Monday, August 31, 2009

Tissue building

I got a case ready this morning, an older lady that had been sick a while. Most of the people that die were sick for a while, deaths don’t tend to be sudden, and so a lot of the cases I get ready are a bit thinner than they were most of their lives, especially in their faces. There is a product I use to fix that called tissue builder, and man, this lady took a lot of it this morning. It is used in the same way I imagine collagen injections are, hypodermically. I have quite a few syringes and needles, all made for mortuary use and re-usable, but have been using medical sterile needles lately, mostly because they are really sharp and I can just throw them out when I’m done instead of having to sterilize them.

Most of these older people that die after loosing some weight need their temples filled a bit (it becomes very sunken) and sometimes need their eye area filled (they eyeball can be directly injected) if their eyes seem unusually sunken. This gal today also needed her nose filled out, the bridge and down the dorsum had become very bony-looking, as well as a bit of filling of her lips and chin. Luckily I had a photo of her before she started loosing weight, sometimes (although not often) people are just bony-faced and the filling out of the tissue wouldn’t look natural, and the end result was nice. Her family will be in today around noon to see if they want tonight’s visitation to be open-casket, and although I don’t want to seem cocky, there’s no way they are closing that casket, she looks great.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


So, I think I have mentioned before (or not) that every now and then a family asks about a deceased person's gold teeth, wanting to have them removed before they are cremated, because they think the gold in them might be of value. We (the funeral home staff) are not in the business of ripping out teeth however, and we tell those families that they would need to find a dentist to come in and take teeth out for them, and at that point the family shuts up about it and the teeth and their gold are cremated. Well, this week we had a family that asked for something else: the deceased's fingernails. Now, none of us had the guts to ask why the hell they wanted fingernail clippings, so we went to the refrigerator and got them and gave them to the family.

What was that about? Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I didn't even remember it myself...

I got to work today a bit earlier than my boss, Tank. I sat down and checked my work email and looked in my box to see if there was anything to work on (the office opens at 6:30am so a lot of times when I get in at 8 there are already things in my in box to do). Anyway, we are pretty slow so there wasn’t anything to do, so I just worked on my photo project for a bit. Tank finally came in and sat a donut and an envelope in front of me, and I looked up at him very confused.

Me: What’s this?
Tank: It’s a donut. And a card. Open it.
Me: *open the card, have even more confused look on my face*
Tank: You’ve been here a year, it’s your anniversary card. *gets nervous* Do you like it? I got the one that plays music. I didn’t know what kind of donut you like, is that one okay?
Me: *stunned* I LOVE IT, TANK!!! You remembered? Thanks *hugs Tank*
Tank: I guess your probation is over *laughs*

So, that was my morning. I have an anniversary card that plays the theme song from Friends when it opens (Clementine loves those). Pretty nice, huh?

Monday, August 24, 2009

What women can't do

So, today I was told three different times by three different men that moving bodies wasn't 'woman's work'. um, wha?? so, I'm a little perturbed, and, at the times they were explaining to me that I was not to be moving bodies, was as well. Now, not one of the three men that told me about whose job it was to move the dead knew about the other men that had been telling me (or were going to tell me later in the day), which makes it even worse. This means that they all three think that body moving is solely a mans job (well, sort of. Two of the three think its okay for me to move a body, with the help of another (man) if all other possible men are not available and the body MUST be moved then). And these aren't big, surly, strong guys, just regular (old) guys. And don't get me wrong, I appreciate that they are worried about my frail, feminine body, but come on. I picked mortician as my profession with the knowledge that it would include body moving, even when the body is heavy, or gross, or whatever. It's what I do. And also, the main embalmer is a woman. I don't see them coming in the prep room at all hours helping her move her bodies. Is it that she's like 48? Or larger than I am? Or doesn't wear dresses, and therefore isn't as feminine? I don't get it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photo fun

I've started a project with my sister, my dad and my co-worker, Monica. I had this idea to go around my town taking up-close photos of well-known landmarks/buildings/whatever and post them to a site. then on a certain day at a certain time we will allow the public to view the photos and guess what it is of. When it is correctly guessed the post will change with links to sites about that particular place, as well as a larger photo showing where the close-up came from. Our goal is to have 50 places by October. Monica and I have been taking the camera with us on our lunch breaks, and I sent a funeral director with my camera to a funeral at one of the local old churches just now. The local indie mag is in on it too, they'll publish the details of the search game. Doesn't that sound like fun??

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My old car

I've been searching all through my email to find a photo of my old car, as per TCG's request, and can't seem to find one. Here are a coupla photos of the same car, but mine is a 2 door. Mine is also not as shiny as this one, and is dark brown with a light tan top. It really is a cute little number with push-button transmission. Very cool.
photo source

photo source

Monday, August 17, 2009


So, I've been a busy bee. Friday I had a big service for the gun-shot victim, and everything went well. The memorial folders turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I wish I could post in here, but I can't so you'll have to take my word for it. The service started at 10 in a church, and we went to the graveside afterward, and I wasn't back in the office until 1:30, so it was a long day in heels and a suit. Monica and I got some lunch after the service at our favorite Mexican joint, and my dad was there having lunch with a co-worker. We chatted and sat at the table next to them. He laughed that he figured I would be there, as he knows how much I love their food, and how close it is to the funeral home.

Saturday the hubby had to work on the rental house so he was out of town and Clementine and I went to a friend's house to swim and bbq. We had an awesome time, very relaxing and the weather was perfect. Did the same thing Sunday, and now have a nice tan.

We have an old car, a 1959 Plymouth that we bought from some friends when they purchased a house and found this old car in the garage. It runs, and we put a nice sound system in it, keeping it all hidden so as not to disturb the look of the car, and we love it, but I think we are going to have to sell it. It is sorta sad, I really love that car, but it has become tough, not being able to put a kid seat in it for Clem, and keeping up on repairs (which really haven't been that bad), and damnit, I just look awesome in it. We might be able to just keep it in storage for a while and not drive it and get a used car cheap that will work for to and from work and all, but who knows. Sometimes I wish I were made of money.

I went to the local indie coffee shop this morning for some coffee. There's a group of old guys that laways sit outside and read while drinking their morning cup and they love me (and the old Plymouth). Today one of them commented on my suit and said that I was as lovely as ever (thank god, I must not be headed downhill yet), but that if he was chosing my uniform it would ba a tight leather number with a bone saw strapped to my thigh. I laughed, but all day have been thinking about how bad-ass that would be (even though I will probably never use a bone saw in this line of work). Makes me wish I could draw super heroes...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

About me

Hair color: Blonde
Eye Color: Green
Height: 5'7"
Weight: Yeah, right
Favorite music: Rap
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite religion: Catholic
Actual Religion: non-Catholic Christian
Favorite art: Deco
Favorite theme park: Disneyland
Favorite National Park: Yellowstone
Favorite embalming chemical: Triton 28
Favorite embalming instrument: nail file
Favorite embalming stitch: worm
Favorite language: Spanish
Favorite show: Thundercats
Favorite flower: Hair allium
Best sport to play: water polo
Favorite sport to play: Soccer
Favorite sport to watch: Baseball
Best subject in school: Chemistry
Favorite subject in school: Physics
Worst subject in school: Calculus
Favorite beer: Newcastle
Favorite snack: Pepinos con limon y chile
Favorite dinner: Mac n cheese
Bra size: 34 C
Shoe size: 9.5
Rubber glove size: Medium/8
Languages spoken: English, German, Spanish (for the most part), pig Latin

What else do you want to know? Leave it in the comments.

Frack I'm tired

Today was a bitch.

Yesterday was busy, but not bitchy. Mr. GunshotWoundsToTheHeadAndChest looks great. The bullet to the head did little external damage, the hardest part to make look good was the autopsy incision on his head (he has corn rows, and the coroner cut right through them, making it even more crucial that the halves line up properly). the bullets to the arms, however, were a different story. The bullets were small, or at least I assume they were, as the holes in the skin are not large, I can fit my pinky in but not my thumb, so maybe index finger sized, but a couple of the holes were cut into by the ME (medical examiner) to (I assume) retrieve the bullets. The incisions made by the ME are rarely carefully made, and sometimes can cut into a major artery, which makes embalming a bitch, as it did in the right arm of this guy. The brachial artery was severed in this case, so embalming had to be done using an incision at the interior part of the elbow, injecting fluid both toward the hand and toward the body. It worked, and maybe it would have been done that way anyway, the bullet may have done damage like that, but us embalmers like to think that the ME should just be more careful with bodies.

Anyway, back to today. I got a new case. The deceased was in an auto accident, head and body injuries being the COD (cause of death). He looked bad, the skull alone would take a day or so, and after that maybe four hours of restoration (mainly the nose and forehead), but it was do-able, and after speaking with the family I knew that they wanted a viewing, so I was excited. They came in this afternoon and we talked about cremation after the viewing/service, and they were thinking that it would be nice, and then the third sibling came in and he convinced his brother and sister not to view this guy. Total shit, right? Jane came in and saw the deceased and said that he would be too much work anyway (which I doubt she really meant, she was just tired), but I was determined, and it's one of those times that I just wished that I could embalm him without family consent and teach them all a lesson. Argh.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In which I recap yesterday's events

I had a very busy work day yesterday. I had a Mass in the morning (I always love the incense they use, Frankincense, and secretly hope that the smell sticks to my clothing so that I can smell it later in the day) and a graveside following at a cemetery in a little outlying town. It was a nice drive out there, and I had the priest with me so we chatted about the weather and the area and where he was from and what it’s like to not have sex ever (just kidding about that part). On my way back I passed by the school where my dad teaches and stopped in to say hi to his co-workers. School isn’t in session yet but teachers were there decorating their classrooms and preparing for the arrival of the students. I went across the street of the school and picked up lunch at this tiny Mexican food spot, one of those ones that you have to know Spanish in order to get anything. The cook there was very impressed with my ability to speak Spanish and we chatted a while about the funeral home (I had on my name tag). I got back to the office about 1:30 and hand a family to meet at 2, and they came early. I met with them for an hour or so and they liked me enough to tell me about Jesus and how I could spend eternity with Him. She also told me that it is wrong to pray to Mary and the saints. Hmm. The rest of the day I finished up some loose ends from this past weekend (I had been on call and there were a few families I met with).

Today I’m not as busy, but I will be embalming a homicide victim this afternoon. Six bullets to the body and one to the head.

Also, Del Mar is well into it's run this year. I have yet to make any money though. I will discuss more of this later.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I am so tired

The hubby had a gig last night. Two other djs came to town and they played from 9pm to 1am at a local bar. It was fun, I was in charge of taking the money at the door for the first hour or so, then some friends took over so I could shake it on the dance floor. This hot chick came up to me and danced a bit, and after a few minutes she started getting a bit handsy, I was wearing a killer blue dress (imagine Marylin's white dress in navy) and all of a sudden there are hands creeping their way up it. WTF, right? So I turned arround (the chick was dancing on my backside) and asked her what she was doing. Here's the convo:

Hot chick: Oh don't worry, I'm not a lesbian.
Me: What?
HC: I mean, you look hot, but I don't want to date you.
Me: Um, I wans't worried that you were a lesbian, I just dont want my ass hanging out all over the bar, so don't pull up my dress. And I'm married anyway.
HC: Oh, you are? Where is he? He just lets you go to clubs in sexy dresses?
Me (a bit stunned that this hot chick thinks my dress is sexy): Um, he's right over there watching you feel up his wife.
HC: Oh. *waves at my hubby* Will he let you give me your phone number.
Me: Why don't you go ask him?

What just happened there? I'm still confused. Was she hitting on me? I cannot figure it out.

Different topic:
Pete, an olf funeral director here called me up to his office this morning. He told me that his home page was changed and wanted to know why and if I could "fix it back to CNN." So I did that for him and also made a MapQuest bookmark at his request, and I swear to Buddha he thinks I am a computer guru. It's funny, the things that we can do that other generations can't.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We're all unique

It’s strange how different people are and yet still the same. Every time I’m working on a body I notice things that are a little out-of-the-ordinary. Some of the more common differences are things like third nipples and such, but then there are things like glass eyes or both sex organs that one just doesn’t get to see regularly. Some of the differences are internal, like the size of arteries or the location of them, or like a case I embalmed last week that I had the hardest time getting a drain tube (from the jugular vein to the heart) in, probably because of an abnormal bifurcation or something. I think I find these differences amusing (except when they’re a pain in the ass, like when I can’t find an artery), which is nice since everyone seems to have something about them that’s different, and then I start to wonder what differences I have that I’ve never noticed, or what other people have that I will never know about. Also, now that I know how common some of the things are I wonder who I know that have those same quirks. Very interesting, dontcha think??

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In which I wonder what is going on

Okay, so I love a beer/martini/glass of wine as much as the next guy, but sometimes I wonder what the eff is up with drinking. This week we got a BUNCH of cases, and three of them died of alcoholic liver failure. WTF? Want to know their ages? 37, 44, 56. That's right folks, thirty frikkin seven. Who made the arrangements for his services? His 18 year old son.

So, it makes me wonder... What is it that makes them drink themselves into an edemous ball of death? I mean, I doubt that they were drinking top shelf/microbrew/insanely yummy drinks, they were drowning them selves in store brand/bud light/fetzer crap, and as an AA friend of a friend of mine says, "holding my nose as it goes down til I can feel the buzz." That's total shit. I mean, a buzz? Really? Over life? You have got to be kidding me.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, my youngest sister knows about this blog, so a big hi there and hello to BJ (yeah Ivan, that one)!!! ILUSB (that means 'I love you so bad' and is what she and I text each other and a few of our friends), and hopefully she can keep it a secret.

Monday, August 3, 2009

In which I am a fix-it gal

We had some work to get done at the house we own in our former town. The new tenants were expecting us, and we had purchased a new ceiling fan, two wall sconces and a new garage door opener to install. My hubby went down on Friday after work because a good friend of his has an internet radio show every Friday night and wanted him as a guest DJ. Apparently he rocked the house (all the way down).

My dad, daughter and I drove down Saturday morning with a trunk full of tools and met the hubby at the rental. My dad and he worked on replacing the ceiling fan while I rewired the light sconces, and I finished early so started putting the garage door opener together. After the boys finished the fan they came out to the garage and I bossed them around, having them do the lifting and the attaching of the opener to the ceiling while I worked on the wiring of the button opener thing and the wiring of the sensors that make sure you don’t close the door on a cat or baby or something. It took all day, but we had a break for lunch and I got sandwiches from my local favorite sandwich shop, along with a pasta salad that puts all other pasta salads to shame. It was a very productive day, and my hubby told me how grateful he is that he married one of those “handy chicks” as he put it. I love the guy, but he is not made for fix-it stuff.

My dad left and the in-laws came by to pick up Clem so that we could meet some friends for pizza and beer at one of the best pizza spots ever. After the pizza comes out of the oven they brush the crust with melted butter/garlic/spices that kicks ass. And they have Amber Bock on tap, which has to be one of the best beers ever (my mom says it reminds her of this one that isn’t (apparently) made any more that she lovedlovedloved back in her pizza-making days, Michelob Dark, and says Amber Bock is one of the few that have come close to how good MD was back in the day), even if it’s cheap. So, dinner was great, and seeing our friends was nice.

Sunday we went back to the rental to do some touch-ups, spackle, paint, etc, and headed home in the afternoon. It was a pretty good weekend, and now I’m at work up to my eyeballs in cases to embalm.