Around noon on Wednesday, Travis Montgomery had yet to receive his first meal at Limestone County Correctional Facility when he tried to nap on his bunk. He woke up a few minutes later, suffering from a seizure.
“I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but when I was moving, I was so dizzy, disorientated, and it was almost like I was on a ship rocking back and forth,” Montgomery said in an interview with APR on Wednesday. “I couldn’t make anything focus in front of my face, and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘Oh no, something’s wrong. Something’s wrong. Oh no. Oh no.'”
Montgomery suffers from seizures due to a cavern-shaped growth on his left occipital lobe and must take a daily regimen of anti-seizure medication between 3 and 4 a.m. The growth causes confusion, dizziness, nausea, along with “very violent, grab all” seizures, and caused him to go almost completely blind in his right eye, according to Montgomery.
“It was to the point where I was only having a seizure every few months, and it just got worse and worse to where I was almost having them every day,” Montgomery said in a previous interview on Monday. “It actually took me having four or five seizures before I was finally put on medication for it because I could not convince [health care staff] that the seizures weren’t related to drugs.”
He had yet to receive his medication that Wednesday, which was the second time he was unable to receive the medication he needed to prevent the seizures on time — the first being on Monday.
Pill call, which is the name given to the daily disbursement of medication for incarcerated individuals at Alabama Department of Corrections facilities, is one of the”‘critical services’ that the ADOC is providing,” a spokesperson for the ADOC said in a statement provided to APR on Thursday. Medication, however, is arriving late for many individuals at correctional facilities due, in part, to the general strike and protest launched by incarcerated individuals on Monday.
Montgomery said that he doesn’t remember all of what happened himself, just bits and pieces, and was told what happened later by his cell partner and correctional staff at the facility. His cell partner was watching a movie when he noticed something was wrong.
“He checked me out and was looking at me, and he saw how pale I was, and I wasn’t really responsive to him because I couldn’t see him or hear a word he was saying,” Montgomery said. “He got me back up off the ground and made sure I was ok and tried to keep my attention.”
Correctional officers eventually entered the cell and helped walk him towards the yard, eventually carrying him to the ambulance, which is a modified Polaris UTV with a bodyboard in the back, according to Montgomery. Montgomery eventually reached the facility healthcare unit.
“The next thing I remember is semi-coming to myself, and the nurses were asking me questions: When was the last time I took my medicine, the last time I ate, they asked me how I was feeling, and I couldn’t make any answers because I didn’t have any motor function or my facilities such as speech,” Montgomery said. “It took me 20 minutes before I could even answer the most basic questions and actually make it a coherent answer.”
Healthcare staff administered Ativan and placed Montgomery on an IV, and held him for a few hours.
According to Montgomery, at least three other incarcerated individuals at the Limestone County Facility have suffered seizures due to lack of medication and were being treated in the healthcare unit at the same time as him.
By approximately 3 p.m, Montgomery was released and returned back to his cell, still dizzy from the Ativan that he had received. At around 3:30 p.m, Montgomery received the first meal he had eaten since 8:30 p.m the previous night: grits with two pieces of bread and two pieces of cheese. Nineteen hours had passed between each meal.