At work today I was doing my thing, working away on a little project I was given. A Sgt came up to my work area and ask me to follow him. I didn’t quite know what was going on. So I just followed him.
A few inmates that saw me get pulled up by the Sgt stopped what they were doing and just watched me leave the area. Probably wondering the same thing I was. What did I do, and where was I going?
Getting escorted anywhere by surprise is never a good thing in the joint. Your mind starts to race, what could this be about and how much trouble am I in. What did I do in the past few days that could warrant this. I am pretty sure I am good, but this just is not feeling right.
We leave the factory and nothing has been said to me yet. We meet up with another CO and the Sgt says, “He’s all yours.” Here’s my opening to ask what’s up. ” What’s going on man?” He turns to me and responds with, ” We’re going to property. After you Bailey”. I thought to myself. That was alot of help.
We get to property and I am finally told what’s happening. I am about to go on a Med trip.
Ah man that’s a relief. I thought I was going to the hole. Med trip, that’s fine. The last time I was in a car was in 2014. I wonder where I am going. Then it hits me, I am going to get an MRI on my left knee.
This is something I have been trying to get for a few years and have always been denied. With several years of complaining, guess its finally happening.
I strip down and put on a bright orange jump suit and get cuffed from the waist to my feet.
The waist chain and cuffs aren’t so bad. They try not to sinch ’em down to tight. They work with ya so its not painful.
However, I hate the leg irons. It really only gives you about 13″ to take a step. So you end up finding the end of your stride sooner than you’d expect. When you do they dig into your ankles at every step no matter how loose they are. Your walk sorta turns into a shuffle.
But thats what I signed up for when I pulled that gun out 14 years ago.
Off we went in the car to the Hospital to get the MRI.
Getting in the back seat of that car is no different than a regular police car. Its a very small backseat. With all the plexi glass and round bar making up the cage.
There is hardly enough room for my feet on the floor. So to be more comfortable, I’ll slouch a little, spread my legs and raise my knees up and rest them on the sheet metal in front of me. My feet are now just dangling there. Which is the better of the two choices.
The seat is hard plastic and formed to fit someone with their hands cuffed behind thier back. But mine are at my sides with a waist chain. So that doesent really help my situation. Just another thing to irritate you.
The ride was a bit weird too. From all the gadgets on the dashboard to look at, to the TV like sceen sitting right on top of the dash with all sorts of icons on it. I thought to myself, what does all that do?
I looked out the window at all the houses and trees going by. We’re out in he sticks, so theres alot of nature to look at. It was calming in a way. The officers had some classic rock playing too. I was kinda happy to be out on a car ride.
As we pulled up into the parking lot of the Greys Harbor Imaging building. We drove around the side and parked. I had never been here before so I didn’t know where to go when I got out of the car. I just waited for him to point and I went that way.
It felt weird without barbed wire on all sides of me. It was like something was wrong, like I was doing something bad or breaking some kind of rule. Something was off.
I had two feelings, but one out weighed the other. One of them was a sense of freedom and serenity. The other one was stronger. It was fear of that freedom.
It being so close and knowing its not mine. It was to much space for me, too open, it was overwhelming. I felt safer locked up in the cruiser. I can’t mess up if I am caged up.
I just played it off, put on my big boy face on and started shuffling my feet toward the door and going inside. I had one officer holding my arm, steadying me so I don’t trip or fall over and the other armed officer just a few steps behind.
I approach some big power glass sliding doors, like you would see going into a super market. They slide open. As I step through and walk inside I see someone sitting in a chair waiting for something. I nod my head in their direction as to say hello. All I got back was a blank stare.
I am lead to a door and stop. The officer that was following says something to a nurse. Then the door opens from the inside and we are told to sit in some chairs at the end of the hall.
I’m waiting for a few minutes and a nurse shows up with some papers for me to sign. She looks nervous, glancing back and forth at each officer then at me. As she goes to hand me the clip board one of the officers says in a quick sharp tone, ” watch him, be carful.” She stops and jerks back real quick and looks at the officer. I say ” Don’t scare her like that, I’m not going to hurt noone.” He just chuckles a little. She laughs too and hands me the clipboard.
I think to myself, its hard enough on me being here like this. In this orange jump suit and chains. And with her, probably thinking the worst about me and being a little scared too. When she gets the papers back she leaves. We never saw her again.
A few minutes later a guy nurse shows up to tell me what’s going on and how this is going to work. During this this time the officer is taking off my shackles and replacing them with big zip ties.
I follow the male nurse into the MRI room. I’ve never seen one of these things before. He explains some more stuff to me and gets me on the table. Sets me up and I get slid right in the machine.
It wasn’t that bad. A little loud, however I did happen to fall asleep in it. It took over an hour to complete. I was really surprised on how relaxed I got. It was a nice little nap.
When it was done I was recuffed and shuffled my way out the front door. I saw a few more people this time, no one said anything to me. I just got a bunch of blank stares. They stared at me like I was a Sasquatch sighting.
The time it took seemed so much faster coming back.
And then the trip was over. Back in my comfort zone behind the razor wire. Why it feels better in here rather than out there, I haven’t figured that out yet.
But putting my jeans, sweatshirt and shoes back on. Walking back down the breezeway to my unit. Back to the stale smell, the kaos of people and my 9×11 cell, I feel at home. As messed up as that sounds, its true.