Today is the first day that I’ve woken up and not felt the anxiety and despair of the world. I actually woke up happy and feeling renewed. I got news yesterday that the prison is pushing the paperwork for Joe to get a medical furlough and to be sent to a facility in Knoxville, closer to family (me), to get the treatment he needs that the prison cannot provide. I haven’t felt such joy since I got the phone call from the doctor that he was awake. I never even knew I could love another person as much as I love this guy. I thought unconditional love was only meant for parents to love their children. I think it’s because he’s the only person in my life who I have loved as long as I’ve loved my children or maybe it’s because he’s the only person I’ve ever gotten to know mentally 100% before ever knowing him physically and he’s one of my best friends. I won’t attempt to try to explain it because some people will never understand why I would spend so much time on such a lost cause, but I’ve spent so much time and effort on people and things who mean nothing to me, so why wouldn’t I expend my effort on someone that I love? I guess you’re wondering how we got here, since I’ve been M.I.A. for the last two weeks. It went something like this: Joe was in the hospital. He came out of the coma and was sent to the medical prison. He was there for less than 24 hours before he was sent back to the ICU for pneumonia. I went to visit him at the hospital. He was hydrated and hooked up to every kind of monitor to make sure they knew what was going on. Fast forward a week, he was back at the medical prison and I went to visit him and he was dehydrated, he had lost what looked like at least ten pounds. He was a skeleton. He had thrush on his tongue and the most worrisome thing was that he was not hooked up to any monitors. There was not a breathing monitor or a heart monitor. He didn’t even have a button to push in the event of an emergency, not that he is able to push a button right now because is not able to do anything but lay there. When I left, I was terribly shaken up over it and called the “doctor” who is supposed to be monitoring his care. She assured me that they were giving him the “necessary nutrients” and the “necessary care” and that he was being “adequately monitored” and then she assured me that he did not have thrush and they were doing everything to “keep him comfortable” as if they were just waiting for him to die. I didn’t even have the energy to argue with her so I just thanked her for the information and hung up. I cried all the way back to Knoxville not knowing if that would be the last time I would see him alive because they were starving him. So Monday rolled around and I called the doctor back. I was more composed and not at all comfortable with her answers from the day before. She did not like that I was questioning her and was actually really unpleasant to me and accused me of recording our conversation because I was asking for clarification of yesterday’s conversation. After I got off the phone with her, I called the advocacy lawyer to tell her what was happening. She told me she would send an email to the Medical Director or someone with some such title to do an investigation of his care. The basically runs the medical parts of the prisons. She said he would go see Joe and determine if he was, in fact, getting the necessary care. The next day, however, I got a call from the social worker at the prison who informed me that they have started the paperwork to give Joe a medical furlough because he needs more care than they are able to give him. In my head, I’m thinking, “no shit, that’s what I was saying to the good doctor yesterday!” But out loud, I just said, “thank you so much.” And then he said something that made me laugh. He said, “because you are the only one listed on his emergency contact form, it’s clear that Mr. Bennett trusted you to make decisions for him so you are going to be our point of contact through this whole process and you will be the one making all the decisions and knowing everything from this point forward.” Again, I’m thinking, “that’s what I have been trying to tell you guys all along, but the good doctor wanted to act like it was a state secret!” So, the paperwork is started. I have to find a rehab facility out here that will take him. Well, I don’t have to. They said they would find one, but I offered to find one close to me so I can be there daily, which he said would be great if I looked too. So now I’m waiting on the paperwork that he said he was going to email me and I’m trying my hardest not to get my hopes up too high, but it’s hard not to when it’s starting to look like our prayers have been answered.
Also, I have to find another job, but I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow. Today, we celebrate.