On the Beat with Lt. Schoeppner

Lt-SchoeppnerLt. D.G. Schoeppner is Tucker’s liaison to the DeKalb County Police Department and can be followed at facebook.com/dgschoeppner or emailed at dgschoeppner@dekalbcountyga.gov.

on-the-beatYou cannot count on anyone to be a better advocate for you than you are for yourself. This was a lesson that I painfully learned in the spring of 2013. I had always subscribed to this line of thinking to some extent, but until there is a painful event associated with the lesson, you never truly understand it. This month I’m going to share a little personal story and hopefully explain how it applies to us all as we move into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 4, 2013 I was assigned to evening watch at North Precinct. That night I responded to a call which resulted in me being injured. At first, I thought I had broken my right ankle. Needless to say it was incredibly painful. When I sought medical treatment, the doctor said that it was tendonitis. I was given an ankle brace, some ointment and told that it would be better in seven to eight weeks.

As the eighth week passed and I still was unable to walk without a limp, I became concerned. I went back to the doctor and told her that I was worried that there was damage that would not heal on its own. The doctor responded by saying that they were going to prescribe me a regimen of physical therapy. I told her that physical therapy was fine but I did not want another eight weeks to pass and still not be any better. The doctor finally agreed to prescribe the MRI. It revealed that my Achilles tendon was torn. The only way to fix it was surgery. Before the procedure, the orthopedic surgeon told me that so much time had passed since the injury that the injury may be permanent. Thankfully he was able to fix it and I fully recovered.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had not demanded an MRI. Would the price of me not taking ownership of my own health have been being crippled for life? I’m glad that I will never know the answer to that question.

So, as we move into the next phase of our coronavirus journey, I hear people debating whether the government has done enough to protect the health of the public. Personally, I say this: if you take ownership of your own health and well-being, if you personally decide to adhere to the common sense rules of cleanliness and social distance, and if you personally decide to stay home unless you absolutely need to go out, you are doing more for yourself and your family than any government order would.

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