Friday, September 21, 2012

Medical Marijuana and Dr. Johnny

By Moshe Feiglin

5 Tishrei, 5773
Sept. 21, '12

Translated from Ma'ariv's NRG website
Toward the end of his life, my father suffered indescribable pain. He was at the stage at which the doctors in the oncology ward focus on other patients, and you run – helpless and harried – between doctors who don't know how to work outside the book. "Your father is finished, we've done all that we can," they would say, adding, "Johnny. Talk to Johnny."

The government has recently closed down Dr. Johnny Greenfield's pain clinic in the Tel Hashomer hospital. It was only from the media reports that I realized that Johnny is a highly respected neuro-oncologist. There, in the hospital, he would sit behind a tiny table in a tiny cubicle, helping his pain-wracked patients. In that tiny room, he was simply Johnny.

Johnny would talk to my father. He would calm him. He would explain that it is legitimate to want the pain to stop. My eyes fill with tears when I remember those searing moments. Johnny is one of those people who are really card-carrying angels.

And Johnny helped. A lot. More than the medicinal cannabis that he prescribed for my father, he helped with his love for others and his completely unorthodox approach. No "Do these tests and come back with the results," and the authorizations and all the running around that turns people suffering their most difficult moments into miserable mice running down unfamiliar halls, pushing and pressured between all the other equally miserable people. Anyone who has experienced this can understand what I am talking about.

Johnny wants the pain to stop. He is a professional and explains the exact implications of each drug, telling my father what part of his cognizance may be impaired, the consequences of every drug he offered – a true healer. For the first time in a long time, my father relaxed. The cruel world suddenly looked different. A world with a person like Johnny looks beautiful, nurturing and warm.

A few meetings later, I told Johnny that I had read that Israel is one of the leading countries in its use of medicinal cannabis. Johnny didn't have to hear more than that to pour his heart out. He spoke of all the miserable patients who could not get treatment. And how good cannabis and cannabis products would be for a vast array of illnesses. Perhaps, the economic interest of the drug companies has something to do with the obstacles that the State places in the path of those who wish to be treated by this amazing drug, brought to you by our Creator. "I believe that if G-d created it, he did it so that we can use it," I say to him.

Since my father died, I did not hear from Johnny. Suddenly, this man, considered an "angel" by so many, is publicly denounced.

Have a good, sweet year, Johnny. It makes no difference what they write. There are so many people who can smile a little bit at the end of their lives in your merit. They, their families and everybody who meets you know exactly who Johnny is. 

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