Hey man, I was a police officer with a metropolitan PD for almost 9 years. I am new to this forum and read your post. I found it comforting to see another officer on here that was struggling with similar issues as me.
In 2009, I was riding in a raid van at work. We hit a large pot hole in the road and I was thrown into the roof, striking my head. It was a little disorienting and hurt at the time, but I didn't feel injured. A few days later, I started noticing my balance and coordination was off, the back of head hurt, I had a buzzing sound in my head and my ears felt strange, lots of neck pain. I just wasn't feeling right. Felt like my head was buried in the sand.
Long story short, I didn't talk about the symptoms much at work, but sought medical treatment trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I saw a bunch of specialists and was misdiagnosed with a lot of stuff over the year (test coming back normal). I struggled and worked with the symptoms because I loved what I was doing. After roughly a year, I had to raise the red flag and they put me on desk duty (was also disempowered because of the nature of the symptoms).
Man, this was the most humiliating experience I've ever had to deal with. Feeling like a broken cop while you watch your buddies do what you love is depressing. I know you can relate.
After a year of light duty, my symptoms just weren't getting any better no matter what I did. I just wasn't feeling right.
The department put me on an injured on duty medical pension last Oct. This has been devastating (on top of the health issues). I feel like I have lost my identity. The bad thing is people around me don't understand, especially cop friends, because you look fine on the outside.
They are sending me to see a new neurologist in a couple of weeks. No one to this point has made a connection of brain injury, but I just can't understand what is going on. The anger, frustration and depression are an understatement. My wife told me I just wasn't the same person I once was. We separated a couple months ago.
I was glad to see you were making progress and were working again. I have considered just telling them I am good and going back to work. But, there is no way I could do it the way I feel. I wouldn't want me backing me up.
Just wanted you to know you weren't the only cop on here and that you aren't alone.
Originally Posted by redwing88
I was rear ended in March of 2010 and got a concussion. I was diagnosed with a concussion and was told it might be a few days before I felt better. Throughout the first week I lost the ability to speak coherently. I could not construct a sentence properly and obscure and irrelevent phrases would be scattered throughout my speech. I could not find words, would substitute wrong words, and then get angry when someone couldn't understand me. My balance was affected and I started walking with on hand out to the side to keep my balance. I had the typical headaches, earpain, and intolerence of noise and stimilation and busyness.
I worked very hard and had a lot of support in the first 6 months or so. After 10 months I was able to return to work part time in a limited capacity. I'm a police officer in a tough city. My family and coworkers were amazed at my recovery and some told me that they never thought I'd be able to live independently again much less return to work.
I have now been working full time on my own for 7 months, and without any restrictions for the past 4 months.
All of that means that I have recovered greatly but I still struggle so much. Most noticable to others are my change in personality, ability to handle stress, and how quick I am to anger and mood changes.
Most noticable to me is my inability to find ideas or memories especially placing those in context. I get "lost" when I try to find a memory or read a book. Thinking is so much more difficult. I used to be able to read a James Patterson type book in a few hours with complete comprehension and recall. Now I struggle to read one over several weeks and usually have to reread parts of it and look back over it to remember what happens.
Whenever I'm overly tired my symptoms get worse. When I'm really stressed, tired, or sick I have so many symptoms that I can't function.
My doctor calls this a depleted cognitive reserve and says that I need to rebuild my "brain buffer."
Has anyone else heard of this? Does anyone have any suggestions on anything I can try to keep improving my functioning?
Thanks for letting me share. Due to the nature of my job, its not like I can share with anyone that I still struggle so much.