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Posted: 7/12/2010 9:35:30 PM EST
Some may know, others may not... If you saw the thread in GD, you know what happened. Basically, when I was in the academy last November, I got shot by a friend who had an ND outside of class (completely unrelated to school). The bullet really messed my arm up, shattering the elbow socket (also got my funny bone) and my humerus. The doctors said I'd never be able to do push-ups again, I'd only get 80% range of motion back, have pain most days, etc.

Fast forward 7 1/2 months and I'm able to push my arm (in therapy; it won't stay at these points but getting it there is the first part) to -8 degrees extension and to 122 degrees flexion. To put that in perspective, 0 degrees is straight out and 130-136 degrees is normal end of flexion for most people. I can do a few push-ups; they're really difficult because the stability/strength has been lacking thus far. Up until April, my elbow was still shattered, it was just held together by the two steel plates and 17 screws the surgeons put in... thus being unable to lift weights or work out my upper body really at all since November 2009. The director at the academy and the last doctor I had (they rotate out at the clinic I go to) both think I'll be able to get back in and have no issues if I keep improving like I have so far.

This is the first time in my life I have experienced something very difficult and not had the urge to give up. Not once yet have I said enough is enough. I sit through excruciating pain three times a week when I go to the therapist’s office and just deal because I know there’s no other option if I want to be an LEO. The pills don’t really work, no matter whether I take Tylenol, Aleve, hydrocodone, or oxycodone. I stopped taking them five days after I got home from the hospital (seven days from surgery) because I didn't want to get addicted. They don't do anything to me except make my arm quit hurting (or at least hurt less), when they worked well. The ones I have are the originals from the first two months after I got shot, I haven't gotten any more from the doctor since then.

The therapy has started to suck hardcore - it sucked before, but now it's really getting horrible. The therapist said that's how it gets the closer you get to the end of what you're trying to work (in my case, my range of motion). I learned to control most of it through my breathing, and this whole experience has helped develop my mindset tremendously, but I'm starting to lose steam. Most of the time, thinking back to the days when I first got my cast off and tying my shoes or pulling up my pants was a huge accomplishment and seeing how far I've come helps me stay focused.

“You want it, you have to work for it,” my mom always said. I always figured that statement to be just another cliché people use to keep themselves to keep doing their new fad work-out or diet regimen. I’ve found it to be true in my situation. The problem is I’m getting kind of sick of working for it and not getting anything out of it. Maybe going on a ride along in the next few days will help keep me motivated. There is NOTHING in this world I would rather do than be a cop. That urge has been there since I was about three or four years old; it has waned a few times, but it's always been there.

Occasionally I'll have flashbacks of some sort too. The “whomp whomp whomp” sound when I rolled down the rear driver-side window in the car on my way home yesterday triggered the memories of being strapped onto a gurney in the helicopter with IV ports in my arm and oxygen tubes in my nose flying to the hospital. I can still feel the rotor wash from when I was being loaded in the back of the bird that night. The same thing happened when the sheriff’s helicopter flies over my house at a low altitude, that sound brings me right back to when they got me out of the back of the ambulance and let me talk to my mom on the phone before loading me up. A buddy of mine and I went to run some errands earlier today and he blasted me with an airhorn from about ten feet away and it scared the shit out of me. A few months ago, I shot a drill at the range without earpro, and hearing the gunshots and smelling the powder brought back the feeling from right after I got shot. None of that bothers me really, it just brings it back to the forefront of my mind. People have experienced MUCH worse and fared just the same or better, so it's not something I'm worried about.

Anyways, sorry for the ramble. Basically I'm looking for the encouragement to keep pushing through this crap to get to my goal. Any good books, mindset articles, etc. that I could be linked to would be appreciated very much.
Link Posted: 7/12/2010 10:06:55 PM EST
I remember your incident. You got dealt a hard blow in life. It came at a bad time (as if there is any good time). You already know the physical demands of this job. So long as the medical professionals are SURE you can make a full, or near-full recovery, you have to simply keep pushing forward.

You said you have made great progress forward since getting the cast off... that's great news. Look at the continued process as an investment in yourself... cop job or not, you NEED to get back to 100% or as close as medically possible. Yea, you have got to the point where the final few points of improvement are going to be the most demanding... you can do it, and it IS worth the effort.

Wish I could offer more than words of encouragement... good luck and stay focused.
Link Posted: 7/12/2010 10:13:06 PM EST
Brother, I can not relate to your situation and it would be bullshit for me to say " I know how you feel".
I do not know you or your story but from what I have read here it seems that you got shot in a stupid way (not like there is a good way) and have worked very hard to overcome it.
I know something about pain and injury in a different fashion.
I respect your efforts and all I can say is do not quit.
It is easy to surrender and use the injury as an excuse.

Sounds to me like you are not that kind of man and you have my respect.
I wish you full recovery and I hope you reach your goal.
When you regain full use of your arm there is no reason you can not serve.

It may not be in your first choice agency.
I would look at you as an applicant that was serious and had overcome an incident that would have shut most people down.
You are not a man that will quit.
That carries a lot of weight with me.
God bless you and best of luck.
Link Posted: 7/12/2010 10:14:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/12/2010 10:15:12 PM EST by FrankSymptoms]
Keep it up! If you quit you will LOSE much of what you have already gained.

This is what happened to my brother; he has lost about 7-10 degrees of extension from one arm from a foot ball injury in high school. He stopped going to therapy. Now he's stuck with it; no amount of therapy will straighten his arm out.

eta

Best of luck to you!
Link Posted: 7/12/2010 10:45:39 PM EST
Dude, trust me....

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THERAPY! If the meds aren't working, you need to talk to your doc. I had mine send me to a pain specialist and he gave me some Lyrica. I was eating A LOT of vics, the pain was still there and therapy sucked. Lyrica was a godsend....

Doing everything my therapist asked, every time, saved my range of motion and kept me in my career....dig deep brother.

Link Posted: 7/13/2010 7:55:35 AM EST
It sounds like you've already made your decision. People have recovered nearly all their function after serious injuries like yours.

Do not quit.
Link Posted: 7/13/2010 10:03:53 AM EST
Thanks for the kind words, guys. It means a lot even though I've never met any of you. I think the rest of the help with motivation is going to have to either come from people who are already doing what I want to do, or people who have been where I am right now. Most of my friends have no idea what this is like, so it's hard for them to give much specific encouragement or experience. My mom is the only one who mostly understands it that hasn't been through it because she has been there for me throughout the whole experience from when I came out of surgery until now. I think some people are kind of tired of hearing about it but they might not realize this isn't like a broken arm that heals and you don't think about it again.

This incident has taught me a lot about myself too, which helps motivate me. It made me realize I'm less of a pussy than I originally thought (), and given me some self confidence too. That might be kind of odd, I dunno, but that's been the effect. I figure if I can handle getting shot from two feet away and the aftermath I've had to deal with, I can probably handle anything. Reading stories about people like the cop who got shot I think six or seven times and walked back to his cruiser to meet the paramedics make me realize this isn't anything serious, which helps me handle it a little better. Marcus Luttrell's book Lone Survivor greatly helped my mindset before this happened, but now I can sort of identify with him on a small scale.
Link Posted: 7/14/2010 10:12:01 PM EST
Don't you dare quit.

I blew out my knee at work....knee cap was in my thigh...chasing someone.

1 year later almost the day...chased the same dude down the same block, past the same whore, and this time he did not get away.

I can't tell you how good that felt.

Your injury is more severe so it will feel that much better when you finish the Academy and get sworn in.

There was a guy that went through the Academy right before me who lost his lower leg to an RPG in Afghanistan....if he can do it so can you.

Link Posted: 7/14/2010 11:14:44 PM EST
Keep up the hard work, never quit. I think you can do it and get to where you want to be, good luck..........
Link Posted: 7/14/2010 11:19:21 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 8:36:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By Garage-Logician:
Click here for proper motivation


I watched that clip on Cops one night. I never laughed so hard at that show in my life, I guess he got showed for thinking he could run from a guy with a prosthetic leg.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 9:23:48 AM EST
Originally Posted By floridahunter07:
Originally Posted By Garage-Logician:
Click here for proper motivation


I watched that clip on Cops one night. I never laughed so hard at that show in my life, I guess he got showed for thinking he could run from a guy with a prosthetic leg.


Funny indeed, but imagine what he had to overcome just to be in position to chase after that turd in the first place.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 9:46:35 AM EST
That's a little more clear now than it was the first time I saw that clip before this happened to me. Like the old saying goes, you don't know it till you live it...
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 4:31:04 PM EST
Just make sure you don't look back someday and say, "If only I would have tried harder". Give it hell and leave it all out there. Success or failure, you leave it all out there and no one can take that from you. Good luck to you man.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 4:48:57 PM EST
Best advice I ever got...the hottest fires build the strongest steel. You took a hard hit but you can fight through. One thing you will learn as an LEO...never stop fighting before the fight is finished and your fight ain't over yet.

Link Posted: 7/15/2010 5:04:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By bigern:
Don't you dare quit.

I blew out my knee at work....knee cap was in my thigh...chasing someone.

1 year later almost the day...chased the same dude down the same block, past the same whore, and this time he did not get away.

I can't tell you how good that felt.





G'dam dude. Hell yes, I bet you made him feel like a real dick. Outstanding sir.


OP:

Don't you give up. You're gonna do it, you're gonna succeed, and you're gonna be great. Don't you let a doctor for one god-damned second tell you what you can or can't do. Train hard. Finish the academy, and then invite that doctor who told you you couldn't do it to your graduation. Show him whats up.

If you need anything, don't hesitate to inbox me.

Link Posted: 7/15/2010 5:26:05 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 7:47:11 AM EST
Originally Posted By joker581:
Sounds like you are doing the right stuff.

The flashbacks and other psychological symptoms you described sound like textbook PTSD symptoms. It may not be a major thing for you but it may be worth seeking some treatment for that as well.


If it's documented, will that cause issues down the road?

The flashbacks aren't a big deal, it just makes me think about the incident... I'm not waking up at night in a cold sweat or anything. Hell, I sleep better now than I ever did before I got shot. Everyone I've mentioned PTSD to (family/friends) have kind of blown it off, and I think there are people who went through much worse than I did by FAR and are dealing with it, so that's why I haven't done anything about it. IMO, a minor issue.
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 8:54:05 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 8:58:25 AM EST
No, they don't, which is why I brush off THEIR opinion on the matter as uneducated. I've thought about PTSD since that happened. Like you said, the symptoms have manifested themselves, but they aren't really debilitating in my mind, so I'm kinda mixed on what to do. Not having health insurance is a big factor, I gotta lose like 15 pounds to be eligible for my height.

The startle reflex is really the only thing that causes an issue, and it just makes me look like a jackass when what made me jump six inches in the air was just somebody yelling a foot from my head. I'll probably look into it; what are some resources online where I could learn some more about it?
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 9:23:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 11:15:03 AM EST
Negative.
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 10:11:57 PM EST
A few things from someone who's been in similar shoes. First, I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 25 y/o. This was two weeks after my now ex-wife and I got back from our honeymoon. The city agency I was getting hired on called me and told me I was a medical hold b/c my bloodwork came back as me being mildly anemic. Long story short, I ended up having four surgeries over a 2 year timeframe, spent more than a total of 7 months in the hospital, was on diability for 18 months, and I was popping Percocet like it was going out of style. One of the big things keeping me going towards getting better and becoming a LEO, was a POLICE raid shirt that a buddy of mine gave me from the deaprtment. I hung it above my bedroom door so that I always knew what the endgame was and never lost focus.

Did recovery suck, hell friggen yeah. I had to deal with a colostomy bag for several months at the age of 25... you want to talk about thinking about ending it all??? Try having to hobble out of the Commisary at the AFB, and the grocery store, and the VA pharmacy, and a resturant, because your bag started leaking out all over your clothes, everyone could see it, and everyone could smell it. There were plenty of times that things looked grim (in my own eyes) and I wanted to just give up. I didn't... I couldn't. I'm not much of a religious man, but I did find a good church to goto and just listened to some of the stuff they said. I was a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Counselor while I was A/D USCG and I broke out some of the old books and just started reading stuff to help me in the tough times.

If you give up on your dreams, well that's all on you. If something isn't worth fighting for, it's not worth having. And remember that you're going to be the only one quitting on yourself. Nobody else can change what you do, how hard you want to fight, or who you are. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but it's reality and I had to have it put to me like that when I was having rough times.

Anyone here in BOTS or Team can always IM me if they're having hard times with life, the job, or whatever. ESPECIALLY if someone's thinking about "ending it" (and I'm not referring to you on that part). We're all a team and we've got to stick together.
-SleeperShooter
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:44:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 7:45:05 AM EST by sauer800]
Stay strong. Stay positive. Only hard work will bring you through this. DO NOT CHEAT YOURSELF. Whatever you set your mind to, you will achieve.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 8:05:38 AM EST
Originally Posted By SleeperShooter:
A few things from someone who's been in similar shoes. First, I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 25 y/o. This was two weeks after my now ex-wife and I got back from our honeymoon. The city agency I was getting hired on called me and told me I was a medical hold b/c my bloodwork came back as me being mildly anemic. Long story short, I ended up having four surgeries over a 2 year timeframe, spent more than a total of 7 months in the hospital, was on diability for 18 months, and I was popping Percocet like it was going out of style. One of the big things keeping me going towards getting better and becoming a LEO, was a POLICE raid shirt that a buddy of mine gave me from the deaprtment. I hung it above my bedroom door so that I always knew what the endgame was and never lost focus.

Did recovery suck, hell friggen yeah. I had to deal with a colostomy bag for several months at the age of 25... you want to talk about thinking about ending it all??? Try having to hobble out of the Commisary at the AFB, and the grocery store, and the VA pharmacy, and a resturant, because your bag started leaking out all over your clothes, everyone could see it, and everyone could smell it. There were plenty of times that things looked grim (in my own eyes) and I wanted to just give up. I didn't... I couldn't. I'm not much of a religious man, but I did find a good church to goto and just listened to some of the stuff they said. I was a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Counselor while I was A/D USCG and I broke out some of the old books and just started reading stuff to help me in the tough times.

If you give up on your dreams, well that's all on you. If something isn't worth fighting for, it's not worth having. And remember that you're going to be the only one quitting on yourself. Nobody else can change what you do, how hard you want to fight, or who you are. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but it's reality and I had to have it put to me like that when I was having rough times.
.
Anyone here in BOTS or Team can always IM me if they're having hard times with life, the job, or whatever. ESPECIALLY if someone's thinking about "ending it" (and I'm not referring to you on that part). We're all a team and we've got to stick together.
-SleeperShooter


Damn, dude... Thanks for the bitch slap back to reality. Hope everything is going well for you. I know one of the main reasons I was glad the bullet didn't take an immediate left and go through my abdomen/chest cavity was the chance of damage to the point of needing a colostomy bag. I can sympathize (although I've never been there) with wanting to end it because of that experience... it would definitely put me in a similar place.

Therapy in 2 hours.. I'm gonna see what I can do today.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 10:43:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/19/2010 10:45:02 PM EST by Grizz272]
In 1986 I pretty much wrecked my right knee. Over the years I have had 5 different knee surgeries on on both knees. In 2008 the right knee was replaced in 09 the left knee was replaced. Over the years I have been off work because on knee surgery for over 72 weeks. Rehab has been painful to say the least but it works. One of the things they had me do during rehab was set behind a exercise bike and peddle forward and backward until you can go all the way around. The first time I went around I was chatting with the Redhead Physical Terrorist and I went around I saw stars, I could not breath, I was in agony. When My senses came back she was laughing at me and said you went around. I said you are laughing at me, her response was I am laughing with you, BUT I AIN'T LAUGHING. Keep it up I know rehab HURTS been there done that. Right know I have more range of motion that most knee replacements. I am doing more now than I have in a decade. The pain will be worth it. I know!
Link Posted: 7/20/2010 6:04:06 AM EST
I just heard physical terrorist a few weeks ago... made me laugh my ass off cause it's so true!

Yesterday wasn't too bad of a day, I got my arm pretty straight and bent both without too much pain. I'm gonna try taking two hydrocodone like I did yesterday about 10 minutes before I get there (most of the time we don't start stretching it until 20-30 mins into the appointment) and see if it helps again or if I was just having a really good day.

Link Posted: 7/20/2010 9:34:34 AM EST
Florida,
IM me your address and I'll see if I don't have an extra raid shirt for you if you want it. At the minimum, I'm sure I've got an extra work polo shirt (NIW) I can send to ya' to keep the spirits up.
And the Physical Terrorist thing was pretty funny.

-SleeperShooter

Link Posted: 7/20/2010 11:35:09 AM EST
Originally Posted By SleeperShooter:
Florida,
IM me your address and I'll see if I don't have an extra raid shirt for you if you want it. At the minimum, I'm sure I've got an extra work polo shirt (NIW) I can send to ya' to keep the spirits up.
And the Physical Terrorist thing was pretty funny.

-SleeperShooter



Thanks dude, I'll IM you as soon as I post this.

And I called my therapist a physical terrorist today. He laughed, but when it came time to stretch my arm, the result was kind of painful.
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