Close your eyes. Picture California. I know what you see. Clear blue skies, with only a few puffy white clouds here and there above crystal clear waters and sandy beaches. Beautiful mansions dot the beaches and the people laying on their towels, others playing beach volleyball and all are just as beautiful. Am I close?

Of course that’s exactly what you’re supposed to see when you think of California. They don’t want you to see their dirty little secret. They don’t want you to think about people like Trini Yeager who is, at this very moment lying on a hospital bed in California in pain that she can no longer bear. They don’t want you to think about all the patients in chronic pain that they have abandoned.

Lawmakers, insurance companies and yes even the DEA walk around with their chests puffed out, arms swinging, congratulating each other and themselves on a job well done in this fight against the evil opioids. The more accolades they give each other the more their chests puff out. They don’t hear patients like Trini screaming. They don’t hear the families of those patients pounding on the doors of the doctors begging for help. They don’t see the tears as the watch their loved ones slip slowly away in awful torment.

Or even worse. Losing them all at once to suicide.

Trini Yeager is on the edge. She has run out of medication, and no doctors will give her more. I read Trini’s own words today in a soul destroying article on “…I can no longer fight. I give in. The pain forces me to. I’ve been turned away by everyone and expected to handle severe spinal cord nerve pain with no medication and no doctor. This is my final message to my son Christopher.”

The first time I read these words my heart broke. I had to get up and pace around the room. I went from wiping tears from my eyes with the heels of my hands to wanting to go screaming down the halls of her hospital. Because in all my heartbreak and anger in this fight, here is the one thing that has finally and devastatingly hit home.

There were at one point protests regarding the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Let’s keep in mind that many of these prisoners are accused terrorists. They are housed, fed, and given, you guessed it, medical care. They are, to be quite blunt, treated better than Trini Yeager and countless thousands like her, who have done nothing more than to be ill or in pain. Picture that in your mind. Accused terrorists are treated better than innocent American citizen who is ill and in pain.

That should infuriate you. Why isn’t it? Ask yourself why that doesn’t bother you. Ask yourself who she, and others like her have hurt, and weigh that again how many those at Guantanamo Bay may have, and some did, hurt. Why are you not fighting for her? Why is she lying in a hospital bed, giving up? Why has she been abandoned by everyone in the medical field? She has done nothing wrong. Look in your heart. She could be your mother, your sister, cousin. Even your daughter.

California isn’t all beaches and sunshine. Behind the closed doors of hospitals and doctors offices it’s ugly and full of abandonment and denial and death. Do something about it. Fight for her and all the patients like her.