Monday, August 27, 2007

Visiting Montell at Dixon-August 22, 2007

When I arrived at Dixon and was escorted to the infirmary, I found Montell in the 'waiting room' (actually a laundry room with a washing machine, dryer and dirty and clean linens). I had a two-hour visit with him. He was basically non-verbal. He was sitting in a gerry chair. He was very irritable. He tried to talk. When he talks, he talks with a slur, and it's very hard to understand him. This is frustrating for him, and tears start to well up in his eyes.

He normally has on a thermal shirt with long sleeves. But on this day, he was wearing a v-neck t-shirt. I had to keep covering him with his blanket. With MS, for some reason, you're extremely cold.

I explained to him that I didn't see him the week before (on August 15) because I got a call from the prison telling me that he was coming to the University of Illinois on the 15th for a hospital visit. He's not able to swallow and gets strangled when he's lying flat on his back because his had has to be elevated. He had x-rays of his mouth and throat taken. So I asked Lynne, the medical staff person at Dixon, to inform Montell that I wouldn't be there that Wednesday but the following day, on Thursday, August 16. When I made the trip that Thursday, I was denied a visit. I was told by prison authorities that he didn't want any visitors. So, that trip was for nothing. I didn't even get to see Montell.

But back to this visit.....I explained what happened the previous week and asked if he had received a note from me (via the warden) and he said no. But after that, he was non-verbal. I asked if he got all his meals. He shook his head. I asked if anyone did anything to him (physically abusing him), and he said no. The strangest thing is that he said the warden took the batteries out of his watch. I can't figure that one out. I asked if he was receiving mail, he said yes. There wasn't too much talking going on.

Basically, he just laid there and I tried to spell words out on paper, but this time, I couldn't keep him focussed on what I was doing. Also, I noticed that someone took his regular sized pillows and now he was left with a small airplane sized pillow. I spent most of the time, just talking to him about when he was a little boy. That was about it.

I left the prison in tears. It hurts me to have to go in and see him like that. It just hurts.