Prison Nursing Staff Ridiculed Me For Being in Pain

This is one of many reasons why inmates don’t get medical care.

Damian Delune

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Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

My wife will be the first person to tell you, that when it comes to getting medical care, I’m probably the most stubborn person there is. I lived with gallstones for around three years before I finally had no choice other than to get my gallbladder removed. When the surgeon got in there, he found that my gallbladder was folded around my liver, and necrotic. Oops.

Since I’ve been here I have not gotten much better about going to the doctor in a timely manner. Mostly because I learned early on there was no reason to get in a hurry about being seen, but also, the quality of care isn’t anything to write home about.

I was working out in my room last week and slipped in my sweat. In an attempt to keep from hitting my head on my bed, I reached out and instead, hit my hand pretty hard on it. I have broken my hand enough times in the past to know when it’s broken and was pretty sure almost instantly that’s what I’d done.

Instead of going to medical, I asked my friend B for an ace bandage.

The next day, the swelling was much worse and I knew I needed to go to medical. I couldn’t close my hand and anytime something touched it, the pain was off the charts. There has only been one other time in my life where pain made me nauseous — when I had a kidney stone. The pain I was feeling due to this injury was literally making me sick, so I put in a sick call.

When I got to medical, there were two nurses on duty. One is kind and helpful and the other is the complete opposite. Of course, I ended up with the latter. She asked what happened and I explained the situation.

Nurse: “If it hurts so much, why did you wait to come to medical?”
Me: “I had access to an ace bandage and hoped it would get better.”
Nurse: “Sounds like you’re just being a sissy about it and want meds.”
Me: “I’m literally sick over the pain. I’m not asking for medication, I’m asking for treatment.”
Nurse: “What do you want me to do?”
Me: “Treat my hand.”
Nurse: “It’s not broken, if anything it’s probably a sprain.”

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Damian Delune

Incarcerated writer sharing real stories about life on the inside, through my wife, Demeter Delune (editor, publisher, promoter, responder)