Today was an interesting journey through the medical care system for inmates here at the USDB. To fully appreciate my trip to the clinic today, I’ll have to give you a brief run down of my medical treatment since my arrival about three months ago.
On the morning after my arrival, I was required to provide a fasting blood draw and urine sample. The fasting blood draw was great because I’d missed dinner the night before due to in-processing requirements and I was starving. The urine sample was even better because they gave me a cup to fill and then never came to pick it up. I eventually discarded it because I didn’t want to keep a sample cup of my own piss in my room for an indeterminate amount of time.
So two weeks ago, I was called down to the clinic to complete my initial physical. The doctor took my blood pressure and did a typical once-over exam. We discussed my lab results which included odd liver functions and high cholesterol. He ordered an additional blood draw to confirm my liver results, but explained that stress and travel can impact this test. Perhaps the day after arrival isn’t the ideal time to draw blood samples from new inmates?
Today I was summoned to the clinic for a tuberculosis skin test. This TB test was followed by another blood pressure test and then a trip to the lab for another blood draw. After talking with the crowd in the clinic, I discovered that I was engaged in the annual birth-month physical that all inmates receive. I managed to escape the blood draw by explaining that this was my second physical this month and I’d already had my blood drawn twice in the past thirty days.
It shouldn’t be too shocking to hear that the medical care provided by a bureaucracy within a bureaucracy within a bureaucracy (USDB – military – federal government) is less than stellar. I suppose what I found so jarring was the juxtaposition of my own unsolicited over-care and the stagnant care of a fellow inmate; while I got two physicals in one month which both included lab-work, a fellow inmate had to wait five hours last week for a guard to decide whether to send him to the hospital for a gash on his head that was gushing blood and required five stitches to close.
I’m just thankful I’m not sick.