Oct 9, 2006

Past Injuries…. Part I

     I wish I could tell you the hair-raising, bloodcurdling, heroic adventure that ended with my shoulder injury.  However it was just a 45-year old guy thinking he could surf like he was 20. 


     I do recall several trips to the emergency room, and, although not for real exciting stuff, like gunshot wounds or being punched by Tommy Lee, there are a few stories to tell.  Here’s the first one that come’s to mind:


I was working graveyard one night.  At about 0300 (that’s 3 o’clock in the morning), I stepped out the back door of our PD and heard a faint “Help me” cry.  It was coming from about two blocks away, so Officer Jim W. and I walked toward the sound.  We ended up standing in front of an abandoned, two story business complex, and could still hear the “Help!”, although it was starting to get weaker.  There was definitely an injured citizen in need of our heroic help, and by gum we were going to save him!  I triangulated the sound as best I could, guessing that it was coming from the second story of the abandoned building.  As we looked into the building, I could see one plate glass door which opened to a stairway, which went to the second floor.  Officer Jim then yelled to me, “There’s a fire up there!”  


     I looked up at the secondfloor windows, and could see flames spreading throughout the complex.  I thought there was someone trapped in the second story, which was on fire, and I was now in a position to save their life; that’s front page news stuff there!  Unfortunately at the time, I was thinking far too much like a fireman (no offense intended) and too little like a cop.  Several questions SHOULD have come to mind, such as: how would the second story of an abandoned business catch fire at 3 in the morning?  Why would someone be in an abandoned building at 3 in the morning, and the biggest missed question of all, why in the heck did I walk two blocks to the screaming, instead of driving my car (where there would be a plentitude of tools for breeching the plate glass door)? 


     Oh well, I pulled out my Streamlight flashlight and hammered on the plate glass about 15 times, until my flashlight went through the glass.  I ran up the stairway and saw the upper floor almost fully engulfed in flames.  I yelled for the victim, but could not hear any more screams.  Officer Jim and I retreated from the flames, coming back out to the street.  Hearing the cries again, we realized that they were not coming from inside the building.  We then checked the alley behind the building and found, next to a dumpster, a guy who was whimpering, “Help me,” and smelled of smoke. 


     We determined that this guy was a street wino, who was a bit of an arsonist.  He had been squatting in this businessfor awhile and decided to light a warming fire, which got out of control and blocked his normal way out, so he had to jump out a second story window.  The landing resulted in a compound fracture of both his legs.  He pulled himself to a dumpster and started calling for help. 


     As the ambulance crew was working on Mr. Firebug, one of the EMT’s looked at me and said, “You want me to look at that hand?”  I pulled my right hand up and saw that it was covered in blood, and had been dripping down my right pant’s leg.  The ER doc found a laceration of the back of my right thumb, severing a tendon and the main thumb artery; all done when my hand went through the glass along with the flashlight. After the stitches, I got my thumb placed into a cast which positioned it out at 90 degrees to my hand, making me look a bit like Little Jack Horner. 


     Lessons learned:


1) I am not a fireman (no offense intended);


2) Just ‘cause someone’s crying for help does not necessarily mean you will not be arresting them;


3) Bring the patrol car with you; it may be necessary to: get equipment out of, drive someone to jail in, sit in to watch fireman fight fires, and drive yourself to the ER in.


psychfun said...

UGH! I just lost my comment I think! Sorry if there are 2! Thanks for the LAUGH! I really needed it (Note...Bring Patrol Car with you!) even though it is making me cough too. Yes, I have a the nasty cold all my students have been getting. It is like "Who will get it next!" 11pm Fri my body apparently gave up the fight & EVIL SAID, WE ARE HERE TO PLAY! Ugh! Yes, I get sarcastic when I'm sick, among other things. In case you can't tell I HATE BEING SICK!!!! Like anyone likes to be sick but....I know a few of my officer friends have said they do that from time to time. The autopilot goes on & then they are in the middle of a burning building going "Sure, what a great idea that was!" But I'd rather have hearts (spirits) like that in your profession than those who would not do something like that! Have to be careful but still if we had more people like that the world would be a better place! Keep them coming...canceling my classes again tomorrow & I need something to do other than watching Gene Simmon's show! HA! Actually, it isn't too bad! HA! Must be bringing back those teen yrs from the 70s back! HA!

dragoneyes1164 said...

I know it's selfish of me, but I'm a little glad your injured cause you make for good reading.. (sorry about the surfing mishap and hope you feel better soon btw)...but keep the stories coming though !!!

nelishianatl said...

This story kept me on the edge wondering what I'd find next.  My boyfriend is a cop and he doesn't tell me a whole lot because I'm a worrier.  He accidently let something slip the other day and I was in tears out of pure fear.   I'm glad you got your thumb taken care of.  Remembering to bring the patrol car was so funny.  Good thing your thumb is in hitchhike position now. lol

emabecmar said...

omg, what a story. i think you were not just thinking of a firemen, you took a pledge to serve and protect when becoming a police officer and those 2 things were there that night also. you are truely an awesome police officer. Have a great day.

mosie1944 said...

Never a dull moment, eh?

reconcilinglife said...

I hope you thumb still works after that..some story......love your honesty.Bam

mastersblynn said...

you do know how to tell a great story.  They say live and learn....I think you have!  Great job Jack! Barbara

screaminremo303 said...

I've started keeping an aluminum tee-ball bat in my trunk. It's small enough to travel but strong enough to beat the crap out of windows. It's tough to do a break-n-rake with a flashlight.

siennastarr said...

I just found your journal, and am loving your police stories.  My ex husband was a homicide detective for the city of Monrovia, in California, once upon a time.  He was shot in the line of duty and was forced into retirement at the age of 40.  

Putting you on alert, and I will be back! :)


bgilmore725 said...

Well if there were someone in need of help in that building, you would have been the guy to rescue them. The intent was there.... my husband always said no good deed goes unpunished... I think it's true, but don't stop doing good deeds! So, even with a sling, you can type out a good story.    < <grin> >   bea

trishaham said...

I hope you are not in too much pain. I am new to journal and love it already. I like your style of writing.


rebuketheworld said...

Hey you were on a hero mission....I think its great that your first thought was rescue...thank goodness your alive and I hope they give you plenty of pain pills to drift away from aches...but glad your on the planet...thanks for sharing

~Raven Smith

shayshaydc said...

If you had driven your patrol car then your evening stroll would not have been as exciting now would it???????? LOL... http://journals.aol.com/shayshaydc/Golfaholic

suzypwr said...

Sounds like you learned one lesson per stitch on that one! Great story.

tpiez4me said...

Cool Dave - a surfer's injury.  Hmmmmm, now I'm not about to go running into any burning buildings, hey isn't that way everyone else is running OUT???  Glad the hand was OK.

lanurseprn said...

I love your stories!!