To the Heart of the matter.

Hi Everyone,

I am new here and not sure, of any guidelines for the blogs, so I hope you will put up with me. I got some news the other day that made me think about my life a career, and for whatever reason I thought I would share it here, maybe for some self-therapy.

I found out a couple of days ago that I am going to have to have bi-pass surgery, (or open heart surgery, My wife hates that term and a few people I have dealt with over the years, would say it’s impossible, cause I don’t have a heart.) Any way they are going to crack me open and rearrange a few veins.

The strange thing that has happened from this news, and as the doctor was telling me all this wonderful news, was not the risks of the surgery, or the pain or possibility of death, but the fact that I could not work for 3 months.
This is unimaginable to me. I have worked since I was 11 years old, often working two and 3 jobs, worked all thorough high school and college. I did concrete work with my father since I was 13 and did as a side job even after becoming a police officer. My father drilled a great work ethic into me at early age, but at times, I think it has backfired on me. The only part of this up coming surgery is, “What the hell am I going to do for 3 months.”

Anyway, I have only my self to blame, because I have always known the causes and effects of my life style. So if there are any young police officers, or just young busy workers, PAY ATTENTION. Smoking is my first vice, and I will admit, I knew, it so I will not be suing the tobacco companies. 7 days smoke free so far. Diet, well, ask most any road cop about their diet, not good, but there is better choices out there. If I had put just 1% of the miles on my feet as I did sitting in that police car, I may not be here ether. Those things would have been easy to correct, the long hours, missed sleep, maybe some were my own doing. The other issues, is the unused adrenaline pumps, on call that don’t amount to any thing. The sudden bursts of all out energy, which you cannot avoid. The sheer excitement, just before kicking in a door, on a meth lab, when you can feel your heart beating through your vest. All of these things have contributed to my heart problems, but again it’s my doing.

So, tomorrow I find out when my surgery, so far I’m not worried about it. I have a great doctor and team behind them. I have a loving wife and five great kids and a whole lot of great friends, so I shall get through this.

Thanks for letting me vent, and I will let you know as I progress, with my feeling, fear, thoughts, ideas, and observations. This may be an interesting journey, maybe depending on the meds, If I see3m loopy some days, you will know why. Stay with me, drop in and say hi. Please, let me know what you think, good or bad, I love good criticism, and can handle the truth. Thanks Scott

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D. Rizzo

Hi Scott, I’d like to reaffirm some things you’ve already said. Like a lot of cops, you have a great work ethic, you are thoughtful, you are not afraid of the truth & you are willing to face challenges. That is what the military calls a can-do, “hooah”, attitude. You have the warriors spirit & mindset of perseverance & courage. You can do this successfully & you can also have a well deserved vacation with some time to catch up on reading books, checking out cop websites & bugging the crap out of everyone with emails & text messages. JUST KIDDING brudda!! A lot of the cops in my Dept. are into email, phone texting & chatting. I’m sure you know what I mean. Cops are cops are cops.

I’ve had the opportunity to take a few months off unexpectedly also. On Wed., Jan. 3, 2007, at Approx. 07:45am I walked down my driveway to my SUV parked at the curb. I saw some traffic coming both ways, like millions of times before, and I put my briefcase on the backseat & shut the door. I reached for the front door handle and …….found myself waking up in the Helene Fuld Trauma Ctr. in Trenton, NJ. It’s a good thing I have a whacky sense of humor. I found it absolutely amazing & quite entertaining that after 23 years of dealing with all sorts of police stuff, including a lot of traffic issues, all of a sudden I was the patient laying on the table in the E.R. I had brought people to so many times. I started doing a self-assessment right away automatically & a nurse next to me realized that I woke up. She said hi & after the usual questions told me that I had been hit by a car. Hmm….you can imagine some of the phrases that went through my mind! Anyway, to make a long story short, the driver failed to properly clean the snow/ice off her car & nailed me as she was driving by. She stopped, everyone behind her freaked out, called 911 & both shifts (Mids & days) of Lawrence, NJ Police Dept. came to my rescue, as well as my wife & one of my daughters who was home from college. I got to stay in one of the most high-tech & expensive hotels in the world for 3 days (ICU) & then I spent 3 months recuperating at home.

It is fine at first because you want to heal anyway, It seems a little weird because you’re so used to the usual routine of your life, especially w/ shifts & overtime Etc. You’re probably a more driven, workaholic personality also so it may be a little frustrating for you, but, give yourself some time & a chance to heal. Then after you’ve read everything & caught up on everything there is to know & written to everyone & watched all the TV you can handle, then the Doc will probably have you start physical therapy to get you in better physical shape. O.K., enough of my babbling. You are the one who can have the most impact on your life, either positive or negative, right? Hang in there brudda cop. You can probably learn what needs to be done to deal with this & do it right. Keep a positive mental attitude & maybe you can use the time to help others via the internet or some other way too. Helping others is a great therapeutic way to have a positive effect on yourself also. O.K., I gotta roll here. Hey, you probably had some good times on the job too & those late night cheese steaks are good, but, ya gotta watch out. Can I have a big, LOUD HOOAHH?!?!?

Stay in touch pal,


Paulette Neal-Allen

Welcome Scott! Good luck with quitting smoking – 7 days… “Hell week” is over and now you’re in “heck week”. I quit a couple years ago and took it back up when my daughter was pregnant and got put on bed rest at just over 7 months along. This Saturday is my “quit day”, and I’m going to try my best to make it stick this time. I’ll keep you in my prayers!

Michael O. Johnston

Hi Scott,

My thought process is that we all have our different vice’s, but rather than pondering on our past and present habits, and making excuses for what we do and have done, we just have to look the vice straight in the eyes and kick our bad habits to the curb and then make for a better future.

With that being said I hope that your surgery goes as planned, but as you said you have a pretty good team of surgeons that are working on you so thats a plus. You will be in my prayers and if you need anyone to rave and rant to or just to talk with, send me a message, I’ll get back to you.

Talk to you later,


Adriel Hampton

Scott – Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You will be in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope that you will find great outlets (like blogging!) to keep your mind and body (hope you can still take some of those walks!) active. Good luck to you and Paulette with dropping the cigs (and maybe Obama, too!).

Scott Champlin

WOW, Thank you all for all your wishes and comments, I’m touched and impressed. To Paulette, keep intouch with the smoking thing, I’m still not puffin, but it;s tough. We can get through this together. My next few days will be easy, I found out today, my surgery is Friday (01/23/09) at 7:30 am.Hummmmm getting more real all the time. I had some tests ran today, and all sems go.
I have been doing a lot of self ass kicking the last couple days, for getting in the shape I’ve been in. I think my son, the 19 year old, said it best. “It’s cause you think your in control of everything.” He knows me well, a cops mindset. For 25 years working the streets, I’ve had one major rule “No matter what else happens, I’m going home at the end of the shift.” It’s really funny how we can see allthe dangers coming from the outside, but the biggest dangers to us, is ourselves.
Well, as Michael says above, time to look to the furture, I’ve got a lot to change and work forward to.
Thanks again, talk soon, Scott

Scott Champlin

Hi All,

Well this is probably my last post, for a few day. I hope. Surgery is tomorrow morning at 7:30 am but I have to be there at 5:00 am, and the hospital is an hour away. Short night sleep, oh well I will get alot of time to reat afterwards. As you can see in my picture, I am hair challanged on my head, but soon to be all over, that’s gonna itch.
I am so ready, to get this over with, and get on with life. I’m really going to hate the next 3 months. But thats me and I only have myself to blame. The worst thing about this ordeal is what I have put family and friends through, causing them a lot of worry and stress. It’s strange, I hear them talking around me about it, like there is things I should hear and they don’t want to up set me. I am more worried about them than me, I did what I did to get here and accept what is going to happen. I just really regret the pain for everyone else involved.
No one has a more loving wife, kids, and friends as I do. We never realize what we have unitl we are in a bad place or we have screwed something up and lost it. Luckly, I just get to see the best, because they are there for me.
So, I am off for a short journey, I hope to talk to all of you in a couple days. Remember to hug a friend today. and tell your family you love them. Oh and any time you see an enemy in a crowd, walk up to them, smile, shake their hand and say thanks, then just walk off. Drives them nuts.

James J. Mckenna Sr.

You are in my thoughts and prayers, and your family too. Wish all the best, but your a fighter and I’m sure it will all work out. If your like me (Heaven dosen’t want me and Hell’s afraid I’ll take over) so here I am – all the best!