Remission and Unit 20

Posted: April 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

The highlights of my previous week at Dodge Correctional Institution, the receiving facility of the Wisconsin Prison system,was getting a PET scan and pulmonary testing to see where my cancer was at, what effect chemotherapy might be having on my lungs, and seeing Mission Possible that Sunday. There was great news in that the cancer has gone into remission!  I still have to complete 6 more chemotherapy treatments but I am winning this battle!  Unfortunately, pulmonary testing revealed some lung damage.  As a result, the injection of white blood cells that the Health Services Unit (HSU) had been doing had to be stopped because they apparently can affect lung functionality.  As as result, my white cell count bottomed out and I’m back to wearing a mask again to prevent possible infection. HSU felt it was necessary to come to Unit 21 to check my temperature twice a day instead of me coming there.

Out of the blue, I was told to pack my stuff, I was being moved to Unit 20.  I asked why.  The tall, blonde, heavyset guard on Unit 21 said she didn’t know and her body language made it clear she didn’t care.  I did what I was told.  As soon as I got there, my things got put on the bunk, and the guards on the unit went through them.  I asked what and why they were doing this.  They replied I was on the Special Management Unit and I’m no longer allowed things like the safety razors I’d ordered off canteen and nail clippers among other things. I asked what I’d done to deserve this and they told me nothing but HSU wanted me closer so they wouldn’t have to walk so far to get to me.  I asked why they were taking my things and they replied Unit 20 was primarily used for inmates who have demonstrated emotionally unstable behavior, or inmates coming out of the hole and working back to a general population unit.  If I passed such items on, it could be a threat.  I asked how this was fair to me and they said they didn’t have anything to do with it.  I’m like, you have got to be kidding!

After they left and my blue sliding door shut, I looked at the cell.  It was almost an exact replica of the cell in Unit 19. No shelves, small sink and a small table.  My hygiene, canteen and meds had to go on the floor.  I was unhappy.  To think that they would punish me this way so HSU wouldn’t have to walk a few extra steps!  After I stewed awhile, I calmed down.  Yes, I was unhappy about being here but that’s only part of the issue.  It you’ve read along for awhile, I don’t manage anxiety, change and new relationships all that well at times as I’ve explained. This was plenty of all that.  I must try to emphasize the positive.  I’ve got this blog, a couple friends, a newspaper, and that’s for more than many have here.

But still, this environment was different.  Why, pray tell, do you let people who are excitable order coffee?  It would go in spurts, people yelling at themselves, others or other officers, coming out for meals meant you know this was when those who were discipline problems would break rules and guards were hyper vigilant as a result.  Standing counts took three times as long as people won’t get up.  At night, inmates are much louder,  but I’m trying to adjust.

The following day I found out the inmates on Unit 20 got Rec 5 days a week!  I thought, well this is good.  But as it turned out, not for me.  HSU restricted me from Rec to prevent a possible infection from attacking me.  They also issued a pass to have me walk down to HSU twice a day to get my temperature taken!  They could have done that while I was on Unit 21 I thought to myself.  Oh well.  I got back in my chair, had some coffee, a Swiss Roll , opened a newspaper and laughed.  You either got to laugh or cry sometimes and today, I choose to laugh.



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