Thursday, June 4, 2015

Time To Get A Grip

This job deals in death a lot. I've had to handle a murdered infant, a 100-year-old who died in his sleep next to his 98-year-old spouse, and everything in between. You simply have to be prepared to deal with it.

So, if you have to take time off from work to seek counseling and recover every time you see a dead body, you're in the wrong profession. You're leaving us short on the street, and the short shift has to cover your calls. Let's face it: this job isn't for everybody. There's a place for you out there somewhere. Please go find it.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious, though, Officer.

Do you ever get immune? Or do you just learn to compartmentalize?

I'm not in law enforcement, or medicine, but for some reason I seem to be one of those people who has seen too much and been present for too much all my life.

I compartmentalize. Shut it away, and eventually it goes away with no lasting effects.

Just curious how you handle it.

Officer Cynical said...

I don't know whether it's compartmentalization, immunity, or what. I go, I see, I do, and it very, very rarely bothers me. There's been the rare exception ( I'm sure that says something negative about my make-up.

Anonymous said...

No fair! You pulled the 'dog' card! Seriously, though, animals - dogs in particular - are my weakness. I usually just get angry, though, when I see abuse and when I see pain I leap into action. I think it must be their complete forgiving natures. I currently share my life with a feral rescue, a beautiful white GSD who came to me terrified of everything. It took a while, but showing her the world was not all bad brought about such changes in her, and she's now the most loving, loyal, and affectionate creature I've ever been privileged to know. When she dies, and she will someday no matter how hard I try not to make it happen, I'll cry until there are no more tears.

Maybe that's it, Officer, maybe your humanity isn't flawed. Maybe it just knows where best to put its energies. :-)

Anonymous said...

I do a lot of animal rescue and most of us are just like you: We don't blink hearing about human death and destruction (except maybe for small children or the elderly demented), but fall apart hearing about animal abuse. Most of us have been accused of caring more about animals than people (possible), but I think it's because animals (like very small children and the elderly with dementia) are vulnerable and easy targets for abusers.

Carolyn said...

Just like Awesomesauciness, I'm not a cop or doctor, but I have seen my share of ugly too. I either don't have time to think before just doing what needs to be done, or I do have time to think (and find I am being affected) so I "acknowledge the suck" which allows me to get on with it ... I find that being honest with myself instead of trying to pretend things are juuuuust peachy helps me. If I can take that moment and agree with myself that something is gross/scary/horrible, I can get past it and just go. (Recent example - a friend with no family in the area got critically ill and I spent 48 hours by his side without sleep or even being able to wash my face through 2 different hospitals after trying to care for him at his home and convince him he needed more help than I could give him ... at about hour 36 (in hospital 2) I was about to melt down so I told my friend I needed to find a soda and sat myself in the lounge and mentally complained about being tired, unshowered and wearing the same clothes for too damn long and wanting to be home in my own bed. 5 minutes later I walked back into his room with a Mountain Dew and renewed calm)

I also look for the small graces and mercies in a bad situation - just a tiny bit of good to help me keep the bad in perspective. After 9/11, while it was still rescue and recovery, the handlers of the search dogs would hide a volunteer for the dogs to find at the end of the day because its too much for the dogs to go out there shift after shift and never come up with a live victim. FFS, it was too much for the human volunteers too, but you can't fake that for people ... but faking it for the dogs helped ME. Knowing that those dogs were being looked after and cared for so well, knowing that they were getting a good moment gave me a good moment too ... and from the smiles on some of the other human volunteers, I know I wasn't alone.To my right and to my left were thousands of sights that could break my heart, but when I looked dead ahead and saw something good, it kept me going.

Anonymous said...

In defense of the officer who took off after a death- if it's a regular thing find a new profession however, if it's a one time event give them a pass. You don't know what in their history may have been brought up by the event.