I’ve been on blood pressure meds since I’ve been in prison. My hypertension didn’t start here, however it became most managed here. When I was 29 years old, 160 pounds, and in the shape of my life while serving in Iraq, I had hypertension. My mother died of a stroke when she was 60 and my dad had hypertension since I was old enough to remember such medical issues. High blood pressure is in, well, my blood. As such, I get an annual prescription to the medication to control it that I can refill monthly in a process that doesn’t have a reciept and every year, they change the rules ever so slightly on how to renew an annual prescription to get more.

If you called your local pharmacist for refills and the prescription is expired, he’d simply direct you to your provider. You call the provider, he calls your pharmacy, the order is renewed in 20 minutes and you can find all that out from the pharmacy in an extremely timely fashion. Not here in this prison. I have to submit my request on paper and hope it gets sorted by an overworked nursing staff and makes it to the desk of one of the high-turnover providers that have grown jaded by bureaucratic medicine within the next couple of days. Then I have to wait three more days to find out if it did. If it didn’t, I wait another three more to see if it still might show up. And if the prescription is expired (which they do show you, but then change the rules on when you should request), you have to submit more paperwork, wait a day or two to have that go through, then wait three more days for the medication to show up, keeping in mind that the providers and the pharmacy are connected. There is no receipt process, so all the while you guess as to whether or not the request went through or the medication is coming and there are only select times of the day to check. Got a job and can’t bop on down at one of those select times during the day? Good luck…

Wouldn’t it be nice to phone the pharmacist and in 20 minutes have the health sustaining medications needed? And I’m on maintenance medications… God forbid I run out waiting for the unreciepted, paperwork shuffled, bureaucratic machine to come through. I’m quite sure that the American Medical Association frowns on stopping hypertension (or any other) meds cold turkey while waiting. But, I’m grateful for the medications, regardless of the timeframe they come in. And if you find horror in that, I won’t mention what it takes to be diagnosed in prison with life threatening diseases like cancer… those patients, those human beings, they are my heroes…

by Rory Andes

Our healthcare is “free” in prison, but we may very well pay with our lives…

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272