Since March this year I’ve been on ‘light duty’ as a police officer. March 1, 2016 I had a CVA– a stroke– a brain attack. As CVAs go, this was a mild one. I was blessed.
Since then I’ve not been working as a uniformed patrol officer. I’m writing this in late June and will be away from patrol until early October. I’ve had a lot of time to think.
My current ‘light duty’ assignment is to create/write/develop a curriculum for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) for the police department. It’s a big job and a necessary one. And I may be the best capable guy to do that… Considering my education, training, and expertise in training. Originally I was to assist other CIT members developing the curriculum, but the focus changed; then I got the mandate to ‘just create’ the curriculum.
Being on ‘light duty’ is a pariah. I’ve always had a hard time ‘belonging’ and this makes it harder. I’ve heard comments such as “How long are you gonna keep gold-bricking?” and “You don’t look like anything is wrong” and “You sound like fine to me” and the best comment– “You must love this not having to be on patrol”. Patrol staff is always short. Officers on light duty create more work for the patrolling officers. I feel guilty.
I don’t have a bandage or a sling or a cast or visible bruising. My issues that prevent me from working patrol are unseen issues. My language still isn’t right. I still have a stammer and stutter. I still search for correct words. I still struggle with pronunciation of common words. My writing is laborious. I call my mis-speaking and mis-writing as “stroke-isms”. Humor is best way (for me) to deal with what I’m going through.
My organization has been outstanding. The administration seems to be patient with my recuperation. And I’m doing that which no-one else wants to do… And I like doing it.
To be a ‘true’ police officer I know I should never admit to liking anything. ‘Real’ police officers bitch and moan and complain about no matter the task. That doesn’t work for me…. About 30 years ago I decided that I would enjoy whatever I do or wherever I am.
My goal is to enjoy my station in life or work and try to live with grace and patience. I want to enjoy whatever I do. I must find the value in my moments and like them. Of course, to live with grace, I need to leave my ‘guilt by light duty’ behind. This is a chore for me.
Self-improvement work continues…. doggone it…. Back to my chore. Like I said, I’ve had a lot of time to think….
Of course, your mileage may vary…..