Greetings from the Abyss by Jack (Part 21)

Jack is serving life without parole, and has terminal cancer. Throughout my incarceration, Jack was a positive influence. He encouraged me to keep writing, to enter short-story competitions, and we proofread each other’s chapters. 

While at work, I began experiencing bouts of dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, and intense throbbing pain on the right side of my head. The left side of my face and left arm went numb, and to a lesser extent, my left leg. Once again, I was taken and hooked up to an IV, but this time I was given several medications, both orally and intravenously.

After the pain had somewhat subsided, I was kept there for a few hours for observation. One of the male nurses that I have known for about 10 years came over and spent some time with me to help alleviate some of my concerns, and to just keep an eye on me in case my condition took a turn for the worse. He said that I would probably be told something different, but the general opinion was that I had experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA). He said that this was not unusual when considered in context with the type of cancer I have.

I asked why I wasn’t taken to the hospital if this was a TIA. Evidently, the underwritten policy with Corizon Health is that unless the inmate suffers a massive stroke or does not respond to the anticoagulant drugs and beta blockers, he is kept on site and under observation.

After a few more hours of laying there, watching the IV drip and contemplating the fragility of the human body and the obvious damage that I have caused through neglect and abuse, the doctor showed up to enlighten me on my condition. The official diagnoses: severe migraine and dehydration.

He lectured me on staying properly hydrated and indicated that the dehydration had caused the migraine; consequently, I had caused this problem due to my inability to maintain proper hydration in a desert environment. What a joke.

I was so disgusted with his obvious attempt to shift responsibility onto me that I just lay there and ignored him. At one point during his diatribe, I did interrupt him when he stated that I needed to consume 60 to 80 ounces of water each day. Fed up with his sanctimonious attitude, I laid into him with my personal consumption habits.

It was ridiculous of me to do so knowing that it would have absolutely no effect on my current situation, but it was satisfying getting him to shut up for a moment. The incredulous look on his face when I told him that I don’t drink soda or Kool-Aid and that I only consume 20 ounces of coffee or tea each day, and the remaining 120 ounces of fluid I consume every day is water. I told him that I was tired and no longer wanted to hear him bleat out the Corizon party line to justify their refusal to provide the nationally recognised standard of healthcare. I’m sure I came across as surly, but I didn’t really care.

Although I hate to admit it, over the last couple of months, I have found that I tire easily. It has become progressively more difficult for me to work more than a few hours each day. I recently discussed this issue with my boss and we have decided that it would be best if I only work the morning class.

Shaun, thank you for setting up the page so that your readers may donate if they are so inclined. I guess I am still cynical that anyone would want to donate anything because of my background and crimes, but then again I am always being amazed at the generosity of strangers and the level of compassion and understanding that at times seems to spring forth in very bleak and barren environments.   

Shaun Attwood  

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Jack,
I hope that you will receive the card I sent you soon. I mailed it 4 days ago. Sorry that I am not a better pen pal, Jack, I really am. It's like I had written to you, sometimes I find that I am just not able to express myself. But, I'll keep trying. I would like to make a donation to you, Jack. This morning, I tried to do it online and over the phone, using one of the inmate deposit services the Arizona Department of Corrections' website recommended, using my debit card. However, apparently the service and company I was trying to use are not available at the facility you reside at. I have to get my parents' permission to use my credit card online to donate to the page that Shaun Attwood has set up for you. I don't find that embarrassing, my parents have had trouble with credit card fraud before, and they are just trying to watch out for me. But PayPal should obviously be a very safe site. If they do not give me permission to use the credit card online, I am going to ask Shaun Attwood if I can mail my donation for you to him in England, in cash. Then Shaun can add it to your fund, if he agrees to that. Where there's a will, there's a way. Making a donation to you from me was never the problem. It was getting the money to you with a secure method of payment that was the problem. Just wanted you to know. If I am not allowed to use the credit card, I will attempt to contact Shaun in the next day or two, to see if I can mail him the donation. Don't judge yourself only by the crimes you committed, Jack. There's more to you than that. If you are truly remorseful about your crimes, the world will be able to see that. Just do what good that you can, in the ways that you are able. Sorry to hear that things are getting physically difficult for you. Never stop fighting, Jack. "It ain't over till it's over." I'll be in touch with you. May God bless you, Jack. Take care.
- Azar

Anonymous said...

Jack's treatment at the hands of the ADOC is nothing short of obscene. I can only hope that things improve, and that if his disease is truly terminal, that his final months and ultimately his passing are as peaceful as they can be. My thoughts are with you, Jack.

Shaun, I would guess you may well already know this, but since you haven't mentioned it, I have heard that Allan MacDonald aka 'Weird Al' recently passed away. While tragic, I'm glad he was able to at least die a free man, and as with Jack, my thoughts are with him and his family.

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