Clinic Politics - Health Care/Diabetic

The four pillars to good diabetic health are: diet, wholesome food, exercise, and monitoring of your diabetic status. I found out in 2003 that I am a Type II diabetic as I literally peed out sugar water. At times, my sugar level can be high or low, sometimes within the same day, expressing itself by making me lightheaded, faint, or giving me headaches. Due to injury to my hip and back, I was unable to walk down to Medical for a few days and I missed my diabetic treatment. When my hip and back healed enough to walk back down to the clinic, the nurse who runs the diabetic checks convinced the doctor to stop my diabetic morning treatment. I heard she said it was too much work. All the nurse does is hand over the finger stick and record the findings. How hard can that be?

Over the years here, I have met a couple nurses who had over 20 years experience inside prisons and in the outside world. Both nurses quit because they said they were not able to nurse, to do their jobs as best they can, because of the clinic politics. Both nurses retired or moved on to outside jobs. One shared with me, with tears in her eyes, the frustration of trying to do their jobs and be real nurses. The real nurses are not with the politics.

We are stuck here in prison with some nurses and doctors who do treatment on paper and in quotas and not according to any medical oaths as doctors and nurses in health care. Why be in health care anywhere if you don’t care?

I have observed that many nurses here at New Folsom just want to do the least amount of work as possible. They complain that diabetic treatment takes up too much time. Sadly, some nurses and doctors are here just for the big money and are not concerned about patients anymore than slavers were concerned about the education of slaves.

To make their jobs easier, some nurses will do anything not to call a prisoner down to the clinic to tend to the prisoner’s health. This is in order not to appear weak or to show genuine concern for a prisoner’s health. Some nurses’ and doctors’ main concerns are custody issues and not the health of prisoners. So why are they in health care?

Prison doctors and nurses have no real checks and balances, except other nurses and doctors who are questionable themselves. There used to be healthy diabetic trays back in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and part of the ‘90s. But they stopped the diet dishes to redirect that money toward the health care practitioners who barely do their jobs. Nurses and doctors who try to impress custody with how bad nasty they can treat prisoners, or to get out of treating us at all.

As diabetics here at New Folsom, we are only given the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner as non-diabetics. We have been advised not to consume most of the food on the trays and what’s left does not sustain one throughout the entire day.
The health care folks I have among my friends and family contacts in the free world, said I should be getting a special diabetic diet. And my sugar levels should be checked each day. I should be getting supplements to lower or raise my sugar levels as needed. None of this happens.

© Spoon Jackson
First published in SJRA Advocate September issue 2012
Reprinted with permission of Barbara Brooks, SJRA Advocate monthly prison newsletter.

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