It’s Nothing Personal

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  Yesterday I was told prior to count to get ready to go to Health Services Unit (HSU) that serves both the minimum and medium security inmates at Fox Lake.  They got me off my bunk and I got into a van with another inmate.  We rode across the guard checkpoint, got out and got patted down.  Then we walked to the HSU building.  The medium side layout has the feel of a college campus, much nicer than that of Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), my previous facility.  Once inside, we signed in and sat behind an automatic locking door awaiting our turn.  I got called about 10 minutes later.  It turns out I was there because I had notified HUS awhile ago the port used to deliver chemotherapy to me when I had cancer needed to be flushed every 30 days and it hadn’t been done since May (its now mid September).  The nurse, in her early to mid forties, apparently had been trained to flush ports, but it was obvious they don’t do it often.  There was always one more thing they needed, a needle not the correct size and her constantly assuring me she was competent was a big tipoff too.  She needn’t have worried.  The nurses in Madison struggle with it too and you learn to become tolerant of being poked.  I didn’t have my eyewear on and I noticed something on the ear of the nurse working on me.  I asked what it was and was sternly reminded that was a personal question and not allowed.  Once she got closer, it was evident it was a tattoo of some sort of snake.  But she was right.  I shouldn’t have asked the question.  I could have gotten in trouble.  But it got left at that.  She noted my follow up scans to detect if my cancer had returned were late and the apparent bruising  hadn’t gone away.  I got brought back.  Everything was pretty normal till mail call.  At mail call, I actually got a letter and it was from my youngest stepdaughter.  She had written me back, only it had gone to JCI instead of here.  It wasn’t good news though.  Her mom had called her a “slut” and her “real” dad won’t see her until she gets “straightened out”.  She was hospitalized again, diagnosed with bipolar.  Her mom and her had physically fought.  She wrote “Jake plus 3” on a flap of the letter.  I think it referred to her wish for us to be together as a family again.  I wrote her back telling her that even though we’re not together.  She would always be my little girl whom I loved with all my heart regardless of what she does or how she’s gotten to this point in her life and we’d all be a family no matter what even if we’re not under the same roof.  What was I thinking, I don’t even believe that last part. I didn’t address what her mom and dad supposedly did.  But this time, no emotional outpouring on my part.  I can’t go to pieces every time.  I can’t afford it.  But today I slept till 9 am, didn’t walk the track and am just lazy.  I never do that.  I think emotions will find a way to express themselves one way or another.  But I’m okay.  Really I am.

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