Posts Tagged ‘truck’


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 Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  We submit our canteen orders on Sunday’s and then get what we ordered after count clears, about 6 pm, on Monday.  Basically when the truck gets here, they call for volunteers to unload it.  After count and mail call, everyone stands in a room waiting for their name to be yelled by the two guards passing it out.  I tell you all this now to tell you that none of this actually happened this past Monday.  We were notified via a memo posted in the window behind the guard station that due to a lack of staffing, canteen would not be handed out until Tuesday.  Inmates who have been here awhile report they’d never seen this happen before for this kind of reason.  But this was no ordinary Monday night for the monsters of the midway, the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers would play a football game.  Apparently, it was just a coincidence that the flu took out all of our regularly scheduled guards on the same night or at last that is what they would probably tell you.  They won’t explain that to us because we’re not entitled to explanations.  I don’t personally care.  Those that did either are the ones that have a tendency to whine about something all the time or were out of canteen.  Again, not my nature.  My former family used to laugh at me for bringing coats and sweaters when we would go camping but sure enough, late at night, they would all be wearing those coats and sweaters.  My point is, I try to be prepared for the unexpected.  Prison has only reinforced that.  Anyway, if you’re not a Packer fan here, chances are you holler and yell along with all the haters about how horrible they are, and how great the Vikings or some other team is.  Unfortunately, its not always all in fun.  Fights nearly break out over it.  As game time approached, we get our snacks ready and I climbed into my top bunk.  I walked around during the game a bit, observing people, guards and inmates, of all races, colors and creeds being pulled together by the common denominator of the Green Bay Packers. Everyone cheered (or yelled) at the top of their lungs for or against.  For a few hours we forget where we were, the barbed wire and the gates.  At the end, almost everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Packers, yet they only lost by 3.  It was more how they lost.  They lost their composure.  They didn’t stay focused and didn’t do the very things that are basic to football. 

Afterwards, even those professing an undying loyalty to the team questioned the coach’s decisions, the general manager, even though he didn’t have anything directly to do with the game, and even Aaron Rodgers, who had been the toast of the Packer Nation.  Are they any less loyal, love the team any less because they questions ,and have their own opinions on things they don’t have all the facts on? Should the Packers disown their fans for such faithlessness?  No, of course not.  Their passion and zeal, even when its misplaced, is further evidence of their love and devotion for the team.  Do you see where I’m going?  Those who were close to me have turned their backs on me because of my failure to get help when I was sinking, its not fair to hold it against them. Their opinions, without knowing all the facts, doesn’t mean they don’t care.

The next day, the haters were out in full force led by the sergeants on 1st and 2nd shift.  But that’s ok.  Just because we get down on those we love, doesn’t mean we’re going to stop loving them.  We just need more accurate information.


I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  I told you last time I was promised I’d get my property, things like my TV, books and letters, the next day.  They’re the kind of things that can make your time tolerable.  Of course nothing happened with that the following day.  I asked the blonde female guard to call property to remind them and she wouldn’t.  The following day I went to get the results of my tests at UW Madison.  Everything was still showing no signs of cancer having returned for which I am thankful.  This trip was notable because the guard that took me, brown hair, very tall, about 285 lbs, drove like a maniac there and back.  I was so used to guards who barely drive the speed limit.  To be honest, it was kind of fun.  We saw a late 60’s, early ‘70’s truck driving on a beat rim and he rolled down his window and told the driver!  Just unusual behavior.  When I got back I approached the sergeant on duty and asked him to call property so I can get my stuff.  A guard interrupted my conversation with him.  He is in his mid to late twenties, blonde hair and is thin.  Everyone to a man here agrees he comes off as an arrogant jerk.  I’m calling him Percy because there was a character in the movie “The Green Mile” who expressed and acted on his desires to hurt inmates and others and enjoyed it.  He was self absorbed with a highly developed sense of entitlement.  Who brought out only the bad, if not the worst, in others.  This guard should sue Oliver Stone for basing a character personality on him without permission.  Percy informed me that I’d have to submit an interview request.  He knew full well I’d done that so many times.  I told him this and his reply was that he didn’t care, his hands on his hips and he smiled as he said it.  I replied, my blood pressure rising, asking him if its your intent not to help me at all no matter what.  Percy replied “That’s right.  It’s not my job to help you and I’m not going to”, while pointing his finger at me for emphasis.  I had to get away from the desk quickly as what I wanted to say and do was not a good idea.  I related what happened to the guys at the dayroom table and those who’d been here for awhile nodded.  They also have had similar experiences with Percy.  Fortunately, they called property pick up for other inmates and though I wasn’t on the list I went along.  After all, the property sgt. had been decent to me.  He didn’t remember me until I said my name.  It seems he had arranged for me to get my stuff today but due to my Madison trip it hadn’t been possible.  I was so grateful I hadn’t overreacted to Percy.  Once again, this property sgt. was extremely gracious and classy.  He promised it would be there the next day. 

The following day, I was summoned to HSU where the psychiatrist met with me.  He agreed to take me off the Wellbutrin I’ve been on for 4 years but since they took away the Seroquel, wasn’t very helpful.  I’d already stopped taking the Wellbutrin for a couple of weeks but no one had said anything.  I couldn’t have done that at Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI).  I really wish I could have had this doctor to talk to on a regular basis.  I just felt confident talking to him, I almost told him about this blog.  But I didn’t.  He won’t follow me to Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) for my ERP program.  I got back to my unit and was almost immediately told to get ready to go to property.  I was happy!  I got my boxes back to my bunk and got my TV, radio and such setup.  But there are no backs on the bunks so they are uncomfortable to watch TV on.  Everyone just deals with it.  Of course, not me!  I took my empty boxes and put them against the bars at the top of my bed, putting my back against the boxes.  Many went by and made a comment about how ugly it looked, wondering what I was doing and some telling me to break the boxes down like everyone else.  I just smiled and said nothing.  If you’ve been reading along, you know I can be a little stubborn.  Or is it independent?  The radio reception is lousy here so I took a wire from another inmate, wrapped it around the antenna and hung one end from the corner of my glasses (yes, I’m wearing them) and I got good reception.  At the end of the night I put the box on top of the TV.  So today I have Christian music, NPR, classic rock and Badger football today on my headphones as I’ve written this.  I just keep smiling as people observe me.  The difference between stubborn and independent is the attitude in you that people perceive.  At least I think so.  I’m going to go walk some laps now.  My cell mate isn’t used to me being around so much and I need the exercise.