Surviving After-Inside the Forbidden Outside-GoFundMe

 

Click on the link below to go to the actual Gofundme campaign page. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/surviving-after-quotinside-the-forbidden-outsidequot&rcid=r01-156113009536-8d936ff586f5470e&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m

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I need help to help someone else. For twelve years I was the only one who cared enough to help this man. It has taken a lot for me to ask for it. But I can’t do what I need to do without it. Here is my story:

The video explains who Jamie Cummings is and the book I am writing, Inside the Forbidden Outside, along with recording a music soundtrack of original piano improvisations for each chapter as well as music videos you can find on Youtube. This music aids the journey just as music accompanies a movie. I may be naive but I can see this story as a Hulu or Netflix series as the chapters go through quite a few prisons he was sent to around Texas. The feedback I have gotten from many people who have experienced even part of what I have written has been overwelming. There have been hundreds of comments.

The book and music take the reader inside Jamie’s head to experience the emotional trauma living quite a number of the 13 years inside a solitary cell in adseg, administrative segregation, a fancy word for solitary where he spent most of the years. I am 2/3 through the second draft as I have finetuned the story. You can read chapters at mynameisjame.net .

The music soundtrack makes this book unique. You can stream it at sonniquick.net  The book cover is done and is at the beginning of of every post at the blog that is a chapter. I also opened an online store to make money, but it is new and it takes awhile to cultivate a customer base. It is only for the continental US so far.  You can see it at Watch and Whirl Shop

This story needs to be told. It isn’t unique. It is the story of many people locked up who couldn’t afford an attorney. I wanted this to be complete before he got out, but he was unexpectedly paroled 2 weeks ago and had to go stay with family who had done little for him through the years. The proceeds from the book will help him be able to start his life. 36 years old with the life experiences of a teenager.

It tells the story of what severe deprivation can do to a human being. It goes through medical crises in prison caused by inadequate medical care and having epilepsy. You can feel the depth of his depression at not being able to see his only child, born after he was incarcerated, and his loneliness waiting for someone to visit who rarely came.

No one would take his son to see him. He was afraid he would hate him because he was locked up. I went to Texas every couple years, but I couldn’t go enough. So we wrote many hundreds of letters, his diary of sorts. As I near completion I have no way to pay a professional editor to look it over.

I can’t let him down. I promised I’d be there – to help him get an education, help guide him, help him find a way to survive. To help write the sequel, have him help with the business end, get him a computer and teach him how to make money online, and learn how to help others. He is the father of my grandson. He is family more than most of my own family. We have been there for each others through letters and they would break your heart.

I am on disability and have been recently fighting cancer – again. The video you saw was made early this year before I started treatment again. I have been unable to get to Texas to see him since 10/17. I have been determined to finish the book, but I have read too many self-edited books to take a chance with its success because I couldn’t see something wrong.

A couple months ago I went online to the TDCJ website – Texas Department of Criminal Justice – and found out he was approved for parole. They hadn’t even told him. 2 weeks ago he walked out the doors, with an ankle monitor. There was no one there to meet him. I had known no one would be there for him. I wanted so much to be there but it happened so fast I couldn’t. He was parole to the outside without any preparation. He made his way by bus to his brother’s house who had only visited him once in ten years.

The money I want to raise isn’t for me. I have tried to do this on my own.  A friend recommended I try this site to raise the money.  I want to go to Texas to go over the manuscript with him. He needs a laptop to work with me as I write the last chapters before editing. I have 70,000 words. I estimate it will end at 95,000 words. Writing through the years I am at 2012. It ends at 2016. The sequel picks up from there and goes through re-entry and all of its issues.

Thank you for any help you can give. I make this promise. The names of every single person who helps will be listed in the book. With any donation of $15 I will send you a free ebook and music when it is published and with $25 or more I will send you a signed copy of the book and downloadable copy of the album. I will give anyone who asks, a record of how the money was spent.

 

Jamie’s Parole, the Book, and Watch and Whirl

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As I insert this photo of Jamie I thought of how nice it would be to have new pictures. This is from my last visit October 2017.

My Apologies For Disappearing Lately

The last six weeks or so I haven’t posted much. Before that I spent more time writing the book instead of blog posts so most posts were chapters or music. Life got complicated and I’ve needed 36 hours a day to stay on top of it. In addition I’m going through radiation on my head for another bout of cancer. But since this blog is for Jamie I will begin with the most important news. Jamie’s parole news.

Jamie was approved for parole. I found out online before he found out. I received a letter asking me to check on the parole hearing he had LAST AUGUST, because no one would tell him anything. I’ve been in high gear ever since.

I was doubtful about him getting parole because he had nothing to work with. No trade, still in agseg and no certificates to show he had done anything to improve himself – because the prison wouldn’t let him.

There are different kinds of parole, different levels of releases, which was new info for me. It depends on the crime, or if it was for drugs and even if he had been a user, because they don’t want ex-inmates to hook up with the same people again. There are plenty of ways to get drugs in prison so if you’re an addict you don’t have to get clean. But drugs were not Jamie’s thing and he didn’t go near it inside. There are also different kinds of supervision if you are paroled, and how often you have to see a parole officer. There are also fines you might need to pay.

Parole isn’t cheap. You have to pay your parole officer each time you go. I don’t know if rules are different in each state, but I’d guess they are since everything else about incarceration is different. No prison is ever fun, but some states are REALLY not a state you want to be incarcerated in.

Jamie’s classification is Fl-1. I think it goes up to Fl-7. I contacted the women in a Facebook group called, “Loved ones in Allred Unit”, to see if anyone could answer my questions about parole. They said it would probably get a date in 1-3 months. On Facebook, some of the large prisons have groups so wives, mothers and girlfriends (and the occasional man) can communicate about what is happening at a particular prison – lockdowns, visits and even weddings. They share photos of their loved ones and often just need to talk and share their worry when they haven’t heard from someone inside. Often they are new to the prison system and have questions.

There is also a group for those incarcerated anywhere in Texas, “Loved ones in TDCJ. ” Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Allred Unit is the largest prison in Texas so there are enough people to keep a group going. Even when Jamie was moved to Hughes Unit last year for a program that really accomplished nothing, I maintained contact in the Allred group because they know who Jamie is.

Fl-1 means they have to investigate if he can survive on the outside. They contact family and make sure he has support on the outside. They don’t approve you and set you out the doors. You are moved to a “pre-release” prison where they have resources and try to prepare you – a step – down program. I am still learning what happens next. They have to make sure he has an address to parole to; family or a halfway house. Will he have a job? He had been on disability for epilepsy. Can he reapply? How does he get his epilepsy meds? He has no work history. He doesn’t even have a GED because the prison wouldn’t raise him to a classification that would allow him to take any kind of classes.

Jamie’s family haven’t helped him during these years except at the very beginning, so I wonder what they’ll do when the novelty of his release wears off. Paying his way will take even more money now. What kind of job could he get that would enable him to pay rent IF a landlord would rent to him. He will go to his brothers house who has wife and two very young children. Will his brother begrudge the time and effort support him long enough?? He wouldn’t visit him in prison.

In January of this year his brother visited him for the first time in TEN years. When I tried to convince him to visit a few years ago his response was, “Its not my fault he’s in there.” Excuse me?? Is that a reason? Ten years? Maybe it will be okay, but that attitude doesn’t make me confident. All these years his family knew I was taking care of what Jamie needed and not once did anyone say, “I’ll pay his medical fee this year,”or “I’ll buy his food box this quarter” or put money in his account, even for hygiene. Yes, I have doubts about how this will work out. They can’t pretend they were there for him. How long will his brother and wife be tolerant of Jamie being around – feeding him, buying clothing, driving him places. His brother wouldn’t help him buy a stick of deodorant at the commissary so supporting him until he gets on his feet might be more than he is willing to do. That worries me.

So I’m asking for help from anyone who will.

I wanted to be better prepared. I wanted the book to be published. I understand better what it will take to promote it. I wanted to be father along.

watchandwhirlShop

watchandwhirl.ecwid.com 

ebay.com/str/watchandwhirlshop

On Facebook, just search Watch and Whirl. I don’t have a Url yet. I am also going to be turning my WordPress blog into a business site and put the site there, too.

A few months ago I opened an online e-commerce store in three locations, selling a variety of items from things for your home, nautical furnishings, musical items, jewelry and more. I’m choosy. Some online stores have thousands of items hoping to sell a few, but I only add items I like if have in my own home.

I opened these stores because I am on disability and need to pay a story editor to go over my book manuscript for “Inside the Forbidden Outside.” I also need a line editor. I have worked for four years writing and rewritingas I have learned how to write (and still learning). There are hundreds of letters strewn across half of my bed as I cross check what happened over the years with my letters that are on file online at JPay.com which is how I “email” letters to Jamie. It takes both his letters and mine to piece together his story.

In addition, there is the music I have recorded to go with each chapter. I spent four hours today working on a new recording. This is a much longer process than sitting down and writing just the book. Although I have used fiction to piece the story together, the events that happen in the book did happen. I did have to create some of the dialogue, especially in the dream sequences I use instead of printing parts of letters.

The amount of time I have put into this, if I did a crappy job during the editing phase it would put it all in jeopardy. But I’m on disability. My age and health doesn’t allow me the luxury of working an outside job.  Writing Jamie’s story has given me a reason to keep going. It has been my purpose. We have much to do when he gets out, including writing the sequel – from 2016 until.. . . now and through reentry.

I opened a store. I’ve written about it already – Watch and Whirl – at three locations, because I desperately need to make money. My disability check doesn’t cut the mustard. I have an online location, and a store on Facebook and eBay, which also has auctions.

I had no idea how many hours it was going to take each day, or what I was going to have to learn to make it work. I’m still learning. I also don’t have the advertising budget that is needed to put out Facebook ads, which has the #1 spot for marketing businesses online.

Yes, I’ve been having some sales success, but not enough to cover the overhead I have accrued with even the monthly fees of being in business. And trying to work on finishing up the book, writing music and taking care of 2 blogs – well, there are only so many hours in each day.

So those who know what I do – and some of you have followed me for 5 years – go take a look at my store. Maybe it will be of interest. Maybe it won’t. It continues to grow and change. All of this is to help Jamie. Now that he is being paroled, the pressure to make it come together is real.

I can’t sell internationally yet, but you could share my store on Facebook on your social media pages. It is all about people sharing.

In the meantime, I have a PayPal account. If you could send even a couple dollars to help, go to paypal.com and send it to the email address set up for him: squick@mynameisjamie.net

Jamie Made Parole!!!

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I found out today that it was approved on April 21st!  I don’t have any other information. I don’t know if he a step down process to go through or how long it takes. I just know that it will soon be over.

I received a letter from him a few days ago asking me try and check on his status because they wouldn’t talk to him. I don’t even know if he knows.

It’s been so long!

Watch and Whirl – my New E-Commerce Store

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Watch and Whirl is at Facebook and watchandwhirl.ecwid.com

I’ve entered into e-commerce as a way help Jamie. I need to raise the money to edit and publish my book “Inside The Forbidden Outside”, finish the music and polish it up with a sound engineer in an actual studio instead of a program connected to my piano. I’m not an engineer. I also need to visit with him and be there when he is released.  when will that be? I don’t know. He has 3 1/2 years to go. He could get paroled.  There needs to be  survival after parole. If I can “hire” him to work these businesses with me, while we write the sequel he will have a greater chance of parole. He needs an income. He needs to be able to rent an apartment.

It took a major leap of faith to do this and be convinced of its success. A store takes an enormous amount of time, focus and determination to get going, especially when you start with zero customers and a empty advertising budget. I already spend umpteen hours a day on my writing, music and videos and primitive them on social media, so that is suffering – temporarily. I need your help. if you are reading this I REALLY NEED YOUR Help. I know what it took when I had a retail store in Key west that I worked for nearly 10 years

Share this on your social media – Share this on your blog. Everywhere I read, tapping into people you are connected to is the best source to promote anything you are doing. And it’s free. I live on a disability check. Helping Jamie with food and a little money has to also come out of this. This book needs to sell so I need to be smart about what I do from here on.

MY NEW ECWID STORE : WATCH AND WHIRL

Here are a few pictures to show you what I have. Click on the pictures at the store to get information on them. These are a few examples from different catalogues. Each item is greatly discounted and you can see those prices on the site.

banker desk lamp
Tiffany Style Banker’s Lamp – $69
flower rug
Fun Rug 38″ x 58″ $88
rc helicopter
Remote Control Helicopter $14.95
juicy coulture perfume
Juicy Couture Eau de Parfume Spray 3.4 oz $5,90

This store will soon be on WordPress as well. I will be converting my watchandwhirl.com blog to a business blog. The blog will still be there but there will be an added shop. That page will also have same main photo to represent the store as you see above – the same one at the Facebook shop and the Ecwid shop. Eventually it will be an eBay shop, Shopify and Amazon, too. I will then start a stand alone shop of all music equipment and assessories.

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You can also find the store at Facebook by putting “Watch and Whirl” in the search bar, or you might see it at my personal page : facebook.com/sonni.quick. The store is listed under pages I manage. also when you find me – put in a friend request.

Most of all I’d like you to go to the Facebook store – Watch and Whirl – because there you can “like” and “follow” and share it.

If you know anything about Facebook advertising, they determine who can see my posts organically by how many likes and follows it has – as well as comments.
Creating a following that way means I don’t have to pay out the ying yang to buy Facebook ads. Google ads are another issue – very expensive. SO I have to begin to have sales  by people sharing my stores with their friends and social media. It takes a lot of time and effort.

It has taken 4 1/2 years to build up my page for “My name is Jamie. Life in Prison” – Facebook.com/jamielifeinprison – where I put blog posts, MUSIC, ITFO NEWS ( Please subscribe), and articles on criminal justice.

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ANYWAY. . . this is how I got here. I read an ad somewhere about starting an online store for $47. I clicked on it because the number 47 plays a big part in my life – a subject for another post. It stopped me long enough to read about it. $47 was just the beginning. I talked with a man who made it sound easy and they would give me all the instruction I needed – and they have. I have spent 6 weeks learning, reading, watching videos about what to do and funneling money into getting it started. everything has a monthly fee. Nothing happens for free unless you have a rich, well-connected family, which I don’t.

Long story short – I took advantage of what they offered. Things come across your path for a reason. But do we have the wisdom to see it? I started researching and learning. I now had a vehicle to build a business one brick at a time – if I had the perseverance to do it. I’m a dedicated work-a-holic so it fits my personality profile.

I now have two stores – plus items at eBay  ( my ID name there is sonniquick – easy to find)  That will become my next store. I need a lot more merchandise and I’m  loading more each day, but they have enough to get started.

E-commerce has grown since I did eBay 18 years ago. It was almost unheard of then. There are so many more platforms and so many more rules. The competition for your attention is fierce. To begin, I will have a store at Ecwid, a store on Facebook and a store on eBay. I  will also put a store on this blog and turn it into a business blog, not just an information one. Today all I can do is put in  a link. I only ask that you take a look. See how I set it up. Do you have any suggestions? Are there products you would buy if they were there?

So many of our connections now are online. Some people I have talked to for years. Now I hope these people who I’ve crossed paths will help me by sharing my posts. Connect with me at my Facebook store. It would be an enormous.

Can you share this on your blog? Could we do an interview post on your blog where I tell you what I’m doing? I would gladly reciprocate and shares yours, too. Leave me a comment.  Tell me what you think.

Thanks – Sonni

Why Our Prison System is Broken

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I was sent this article to read. There are so many misconceptions in the general public about the effect the explosive prison population has had on our communities. Arizona is now 12X what it used to be .Incarceration has increased 60% but the population has only increased 33%.  All this with  lowered felony cases. What is causing it?

This is one state. Numbers would be different elsewhere, but the problem is the same. The business of prison needs to change. It is strangling us.

When you have a state that has more inmates than college students what does that do to the economy? Those who are released often have a hard time getting a job so how can they afford to go to a college that probably would turn them down because they have a felony record. If we want to make America a greater place to live we need to change the way we do business and the prison system would be a great place to start. Click on the link to read the article and support what I do by subscribing to ITFO News monthly newsletter that pops up on the opening screen.

SUBSCRIBE to ITFO NEWS

https://www.fwd.us/news/arizona-imprisonment-crisis-part-1/

While the national prison population has quadrupled

Arizona’s prison population grew by a multiple of 12.

RESEARCH / REPORTS / ARIZONA/ CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Arizona’s Imprisonment Crisis:

The High Price of Prison Growth

Public safety and criminal justice policy is at a crossroads in Arizona. Despite overwhelming evidence that states can safely reduce crime and incarceration through commonsense reforms, Arizona continues to be a national outlier with high imprisonment rates and rising corrections spending.

This is no small matter. Arizona’s imprisonment crisis removes thousands of people from the economy and costs taxpayers more than $1 billion each year — preventing the state from investing in other critical priorities like education, social services for families, and child safety. Despite this steep price, the system does not make Arizona safer. Simply put, the state’s high imprisonment rate is hurting Arizona’s economy, communities, and families.

This report, created using individual-level data on people admitted to Arizona prisons, will be released in three parts throughout the fall of 2018. This first part focuses on the causes of Arizona’s prison population growth and the consequences for Arizona’s economy. The second part reveals how Arizona’s imprisonment crisis affects some communities more than others, and the third part examines the dire consequences for Arizona’s women and families. Experts on corrections data cleaned and analyzed Arizona’s prison data in accordance with national standards. See our methodology for a description of our process and definitions.

Ghosts In my Head

This is new music and poetry for a chapter in the book I’m writing. “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” which has gone through many changes since I began writing. Because it has been so labor intensive I have to believe there is a reason. I have to hope it will help Jamie when be gets out. He has read chapters, but he has heard no music being in prison. There will be so much to hear and read, especially on my other blog, My Name Is Jamie. There will be a video made for this music, too. All chapters will have music – about 50% is recorded, a music video ( 4th one being done) found at Sonni Quick Piano Improv – You Tube channel 

This music is a piece I really enjoyed playing. If I “try” to compose it usually ends up missing something. It doesn’t work. If it hits me in the middle of the night or I have to stop what I’m doing to go play my piano, it comes out and I don’t know where it comes from. Playing these pieces of music, and I can play them only once, feels so good. After that they are gone. I can only listen to the recording of it. The same with any poetry I write and I’m sure other poets understand – I read it for the first time when I’m done.

In the book, which is written from letters, is Jamie’s story, but there is a place when it changes from the written words in the letters to me being real. I don’t want to say anymore about the story, but it is where this title comes from.

You can subscribe to the mailing list for my music stuff by going to  sonniquick.net

“Where did you come from?” I cried
You raised your finger to your lips
and whispered, “No one can hear me
No one but you can see me
I’m a ghost in your head
To keep you company

I know the days are much too long
Use memories your mind creates
For days you don’t feel very strong
Endless time, will it ever end?
Around in circles never straight
Time goes slowly, round the bend

Years are passing, you see your age
Watch the moon all night long
I see your head lay in your hands
Wondering how it went so wrong
You always seem to lose so much
You tell yourself, I don’t understand

You need to reach your hand and touch
Feel the warmth of who is there
It makes you human, a worthy man
Even though no one’s left and no one cared
“But you,” you say “Here you stand”
“I could touch you,” and reach out your hand

How do I know you won’t disappear?
You kept me going, when I lost my way
I felt only anger, in my head there was fear
I couldn’t think there’d be hope someday
I wanted to tear these walls apart
I wanted to scream but no one would hear

You kept me sane. You fed me words
There is a reason for all of this
“Be patient,” you said, then I heard
“Imagine a life only you can see
There are ghosts in your head
You can learn to be free”

 

Sonni Quick ©2018

 

itfo newsletter

SUBSCRIBE

Help support Jamie. Share his story. Subscribe to keep up on the progress of the book and to read news about the prison industry. I also print the stories of other inmates that need telling.

Sonni Quicks Piano ImprovYouTube channel of the music soundtrack for Inside The Forbidden Outside. New videos released as they are made. When you subscribe and share, other people have the opportunity to learn about the book being written which will help Jamie start a life when he is released. He needs your help. If you have read his story on the blog you understand why. Thank you.

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Skunk Radio – Indie radio out of London. My personal page

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked from other musicians that can be played. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the worldS

Improv Piano music of Sonni Quick – at Facebook . . . music news and other musicians

Twitter – My Name is Jamie

Watch and Whirl – Sonni Quick.   This is my other blog. An odd assortment of rants and raves on a variety of subjects and music info, too.

 

Prison Art – Hand Drawn Cards

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Prison Art is special. Anytime someone can create any kind of beauty in a world inside a prison it brings hope that that person will make it through okay. I often don’t look very close when someone sends me a store bought card, especially when it is signed with only a name. Why keep it? I know this took time and caring.

I had been sick with an irritating flu bug for several weeks that was hard to shake. Not enough to dive under the covers, but enough to have you dragging through your day.

Jamie has wanted to learn how to make cards for some time. His hand shakes so it is hard to draw a straight line. This is one of talent that can make money inside. Men often want cards made that fit in a long envelope sold in the prison commissary. I don’t know if he is making them for anyone else. A friend who is the support for another man who makes wonderful cards and happens to be in the same prison, sent him drawing books that show you how to make the drawings. Often the drawings that are copied come from children’s coloring books. They have characters that are good to use for birthdays and holidays. I was glad to see him use a creative way to pass time. 

 

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Jamie’s Lost Dream

When I saw this, it was so similar to Jamie’s story. We never know what is going to happen next in our life. It can change in an instant and nothing you say or do can change your life back . Always think of consequences. It might keep you from doing something stupid. Jamie’s son will be 13 in July. They both have missed out on so much.

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Picking Up Broken Pieces – Newest YouTube Video

Sonni Quick

Picking Up Broken Pieces

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This is the newest YouTube video with music for my upcoming book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside. The poem runs across the bottom. You can also read it right here.

It is my plan to put out a new video every two weeks, hoping that by the end of the year all of the pieces to my project will be completed and ready for editing. It has taken me three years to get to this point, having no idea what I was doing when I started. What a learning process. It has taken more determination and dedication than I thought I had.

For example – this video took 63 video clips I had to upload to my computer, after I found the ones I wanted, and then upload them into the software program I am using to make the video. Each video took 7-20 minutes to upload…

View original post 501 more words

Jamie’s Letters on Prison medical Care

Below are Jamie’s letters over the years on bad prison medical care. I wrote this a couple years ago taking excerpts from letters over at least six years.  It is part of the first draft of the book I’m writing.  It has taken me longer than I anticipating because of having to take care of so many other things that need writing – including my music. But when it is done it will all be worth it. When I read this today it reminded me how long Jamie has been dealing with bad medical care at the prisons. I sent him forms to sign to give me POA  and I’m not surprised it didn’t reach him, although it is against the law to mess with mail – even in the prisons. So I resent the forms certified, return receipt. That way I can verify that the prison received it.  They can’t open it unless it is in front of him.  If they stop it from being mailed back then that is an issue I will take up with the warden. There are laws the prisons have to follow.  They can’t make up their own. the problem is – people don’t know how to make them bide by the law.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

JAMIE’S LETTERS

It’s been crazy in here the past few weeks. Well, it’s crazy every day but I try not to pay attention to it.  I do my best to take my days one at a time.  They put me on anti-depression meds because they say something is wrong with me.  I don’t take it because nothing is wrong with me.  I think they want to keep me doped up.   I’ve gone on a few hunger strikes, off and on.  The longest I’ve stayed on one is a week and a half.   I just have those kinds of days.  I don’t want to do this or that.  It causes trouble sometimes.  Oh well, I just have that ‘I don’t care’ feeling at times.

     All of us have been getting into it with the officers. We’ve been without hot water for over a month.  We’re also back on lockdown for 30 days. Once again, the only thing they feed us is peanut butter.  I guess treating us like this is part of the punishment,  But I don’t remember being allowed to starve us was part of the sentence.  No one stops them.  There is no oversight.  The officers do what they want and get away with it.

     On top of everything, an officer slammed my finger in the tray slot on the door – on purpose.  It was a really deep cut.  I made them take me to medical where they took a picture of it.  I had to get an x-ray a few days later because it wouldn’t close. He told the sargent he did it.  He said he didn’t mean to do it because he didn’t see my fingers.  That was a lie.  It wasn’t the first time he had tried to do that.  I told him I wanted to talk to the lieutenant.  This guy is the kind of dude who doesn’t like to be overruled by anyone. 

     The lieutenant told me to tell the officers to call him about moving me to another cell. lt  leaks water from the shower.  One night I fell getting up to use the rest room.  I hurt my ankle and had to go to Medical about that, too.  They are trying to hurt me.  I know they are.  This cell also leaks bad when it rains, and they know it, because an officer told me the dude who was in here before got moved because of it. I’m writing up a grievance on this officer because I feel he is a threat to me.  I also feel he will try to retaliate once he finds out what I’m doing.  To go through this process will take 60-120 days. They make it long to discourage anyone from filing a complaint.  It goes into the guard’s file and keeps them from getting promoted.  Then the guard retaliates and makes life miserable.  Even if the inmates feel threatened it keeps a lot of them from trying to do anything about it.

     I’ve also been getting into it again with these people about my medications. They are trying to give me something and I don’t know what it is. Hell, they don’t even know what it is.  Two different nurses are telling me it is two different medications.  I’ve asked to speak to the doctor, but they won’t let me.  The pills are the same dosage, but they are two different colors.  Not only that, one has powder in the capsule and the other one is a hard pill.  Something is not right about this.  One of the nurses told me Huntsville uses us as lab rats to test medications from pharmaceutical companies.  Since this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that, I stopped taking the ones that I’m not sure what they are.  I’m not going to be a guinea pig.

     Then they put me on a different anti-depressant.  A lot of people in here are taking them. They’ve had me on so many different meds it’s crazy.  I’ve been on about four or five different ones.  Now they have me on Thorazine.  I had to stop taking it.  It makes me dizzy, lightheaded.  I asked once if we could have a book on medications. The doctors are quick to put us on something and not tell us anything about it, except to say, “See if this helps.  If not, put in a sick call.” They are in such a rush to get us out of their office. These meds they put me on?  if it isn’t upsetting my stomach, it gives me terrible headaches.  One had me where I couldn’t use the bathroom.  I’m feeling bad all the time.  I recently had a bad ear infection and all they would give me was a Tylenol.  I laid on my bunk with my head and my ear hurting so bad, but they wouldn’t give me anything to help with the infection. 

     Sonni looked up one of the medications they gave me.  I asked the nurse how to spell it.   It’s a little brown pill.  I had already stopped taking it.  Some medications make you worse. The side effects make you sicker than you already are. That’s why I don’t take something they give me anymore if I don’t know what it is.  If I feel they are giving me too much of my seizure meds I won’t take them.  Too much will hurt me.  I don’t trust them to know what they are doing.  I go by how it makes me feel.

<<< >>>

     The people who work in the medical unit don’t know what the hell they are doing.  I have such a bad pain in my tooth I can’t think straight.  The first doctor I saw told me I had an infection when I told her about my pain.  Then I saw another doctor, and he told me I not only didn’t have an infection, he told me there was nothing was wrong with me!  I asked him if he thought I was lying about my pain because the pain had to be coming from somewhere.  I also told him the other doctor told me I had an infection.  I asked him if that lady was lying, and he said, ” I didn’t say that.”  So I told him that somebody was lying, and I knew it wasn’t me.  I could tell by his face he was mad.  Who gives a shit?  I’m in pain.  He didn’t care about that.  He just wanted to send me back to my cell. He’s here to waste time and get paid.

     The pain kept getting worse.  I had to wait two months before they decided it was okay to take me to a dentist to maybe have my wisdom tooth pulled.   Since they knew it had to be done, making me wait for two months was their way of torturing me.  They wanted me to be in pain.  No matter how many times I told them they ignored me. Later I was told there is a nerve that goes around the ear.  I wasn’t kidding about being in pain.  The dentist who tried to tell me there was nothing wrong with me had to know that or he wasn’t a real dentist.  That wouldn’t surprise me.  I think they only hire medical people who agree to not help people.  I wonder if they even have a license to practice. Maybe this dentist couldn’t get hired anywhere else because he was so bad. 

     The first week of this month I left on something called a medical chain.  I needed  to go to a unit in Huntsville that has a hospital.  It took two days to get there, even though it is only a couple hours away.  It takes that long because they pick up and drop off other inmates to different units along the way.  Texas has over a hundred and ten prisons. Sometimes we ride on a bus they call a Blue Bird, and sometimes we ride in a van.  I’ve ridden on both.  This time the trip was in the van.  It is so damned uncomfortable.  They make the trip as hard on us as possible.  We sit elbow to elbow in the van.  On the bus we are cuffed to someone else.  They pair everyone up.  If we have to relieve ourselves there is a toilet, but if someone has to go, the other one has to go.  So much for privacy if you have to do something other than pee.

     When I finally got to the hospital, I had to wait.  There was others in front of me.   It took two more days of waiting until it was my turn.  Now it’s been four days since we left and the pain was bad.  The gave me Tylenol with codeine and it helped some, but not enough. I’ve had about all I can take.  I wanted to lay down and cry. 

     Before I went in for the surgery they did x-rays.  The photos showed up on the computer so I could see it.  The one I was getting pulled was growing sideways and it was cutting my gums.  It was the top left tooth in the back.  When the dentist saw it he said, “Wow.” I asked what was wrong and he showed me the photo.  You could see all my teeth perfectly. He showed me the bad one, and it was flat!  The word he used was deformed.  He asked if I wanted it removed.  Of course I wanted it removed.  It was killing me.  I couldn’t keep it the way it was.  They don’t allow dentists to put us to sleep, even though this was a lot more than just pulling a tooth.  He was going to have to cut it out.  He was only allowed to numb it.  He was digging at it for two hours.  When he finally got it out, the tooth had four roots!  It came out in five different sized pieces.  All that pulling, pushing and drilling was bad.  I held on, but I almost passed out.  One of the bottom teeth needed work, too.  He had to do a little more cutting. I felt every minute of it.  He had to stop.  I was in so much pain and still am.  It took four days to get back to the unit I’m in.  The hospital gave me Tylenol with codeine during the surgery.  Now that I’m back in my own unit, their best med is Tylenol which isn’t doing much for the pain. 

     I’ve been sleeping a lot to get away from the pain. It hurts like hell to chew or drink because my tongue is swollen. I’m supposed to be on a soft diet, but the doctors here won’t give it to me.  The guards only bring me solid food, which sometimes I can eat and sometimes I can’t.   I try not to give these fools what they want so I just deal with it the best I can.  If the pain becomes too much I’m gonna try the right way first, to get help.  If I don’t get help, there is only one other way.

     On a brighter note, I think of the beautiful the days outside.  I imagine the sun, and taking a walk, and that really sounds good.  In my mind I can meet mom on the hill.  We both will walk until we ache too much.  Its cold down this way, as well.  A jacket would be nice.

<<< >>>

Sept  2012

     The unit is on the second week of lockdown. This is the hardest one I’ve gone through.  I’m hungry.  They are supposed to feed us a hot meal every three days but they do what they want to anyone wearing prison whites.  They feed us  a peanut butter sandwich with only a half spoon of peanut butter.  We are supposed to get a full spoon but on lockdown they only give us a half spoon.  It saves them money. 

     The food they serve is nasty.  They stretch it more by  also adding some really horrible soup or applesauce that makes me gag. I have to eat it or I get nothing.  I’ve heard  it costs $40,000 a year to keep each inmate in prison. Where does the money go?  It sure isn’t spent on food.  Once in a while we get a meat sandwich or cornbread, and sometimes prunes or raisins.  In the morning we get two biscuits with a half spoon of peanut butter or maybe two pancakes.  That’s why I have lost so much weight.  The food is worse when we are on lockdown.

<<< >>>

     It’s hard dealing with this.  It’s 2013 but it could be any year.  Nothing changes. Stress builds up inside me and it hurts. My head wants to explode into a million pieces. I had two more seizures, back to back, because of all the worrying.  I have had so many seizures in here.  Sometimes I feel like I’m being backed into a corner. Stress brings them on.  The people who work in the medical unit don’t know what they are doing. Why are they working here, instead of a real doctor’s office? Maybe it’s the only job they could get.  Everyone is always in a bad mood.  There is never a comforting touch or even a smile.

     I don’t think anyone in here would give a damn if the seizures killed me. If it happened to someone in their own family, they would be rushed to a hospital.  But I don’t matter.  I’m only a convict.

     The scary thing is, I don’t usually have seizures close together. I saw the doctor and she took some blood and said my level of seizure medication was in the toxic range. Did the last doctor give me too much? She took my meds down to a lower dose. It didn’t help, so she put me on a different one. I’m on two different meds. I’m not having the seizures as often but it’s not unusual to still have one or two a week.

     I had another seizure today. When I went to the medical unit I was told my sugar was low, 66. It’s supposed to be between 70-100.  I know I need to see the doctor a lot.  There is nothing I can do about that.  It’s not my fault.  It is the way it is.  Some inmates rarely have to go to medical.  It used to cost $3 to see the doctor or a nurse, but they changed all that. Now it costs $100 a year, whether you see a doctor one time or fifty times.  When I get money they take half until it’s paid.  Next year it starts all over.  Someone who doesn’t have a chronic illness, if he need to see the doctor he probably won’t go.  Sometimes they get sicker and it spreads to other inmates. 

     Some people think we get medical care for free, but that’s not true.  This small amount of money might not seem like much to some people but to me its a lot.  I also wouldn’t call this medical care.  They won’t help so they don’t have to pay for anything.  Even things they can treat they won’t, and it gets worse until people die.  Diabetes, heart disease, cancer.  People die because they are left untreated.  They don’t care. The public doesn’t care.  They think we deserve it.  No one cares if we’re in pain.  They just ignore us.

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