I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  I mentioned before that a scan had detected an abscessed tooth.  After a week had gone by and a little encouragement from a sponsor not to let this situation be ignored, I wrote a request to Health Services advising them of the referral from my oncologist, Rachel Cook, of the University Hospital in Madison, made to them. Generally it takes the Health Services some time to get around to reviewing what the doctor wrote unless they get pushed.   I also let them know I had other dental issues to be addressed.  I got up at 5 am as usual and saw my name on the list to go to HSU after count at 8 am.  Paul and 2 others also came along who had dental appointments.  We had to go over to the medium side but once out the gate we were told to wait for another inmate.  Twenty minutes later, we’re still waiting and everyone’s annoyed.  Finally, we’re on our way.  I got called in first and the dental assistant informed me I would be having a root canal performed.  It will take 3 visits.  Today they’d “file it down and put antibiotics in there”. I don’t like dentists and I’ve heard bad things about root canals.  The dentist appeared, a man in his sixties, and asked me if I wanted the tooth pulled or do a root canal.  No, I don’t want it pulled!  They numbed me up without incident and he did what he was supposed to, I guess.  I went back to the bullpen (waiting room) and awaited the others to finish.  The last words of the dentist were I’d experience some discomfort and you should “just handle it”.  I laughed to myself.  Dentists in the real world don’t talk like that but they mean the same.  They just word it nicer!  The next part is in 2 weeks.  When everyone was done we stopped at Property, picked up 2 more inmates and their property who were transferring to the minimum side, which took at least half an hour.   Once I got back, everyone asked what was going on and when I told them a root canal, they reacted like it was so painful.  So far, I don’t get it.  Maybe I will come to pay for my presumptuous attitude over the next couple of appointments!  I am in pain but its tolerable.  At least something fulfilling (no pun intended – wait, yeah that was intentional :)) will come out of my time at FMCI.  In case you were wondering, this process won’t cost me anything.  Normally, it would have cost me $7.50 co-pay out of my funds here but because it was a referral from my oncologist, I wasn’t.  The other dental work I need I will get charged the co-pay.  I’m sure many of you wish all you had was a $7.50 co-pay for dental work but as I’ve noted before inmates make very little money – forty cents an hour at most before I came to FMCI.  I’ve never been allowed to work, first because of the illness and now due to my temp status.  But I’m grateful for the treatment for cancer and medical care.  Had I not been incarcerated, would I still have gotten treatment in time, especially with the aversion to doctors I have?  There’s no way to know for sure.  But I’m grateful for the medical care, the time and expense involved to the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the taxpayers of Wisconsin.  Thank you very much.

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