Greetings from the Abyss by Jack (Part 20)

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. Jack is seeking pen pals, so anyone interested please email me at for his details.

It has been a rough go this last few months or so. I have had two rather nasty bouts where my pain has gone off the scale. The first was the last week in May. I had got up at my usual time of 4 AM to catch the BBC broadcast of world news, and get ready for work, when the usual pain began to escalate rapidly. In a matter of just a few minutes I was in absolute agony. It felt like some demented animal was trying to claw its way out of my body.

The officer came through to do the 4 AM headcount and saw me. He then activated an ICS emergency and requested a medical turnout. By the time medical showed up, I was drenched in sweat, my breathing was rapid and shallow, and I was unable to focus or respond to the most general of questions.

Medical, then loaded me in the van and carted me off to the HUB, where they accessed my chemo port and began pushing IV solutions of various drugs. They drew a gallon or so of blood (well it felt like a gallon considering how many vials they took) and put a rush on the results so that they could better understand how to treat me.

The rush results were returned approximately 10 hours later. During that time, they continued to force the various generic IV solutions into me. Somewhere around hour six, the pain began to recede and eventually it re-established itself in its usual area and level. When my test results did return the doctor stated that “my numbers were wonky, but they did not explain why I was experiencing such severe pain.”

Because my pain had return to its usual level, Medical decided to send me back to the yard and follow up with the assigned nurse practitioner (who earlier cancelled my painkillers) for further testing. 

Shaun Attwood  

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