For those of you who have been around me (and my social media circles) for the past couple years have already heard this story, but I re-post it every year for cathartic reasons (so bear with me).
The editors here on Scrubs Magazine asked if I would share it with our readers here.
It’s now been a decade — 10 years since my life changed (for the better).
The scar (on my skin) has healed well, it’s barely visible. The emotional â€˜scar’ is ever-present and continues to be the defining gift of my life.
I no longer have bad days — only bad moments that are temporary. I only need to touch my neck to be reminded what a bad day REALLY is. Please read my original blog post to understand.
Thanks to everyone for being a part of my world.
September 15, 2001
It’s been 7 years.
It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)
There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).
It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.
This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.
I can’t say I remember how it happened. I can’t say I was prepared for it.
It happened in time â€˜slices’.
I was talking with the overnight group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an â€˜itching’ or â€˜biting’ feeling on my neck…..??
It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)
It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.
I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.
And I reflexively look to my left.
I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”
She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”
Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.
I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?
Another handful of screams.
Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?
“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.
Wait a minute.
What’s that in Jane’s hand?
Holy SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.
“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.
Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.
I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.
At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.
I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.
Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a Swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.Here are the finer points of the story:
– she used a very dull and old Swiss army knife
– she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck
– she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)
– Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs. to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)
-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was here.
I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those â€˜Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all i wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.
September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.
Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.
As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull Swiss army knife.
What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her Swiss army knife?
I don’t have bad days anymore.
Originally posted on My Strong Medicine