I’m Constable Ben Koper, and if you read the article in the Winnipeg Free Press, last November, you’ll know a polar bear mauled me up in Churchill, Manitoba. I had television news calling day and night at the hospital wanting updates on my condition. My doctors kept them away. I just wanted to tell my story once, and I wasn’t interested in showing my ugly mug on television.
Why did the bear attack me? No idea. I’d just left Ruby’s Café & Emporium and was heading across the street, back to my police truck, when it felt like a vehicle slammed into me from behind. In a flash, I was face down in the snowy street, and the next second there was a crushing pain on both sides of my head and neck. I knew a bear’d gotten a hold of me as soon as I flew sideways and up in the air. It flipped me back and forth twice. The stink of its breath choked me.
I flew through the air again and it slammed me down on the frozen pavement. Its left front paw clawed down my parka and I screamed when my shoulder dislocated. Blood was in my eyes. I couldn’t see anything. People were yelling and screeching. I heard truck horns blaring. The bear bit down hard on me again and I passed out. That’s all I remember, sorry.
Yeah, I’ve had two plastic surgeries on my face, scalp, and my right ear. They saved my ear at the Health Centre in Churchill, and my shoulder too. The orthopedic surgeon in Winnipeg said if the doctor hadn’t given me blood transfusions right away, I would’ve died before the helicopter ever left Churchill. Am I scared to go back? Yeah, in a way. There’ll always be polar bears in Churchill. You need to stay clear of them, even in town. I didn’t check the corner of the building that day, and that was my fault. If I had, I would’ve seen the bear coming between the buildings. He was just being a bear.
I’m Joy Gallegher, and I was on duty in the ER the day that polar bear attacked Ben. It was at twilight in the late afternoon and it’s so hard to see a polar bear against the snow when it’s dusk and the light is murky. We don’t have street lights in Churchill. I guess that’s why Ben didn’t see the bear coming.
Anyway, I assisted Dr. Will Stedman with the surgery because I had been a surgical resident before I had to quit med school and have my daughter. Up here in the north, we medical people have to be prepared to use whatever skills we have when trauma patients come in. And Ben was in terrible shape. I didn’t think we’d be able to save his ear or his right shoulder; the bear had done so much damage to him. Torn ligaments and tendons to his shoulder–my, I didn’t think he’d ever be able to use it again. But we stabilized him with several blood transfusions, and reattached his ear enough that the plastic surgeon in Winnipeg would be able to “make it pretty”, as Dr. Stedman said.
As for his head, it took about sixty-seven staples to close his scalp and his forehead. He’ll have a scar running down through his right eyebrow and across that part of his face forever. I guess it’s a good thing he’s a man, and that didn’t happen to a woman, because I don’t know how a woman would cope with it. I know plastic surgery can do a lot, but it’s so expensive!
Anyway, after Ben’d been away for about a month, I was curious how he was doing and I texted him. I shouldn’t have done it. I could’ve lost my job over it if he’d ever complained to anyone, but he seemed to be thankful for the contact. We started up a nice friendship while he was recuperating down in Winnipeg. He’d send me photos of his shoulder scars and his physiotherapy workouts, and we’d text about our day, and what we were having for supper. Silly things like taking photos on Snapchat of our fish and chips or casserole suppers. My daughter thought it was cute to see what Ben was eating each night.
Now he’s coming back to Churchill to finish his posting and I’m so nervous to see him again! He’s been gone nine months and we’ve never actually talked on the phone, just texted back and forth. How adolescent is that? I don’t know what I’m going to say to him when I see him again. If only we’d talked in person all this time, I’d know if he wanted to continue a friendship with me, or if he just thought texting was something dorky to do with the nurse who helped save his ear. Who knows?
Thanks for stopping by today!
Our Story Title: NORTHERN PROTECTOR
Our Story Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Our Story Released: December 8, 2020
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WHERE can the book be purchased?
- Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/3femV6Y
- Amazon.ca: https://amzn.to/2KfyoYq
- Anaiah Press: https://bit.ly/3pGPrD6(Print copies)