed with the way some drs treat me. They act as if im a pain pill addict seeking a script. The sad part is i do need pain management when im in a flare and i have never in all my Life abused pills…makes me have an understanding as to why people seek pain management illegally… Thanks for sharing it’s so nice to no longer feel alone..

  • Owenband author
    1 month ago

    Thanks Liz. Happy holidays!

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 month ago

    @owenband,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I can only imagine the stories you must have to tell with that resume.

    I’m so glad to hear that you have your Crohn’s under control as you mentioned below. Thanks for being a part of our community. Wishing you continued relief from symptoms.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Matt Nagin moderator
    1 month ago

    Owen

    What a story! Sometimes we do things we regret when we are in a tough situation. It sounds like you didn’t have many options then and you had to put your health first. I sympathize with the trips to the emergency room and surgeries. I have had Crohns for 30 years and have gone through the wringer with the amount of surgeries I have had.

  • Owenband author
    1 month ago

    Thanks Matt. Crohn’s is a tough thing to talk about. I’ve found writing about it has a cathartic effect. And as far as working with Escobar, it wasn’t too bad. I still have my gold Rolex….

  • ashleyf moderator
    1 month ago

    Hello there Owen, we appreciate you opening up and sharing your story here with us. That must have been a tough time for you, to have to make a quick decision like that knowing that you need money/insurance because of your condition. You did what you had to do to take care of yourself! If I may ask, how are you doing these days? -Ashley (Team Member)

  • Owenband author
    1 month ago

    Hi Ashley. As of this moment, the Crohn’s Disease isn’t an issue, though I do have “structural ” issues from the multiple surgeries. Due to a large amount of scarring, I am still hospitalized a couple times a year. I have a new specialist that performs a procedure ( he perfected) that stretches open the bowel where the scar tissue is. As far as employment I learned to work from home. There is a program in New York State (Vesid) that offers special training programs. I was fortunate to have had a great counselor who allowed me to complete a publishing program at NYU. Thanks for asking. I’m currently working on a memoir which involves a lot of material of my life in relation to living with Crohn’s and the choices I made.

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