Flea's blog today got me thinking. She wrote about witnessing a suicide by jumping, and how horrendous it was. She also mentioned the police who were there and walked over to the remnants of the body and how it's a job she wouldn't want. And that got me thinking about hubby, who is a cop.
I worry for him every day. I was scared shitless when he decided to switch careers from the relatively safe job of middle school teacher to police officer. I expressed my fears to him, when he asked my opinion, but told him to make the choice which would make him happiest. Honestly, I've never seen him so happy in a job. He loves helping people and he loves arresting the bad guys - the shitbags who beat their spouses, beat their victims unconscious before stealing from them, steal from the elderly, steal from their own family. He's a detective now, which at first was a relief, until I realized he'd be the one getting warrants and accompanying deputies when they're served. I pray none of the people he's arrested holds a grudge. It's a small consolation that he's not in the robbery unit and he doesn't handle murders. But he does handle attempted murders.
He's seen his share of corpses. Luckily, he's one of those few people that don't get all woozy at the sight of blood and innards (although he says there's no escaping the smell). He responded to a call one Christmas where an older man had shot himself and was found by his 10 year old granddaughter. I think that was his first, and it was very difficult.
He once went on a call where the body had festered in an un-airconditioned trailer in the Florida summer. At first the deputies thought the guy had died on a beanbag, until they realized the beanbag was his scrotum. Decomposition gases will do some funky things. A deputy rolled a body over in an attempt to identify it, and a roach crawled out of the corpse's butt...I still get to hear about that one every so often. They cope by joking about what they see. They mean no disrespect to the deceased, and certainly don't joke in front of the family, but they have to deal with it somehow. Hubby also jokes about how people seem to die either naked or on the toilet.
Another time he was called out to an attempted suicide. The victim had slashed his arms and was profusely bleeding. The victim's wife saw what happened and called 911. Hubby was able to slow the flow of blood with towels until an ambulance arrived and probably kept the man alive. Another time he was called on an ex parte order to bring a patient to the mental health unit. She was very distressed about leaving her baby behind, which hubby discovered was actually a doll. He told the woman she could bring her "baby", and when he brought her into the unit, he pulled a nurse aside and asked her to make sure noone took the woman's doll from her. I almost cried when he told me that.
I sure couldn't do his job, nor would I want to.