Medical Care for a child Molester
[In June of 2003, Bee developed an ingrown toenail. While he followed proper procedures for being treated at the prison, his toe was not properly treated and it became infected. We became so alarmed, that we insisted his lawyers do something about getting him sent out for treatment. The following letter is his account of what happened.
Finally, he was sent to Shattuck Hospital where his toe was seen by a decent doctor who removed most of the nail and put him on a heavy regimen of antibiotics. The doctor couldn't do all of the nail, because part of his toe was too severely infected and the doctor felt the infection should be cleared up before the job was finished. We are hopeful that Bee will be seen by a podiatrist next week. (This was written on 7/10/03.)
Bee has a great many medical horror stories from his 19 years in prison.]
I’m not sure if you know how I have been having a very trying last couple of months. Not only have I been fighting off this sadness – one day up, four days down – I have also been fighting with the doctor here to receive treatment on my toe infection. It started a month ago as just this little thing that turned into this big mess that has left me very shaken. I have always tried to live above my circumstances by being polite, kind, and considerate even when I have not been treated in kind. Now because of the lack of treatment of my toe, I have once again been put in my place by the powers that be.
I have been punished for just asking to be treated fairly. My lawyers complained and because of all the noise we made, I was sent to a maximum prison on Saturday night [June 28] because now my foot was getting infected. I was being sent out to get an I.V. of antibiotics. I was not sent to the hospital that is just ten minutes away. Instead I was driven two and a half hours away in leg and hand cuffs. When I arrived, I was stripped of all my clothing and put in a cell with just a blanket and a sheet. That might my toe was never looked at.
About an hour later I was asked by a nurse to take four times the meds that I was taking already. I have a very sensitive stomach and I had not eaten since 1:00 p.m. I asked if I could please have something to eat. I was told no. I then politely declined to take the medicine. The officer that was with the nurse said, “You better take it.” The nurse said, “He is right. This should be taken on a full stomach.” He then said, with a very nasty look, “I guess I could find something.”
About 20 minutes later he came back with a bowl of cereal and milk. I thought, maybe I was reading this whole thing wrong – the officer, the trip. I thought, this wasn’t going to be that bad. It was a nice gesture considering he was the one who told me no. As he handed it to me through the tiny food slot, he said, “I can’t find you a spoon. Just put your face in the bowl and eat it like an animal.”
Why must people be so cold, I asked myself. The officer had that look that said he could me much worse of a man given the chance. I’ve seen that same look before in inmates and officers. You know it can only get worse and anything will set them off. I’m feeling very uncomfortable; my stomach turns not from sickness but from fear. My personal warning system. I wanted so badly to give him back that cereal and milk but my hunger, his look, my warning system and the thought of the pain my stomach would go through without food because of the meds.
I took the pills, sat in the dark, and put a few Rice Crispies in my mouth with my fingers and sipped the milk while the tears ran down my face. I was feeling so bad at that moment. I was scared and I felt so very alone. It’s so very hard to handle when they try to take away your dignity. In a very sad way, I kind of understand this treatment. For when others first see me, I’m OK. Then my file is opened and all that’s seen is, “child molester.” This is so hard to take, for I never hurt anyone in my life. But no one in this world cares. If the file says it, it’s true. I’m considered the lowest life form and I will be treated as such.
I stay awake most of the night, sitting on my bed, forgetting the pain in my toe only because my heart seems to be hurting more. When the sheet would touch my toe, I would be reminded of its condition. It’s funny how much a man’s mind thinks of when there’s no lights and he’s all alone with nothing to hear but his own heart beating. Thinking every beat it makes is life slipping away from me. Some of your worst fears and your worst memories have a way of visiting you. To survive you have to lock away all the bad that has been done to you in order to keep living in this prison world. When you’re alone in the dark you revisit some of your worst memories.
I was awakened by the sound of my door being opened and seeing three of the most unfriendly faces. I’m still thinking, Why is everyone so mad at me here? It only takes a second to figure it out – that damn file! The doctor rips off the Band-Aid that I was wearing, which is now dried and crusty with pus. It shot such a pain through my whole body. I don’t know what the doctor did, but now my toe is bleeding for the first time. The doctor poured peroxide on my toe. He then started to rub and wipe away the blood and the foam with such force I was jumping right out of the bed. He yells for me to be still. The doctor kept rubbing and pulling at the infected skin that was now almost covering the whole toe nail from all the swelling. I thought I was going to get physically sick from the pain.
When he was done he said, “In my country this would never have been looked at.” The office said, “That looked like it hurt really bad.” I said, “It’s killing me!” His response was to smile at me, then at the doctor. Let me tell you, there was nothing in that smile that could have been mistaken for friendly. It was a smile that was enjoying my pain. I said nothing. I just wanted them all out of my cell.
I was starting to shake, not knowing what might come next. I sure could not take any more touching of my toe. I could not think of anything to say. The doctor wrapped my toe and said, “You need to toughen up.” Again, I said nothing. My toe was now hurting more than it ever had. It was pounding so badly I wanted to scream out in pain. I wanted to scream out for my Mom. Thank goodness all of them turned to leave.
The day was going by so slow. I had my watch and the seconds seemed like hours. It felt like I had been there for days. I again found my voice and tried to ask the officer if I could please have something to read. I would take anything. I needed to get my mind out of that cell. He replied, “We’ll see, but don’t stand around waiting.” He then laughs and looks down at this thing that at one time was my toe. I asked for toothpaste and a shower, and I was given nothing while I could see others getting the things I asked for.
I was so lonely and sad. When I looked out the window, it felt like the weather was in tune with my mood, for it was dark, gloomy, and pouring rain. As I stood looking out the window I realized how truly sad I am as a person and how just under the surface of my exterior I’m so close to the edge. Nineteen years on October 5. You would think I would have this doing-time thing down. The truth is, the years have made me feel weaker. Too many scars on my soul, each one cutting deeper into my being of who I am. I haven’t felt this bad in a long time. This trip has done a toll on me mentally. How much trauma can one man stand in his life before he just folds his hand?
The thing is, when you’re feeling bad, have you ever noticed how you find everything wrong with your surroundings? My typewriter is in need of repair; my TV is on its last leg. My hot pot only works when it wants to. Even something like having holes in your socks can bring you to tears. At the same time, you don’t even care.
My Mom showed me how to be strong, never to give up. She tells me the truth will come out. I promised her I never will quit. I just hope I will be that same person, not allowing all that has happened to me to change the core of who I am. I have been fighting for her, for my family, for Bob and Jim, for you, for the truth, for myself, and for everyone who has stood behind me. Truth be told, I don’t think I could have made it this far without the strength of others in my life. Some days receiving a letter is the only good thing that happens all day.
I’m sorry for going on and on. I just needed someone to talk to. I guess it’s just the month I’m having. I’m tired. I hope some rest will do me good. Thank you for being my friend and thank you for the strength you give me.