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Beyond Bars: Getting sick is different when you’re a parolee

By Brian Wood, Beyond Bars Columnist - | Feb 26, 2018

So I got pretty sick this week, and it’s a little different when you are a parolee. I can’t just take some Nyquil and go to sleep. Nyquil contains alcohol and therefore I cannot use it.

In fact, I can’t even protect others around me by lugging around hand sanitizer. My mother asked if I could possibly take some Mucinex, but I happen to know from others’ claims during drug court, that has a tendency to show up on a drug test as ecstasy. I don’t dare even use cough drops or drink herbal tea, not with the experiences I’ve had.

It’s OK, though. I’m used to this.


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In prison when you get sick, you send in a “med kite” to request a doctor visit. If you’re lucky, you get an appointment within a week. By that time you’ve already gone through the worst of it and you’ll likely be feeling better, but if you’re not, the doctor will schedule you for a follow up in two weeks to a month to see if you’re still sick. If you are still sick when that date rolls around, about a month after you first report it, the doctor might prescribe medication. Other than that, inmates with cold and flu symptoms aren’t treated.

Here’s where it’s not the same. Sure, I’ve completely lost my voice, am coughing up blood, and it’s difficult to breathe, but I feel pretty darn good because I’m at home in my own bed and I’m around people who care about me. My parents wanted me to go the hospital, but my health insurance benefits have not kicked in yet. I felt a little bad because I think I relished a bit in their concern for me.

A took similar solace out of another somewhat negative situation. This was in regards to the appeal of the denial of my sales license. Now this definitely wasn’t the first time I walked into a courtroom without much chance of winning, but it was the first time people were there to provide testimony for me, rather than against.

Obviously we don’t count the many attorneys I paid for such services. There were half a dozen people at my hearing in support of me including Murdock Chevrolet’s senior management and ownership. There were letters written and testimony given in defense of my character and work ethic. Despite my throbbing headache during the proceedings, I couldn’t remember ever feeling that good in a courtroom.

The commission will render a decision on the hearing in two to three weeks. I don’t have much of a leg to stand on. There was no legal precedent for my case. I’ll summarize the rule(s) I am in violation of: if you have been convicted of a crime involving substance abuse or fraud and have not completed probation or parole, you are not eligible for a sales license. We appealed simply to ask to be an exception to the rule.

So this week in review: I’ve been really sick for days and recently found out I am going to be forced to change the way I earn my livelihood. Some would call this a bad week. Not me. Here’s what I saw: In no small gesture, my employer let me know they value me and believe in me. And at the end of the day, I wasn’t locked in a cell.

Brian Wood, of Layton, pleaded guilty to nine felony charges for offenses from 2011 to 2014, including counts of burglary, drug possession and prescription fraud. He served four years in the Utah State prison system before being released on parole on Jan. 2, 2018.


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