When is enough, enough? By John W. Campbell
Physically, I've always been healthy. An active person, no idle time, when I was a free man. Working and taking care of my small family.
Now, After ten years in a small single man cell, Isolated, confined, and as the years tic by, my health flees like the breath I have exhausted from my body. Living in a fear based environment, with an impending death sentences, at 46, My hair is silver, which happen in ONE YEAR at UCI. The stress and "fear based dictatorship" is slowly eating my soul. Seek medical assistance? Sounds logical enough. Seek mental health council? Sounds reasonable.
Yet, I have seen the pain, grief, and suffering it can cost an inmate on death row to get the help one needs. Personally, I have refused medical assistance of any kind, including annual check ups, for years. Why? We will return to that subject. I speak from first hand experience. What I have witnessed and been through. Recently, I have been forced to ask for help. There's a nurse here that seem to have empathy and a genuine concern for the wellbeing of all people. So, I put in a sick call slip, based off my recent health related issues. (Diabetics Symptoms) It took over a week to see the nurse, two weeks for blood work and urine. Not sure how long it will take for results. However, My confidence in the medical system, for death row inmates was on the raise... This one nurse has a memory that any genius would envy.
A true gift. Now, I learn she is being moved to another area of the prison, Her repalcement and/or fill in, give the diabetic next to me the wrong medication.Causing major medical problems that the CO witnessed and addressed with this nurse, Well, This replacement / fill in nurse said, It would be "inappropriate" for her to check his blood sugar.... WTF? Is not this her job? Come to find out this man was transfered to an outside hospital. I've only heard rumors it's his heart. All I know, is he is still in the hospital. The officer on that shift showed real concern and did his job. Yet, Will his story change? Will he lie, to save his job? Who knows. He is the one that told us what the fill in nurse said. He is the one that got another nurse to address the medical emergency. The second nurse did an outstanding job. However, When is enough, enough? Life on death row is stressful enough. With the nonstop fear of a surprise cell inspection. We inmates do OK, we get by, as best we can. Doing what's best to look out for one another. Including medical needs. This man, now in the hospital, helped me see how serious my symptoms where. How ones diet can and will harm a diabetic. The food we are served is toxic to a diabetic. Yet, We get by....until one incompetent nurse gives someone the wrong dosage, the medication meant to save us, can kill us. Now, as I await the results of my blood work, I fear the outcome and each time I eat. Fear of the food, the outcome of my blood work, all my medical needs. I'm at my wits end. Yet, I live to see another day. My biggest problem is....I understand my life is limited and I will be executed one day for my crimes, but the punishment is death, NOT the time spent before my sentence is carried out. There's a big difference. How can one live in these conditions? The rules changes from officer to officer. All I want is the chance. A chance to seek medical help without fear of the caregivers. Mental health is another area that needs addressed. The stigma placed upon you if you asks for help in a stressful time is not worth the grief and pain. I sought help and was respectedly asked two question, Am I a danger to myself or others. That's it. Let's skip over the stress and pain of lost loved ones, or the depression and sadness of living without loved ones or support for many years. So, I was forced to face my fears, deal with the pain, stress, and loneliness. As best I can alone.
Yes, I'm going to be OK. I've lived this long.
All the best.
John W. Campbell
This is a copy righted piece which has been written for the FCADP and shall not be reproduced without the written consent of the author. ®