MILFORD, Neb. — Susan Kubicka-Welander, a short-order cook, went to her pain checkup appointment straight from the lunch-rush shift. “We were really busy,” she told Dr. Robert L. Wergin, trying to smile through deeply etched lines of exhaustion. “Thursdays, it’s Philly cheesesteaks.”
Her back ached from a compression; a shattered elbow was still mending; her left-hip was screaming louder than usual. She takes a lot of medication for chronic pain, but today it was just not enough.