Friday, September 11, 2009

Make-up and jaundice

Jane embalms at another funeral home as well as embalming for us, and this week she had quite a few cases at the other funeral home. Wednesday she called me at 5 to ask if I could come help her with make-up after I left work. Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “She needed help with make-up? Obviously she isn’t that good at her job.” Well, that isn’t the case. The deceased had been very jaundiced before dying, and the yellow bile in the body doesn’t just wash away with embalming. Actually, the fluid we use to embalm most cases is formaldehyde based, and it turns out that yellow bile, as in jaundice cases, turns a vivid green color when exposed to formaldehyde. Some embalmers will use other fluids (like gluteraldehyde) on jaundiced cases so that it wont turn them green, but the quality of embalming is lessened when that is done, so Jane and I like to turn them green, and make-up the after-color with mortuary cosmetics (quite a bit different than the stuff we buy at Target), which is what she wanted me to do with the case at the other mortuary. She is almost as good as I am at coloring and restorative art, and she would have done the make-up herself, but she wanted to get started embalming a car accident victim, and I was more than happy to do the cosmetics. So, it only took me about an hour (re-drawing in her freckles is what took most of the time) and she looked great. Jane was pleased, and I chatted with her while she worked on the accident girl, and I played with the deceased’s features a bit to see what looked the most natural, and did a bit of work on her hair, attempting to get the bits of twigs and windshield glass out of it.

Anyway, Jane just called me (btw, I downloaded the NFL theme song as my ring tone and the guys at work love it, so I had to Bluetooth it to all of them and they love when we get calls on our cells) to let me know that the family of the jaundiced girl thought she looked amazing and wanted to know if I could come by the mortuary so they could meet me and thank me personally, so that has brightened my day considerably. She told them that I work for a different funeral home so I wouldn’t be able to stop by, but told them that she would pass along the kind words. She also asked if I would be available to do the make-up on the accident girl she had been embalming the night I was doing jaundice’s make-up. So, I told her that wouldn’t be a problem since my hubby and daughter are going to be out of town and I didn’t have anything to do tonight as of yet. And I guess the other funeral home is super-pleased with my work so far, and luckily I have a boss that lets me work for the competition if they need my expertise. Yay!!