Posts Tagged ‘remission’


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  It was about 8:30 am when I heard the announcement to report to the officer’s station.  I knew what it was for.  I was going to Madison to get the results of the PET scans from last week to verify the cancer remains in remission.  It was also the first day we saw guard Roscoe Peters since former cellie Andre Charles left.  After giving him the key to my cell off the string around my neck, I went down to intake and again began the process of being strip searched and being bound with chains on my arms, legs and waist.  The thought occurred to me, this is probably the last time prior to my release in June, that I’ll need to be strip searched.  I hope so anyway.  It’s an indignity I’m still not accustomed to nor do I think I ever will be.  Of course, in keeping with what normally seems to happen on these trips for me it’s not…normal!  It was raining very heavy and about 19 miles from Madison on I94W we encountered a huge traffic back up.  We moved no more than 5 or 6 miles over the next hour.  We finally came up on the accident scene.  Fire had consumed a truck carrying thousands of pounds of beef.  I’d hear later no one died thank God.  We got there and I sat in the inmate waiting room.  Very few were there this time which I was grateful for, as the noise was at a minimum.  There was one inmate there who had 57 days left to release.  He’d suffered a cardiac arrest and been brought back by the staff at Red Granite Correctional Institution.  He was complimentary to them in how they’ve cared for him and the quality of their work.  It was unusual to hear an inmate say such things.  I went up for my blood work and got in to see my oncologist, Dr. Rachel Cook.  She walked in and something I hadn’t noticed before, she was very pregnant.  I told her I hoped it went well.  She let me know the spots that were seen last time were either gone or ruled out as cancer.  My next appointment for scans will be in 6 months instead of the 3 months that had been done.  In the midst of the happiness I felt, there was a bit of a reality check.  I needed to call her directly before my next appointment if I don’t come up with health insurance as these scans cost several thousand dollars.  Not only would it be nice if I find a job with good health insurance after I’m out its imperative I find health insurance to ensure I see more birthdays.  It shouldn’t be that way but that is the reality of the situation.  But I didn’t dwell on that. I even told Dr. Cook about this blog, saying a friend wrote in her blog, thanking her for her care of me and what terms to Google to find the blog.  I wanted to avoid alerting the ever present guards in the room.  So Doc, if you find this blog, again, thank you!  On the way back not only was it raining heavy, the winds were going crazy blowing pails and such from construction on the highway into us.  But we got back fine.  After another strip-search I actually got back to my cell pretty quickly.  Ironically we shouldn’t have hurried.  We had Turkey Tetrazzini, probably the worst meal here, for supper about 4:30 pm.  If we’d gone slower I probably would have gotten another bag lunch at the hospital.  But nothing would break my good mood, not even the  horrid food.  I’m healthy and I’m going to stay that way!


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP).  The only clue there was anything different on Christmas Eve than any other day was that this was a Friday and it was being treated as a weekend day, which meant there was no ERP program activities and the lights stayed off until 11 am.  Everyone is okay with that but in the back of my mind I’m thinking about the fact we won’t see mail until Tuesday.  I very much look forward to hearing from the blog sponsors with messages from them that include your emails and comments you post along with their well wishes and information on my personal affairs.  As I’ve said, I’m very grateful for you and them, and I hope you find what we do here helpful.  If so, please let others know about this blog.  Anyway, this is my 2nd and hopefully last Christmas incarcerated.  Last year at this time, I was in Waukesha County Jail (WCJ), having completed my second chemotherapy session and in a cell by myself that I could never leave without a mask due to my low white count.  Two weeks later you all joined me on this journey through the WPS, and my divorce was finalized on the same day.  To borrow the cliché, what a long, strange trip it has been!  A lot was uncertain about the future then, just like now, except last year was about the transition to prison life and this year will hopefully be about the transition back to the community.  But we’ve got a long road to go until then.  There was little talk of Christmas around this unit except on the telephones which seemed like they were always occupied.  My cellie, Malik Pearl and I both opened the cookies we got the week before and shared them with the other cellies, Brian Whalen and Andre Charles.  I learned something new about all my cellies.  The reason Andre is always trying to scam Whalen is he has nobody out there to send him money.  MSDF is different.  If you had nothing in other prisons I’ve seen, it was just too bad.  People would eat in front of you and not care.  If you had nothing, which happened to me several times, no resentments were held.  Here people get mad about that.  Whalen had 3 visits, one being his son and another being the therapist who sent him the letter.  But he doesn’t want to be pressured and he feels she’s pushing him.  He asked me if I want to be a roommate once I get out since I have nowhere to go at this point.  Of course, no way do I want to do that, but I can’t afford to eliminate any options.  But Malik, he made a call to family and found out the mother of his child had somehow lost all his possessions but the assumption was her family members had paned them for drugs.  If seems Malik has a tendency to use violence to keep “his women” in line and though he is a laid back person, he would not hesitate to hurt, even kill, those who cross him.  The only thing saving her now is that she is the mother of his child, and it was good he was not on the street now, or so he claims.  This girl “put him in prison once” and he won’t let it happen again.  I just can’t believe I so misjudged him.  He’s just as dangerous as Andre, but in a different way.  But everyone in this cell is getting along real well.  If this had been a year ago, I would have handled it differently.  But it’s Christmas and I’m one day closer to never seeing this place ever again.  And that’s a great Christmas present!


I’m at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), an institution in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS), participating in the Earned Release Program (ERP). I got called out to the guard station right after the first count, and right before breakfast.  The guard told me to hurry up and eat because they were coming to take me for some reason.  I suspected I was having another PET scan to verify my cancer remains in remission. I asked the guard if he was sure he wanted me to eat as I knew they needed my stomach empty.  He said he didn’t know and put it up for me.  They came and got me and again asked me if I’d eaten.  Again I told them I shouldn’t.  They were suppose to tell me the previous evening but fortunately I hadn’t ate a thing after 8 pm.  The short black guard who strip searched me in a cage verified I should not eat was friendly enough.  Unlike last time, I had to wear the chains and bracelets which nicely accessorized my banana yellow uniform.  And of course, we seem to always pick the best weather days for my trips.  Today was the coldest of the winter so far.  It was 0 degrees and 14 below wind-chill.  It was good to see the outside world even if it had frozen.  We took Highway 16W and stopped at the PDQ gas station in Hartland, WI – less than a mile from my former home, family still lives and where I used to stop for gas and cigarettes on or on my way back to or from work.  It felt like a moment from the Twilight Zone TV show.  There was enough frost on the windows to obscure their view in the van which I was grateful for.  The ride there was cold, as the guards kept turning the heat down but it was my fault for not speaking up.  I have a habit of doing that. They took all sorts of side roads doing what many guards do – milking the clock.  When we got there I got to go to the prison at UW Madison.  No minimum lockup this time.  It was ok though as I saw guys I knew from Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), where I was March through August of this year.  Things are the same there except for the large amounts of snow fallen on the LaCrosse area.  There are many horror stories from the medical cases of how they are being handled I was told about but I’m not going to repeat what I don’t have any way of documenting.  I am sorry to those looking for it, if that disappoints you.  But you know you’ve been around awhile when hospital staff greet you by name.  It was uneventful from there.  But the bag lunch I used to despise was better and more filling than the food at MSDF.  When I got back I got strip searched again and returned to my unit.  They actually saved my breakfast tray so I ate my cocoa roos (like cocoa puffs), and joined my group working on yesterday’s assignments.  But it occurred to me I need to stop thinking of this area as home to successfully move on.  But just where will home be?