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Thread: Injured by a ND, Wanted to Share Thoughts

  1. #1
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    Injured by a ND, Wanted to Share Thoughts

    Had a negligent discharge Sunday (21Jan2018) afternoon, and the subsequent downtime has left me plenty of time to think on the events following the event (especially since medical personnel have asked me to repeat the circumstances several dozen times over).

    The circumstances were stereotypical: watching a movie, and since I hadn't checked up on my bedside gun in a couple months, figured I'd give it a once-over... and followed every safety step out of order. Racked slide, dropped magazine, pulled trigger... all I could hear was eeeeeeeeeee, the room smelled of smoke, my roommate was at my door shouting something I couldn't hear, and it felt like someone had bludgeoned my knee with a sledgehammer. Wearing sweatpants, my first thought was to grab the belt out of my jeans and fashion an admittedly crappy tourniquet to my upper thigh, high above where I felt the pain. I yelled repeatedly "call an ambulance! Call an ambulance!" while I was sweating and my mouth was dry.

    I think the response time was about three minutes. I was hyperventilating, and suddenly my tiny bedroom was filled with two EMS guys, two firefighters, and (I think) a police officer. They pried my hands away from the entrance wound in my upper thigh and the tourniquet, at which point my vision went black and my hands began to fold into a palsy-like pose. I could still move and feel my foot below the ankle, but my shin was in excruciating pain. They managed to get me onto some sort of chair, out of the house, down the porch steps, and into an ambulance... my silly thought at that point was embarrassment at all the response vehicles blocking my narrow suburb street. Lights and sirens on, they headed toward the nearest large hospital, ambulance bouncing along and the (admittedly badass) medic putting 16ga IVs in my inside elbows, standing, while we took a sharp cloverleaf exit off the highway. I thought back to blood donations and how Red Cross personnel always seemed to have trouble finding my veins, but not this guy.

    Offloaded through the doors and wheeled into the trauma ward, every inch of my clothing was scissored away while a dozen or so staff took vitals, xrayed me, asked the same five questions over and over, and squabbled a little with each other. Once the hubbub died down, I had something that was a cross between a towel and a blanket draped over my naughty bits, a thin pillow under my head, and what resembled puppy piddle pads piled underneath my calf, still bleeding slowly, saturating the bandages and pads. My roommate arrived with my wallet, cell phone, and (thank God) a 15' charging cable for my phone. We caught up a bit, and found out that there was no visible blood trail nor bullet hole in the bedroom - no clue if my hasty tourniquet helped with the former or not. After telling my to please call my parents and check in (since she called panic-called them immediately after 911), she left to leave me to get my leg CT scanned. Result was a 230gr FMJ entered my inside thigh about 3" above the knee, exited the front of my shin about 3.5" below the knee, shattering the top of my tibia in the process. Fortunately no bone fragments made their way into the joint itself, and no major arteries or nerves were hit.

    Spent a couple of nights in the hospital, and was discharged Tuesday afternoon to my parents, who fortunately are both medical professionals who built their house from the ground up with limited mobility and access in mind, but unfortunately live five hours away. The hospital physical therapist cleared me for crutch use, but honestly I'm still (Saturday evening) still not the best with them. I began preliminary physical therapy Thursday, and the local specialist admitted that it was a little unusual for someone to start so early after such an incident, but I'd repeatedly expressed to anyone and everyone that I wanted to get back to my regular life as soon as possible.

    Some thoughts:

    1) My incident happened in a well-populated area with help close by (the medics were two blocks away in a gas station parking lot). I could not have moved myself without their assistance - I'm 6'3, 33 years old, and a solid 240, and my roommate alone couldn't have helped me.

    2) Shock is a real thing - no amount of bandages, quick-clot, or pain medication can help with it. If it hits, it leaves you mindless and helpless. I had to listen to the medic telling me when to breathe just to keep a slow, steady, even pace going.

    3) I don't know about wounds to the arms, head, or torso, but a leg - even though it's a "Hollywood Wound," still really, really sucks. I'm in bed most of the day, unable to move much without shin-into-coffee-table-pain every time I try to change positions. Getting up to go to the bathroom is at least a 15min ordeal even just to pee... and today, a #2 kicked my ass because of the odd position I had to maintain on the can. My good leg went to sleep, and getting up was frankly frightening. If I'd fallen, I have no idea how I'd get back up. I almost broke the towel rack off the wall using it as a safety bar, and getting back to bed was glorious.

    4) Pain meds. In the hospital, they hit me with Fentanyl every three hours, oxycodone every four. I hate that I love opiates, and the amount they pumped into me killed the pain, sure, but started giving me phantom itches and messing with my memory. I insisted that we taper off as much as possible, and these past few days my regular meds have been tylenol and naproxen (aleve). I don't want to become dependent (again) on the "good" stuff, and though I still have a bottle of it, I save it for the really bad moments (such as after the intense phys therapy visits, and even then only a very small dose.

    5) Time. I'm lucky that I have a job that can put me on hold (USAF civilian) for up to six weeks as long as I maintain contact with my supervisor, because even though it hasn't been a full week yet, I'm already ready to be over this. I'm tired of feeling useless, whether it's the lack of work, or helping out with my roommate responsibilities, or even helping around my parent's home... I can't do any of that. I can't even carry a drink back to my bed since both hands are occupied just moving my heavy ass around on the crutches, and it's going to be at least another week before I don't have to have my leg bandaged up underneath my multi-layer splint. A month, earliest, for walking with a cane. I can't drive (it's my right leg).

    I've suffered both slashes and one serious stab before, and I never thought I'd say this, but I'd rather take any of them over this again.

    I'm happy to answer any questions I can, and if necessary add details to the above, but so much of what I thought I knew about gun shot wounds - gleaned from hours and hours of movies, TV, video games, and internet - were so off from what I've just experienced that I want others to know the realities of what it means to be shot, at least what I can from my screw-up.

    Above all, stay safe. Failing that, try not to get shot.
    Sent from the future using Squid Telepathy

    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    If we could control all the variables, we'd just put all the bad luck on our enemies and stay home.

  2. #2
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    First, I wish you a speedy recovery and I’m glad it doesn’t seem permanently disabling.

    Second, thanks for sharing. That takes guts.

    Just out of professional curiosity, was it a Glock?

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    Can't speak for any of that but I did have one experience with shock and it sucks. I had to get angry and see red in order not to pass out. Took all of my strength not to lose it. Afterwards I felt tired. All I did was leave my finger in the car as I walked into my house! Trying to understand what happened, and what must be done to fix it....get keys and unlock door.... felt like trying to understand space time continuum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnerblue View Post
    Just out of professional curiosity, was it a Glock?
    Absurdly, no. It was a USP Expert. I had no reason to not use the decocker, much less drop the hammer. I just like dryfiring... extra emphasis on the "dry," heh.

    That takes guts.
    Something this... embarrassing, infuriating, humbling, and sobering needs to be shared. There's a lot of bravado and armchair commando-ing out there, so any real world experience can only help. I thought if it'd ever happen to me, I'd be a badass and just shake it off. Now that it actually has happened, and I now know I can't, I'd figure I'd do what little I can to keep someone from "toughing it out" and end up doing worse damage to themselves in the process, or possibly dying, all the while thinking "nah it ain't that bad, I don't need no help." Pride can be a powerful enemy.

    I wish you a speedy recovery and I’m glad it doesn’t seem permanently disabling.
    Only time will tell, though I know given other impact injuries this knee has taken, that I won't ever be 100% again. I'm fine with that just so long as I can eventually at some point climb a flight of stairs... that's really my only wish right now. Even a simple transition from wood floor to carpet is enough to make me stop and recalculate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arik View Post
    Can't speak for any of that but I did have one experience with shock and it sucks. I had to get angry and see red in order not to pass out. Took all of my strength not to lose it. Afterwards I felt tired. All I did was leave my finger in the car as I walked into my house! Trying to understand what happened, and what must be done to fix it....get keys and unlock door.... felt like trying to understand space time continuum.
    Probably talking out my fourth point of contact here, but it seems like it's panic and instinct at odds with each other. "Breathing hard seems to help the pain - crap this hurts bad - gotta breathe hard, but faster" while the higher brain is all "wait, lungs, I'm not getting enough oxygen here, slow the F down." Lower brain: "No, MORE" Upper brain: *alarms start going off, key systems start automatically shutting down to preserve vital lower-brain functions* "Crap crap crap" Lower brain: "That's what I'm saying, BREATHE FASTER" Upper brain: *flatlines*
    Sent from the future using Squid Telepathy

    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    If we could control all the variables, we'd just put all the bad luck on our enemies and stay home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnerblue View Post
    First, I wish you a speedy recovery and I’m glad it doesn’t seem permanently disabling.

    Second, thanks for sharing. That takes guts.

    Just out of professional curiosity, was it a Glock?
    What's the Glock part matter, he already said he racked the slide before dropping the mag.

    Thanks for sharing. I had a friend zing himself, somehow , in the thigh with a P226 a few years back. He was freaking (2 tour Iraq vet), I was laughing and giving him shit (8 year EMT, 5 year physician at that time).

    I've had a few NDs on the range (one a 1911 with hammer back, the other an AR that had a sub 3# trigger). Thankfully I was pointed downrange in each of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caduceus View Post
    What's the Glock part matter, he already said he racked the slide before dropping the mag.
    Nah, it's all good. We're all gear heads, so it's fine to ask what it was.

    Thanks for sharing. I had a friend zing himself, somehow, in the thigh with a P226 a few years back. He was freaking (2 tour Iraq) vet, I was laughing and giving him shit (8 year EMT, 5 year physician at that time).
    My boss was laughing his ass off, too - he was in Iraq in '91. I had to laugh just because of how absurd the whole thing is. I've taught many friends and family about safe gun handling and etiquette, so they were all dumbfounded at what happened.

    I've had a few NDs on the range (one a 1911 with hammer back, the other an AR that had a sub 3# trigger). Thankfully I was pointed downrange in each of them.
    Each of the Four Rules are in place so that even if three of the four are followed, what happened to me shouldn't happen if the last one is. And I broke all four.
    Sent from the future using Squid Telepathy

    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    If we could control all the variables, we'd just put all the bad luck on our enemies and stay home.

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    It does take courage to admit when a mistake was made. I believe there are more accidental discharges out there than most guys will admit to. I had one many years ago that required medical treatment.

    Even though your employeer has agreed to your downtime, I would still apply for FMLA for garunteed protection.

    You will get better! Mentally and physically!

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    OP,

    Not making light of you circumstances but I have to ask, why was the weapon point at your leg?


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    “Answer The Bell...” J.W.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysusigma View Post
    Probably talking out my fourth point of contact here, but it seems like it's panic and instinct at odds with each other. "Breathing hard seems to help the pain - crap this hurts bad - gotta breathe hard, but faster" while the higher brain is all "wait, lungs, I'm not getting enough oxygen here, slow the F down." Lower brain: "No, MORE" Upper brain: *alarms start going off, key systems start automatically shutting down to preserve vital lower-brain functions* "Crap crap crap" Lower brain: "That's what I'm saying, BREATHE FASTER" Upper brain: *flatlines*
    Mine was more like....definitely felt "mindless". Like I had to mentally fight through a fog in order to get back to just regular thinking...but like the fight was physical. I don't know how else to explain it. Like when you are doing your peak pull up or bench press and it takes all you have just for one rep....like that but in your head. To fight back from this "fog" that seems to pull you away from reality and consciousness. I felt tunnel vision and the tunnel was closing while at the same time seeing stars. I always thought that was just an expression.

    What I did was lock my car door on my trigger finger. Completely close, not just when the door catches but you still have to push it shut. And locked it at the same time. And I did that not by the top where the window was but by the locking mechanism

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krazykarl View Post
    Even though your employer has agreed to your downtime, I would still apply for FMLA for guaranteed protection.
    He emailed me the paperwork himself, and I handed the completed forms back the instant I was discharged from hospital. All taken care of.

    You will get better! Mentally and physically!
    Always appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpmuscle View Post
    Not making light of you circumstances but I have to ask, why was the weapon point at your leg?
    Absentmindedness. I was watching the movie, not looking at where I was pointing the pistol. Even dumber that it was a movie I'd seen a bunch.
    Sent from the future using Squid Telepathy

    Quote Originally Posted by MistWolf View Post
    If we could control all the variables, we'd just put all the bad luck on our enemies and stay home.

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