299 | An Empty Feeling

October 14, 2013
Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #299: An Empty Feeling


Dear Family,

I should be concerned. Most of the excitement, anticipation, amusement, and fascination in my life these days centers on my colon. I am fully aware that this is not normal, and the fact that I am not bothered by this should of its own accord concern me. But it does not.

For starters, I don’t have a wide selection of happenings from which to choose my potential object of excitement. I am not easily amused by trivial matters, and though you might think that prison life is truly fascinating, with escape plots, torture chambers, to-the-death car races, or guard vs. inmate football games, those prisons exist only in the theater. And what do I have to anticipate surrounded by concrete slabs and metal doors? For this, I must look inward, performing the deepest kind of introspection only a colonoscopy can provide. Don’t judge me.

The last home video I have of the trip up my colon was from five years ago, and I know that people change in five years. I don’t remember much from that trip except that when I woke up, a beautiful Indian woman was telling me how perfect I am on the inside. I really thought we connected until much later when the effects of the drugs wore off. Excuse me for not being clear why I was handcuffed to a bed until I saw the two armed guards.

For an abundance of caution, I can’t be told exactly what day I’ll get to go on my next road trip. They assume correctly that if told, I would not keep the information to myself but broadcast it to everyone I know. I have yet to discover how they know this about me.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I was placed on the “pill call” list, which is basically a list of guys who have to receive medication every day, usually multiple times a day.

I went to the medical window and stood in line. The guy in front of me was on crutches, barely able to move due to a massively swollen right leg. He was there to pick up a painkiller that had been prescribed to treat the problem. Having essentially told his body that the problem didn’t exist, I’m surprised the prison doctor didn’t also prescribe a blindfold, because the guy could clearly see that the problem still exists.

I was told that I would be having a colonoscopy soon, that they couldn’t say when exactly, but that I needed to keep showing up at pill call three times a day until they gave me the magic solution to flush my system in preparation. I asked the nurse to just give me an idea of when I should actually show up to receive the Roto Rooter juice, and she said I might as well wait until twelfth of October, two weeks away. I thanked her and didn’t bother showing up until Sunday the thirteenth, since I knew the procedure wouldn’t take place until the following day, being that doctor’s offices are closed Sundays.

I was right, and the nurse at the window handed me four “time-release laxative” pills to take immediately and a bottle of drink mix that tasted like I was drinking plastic to take throughout the evening and into the following day.

I dutifully followed all the instructions and dutifully received the expected recompense for my actions. Just as I was beginning to feel the effects of the solution (it should be called the problem, not the solution), all water was shut off in our pod. This was going to be a long and terrible night for both me and my poor cellie, so I pounded on my door and explained in no uncertain terms to my pod officer that I was in a medically-induced cleansing state. The water turned back on and there was peace in the world once more.

By this morning, I was clean as a whistle, inside and out. I got all ready to go, but nothing. By 1:30 today, having cancelled choir practice and wanting to get this thing over with, I had an officer call main medical to find out when they were going to take me. The answer? Next Monday, but don’t tell him. Too late! Now I’m upset. And hungry. Road trip: October 21.