A couple of months ago I was running down the stairs to get to use the telephone before going to work and I twisted my ankle really badly. I saw a nurse about it and they gave me the day off but said I could go back to work from the next day, so long as I didn’t put too much pressure on my ankle. Well, since the prison had thrown me into a textile workshop as a sewing machinist, I couldn’t do my usual work because it required me to use my foot to drive the machine. But I did ask for some alternative work (of which there was plenty). Unfortunately, the workshop instructor had other ideas and said that, if I didn’t work on the machine, I was refusing to work and would be sent back without pay. I put up with that for a few days, but soon tired of it since I was not refusing to work at all, I was happy to do whatever work they could give me that was appropriate, given the circumstances.
The workshop instructor stuck to her guns at first, right up until I said: “OK, to prove I’m not refusing to work, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, whether that’s working on a machine or something else, but if something goes wrong, then I told you in advance that there was a problem.” She asked me to clarify that and I explained that, if my ankle injury was to get worse, or if I was to have an accident on the machine because I didn’t have full mobility in my foot, or if anything else went wrong, then I did my bit by informing her that there was a health and safety issue. She immediately changed her mind and said I was not fit for work and could be signed off.
But it didn’t end there. A few days later I was still unsteady on my feet and I dropped some pins on the floor of my cell. I squatted down to pick them up and then, without looking, I stood straight up into the bottom corner of my cupboard door which had been open above my head. It very nearly knocked me out and I dropped to the floor for a minute. I got that feeling you get when you think your head must be bleeding but it isn’t. Except usually you think that your head must be bleeding and are shocked when it isn’t. This time I registered that it felt as though it was bleeding but probably wasn’t, and then I realised that it was absolutely pouring!
I immediately got on my emergency bell and they got a nurse out. However, despite having told her that I had cut my head open, she brought absolutely nothing with her! She examined me briefly (but asked none of the standard questions to check for concussion) and then had to go away to get an ice pack and some steri-strips to close the wound.
The funny thing is, both incidents were entirely my own fault, yet the officers came over a month later and asked me to write a statement about my accident. When I asked which one, they said it was about what happened to my head, but then asked how many I had had. They had no idea I had hurt my ankle at all!
I don’t even know where to start with the common sense deficiencies in this one. It could have been applied at any point in that whole charade, but it never was.