Journal Entry: Melinda Bixler – 07/05/23

Journal Entry

July 5, 2023 – Bixler
Preparing for Surrender: Medically
I neglected my physical health for many years. My plate was full and I didn’t make room for myself. After
my arrest and losing my business, I’ve had an opportunity for much self-reflection. It’s easy to think that
my health is only about me, how I’m feeling, etc. But, if I’m not healthy then how can I be there for
those I love? Recognizing the importance of my physical and mental health care I’ve spent the past few
years having important health screenings performed and working with my physicians to address chronic
symptoms that I ignored for more than a decade. One overdue screening revealed advanced pre-cancer
cells. I was told by the physician that had they not been identified and destroyed, it’s likely I would have
had cancer within 1-2 years. My schedule was crazy before my arrest and God only knows how many
more years I would have delayed important screenings. In some regards, this mess I’ve created may
have saved my life. That’s some silver-lining.
As I near my self-surrender date, I’m working on a long To-Do list. I have an extensive history of
depression, anxiety and PTSD. The medications I take are crucial and I’m extremely concerned about
what will happen when I report to prison. My extensive research indicates that I cannot enter the facility
with any of my own medications nor can I enter with medical records or letters from my physicians. The
only option I’ve found is that I mail my medical records to myself so I can receive them within a few days
after surrender. At which point, I can provide them to my unit team. Other that the concerns about my
son while I’m away, this is what I worry about the most. Without my medications, I will undoubtedly
become very ill. Their importance cannot be overstated!
The BOP has a formulary list for medications that they are approved to provide or allow inmates to take.
With my medication concerns in mind, I met with a nurse at my psychiatrist’s a few weeks ago so we
could review my medications and compare them to the BOP formulary list. They asked me if they could
“just call someone at the BOP to verify exactly what they require” in order to ensure that I have my
medications from day 1. Unfortunately, that’s not how the system works, but I will make a few calls just
in case there is a way. So far, the nurse and her team have spent a few hours working on this project
together. They’ve been great! Hopefully, by the time I surrender, I’ll be on medications and dosages that
are all acceptable and have the appropriate letters and documentation to improve the likelihood that I’ll
receive my appropriate medications and doses very timely and for the entirety of my time there.
Uncertain of what medical, dental, and vision care will be available once I surrender, I want to make sure
I take care of all the preventative care that I can anticipate. In addition to the screenings, treatment, and
care already mentioned, I’m more than 2 years past due on seeing my Retina Specialist! I have a retinal
disease that puts me at high risk for retinal detachment, so the routine exams help my doctor, and I
evaluate the degree and rate of advancement. I scheduled that appointment and will see him in a few
weeks. Hopefully, that will put my mind at ease, and I can wait another 1-2 years to see him again. I saw
my regular eye doctor last week for a vision check. I’m glad I did because I need new glasses. I’ll have
those by the time I surrender as well.
For anyone getting ready to go to prison, I’d argue that it’s crucial to have a thorough health overhaul.
As a lover of analogies, I think of it as preparing my car for a long cross-country road trip! Knowing
everything is working well from bumper to bumper and receiving any necessary service before

beginning the long drive increases the chance of a successful journey! The last thing anyone needs is to
break down in prison! Planning improves the likelihood of success!