294 | Road Trip

September 9, 2013
Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #294: Road Trip


Dear Family,

I’m always looking for ways to make what would normally be a fairly mundane existence a bit more fun, challenging, or exciting. Since I can’t ride my Wave Runner backwards or go down a double black diamond mogul run on trick skis—neither of which ended with me in an upright condition—I have to be more creative. So, I put in a medical request for a colonoscopy.

With my dad’s history of early colon cancer, doctors recommend his kids begin colonoscopies five years before the age he contracted colon cancer, and to receive one every five years thereafter. My first one was shortly after coming to prison a bit over five years ago.

The procedure isn’t that fun, but the van trip to an outside hospital made the trip worthwhile. I haven’t been in a vehicle since my transfer to this facility over two years ago, so I’ve been looking for any way possible to get myself a ROAD TRIP!

A few visits to our on-site medical facility and consultations with several medical staffers later, I received word that I would be transported to an area hospital soon. (Due to security precautions, I can’t be told the exact date ahead of time. I think they know that my mom would try to be at the hospital, which is a no-no. Or maybe my sister-in-law Katie would park down the street, flashing her car lights at my window, holding up signs, and dancing the girls on the hood of the car like she did when I was waiting in county jail to be transferred to prison. Also a no-no.)

Like waiting for a heart attack, except if you wanted the heart attack, I was ready to be called at any moment. That moment was this morning! I waited in our on-site medical for the transport crew who came and had me change into a spiffy bright orange jumpsuit. Unaware of current Arizona-area fashion trends (or if they even have fashion trends here), I asked if I should wear the collar up or down, and the officer said T-shirts and shorts are in, so leave the collar down. I completed my ensemble with a fabulous heavy-gauge chain and metal bracelets and trendy foot chain that is all the rage, especially if you try running.

Me and my road trip buddies piled into two vans and raced off to the doctor’s office. Ever walk into a waiting room with an armed escort of three people? I smiled and nodded at the good people of Casa Grande as I received priority status to see the doctor. He was a tall, unsmiling, east Indian with a white coat and a maroon tie that went down to his upper thigh, my first glimpse of Casa Grande, Arizona fashion. It would have taken a bit of contortions to get my collar up, so I left it alone.

In response to his questions about my medical history, I mentioned that for the past five years, I have had a bad case of the shackles. He didn’t get it, but my road trip buddies laughed.

After examining (read “tickling”) me in the stomach area, he said I’d come back soon for a colonoscopy. Then, he said a lot of words about if he found polyps they’d remove them, but if it appears cancerous, then some words in a heavy Indian accent would follow. The officers looked at me for a translation, but all I could do was give them a flawless impersonation of him as they escorted me back to our waiting caravan.

I kept them laughing until we drove off, capping off an absolutely perfect road trip: unmarked vans, high-speed chase vehicles, officers with guns, a hospital, invasive questioning, and lots of laughter. Perfect day, even if I did look like a character from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” You gotta sacrifice for fashion.