The Day I Died | MassCops

The Day I Died

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Gil, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Gil

    Gil Founder of MassCops Staff Member

    The Day I Died

    On May 15th 2015 at 5:45 AM while conducting a routine traffic stop, I died; it was a slow and painful death, the effects that I am still dealing with today. My last day on patrol, the last report, the last call for service and the last traffic stop of many in my law enforcement career. It wasn’t a planned conclusion to my career. I was not injured by some callus criminal or hurt in a motor vehicle accident responding to a call. My own body took me out of the game.

    I was the victim of a major heart attack, physically. I survived. But the psychological effects of overcoming a near death, career-ending experience are harder to overcome than you would ever imagine and if not dealt with in time can cost you a lot more.

    The damage done to my heart effects my ability to breath normally, I can't climb a set of stairs or even engage in long conversations without getting winded. It's irreversible; I will be this way for the rest of my life.

    As if the near death experience wasn’t enough, now I have to retire from a profession I love, a profession that I had wanted to be a part of since my childhood. One that I had been working in for nearly twenty years, in one capacity or another. It was over. I wasn't ready to retire! This is not the way it was supposed to end. I was angry, depressed, confused and worried about my future.

    In the immediate weeks that followed, I had difficulty sleeping. I was afraid I would not wake up. I would get out of bed at 2AM and head to the station because it was a comfortable place for me and I knew I would have someone to talk with. I wrote my obituary several times, I made my final arrangements. Living will, power of attorney, heath care proxy, everything I could think of should my damaged heart finally give out. I was doing this so the woman I love would not have to deal with this. But in my head I was thinking is this normal? Am I loosing it?

    My fiancée suggested that I seek professional help, "just go talk to someone". I reluctantly agreed. I was reluctant because I saw this as a sign of weakness. Being your typical A personality I felt I did not need to speak to anyone and that I would eventually overcome this.

    I met with a psychotherapist from the Employee Assistance Program, once; he assured me that everything I was experiencing and doing was normal for someone dealing with a near death experience. I figured ok, good to go and that was the last time I saw him.

    As the weeks continued my fiancée talked with me about this newfound anger issue I seemed to be experiencing. I would get incredibly upset over stupid petty things. I wasn't aware of it but it was more than apparent for her. She again suggested I talk with someone. I dismissed her suggestions because I was already told what I was feeling was normal.

    Five months later while leaving cardiac rehab I suffer another heart attack, nowhere near as serious as the first but enough to mess with me mentally.

    Seven months have passed now at this point and after completing a round of cardiac rehab and several rounds of testing on ejection fracture the decision was made to retire. It was not an easy decision at all and one I did not want to make but I knew I could not safely preform the functions of a police officer without putting my brother and sister officers or myself in harms way.

    The depression worsens, one minute I am excited about what the future holds, the next I am depressed about leaving my police life behind. Months of mood swings; depression and anger issues continue and took a toll on my relationship. It was all too much for my fiancée to handle. I'm not the same man she said yes to, that man died on May 15th 2015.

    I urge everyone if they of the victims of a near death experience to seek professional help from a psychotherapist as soon as you are medically able to do so. Even if you don’t feel the need, eventually you will. I only recently started seeing one on a regular basis who helped me see that I was going through a grieving process. Being part of the department for twenty years and then losing it so abruptly, it was like a family member dying.

    I have lost the career that I loved due to a medical issue. I lost the woman I love because of stubbornness.

    Two Years Later…

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Although I miss working my brothers and sisters, locking up shitbirds, helping those that truly needed to be helped. Life does go on.

    I didn’t want to be that old timer that goes to the station on a daily or weekly basis telling war stories (back when I was on the street) etc etc.. So I picked up and moved as far away as possible.

    I ended up in sunny Arizona, started a new life, met a wonderful woman and although things did not go as planned, well maybe that’s for the better. I always believed in the saying “Everything happens for a reason” and even though we may not know the reason, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Take care my brothers and sisters...
    Truck, JD02124, brk120 and 22 others like this.
  2. Kilvinsky

    Kilvinsky I think, therefore I'll never be promoted.

  3. pahapoika

    pahapoika Subscribing Member

    Damn Gil, thought you were posting an inspirational story about someone else.

    Had no idea . . . . . . :(

    Very hard to walk away from something that's been so much apart of your life. Luckily it sounds like the good Lord has other plans for you and sent you down another path.

    Like Jerry Steinfeld said, once you retire you have to move to Florida or Arizona those are the rules :cool:

    Don't be a stranger ;)
    kwflatbed, Gil and GARDA like this.
  4. Gil

    Gil Founder of MassCops Staff Member

    Yeah I'm driving Harry's Kenworth now lol..

    Driving for Schneider part time, mostly California. 7 days on the road, 7 days home. All is good now. I will always miss the job but life goes on...

    I was contacted by a dear friend after I posted this... no I'm not Q5, although when I wrote it, I might have been a little. I just wanted to share with others that may find themselves in a similar situation and let them know to get the help, talk to someone, don't keep it bottled up.
    mpd61, pahapoika, j809 and 8 others like this.
  5. HistoryHound

    HistoryHound Supporting Member

    Thank you for sharing your story. It's important for anyone going through something like that to know that they're not alone. Not because there are people who have been through it and know what's it's like (though that does help), but because there are people there who are willing, able and ready to help. You just have to let them. Be strong enough to seek help when you need it, accept help when you don't want it and to get up every day to face your new normal head on.
    GARDA, Fuzzywuzzy, mtc and 3 others like this.
  6. dano448

    dano448 Supporting Member

    Glad you are well! Ironic that you "died" on May 15th...National Law Enforcement Memorial Day!
    mpd61, GARDA, pahapoika and 3 others like this.
  7. visible25

    visible25 Supporting Member

    Gil, as others have said your story is important to read and see as it may just as well pertain to anyone here at anytime.

    Glad you've made the best of an otherwise shitting situation and found a new and positive way to look at things.

    For anyone here it certainly serves as a wake up call to be aware and especially to the younger guys (myself included) that it can happen to anyone.

    Hang in there and keep popping by!
    pahapoika, Gil and kwflatbed like this.
  8. LGriffin

    LGriffin Always Watching

    Well said, Gil.
    You're a great guy and you've done a ton of good for the job.
    Enjoy being single because there's only a matter of time before some nice lady finds you and makes you hold her purse while she's in the bathroom, carry her heavy shopping bags and then put her ice cold feet on you to repay you for your kindness. Until then, may you enjoy many flashed boobs along the highway. ;-)
    Goose, pahapoika, Gil and 1 other person like this.
  9. Hush

    Hush Moderator Staff Member

    Wow....thank you for sharing! AZ is a great spot to settle, and lots of beautiful women!

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
    pahapoika, Gil and kwflatbed like this.
  10. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    I have shared this post to old members that I still have contact with, if anyone else knows someone please share it.
    pahapoika, Officer Dunngeon and Gil like this.
  11. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    Hi Gil.

    I see you make it to California on your road trips. If you ever make it to the Los Angeles area, feel free to look me up. Lunch or dinner is on me.
    dano448, Edmizer1, pahapoika and 2 others like this.
  12. Officer Dunngeon

    Officer Dunngeon Out of the Loop

    I'm stunned.

    Every time I drive through North Attleboro, I was always looking for you, even just yesterday... but I never saw you... now I know why. I'm so sorry for what you went through, Gil... and you're right, there is always a way to climb back up when things are at their worst. I hope your health is better, and you're taking care of yourself. Remember who's #1, baby (yeah, that would be you... take care of YOU!).
    mpd61, Goose, pahapoika and 3 others like this.
  13. Johnny Law

    Johnny Law Nemo me impune lacessit Staff Member

    Can't say anything that hasn't already been said, brother. Did you at least get out on the heart bill?
  14. Gil

    Gil Founder of MassCops Staff Member

    Yes, it was almost a year long process
    GARDA, Edmizer1, HistoryHound and 3 others like this.
  15. GARDA

    GARDA Subscribing Member

    I don't post much on MC anymore but still surf here plenty. Gil, reading your post stirred up a bunch of thoughts in me.
    I'm sad you were forced to leave before you wanted to, but glad to hear you got out on the heart bill (not under the circumstances you described above, nor that it took a year to process it) but I want to wish you a long, healthy and happy post-LE-life... You have earned it. My tenure on MC has spanned almost 14 yrs. now, during the almost 22 yrs. I have in this career, sharing at times with you all some of my most notable and quotable moments here on this website. I once enjoyed my front row seat in the LE circus more than I do now, and I would certainly miss the clowns I've shed blood, sweat & tears alongside, but I also learned long ago to never over-invest myself emotionally in this job because it will never love you back. We have all seen, if not experienced personally, that this career will get you: shot or killed, injured or maimed, sued or demoted, make you callous or cynical, depressed or despondent, divorced or detached, give you high blood pressure or a heart attack, etc...
    If you work long enough as a LEO then you probably know more co-workers who would rather be retired from "the worst job they'll never quit" than who still want to be here. Apologies if my words may seem to dilute or distract from anything Gil has posted above, but his refreshing candidness has also reminded me of a time here on MC when our peers could respond to each other without reservation with their own thoughts and experiences, as either empathy or anecdote, while also preparing for any rebuttal. Ah yes the good old days. Smooth sailing to you Gil. Cheers.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
    pahapoika, mtc, Gil and 5 others like this.
  16. 7costanza

    7costanza Supporting Member

    Man, i stop by to peruse and stumble across this, I'm sorry to hear about your health issues i had no idea Gil. Thank You for your Service to this Country in the Military. Thank You for your 20 yrs of service in Law Enforcement, i know there isn't much i can say to make it any better but for what its worth your still one of my Heroes and always will be, when Edmund Burke said " The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." YOU and many others on here answered the call and did something, and although it ended before you may have liked no one can ever take that away. Just remember you don't have to wear patch on your arm to have honor, keep your chin up your a warrior.

  17. PBC FL Cop

    PBC FL Cop Subscribing Member

    Hi Gil, I had no idea either and I wish you all the best. If you ever need anything from me please feel free to contact me. Enjoy the sunshine of Arizona and be well...
    kwflatbed, Goose, Gil and 1 other person like this.
  18. mpd61

    mpd61 Retired Fed, Active Special

    You rock brother! Thanks for sharing it all with us, and keep in touch;)
    Gil, pahapoika and kwflatbed like this.
  19. Pvt. Cowboy

    Pvt. Cowboy Lemme take a selfie Staff Member

    Holy shit.. is this 2005? The names I see in this thread...

    Glad to hear you're doing well, Gil. I bet you still have that Ed Hardy shirt I gave you.

    You still wear it, don't you. ;)

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