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So... you're medically retired...

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Posted about 6 years ago

 

So… you’re medically retired….


One day you were standing tall then something happened.. An accident a crash a fall a fight, a shooting, and poof…. You’re hurt.


Now the first thing that happens is you go out on sick leave and try to get better.. This can last for up to several years. In the meantime your skills become rusty; your police friends drift away.. After all being a policeman is like being a boxer.. It’s something we practice for… and when others around us in our profession become the sick lame and lazy we tend to avoid them like the plague.. As if some of their weaknesses might rub off on us


So...now we have this injured policeman trying to get better, dealing with loss of pay, loss of status, loss of direction. Sometimes pain meds become a monkey and as police we fight their use, despising the effects of what we have sworn to fight against but just not wanting to chronically hurt anymore. Some succumb to their use… others deal with the pain, usually ineffectively.


Everyone supports you for awhile, and the comments range from “when are you coming back?” to “wow, you got the million dollar injury, how lucky for you” The range of these comments only stress you more. You don’t want to be a malingerer, to be labeled as a punk.. Weak, sissified...you tend to introvert, become recluse, “hermitized “in your head. Are you ready for the Rubber Gun squad? You begin to wonder to yourself... Doubt... doubt begins to creep into your life and you begin to worry... the worse being is doubting yourself... it happens... its an ugly spiral down as you, like a career alcoholic, are headed for a crash landing


The city, county, insert what you like, begins to make treatment a little more difficult... Perhaps you get referred to a third party administrator or an insurance company… and to them you become a number a liability... Simply an item to be dealt with as cheaply as possible. Perhaps you work in a state with weak workers compensation laws and your pay goes to nothing… and the medical bills pile up waiting for you to sue your employer to get them to handle them, and actually admit you were injured. Sue my employer, I was in an on duty traffic accident you tell yourself, I was cut out of the car... why is there an argument over my injuries. All of a sudden it’s adversarial and now you become the enemy... hard not to personalize it.


You struggle through physical therapy not getting better for months, dealing with chronic pain. If you were strong and in shape you lose your physical self as you weaken only compounding the self imposed stress of the prison of your now imperfect body.  Perhaps many months go by and you do become stronger but at some point you realize... hey this is it I’m not going to be better Im going to be,,,,, disabled,,, a doctor tells you so.. Others start telling you so... You begin to believe it yourself.


Hey now... wait a minute... Disabled... That’s for geeks in wheelchairs not me


Now you get referred out to a retirement board. They all question you with pinprick precision looking for any falsities in your story, a chink in your armor, any weakness to expose you for the charlatan they believe you to be and to reduce any award you might possibly receive. Perhaps you get treated fairly but after several years of being ground up in the system and dealing with doctors and pain you just want it to be over. You say uncle.


Onto a court case… where attorneys, whom we as police have little regard for, argue your past and argue your future, as if you aren’t there… as if you weren’t a productive human being, a highly decorated policeman… no... Now you are simply a cog in their world to turn one revolution. Your attorney gets you a settlement... 1/10 of what you deserve but he keeps telling you how well you did as you pay his bill and get shuffled into the next step.


Finally the big day comes...The actual retirement… you turn in all your gear and, if you’re lucky enough, a department member gives you a retirement badge, provided you aren’t nuts… and in a five minute debriefing where you fight back tears you are gone… that’s it. Your locker has long since been cleaned out and there’s a new guy in it anyway. You feel funny trying to stop by the station... Lots of new faces... The aloof desk officer, whom you don’t recognize, directs to see your ID before you can enter anyway, so it no longer has the familial feel of home. Eventually it becomes clear they don’t want you around .


Retrain me… hell... I’ve been a policeman... I’ve lived four years of life for every year I’ve been a cop what are you going to retrain me to do... after all you now say Im a cripple…Studies show that police who have been on for more than 5 years do not generally adapt well to other professions, work with the friggin public without a gun,,, no thanks


So... you start looking at other careers. Private investigator... yea that’s always a good one... a low life with no badge... yea that’s the ticket... Chasing divorces and child support after arresting murderers and robbers... Yep, no problem with that transition... not


Your injury plagues you, boredom kills you. You pick up the pieces and move on but you continue to struggle each day to find balance... To find peace... Some do... Many don’t... People ask you what you do... you don’t say... or you avoid the question... or you just make up what feels right that day, rocket scientist, MIT sanitation engineer.. Whatever. You look so young... you can’t be retired... can you? You avoid the story like an ugly STD… you don’t want to tell it anymore


You travel, you fish, and you build a house. You go to school. you do all the things you always dreamed about in those late cold nights alone in your radiocar… but now that you get to do them.. And the fact you are injured... they don’t seem to hold the same sparkle


Finally you get a job... you have to the money isn’t working... the wife cant stand you around… and slowly... very slowly life starts new rhythm. It’s not the same... but hopefully... Hopefully as you get your head together it becomes ok… the dreams subside... heck even the names start to fade


From all the coppers I have ever spoken with, or counseled ,medical retirement isn’t what you hear it is... it isn’t the easy way out... it’s the slow road to hard times. So… if you ever meet a medically retired policeman… just listen and understand... for the grace of god there go I.


I counsel policeman, I am not a Psych,, Im just another policeman with a lot of experience…. I honor each and every copper for their service... and really... I absolutely do understand.


Postscript:


I wrote this after reading about another member here who is going through medical retirement.. and as a reminder to all of us..and to use an example from the movie  Patton.. In it he (George C Scott) speaks  about a Roman Legion general returning victorious from the wars, with slaves and madiens and riches adorning his chariot.,,, all the while there was a boy whispering in his ear "fame is fastly fleeting",, meaning.. be thankful for each day you have the privlege of wearing a uniform,,, for we all are human


 


 

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Rated +1 | Posted about 6 years ago

 

The content of this discussion has much value. If every cop took the time to sit down and just read & absorb this thread, it might help our coppers to spire to be healthier, more balanced in their thinking and to keep a parallel interest in life in the event of 'An Event'. Some 'event's' transcend personal fitness, but being fit could potentially work for you.


I have been close to fellas who have gone through this mill. It seems as long as your are 'viable' and can be used as an agency resource, then it's all good.


But law enforcement work in some respects it just that: Work. If you are gone, your spot is filled. People move on, you move on and you may be quickly relegated to the 'Remember when' stories that subside as each person leaves. You can have a passion for your career but your department may not have a passion for you other than being just another employee.


There are many medically retired guyz on this site.


I hope that they continue to find comradarie here and will remain for a long time.


We need you guyz. The lessons you learned need to continue to be passed on to the new generations of cops.


The Guy !
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Rated +1 | Posted about 6 years ago

 

This really hit home with me because I am fighting not to have to go off duty right now with a duty related injury...I can not even put into words all that is going on, and all that is running through my mind. It is like you were reading my mind on some of the things you wrote...with all that is going on I think that the hardest part about all of it is that when you become injured you become the BAD GUY-


After all that I have given to this job...they do not even give me the respect of trying to work with me so that I do not need to go off duty. The old saying is true- "What have you done for me lately" ...all the work I did, all the years I put in do not mean a thing, because once you become injured you become THE BAD GUY!


 


Sometimes in this world there is Justice,..and sometimes there is JUST US..
~The Thin Blue Line- Our Blood Runs Blue~
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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

Not trying to take away from injured officers but retirement has the same problems and thoughts that is why I am glad I found this site and another


"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, do nothing." Dante

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Rated -1 | Posted about 6 years ago

 

Good post, good info for all to read including those who are in this situation, those who may be in this situation and those who say they are in this situation but are just disrespecting those who really were.


Pain is weakness leaving the body.

Obstacles are what we see when we take our eyes off the goal.

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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

 


notmeofficer...........THANK YOU! 


You described EXACTLY what I'm going through! 


I could not have said it better myself!


TAKE CARE OUT THERE ALL YOU GUYS AND GALS!   NEVER, EVER LET YOUR GUARD DON!

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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

This a great post and it hit way to close to home but thank you for the post


Only God knows his plans for all of us and why we might meet in life

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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

As others have stated.. one of the benefits of this forum is that all of us still belong to the fraternity


You will be accepted with or without a war story. if youve had the uniform on and worked patrol or at least custody... youre in... if you got a paper cut working admin... well.. in your heart of hearts you already know what kind of policeman you were... no one else will have to highlight your shortcomings .. at least not here


I am happy this post might benefit new and old... and getting all warm and fuzzy now.. we are all the same..I mean street coppers that is.. (ok so I have little time for admin pogues)...


at least thats what I think and have experienced meeting coppers from all over the world


It is apparent that some of you hurt,, badly... I hope that each of you finds that elusive peace I speak of.. I try each day to experience it whenever possible. I encourage you to seek out people whom you are comfortable with and dont want anything from you


Policework is unforgiving.. youre only as good as your last caper.. especially in the eyes of other coppers


I felt pretty burned out in my last year... but now after a couple of years of soft living I wonder whether I should have gone another 10... maybe come in off the street and put on a suit..or gone to a special unit


nope... cant go back... only forward.. we only go this way once.. and you can second guess yourself forvever,, so,, be resolute and look to the future.. Were lucky if we get to see 70 plus seasons... savor each one


 

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Rate This | Posted about 6 years ago

 

bluestar0283 says ...



This really hit home with me because I am fighting not to have to go off duty right now with a duty related injury...I can not even put into words all that is going on, and all that is running through my mind. It is like you were reading my mind on some of the things you wrote...with all that is going on I think that the hardest part about all of it is that when you become injured you become the BAD GUY-


After all that I have given to this job...they do not even give me the respect of trying to work with me so that I do not need to go off duty. The old saying is true- "What have you done for me lately" ...all the work I did, all the years I put in do not mean a thing, because once you become injured you become THE BAD GUY!


 



Well as of 19 Sept.2008 i am back on disability- i hope that it will only be for 4-6 months while I do some hard work and get things back where they should be. I am in no way ready to leave this job, I love it to much....and when I go it is going to be under my terms...not because Of an old work related injury acting back up.....


And all the department has done by not trying to work with me is make me that much more sure that when I retire it WILL BE under my terms not theirs... Hang Tough Brothers and Sisters and Please Be Safe-


Sometimes in this world there is Justice,..and sometimes there is JUST US..
~The Thin Blue Line- Our Blood Runs Blue~
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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

I have a friend going through this now and I wish I knew how to help him

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

gotbackup says ...



I have a friend going through this now and I wish I knew how to help him


+++++++++++++++++

This member contacted me, requesting that we fire up this discussion again.


You bet. Even though some things have been discussed before, it is good to revisit them and renew them for the benefit of the new tens of thousands of people who have joined since the time the post was originated.


Thanks, 'gotbackup', for bringing this up from the bottom of the stack.


10-8...


The Guy !
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Rated +1 | Posted about 5 years ago

 

How true is this to say the least..........I normally don't say much about my back injury but alot of things hit home. On for thirty years then a on duty injury leaves you wondering if you can even put the duty belt on, a light duty assignment comes after a decision is made that you no longer can perform your duties. Then it really hit's home your treated like you have highly infectious,fatal epidemic problem and everyone stays away. They look at the book cover and everything looks great but they can't read the book because the pages are torn. So after a a 3 month light duty assignment sitting behind a desk, your finally allowed to stay at home because your back is so bent from all the desk work that you no longer can stand up, which only add's to the original back injury. 


So off you go to the pasture and of course out of sight out of mind, you might hear from one or two brothers in the next months to follow but that soon tapers off........The next months become years and so on and fourth. It's a god awful feeling, it's like the door has been shut hard and there is nothing in place from a stand point of the department checking on you from time to time. The work comp insurance adjusters even fight you after a full judgement has been awarded for a full medical retirement. ( Industrial )


So I'll say this, only you can make things happen, yes everyday is a fight, but keep your head up, move forward and keep busy, stay in touch with the department one way or the other, remember the good times, and remeber that you will alway's be a cop, remember you did have an impact on alot of people and alot of cops remember what they have been taught by all of those years of wisdom you shared. And I'll leave with this, my department supported me in receiving my medical retirement, of course I was of retirement age anyway and there was no problems, they just forget who you are real fast when your gone......


 

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Rated +1 | Posted about 5 years ago

 

 Any policeman who is IOD..or medically retired... can contact me.. just cop to cop talk...


There is life after policework... a great life... even with a broken body


 


If you ARE medically retired are you doing everything you possibly can to live a healthy productive life?


or are you wallowing is self pity...? Only you would know (the generic you and not specifically directed towards anyone here)


Have you increased your alcohol use... stopped exercising (within your ability)


Do you think about your gun... look down the barrel.. you know what I mean..the wrong way.. do you just THINK about it


Are your relationships strained... I mean the ones you have left.. are you pushing those who love you away?


Do you have any friends outside policework...ones you dont have to think about and ones who you dont think ,secretly, are dirtbags?


Are you pissed off much of the time.. is normal life stress affecting you so you can't handle it?


I know the patterns... I also have seen what works to help each of us move on


 


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms.... do something to fix them.. the "something" is different for every officer... whatever it is whatever YOU need... find it...


 


notme


I was a life long policeman..


I watched so many of my fellow coppers self destruct I decided to do something about it... so I got trained in the mentorship program to help other coppers... I could care less about the world.... I only care about coppers


 


 

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

TheSarge says ...



gotbackup says ...



I have a friend going through this now and I wish I knew how to help him


+++++++++++++++++

This member contacted me, requesting that we fire up this discussion again.


You bet. Even though some things have been discussed before, it is good to revisit them and renew them for the benefit of the new tens of thousands of people who have joined since the time the post was originated.


Thanks, 'gotbackup', for bringing this up from the bottom of the stack.


10-8...



Thank you so much, I wish I could get him to read all of this, he would know he is not alone. It is helping me understand what he is going through.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

bump


"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, do nothing." Dante

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Rated +1 | Posted about 4 years ago

 

Bringing this post back from the dead.. because another member on here contacted me and told me of their current injury situation.. and how they are hurting.. mentally.. physically.. confused... some even feel cornered seeing few viable options for a future


 


I will tell all of you.. THERE IS LIFE AFTER POLICEWORK.. that means whether you go out after one day on disability to making it 30 plus years to retirement. I dont recall ever meeting a hard working patrol copper who DIDNT leave with injuries... you fight with dirtbags you will get hurt,, it is the nature of the beast. I dont care if you worked for a department of fifteen thousand or a department of five... our job trancends all stations of life and all geographic areas...


 


How to get to a healthy place after retirement will be different for everyone.. a different time span.. a different road...


 


Some studies do show that any policeman with more than 5 years on the job has a very hard time readjusting to other professions. Hopefully each copper here that experiences retirement anywhere on the time scale will have healthy family and friends to support you through to your next life step


 


My advice is to try and find something that helps one have good feelings of self worth.. hard to go from superman.. but find something that makes you feel good about yourself.. it could be advanced basketweaving.. it could be teaching.. or anything in between


 Teach.. and volunteer.. and stay attached to your community. It is a sure killer to stay alone inside your head and detached from your community.. so I recommend anyone disabled or not think about ways to stay involved


You are NOT alone


We... meaning each of us from all different departments and all different assignments..  we ARE around

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

 Just found this site. Trying to get some feedback on dealing with medical retirement.


I have been in law enforcement for 18 years. In 2009, while doing my job as a detective in a surveillance unit, I was involved in a foot chase, which blew out my ACL. Since that day, it has been complete hell, from my department, my county HR and workers comp. I have had 7 knee surgeries between both knees, which included to ACL re-constructions.


On Tuesday 11-13-12, I received a telephone call from my HR department telling me I will be medically retired as of the next day Wednesday 11-14-12. I did not ask for this, nor did I want it, but also was not naive that it could happen. I guess what I'm trying to wrap my head around is the treatment. When I went to my admin, I was treated as if I was being terminated. I handed my ID to a secretary through the glass partition in the lobby. I saw several Chiefs who know me, as well as know what is going on with me, just walk by the lobby and look at me through the door glass. The secretary calls me to the window and says, "Thank you, now you just need to go to the 3rd floor to payroll and close out."


After 18 years of loyal and dedicated service, not so much as a hand shake. I was a very hard worker and dedicated to this department . I am in kno way perfect, but only two personnel investigations in 18 years, one for late reports, the other for crashing a my detective unit is a pretty good record. I was promoted 3 times through the ranks, corporal, then SWAT, then a investigator. My Sheriff did even have five minutes to sit down with me. It's just a really crappy way to go out and the feeling sucks, especially after being permanently injury in the line of duty.. 

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

This topic needs to be put out again for all to see. I must have missed it when it was first posted 4 years ago but the OP could be describing me. I even moved away to another State so I would not have to see the Department pass me by. I am one of those that cannot get another job as my disability is too great and in order to live and not be a quivering mass of insanity from pain I have to take the pain pills.


I am glad to say that while the Department no longer cares and nobody knows anything about me except maybe a few have heard about the Motor-Officer who was badly hurt many, many years ago, my brothers who used to work with me are all retired now and we have all come together and stick together.


Another one of the differences between the Officer in the OP and me is that I still proudly state that I am a retired LEO, and not just any LEO, but a Motor-Officer!

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Momo2835 says ...



 Just found this site. Trying to get some feedback on dealing with medical retirement. I have been in law enforcement for 18 years. In 2009, while doing my job as a detective in a surveillance unit, I was involved in a foot chase, which blew out my ACL. Since that day, it has been complete hell, from my department, my county HR and workers comp. I have had 7 knee surgeries between both knees, which included to ACL re-constructions. On Tuesday 11-13-12, I received a telephone call from my HR department telling me I will be medically retired as of the next day Wednesday 11-14-12. I did not ask for this, nor did I want it, but also was not naive that it could happen. I guess what I'm trying to wrap my head around is the treatment. When I went to my admin, I was treated as if I was being terminated. I handed my ID to a secretary through the glass partition in the lobby. I saw several Chiefs who know me, as well as know what is going on with me, just walk by the lobby and look at me through the door glass. The secretary calls me to the window and says, "Thank you, now you just need to go to the 3rd floor to payroll and close out." After 18 years of loyal and dedicated service, not so much as a hand shake. I was a very hard worker and dedicated to this department . I am in kno way perfect, but only two personnel investigations in 18 years, one for late reports, the other for crashing a my detective unit is a pretty good record. I was promoted 3 times through the ranks, corporal, then SWAT, then a investigator. My Sheriff did even have five minutes to sit down with me. It's just a really crappy way to go out and the feeling sucks, especially after being permanently injury in the line of duty.. 



I understand your feelings, but realize, even though it is physically impossible, other people may feel like they might catch a physical disability from you, as if it were a contageous disease you could get from association.  It sucks, but isn't that strange a reaction from those you worked  or associated with in the past.

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

I found this thread through a google search. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in November. after losing conciousness at work, and then having a second identified seizure in September. I have been off on medical leave since then. My department just denied my request for an extension on my medical leave. I must be seizure free for six months before my doctor releases me to drive. My department is now beginning termination proceedings against me.


I am 41 and law enforcement is all I have known. I am kind of lost right now as I don't know what to do. I am hoping my permanent disability pension comes through. But that only pays a part of my bills. I am divorced and have no insurance other than COBRA right now. Insurance for me is imperative. I am trying to figure out a career now so I can hopefully get that benefit.


But like I said..I have no idea what is next. The pension board is looking at a possible on duty disability as the Dr said the epilepsy could have been caused by a head injury from a fight. 


What kind of careers are out there for a medically retired officer who can't drive for the foreseeable future??

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Bump.

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

notfiveohanymore says ...



I found this thread through a google search. I was diagnosed with epilepsy in November. after losing conciousness at work, and then having a second identified seizure in September. I have been off on medical leave since then. My department just denied my request for an extension on my medical leave. I must be seizure free for six months before my doctor releases me to drive. My department is now beginning termination proceedings against me.


I am 41 and law enforcement is all I have known. I am kind of lost right now as I don't know what to do. I am hoping my permanent disability pension comes through. But that only pays a part of my bills. I am divorced and have no insurance other than COBRA right now. Insurance for me is imperative. I am trying to figure out a career now so I can hopefully get that benefit.


But like I said..I have no idea what is next. The pension board is looking at a possible on duty disability as the Dr said the epilepsy could have been caused by a head injury from a fight. 


What kind of careers are out there for a medically retired officer who can't drive for the foreseeable future??


 


One career you might want to consider is teaching, or credit card fraud investigation with a bank or credit union. Neither require the need to drive, and can utilize your unique skill set.


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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Bump Deefuzz!


Retired cops make extraodinary teachers.  Top notch!


Cops are great storytellers, organized and succinct. They can captivate a crowd to draw them into the universe of challenges facing the LEO and the rewards of the job.  Cops' courses are relaxing, fascinating and uniquely enlightening about the dynamic of law enforcement in society.  This is the only way civilians can get a rare glimpse into issues from the standpoint of law enforcement.  Open dialogue.  Live.  On-ground.  It's where it's at.


I sooo hope some of you retired LEOs choose to transfer into teaching.  We are out here. 


Come and educate us!!!

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

 I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach; I teach updates to constables and deputy sheriffs, both of which have continuing education requirements in Pennsylvania. Temple University also has a unique program; they are one of the few schools in the US that teaches seasonal law enforcement officers that are federally sworn and serve in the US National Parks, I love it......a lot of their work is scenario based, which is a hoot to do as a role player (all of which are current or retired LEO). I absolutely have a blast when I teach,

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

More power to YOU, D!  You know, maybe this is what makes cops such good teachers.  It's apparent they have a blast!


This is a great thread, notmeofficer.

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Hello everyone :-)


You have no idea how thankfully i am for this forum. i'm hoping that i can gain some advice from people who are or who've gone through this. My boyfriend was hurt 7 months ago and sustained some injuries requiring a few surgeries. when we first started dating he did let me know that sometimes after work he could be a little "moody" and and needed time to destress. he may not want to talk and need to be by himself for a while. I dont ask him about work(not because I don't care), figuring he will tell me what I need to know when he's ready. he's been having issues w/the MD and the dept on his treatment and the lack of help he's recieving. its so stressful - money is tight because he's not making what he's used to and being in constant pain just makes it worse. i was worried at one point that he'd try to return to work knowing he wasnt 100%. when i even mention it, he shuts down. im worried that he's becoming depressed. he went to the dept and i could hear in his voice how sad he was that he wasnt working and how wierd ppl were w/him. He's even vented that he feels like he's being forced to medically discharged due to these injuries after 13 years of duty. all his life he's want to be a cop. every male in his family is a LEO. this is not a job to him but who he is. he doesnt have any hobbies outside of work but his bike and he rides w/other officers. I know he's going through a tough time. I've continued to send encouraging text messages and trying to spend time with him.I've let him know I'm here for whatever he needs. Please any Advice how to cope with his shutting me out?(I'm trying not to take it personal)and advice to how help my sweetie through this . Thanks!

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

 I am trying to return to law enforcement after 3 years of medical retirement. I have been told 


I am crazey for even thinking about this. I was on law enforcement for 23 years both military


and civilian.  Everyone told me I had a golden ticket for the rest of my 


Life boy were they wrong. I served for in Afganistan and Iraq when I came


back I was told I was a liability.  So after an on duty accident and


being called a liar I accepted a ptsd retirement. Boy was this a mistake


Is there any hope in returning to law enforcement?