Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Day In The Life Of A Prisoner

You might be wondering what the heck one does stuck in one room 24 hours a day. Think of it like prison with visitors. Some prisoners bulk up with handmade weights. I bulk up, mostly around the belly, using nature-made babies. Inmates are allowed to care for their personal hygiene, as am I. In fact, I have finally created a system to shave my legs. Let me be clear. Leg shaving is difficult when you can't actually reach past your knees while standing. It leaves those legs "patchy" to say the least. At home I can sit on the side of the tub and put my leg up and get to my calves that way. At the hospital they only have those tiny stand up showers where it is impossible to keep the water in the shower so you flood the bathroom every darn time you cleanse yourself. Then you have to dry off while standing in the ridiculous pool of water before you can use your towel to mop it all up. Then your feet just feel dirty from wading around in that so you have to wash them in the sink before putting lotion on. Maybe the last part is just me... Anyway, my shaving system. It requires much prep time and many props. I take a chair from the room (it's like a dining chair) and place it right in front of the shower. Then I get down the razor and body wash and put them on the chair. I cannot undress because after this I have to go put the chair away or I can't get into the shower because the bathroom is too small. So, I roll up my pants and get the shower head down (its one of those that is on a hose so you can manipulate it). Sitting in the chair with my legs in the shower I use my left hand t hold the shower head the entire time so it doesn't spray water all over the place and my right hand applies the soap and shaves the calves and knees. It takes a long time but I can do it and that is what matters. Here is a photo of my setup:

Prisoners have to do chores, to earn their keep. I have to do tests. Monday and Thursday we do NSTs (Please refer to I Don't Know If Anyone Has Chained You To A Bed) during the day shift and then during those night shifts fetal heart checks are done. They use the same equipment but an NST is 20 minutes of uninterrupted monitoring with the Toco (contraction monitor) and a heart check is one minute monitoring all baby hearts. On other days we do fetal heart checks followed by 20 minutes on toco only during the day shift and then fetal monitoring only during the night shift. Sometimes, these checks are easy and it only takes a few minutes to get a minute of monitoring or half hour to get a 20 minute NST. Somestimes, though, the babies are bad bad babies and hide from everyone. These occasions are not fun. First, I have to be on my back. Yeah, I've discussed it so often I won't bore you again with how absolutely ridiculous this position is for me. Secondly, people have to cover my belly in gel and push with all their might into my already very full and very contraction-y belly. Generally, after the nurse sets up the monitors and gets all the babies on she can go do her business while they get their required time on. Well, Monday's NST took....(insert mystery music here)...TWO HOURS. The poor nurse had to hold the monitors on at all kinds of awkward angles to actually be able to pick up the heart beats. Monday was a bad day anyway and this made me rather grumpy (sense the sarcastic understatement-ness of the last line? If not, go back and read it again with that tone). Wednesday's one minute fetal heart check took not only a whole hour it also took both a nurse AND a doctor to first, find everyone and then keep everyone on. They are so nice and keep saying, "If it's too much pressure make sure and let us know" as they push as hard as they can on all parts of my very hard belly. Of course I don't say anything. I'd rather just not be able to breathe for a while and get it over with. If they have to move then this whole thing is just going to take longer. Ridiculous. I told the babies that as soon as they cae out they were going straight to their incubators to think about their behavior. Following that lovely check I got to do Toco for 20 which really isn't bad at all. I can lay on my side and relax. I was pretty surprised after all that drama that I actually passed and didn't have to go on the IV. I was contracting every 3 minutes but that's pretty normal for me these days. I was very proud of my uterus.

These are the machines they use to measure all that stuff:

And this is what goes on my belly while they do that. Obviously I took this pic on an easy day. You can tell because there aren't a hundred people sitting on the bed pushing their hands and my stomach every which way.

Finally, convicts pick up new skills. Martha got a lovely crochet shawl from her inmate friend so I thought, of course, I'll teach myself to crochet. The first task was to wind the skeins into balls. This happened....twice:

So, not sure how well the actual crocheting will go considering I even made a ridiculous mess of the preparation. Doesn't bode well anyway.

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