Yesterday went pretty well. I figured about $140 for the doctor and the drugs and ended up spending $142.
The new doctor is okay. Pretty impressive for a first visit for sure. The medical database is great. She had my entire medical history readily available and we spent a small amount of time updating it, bringing it current with the heart attack and the move to insulin.
Some of my drugs aren’t covered by the municipal plan. Too expensive for long term usage. But she got me on a program that will pay for two of them for a year.
She then ordered an x-ray of my shoulder for me to see an orthopedist. She wants to confirm its a frozen shoulder and make sure there’s no arthritis or rotator cuff tearing. At least, the doc said, the orthopedist can get me on a pain management program.
The shoulder is getting worse. Much worse.
Then I had to get two more blood tests. Both follow-ups to see if my heart is healing properly and to see how well the meds are doing.
They did the test that measures your average glucose levels for the past 3 months. I was high but not insanely so.
All of that cost me 20 bucks!
She has also put me in for a cardio class and specialist and a diabetes specialist. I should qualify. If I do I think I can say I’ll be on the healthiest program imaginable.
After picking up the rest of my drugs I was feeling pretty good. I’d only spent $110 and it would have been tres wicked to end up under budget. I still had to get my beta blocker. The tip I got was to go to Costco. Get the generic for about 4 bucks. Costco charged me $32 and I was angry about it. Being angry did me no good at all.
I was greeted by two people. The first fellow looked at me and near attacked me. “Aren’t you the man with the pretty black dog?”
When I said yes he grabbed my hand. “My daughter loves your dog. She met it at the hospital!”
I asked if his daughter was alright and he assured me she was doing great. He also told me that she kept the Polaroid of herself and my puppy taped on her bedroom mirror.
About ten minutes later I heard someone yelling, “Coach! Coach!” I didn’t look up until the guy was right on top of me. “It is you! I knew it. I’m so glad your back our line needs you coach!”
We talked football and kids for a while then his name was called to go pick up his meds.
June 24, 2009
MAXSEC (maximum security) prisons are usually designed to house the most dangerous criminals; Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, the various mafias’ hit men, robbers who think nothing of shoot outs with the cops or SWAT. Sociopaths who present a real and obvious threat to anyone near them.
Most of the MAXSEC rules and procedures are set up primarily to protect the guards. MAXSEC attracts mainly the most brutal and sadistic of the crop. Their attitude and sociopathic tendencies ensure they need protection. Maplehurst does not permit the guards to wear name tags. They protect their identities fearful of retaliation of released prisoners.
Maplehurst Correctional Center’s implementation of maximum security was brutal and excessive. It was not designed to rehabilitate, educate or reform. Its is designed to punish and to punish in a nasty cruel fashion. Most of what Maplehurst practices is illegal in the US and Europe. Only the most 3rd world countries or countries that are constantly being denounced for human rights violations permit these torturous practices.
Maplehurst permits no TV, no movie night, no prisoner interaction in the form of games or conversation periods. They have no library. They have no work for inmates. They have no education available for inmates. You do time.
Every other day you are permitted a warm shower. Once a week you are permitted to shave. This is a common practice in POW camps. It reduces the feeling of physical well being and forces the total degradation of a prisoner.
Every other day you are permitted 20 minutes of “yard”. Yard at Maplehurst is a 30 foot by 30 foot concrete pit. It has twenty foot concrete block walls. Half of the ceiling is open but covered with thick wire fencing. No balls, weight equipment or anything else is provided. You can either walk or run around in circles or you can try and find an occasional patch of sunlight. We all need vitamin D.
You are permitted 10 to 20 minutes a day on the phone (at the guard’s discretion).
The rest of the time you are on lock down, locked in the cell for at least 23 hours a day.
Meals come at 7:30, 11:30 and 3:30. The food is loathsome. Most of it could not be considered suitable for human consumption. The diet is excessively high in sodium. Lacks fresh vegetables. It is unsuitable for a diabetic or a cardiac patient.
I was getting the diabetic meal. (There are a surprising amount of diabetics in this prison) The diabetic meal goes contrary to everything I was taught. Over cooked boiled canned vegetables. Several times I was given sugar with my coffee. High sugar content cereals. Bread and other hyperglycemic foods.
The only eating utensil allowed is a soft rubber spoon. The spoons are kept under lock and key and counted both before and after the meal. The fear is that they’ll be used to make a “shank”, or home made knife.
You are also given a styrofoam cup. This cup has to last you for at least one week. You will not be given a replacement.
There’s no good reason for this other than being incredibly cheap. You would think that the cost savings on cups would be offset by the health expense from keeping something like that around to grow germs.
There is no smoking allowed. Thus insuring a good portion of the population is crabby and irritable while suffering through nicotine withdrawal. This also makes for an easy earner for the guards. They charged five bucks for two cigarettes and two matches or five and five for ten bucks.
I kept wondering why I was in a place like this. I still do.
On Wednesday the guard came and told me I was going to Medical. I had no idea why and thought it was to test me for something.
He marched me down there and I asked why I was in a convict wing instead of a remand or detention wing. He chilled me when he said that almost everybody in Maplehurst is on remand. (Remand means you’ve not been convicted of a crime, only charged with one. Its likely you’re innocent.)
We got to the medical wing. I was pushed into a room with two strange looking old people. They were sitting around a green picnic table with unfinished wooden seats. Andrew Gant sat at the head of the table in the “honored” position.
He was an odd duck. He had to be at least 80. I’m not good at identifying wigs as a rule but he had to be wearing a jet black wig or else his scalp has an odd cant. His black horn rimmed Buddy Holly glasses and odd non-fashionable clothes made me leery of him. This was a man who was determined to ignore reality and impose his own will upon the world.
But it was the woman who was terrifying. She had eyes like a harpy. Her auburn hair was blunt cut and shoulder length. It was so brightly colored it would have looked peculiar on her 20 years earlier. But it was her skin that horrified me. It was savagely wrinkled, deep and ran from her bangs to the collar of her shirt. I could only think of Boris Karloff in “The Mummy”. My mind rebelled at the idea of a person having this see through parchment skin.
To top it off she had no smile lines. All of her deepest inset wrinkles were of the angry and hateful kind.
Gant announced that he was the administrator of this hearing. I asked hearing for what. The mummy woman said my detention hearing and remarked acidly that I’d been notified.
I said this was the first I had heard of it. Mummy woman said, “You were notified!”
They proceeded to ask me if I wanted to have an attorney present. I said that yes, I would and also a representative of the American Consulate. They told me I should have arranged for that myself and that they were proceeding with the hearing in any event.
The woman rattled off her salient facts which were basically a rehash of the newspaper article. I asked if they had a copy of the police report. They assured me they had. I could see they had the newspaper article so I asked to see the police report. She looked through her papers and said, “You already know what’s in it. There’s no reason for you to see it.”
I pointed out that there were several wrong statements in her declarations. I said some of them are even perjurious. She said, “Oh, we should take your word for that.”
I said, “Perhaps, but it should at least be investigated don’t you think?”
“We’ll stand by our facts.”
Suddenly Bob Moriarity burst into the room. He was loaded with papers. He apologized for interrupting but he had just been notified of the hearing. He presented evidence that Maplehurst Prison was injuring my health. He pointed out I had a person willing to post bail and a place to go to and that I wanted to return to the US.
The Mummy Woman said, “We already know all this.”
Moriarity said, “No. You don’t,” and dumped the papers on her.
Gant looking very tired said that I was to be held in prison one more week and that there would be another hearing on June 30. He told me I should have been better prepared. I told him it would have been courteous and fair to have at least given me a pen and paper so I could take notes. Mummy Woman scowled at me.
I was taken back to my cell. As we walked the song, my new theme song I guess started to plaay in my head – The Martinets, “Hallowed Ground”. (Its on the jukebox at the top of this page).
I got back to my cell and I met my new cell mate; Billy.
Billy was about 6′ 1″ and 210. About 28 and fit. He had a strange haircut. Cropped short but with a line cut in around the whole skull so it gave the impression of “Open Here”.
I had a terrible moment. I suddenly felt helpless. All I could think of was that I have no right arm. I can’t block any punches. My whole life much of my personality was forged on being nonviolent. Nonviolent but totally believing that I was the meanest beast in any jungle. For the first time I felt vulnerable. It was not a good feeling. It was like I suddenly had to become aware that I was now someone else, someone so much less than what I used to be.
My next thought was that this is a pretty stupid time to be having this sort of frisson. So I said, “Howzit.”
Billy told me he was in for assault. His third conviction for assault.
As he explained it he’d gotten drunk and for no reason attacked two construction workers. Put them in hospital.
He got 18 months this time. I was a bit chagrinned as it somehow didn’t seem right. Eighteen months is not Maximum Security time.
Billy couldn’t clarify much about that. He just knew that Maplehurst was the wore prison in the country. He’d done four months and couldn’t believe how he was treated.
We talked some about politics, prison politics. About the guard vs the inmate.
While we talked I kept wondering if my friend was going to visit. I hoped so. I didn’t want to hope too big but I still hoped.
I noticed that the guards were looking in the cell at us more often than usual. I was saddened that they kept looking disappointed.