Sweet Rose Cottage

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a fairly frustrating week all round. I caught the man flu, which turned out to be close to actual flu in some ways and still has me feeling terrible. On top of that, add some insomnia, anxiety and general joint pain, I think feel close to the classic ‘death warmed up’. She writes during a sneezing fit on the bus.

Wednesday Addams & Antigone Funn inspired generic tired mortuary worker look.

I was in for two days this week and I’m only in work for one next week. I’m then in for the rest of the year, and I’m starting to do some on call type work. In the last two days that went fast, I did some more nurses training in the big auditorium style training room. I get to feel important and stand on a stage with the presentation projected either side of me. For those that have known me a long time, bet you never thought this nervous wreck would stand there confidently and do that!

A selection of stills from the Just Five Minutes More video by Michelle Lancaster at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

At the start of the training we play a video made by another NHS trust which demonstrates as well as possible our roles as APTs. It perfectly describes the care we have for our patients and our characters, particularly the ‘cheerful disposition’ we all possess. The link to the video on YouTube is here, Michelle Lancaster who made it and stars in it is someone I have a lot of admiration for and had the pleasure to meet at conference two years in a row, she is a really lovely human being.

There is another line in the video that I’d like to discuss where Michelle mentions the use of the term ‘rose cottage’, describing the phrase as sweet. This hit home upon hearing it yesterday because it sounded so much like the Sweet Rose Cakery where we host our Death Cafe each month, how appropriate and coincidental we found a location named that!

Laura T at the Sweet Rose Cakery

I should explain, the term rose cottage is used by hospital staff to describe either the mortuary, or has further extended to mean a death on the ward either in full form or shortened. The porters use it to ask where the death is, I hear them using our phone to call the ward and ask ‘Do you have a rose cottage?’ or more often it is ‘Do you have a rosie?’. It’s a sweet term indeed, not necessarily one I agree with because I’m fairly certain it’s born of avoiding talking about death, but it’s a tradition that has existed for a long time and I’m sure will continue. I believe other hospitals have other terms they might use, but the Rose Cottage has firmly stuck at ours. Although I believe you can encounter staff who have still yet to hear it and then assume you are asking after a patient called Rose Cottage which would be unfortunate if there was someone with that name!

Have a watch of the video and let me know what you think! Also, as promised I am working on a post about tools starting with the handy device below. Anyone want to take a guess what it’s used for? Mortuary workers past and present need not comment! If you’re Hospital has another term used to mean a death please get in touch also. Have a great weekend everyone.

Mystery tool… what could it be? It’s quite easy (I think!)

MG x

Death Cafe: Don’t Fear the Reaper

The Upminster Death Cafe in November was earlier in the month than usual but that didn’t stop us filling out the venue and having a great time. We had nine people not including the hosts this time around and the discussions were as varied and as interesting as always. I think these events only get more and more fascinating as they develop and evolve. Some new people came along but also many familiar faces, having regulars who come makes me so happy and feel like it’s all worthwhile. A huge thank you is due to Rachel who co-hosts with me, and Caroline and Rose of the Sweet Rose Cakery who without their help it wouldn’t be possible.

I think it’s fair to say this event in particular was, at times, a heavy one from the respect of dealing with some quite serious topics. It really got me pondering some of the more philosophical sides to my career and how best to talk to people about these. I do often get people ask me, in a highly concerned manner, about aspects of my job. I am not saying I am the best person to advise people in any way, but I do know a lot of people. I’m a good person to start with among many, many others who have information that can help people and I’m always happy to answer questions or point people in the right direction for information.

I think it’s hard to say exactly what drew me to this profession, or what makes me want to be so involved via hosting Death Cafes or attending other events. It has to be said that I do love talking about death, and I enjoy talking to others about it. Through that I get a sense of fulfilment through either informing others or learning from people. I don’t think I’ve had a conversation at a Death Cafe for example where I didn’t share my own knowledge, gain knowledge from someone else or there was a combination of the two.

Armed with knowledge, people are more prepared and can make more informed decisions which is much better for all of this involved. Someone without the important knowledge at the right times can become vulnerable. One thing I would say, is that I can’t guarantee all the conversation will be comfortable for you. Personally, I have very little self imposed filter and have to be reminded often that I can be too graphic or blunt for more sensitive types. However, it is by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and hearing this uncomfortable truths that you learn more and become comfortable with them.

I hope that our little Death Cafe runs for as long as it is wanted by the people attending, and as long as people do attend we will host them. If you would like to know more about it please feel free to contact me, or to find an event closer to you there is a search at deathcafe.com where you can see what is happening around the world.

As I write I’m sat curled up under a blanket with a cup of tea, staring out of the window at the damp Norfolk countryside. I promised I would both get a post out to you but also that I would try to switch off for at least a day and recharge my batteries. I’ll be back next week and try to get at least an introductory post to the tools we use.

MG x

Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

The end of October has been cold hasn’t it? Really chillingly cold. I’ve been hiding under a blanket when not out and about, and the change in weather seems to have made work very interesting. I can always tell that the number of deaths has risen, not necessarily by the number of post-mortems but definitely by the number of viewing requests we have. A year ago I was terrified of walking in the waiting room with the relatives, but one year on and I only get a little nervous now. You honestly don’t know what waits for you with viewings, some people don’t want to chat they just want to see their relative and that’s perfectly normal. Other people don’t want you to leave their side for the entire time they are in the room. I’ve become accustomed to both types. Some people want to see them and then walk out again, not even in the room for minutes. Other people stay beyond their allotted appointment time and we sometimes have to tell them their time is up because we have to prepare for the next viewing to take place. It’s a time consuming but very important part of the job.

All this week I have been looking forward to the weekend immensely. Not just because I had Friday off (I’m up to my 4 day week antics again I’m afraid, I’ve got three in a row!) but also because today I had a very exciting tour in my diary. Laura D and I headed to Speaker’s Corner this morning and joined several others for a walk around Hyde Park with two tour guides called Jonathan and Myra.

Looking out of Speaker’s Corner towards Marble Arch and the original Tyburn Gallows site

Interesting choice of the Star Wars font for the Animals In War Memorial…

The tour began on the corner there near Marble Arch, we were told something I never knew before that this was the site of Tyburn where the gallows stood for centuries. First we came out of the park and visited the Animals In War Memorial on Park Lane. From there we walked through the park, the wide flat area of the many festivals and Winter Wonderland (currently being set up) was explained as being the site of the large parade ground. Further into the park it was a lot less open, with a lot more meadow type areas, we were told about the days of Highwaymen and the main route through the park being that of sheep and cattle headed for Smithfield Market.

The meadow areas with their longer grasses, other plants and fallen logs for creatures like stag beetles to hide in

There is certainly something I love about learning the history of the places I visit, especially in London. However the real reason I was at the park today was left at the end of the walk. In a busy corner of Hyde Park near to a main gate there is a little lodge house surrounded by an iron fence. In that iron fence there is a secret gate and our tour guide had a key to open it. Behind that fence, in the small garden of the lodge house is what is know as the Hyde Park Pet Cemetery. Rows and rows of tiny gravestones are huddled together with names like ‘Sheila’, ‘Rex’ and ‘Patch’. The first to be buried here was a little dog called Cherry in 1881, who loved her walks around the park so much and her owners wanted her to be laid to rest there. It seems the lodge house occupant agreed to let them bury her in their garden and then the next burial came in the form of a royal family member’s beloved pet. After that it would appear burial here for the pets of London became very popular during the Victorian period, and I would imagine some form of status symbol amongst the people there.

Rows and rows of tiny headstones

I loved visiting this little place, it seems so very whimsical with the tiny headstones and amusing names for the pets. The heartfelt messages on the headstones are quite a tearjerker for the animal lover, and I can only imagine what it meant to people to be able to bury their pets in the park they loved and have a headstone erected in their memory. I took many photos of this lovely place that I will post below, the Cemetery is not widely open to the public but the Royal Parks do run tours throughout the year which are advertised on their website and I can not recommend more highly. We also wandered around the park a bit after and I will include some other photos I took, enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

“Patch” A friend of a lifetime and for thirteen years a devoted companion, she suffered and those who loved her best helped her to pass on.

In loving memory of my dear Tom, for eight years the faithful companion and friend

Here I just noticed the word Crocodile, not sure if named crocodile or an actual pet crocodile!

My next pet will without doubt be named Bones!

The Physical Energy Monument

The Serpentine

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial fountain

The Peter Pan Statue I’ve loved ever since I was a child!

MG x

Tools, Organ Blocks & Getting in the Hallowe’en Spirit

Noticeably it’s been getting busier in the mortuary, just like it’s been getting darker and colder in the evenings. We’ve not been short of work at all, while also trying to streamline some processes and make ourselves more efficient. Our manager would like us to get into the habit of working in certain ways that make more sense, for example the tools we need to be in the right places and the right time rather than hunting around for them. I’m all for this, as it makes a lot of sense to not only ensure our work flows a lot better but also make our lives easier! Might take some getting used to though, as I’ve really just got my head around how things are now and in some ways I have to change some habits even if newly formed ones! We also had a delivery of new tools with some exciting additions for me to try when I eviscerate and reconstruct.

You might think the tools we have are quite basic but there’s a lot of different ways to eviscerate. For example, you might like a short handled scalpel while someone else might prefer a long handle to hold. Then there’s different blade types and shapes for the end of that scalpel, there’s pointier ones, curved ones and it really depends on preference. Although I have been told to try them all because you never know when you might need to use a different type, for example if stocks run out of the one you like or you go to work at a different mortuary and they don’t have that one. The rest of the tools are much the same; varying in shape, size and (for want of a better term) ‘pointiness’.

Even down to the needles we use to stitch, they are much bigger than the sewing needle you might use in crafts but they too come in different shapes. At our mortuary we tend to use either an ‘s’ shape one like I prefer because it sits nicely in my hand, or one with a flat part and then a deep bend in it. If people are interested I can do further posts on the tools as I familiarise myself with them! I might well do this anyway as I find if I talk about them I learn more myself.

I’ve had a few chances to have a go at eviscerating over the last few weeks and I’ve got a lot better at the parts I struggled with before. I’ve been trying to get my head around removing the organs in three blocks, the first block is easy and fine but separating the second and third is still flummoxing me a bit. Again, would people like to know more about these blocks and how they are examined? Let me know! I would, of course, warn you if I was to start going into detail about things like that.

https://www.haveringmuseum.org.uk

Outside of work, I had a quiet weekend mostly. Saturday I went to the local museum as they were having a talk on vampires which looked interesting. I couldn’t help noticing that I was the youngest person in the room by about 30 years, but it was enjoyable and amusing in places. It was the first time I had been to the Havering Museum and it’s small but worth a visit if you’re from around this area. After the talk I went to work for a couple of hours to catch up on booking people in. When it’s busy it makes sense to do this so we don’t have lots to do on Monday on top of our other work. Other than that I spent the weekend watching the new Sabrina series on Netflix and a lot of movies. It was a very restful couple of days!

Tuesday 6th November at 7pm!

Upcoming next week is the Upminster Death Cafe which is looking to be very exciting. If you have never been to a Death Cafe before then why not pop along if you can and see what it’s all about? If you’re not local to Upminster then there is certain to be one near you! Try looking at the website and search by postcode. If you think you would like to come or would like to know more, please message or email me and I’m happy to discuss your questions or concerns.

Only a few things I love more than a Snapchat filter and one of them is Hallowe’en

Wednesday is Halloween and I’m looking forward to it a lot! I’ve always loved Halloween, and I have had my decorations up since the start of the month. We get a few neighbourhood kids knock for sweets and then I like to watch a scary movie or two.

That’s it from me at the moment, but if you have any questions or would like to hear more on any of the things I’ve discussed then let me know.

MG x

Cats & Death

You might know already, but I am a cat person. As I write this, my youngest cat is dreamily watching a YouTube channel made to relieve cats of boredom and anxiety. My eldest is sat on a blanket recovering from his latest trip to the vets. Like my Instagram bio states, I’m all about cats and death. However, you might not realise just how connected those two things are and why this is a perfect combination.

Ruby watching her anxiety combatting videos

Rocky is still a poorly old soul

If you Google ‘cats and death’ you get some odd results. Particularly interesting is whether cats can smell death and a news report of a cat in a nursing home who predicts who will die. Oscar and his little visits to patients are explained in this video but it would seem he can sense something, thought to probably be a smell, in the patient and recognises those that will die soon. He sits with the patient until their death, curled up with them until their last moments. A study and a paper was presented in a medical journal about little Oscar, concluding nothing but presenting the evidence he can sense the incoming death of a person.

Then there’s others like the video of man who fakes his own death in front of his cat to see what he does, not surprisingly the cat is fairly indifferent to its owner’s dramatic demise. I must try it some time but I have a feeling my two would have a very similar reaction. Linking to Oscar, maybe they just intelligently know that it’s fake and won’t be fooled by our silly ways. Cats are pretty intelligent, my Ruby figured out how to open a door within a week of living with us.

With three legs, half a tail and shaved patches, I’ll admit he’s an odd looking cat.

If you look a little deeper, there are a number of links to cats and death throughout the past, for example in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians mummified cats regularly, worshipped cat headed deities and used them in their art. It’s well known they were definitely cat people, holding them in high regard. Through the UK, cats have often been part of superstitions around death, this is explored at thegreatcat.org and seem to mainly concern the cat either having influenced or indicating whether the dead person had gone to heaven or hell. Cats have been revered or hated in many different ways in the way no other animal seems to be. Makes me think of witches with black cats as familiars too, especially at this time of year!

Black cats in particular have always been considered unlucky at least, if not a harbinger of death and doom. Black cats play a large part in the superstitions that surround death, like one jumping over a dead body would make it a vampire, or encountering a black cat at a funeral meant another death was imminent. I wish I could say this was not present in a modern and rational world but our poor Ruby really struggled to find a home after she lost her leg and most of her kittens to a dog. It’s felt people definitely thought she was an unlucky little one to have around. A comprehensive list of folklore and superstitions can be found here.

Unlucky to some extent but lucky to be alive! Ignore the evil look in her eyes…

You may think I wrote this post just to share photos of my cats and you may well be about 40% correct but I’m sure some of you don’t mind that at all. Apologies to all the dog people out there, but all I can say is why not both? I like dogs too, just cats a little bit more. I can certainly appreciate a lovely dog, or a basket full of puppies like I saw on Monday at the vets. However it just shows, cats and death go paw in hand so it’s not so weird to write my blog while sat with my cats around me. More death topics and an update on my week to come over the weekend!

MG x

Body Farms- Yep or Nope?

Would you like to see a Body Farm in the UK? It’s a simple question but one that seems to provoke either a very positive response or a rather negative one. It would seem a lot of people either don’t know what that means or have only a small idea what it would mean if one did exist. Add to that the feelings of disgust at human bodies being left outside to decompose, plus confusion about the legality or morality of such a place existing, it’s not such a simple question at all.

In fact, as I learnt at the weekend, there is no real good reason as to why a Body Farm, or Human Taphonomic Facility, does not exist as yet in the UK. Yesterday I attended my final event of the London Month of the Dead at Brompton Cemetery, a talk titled ‘The Case for a Body Farm in the UK’ presented by Dr. Anna Williams. This talk was a comprehensive one, and the most interesting of those I have attended recently by far.

I guess I should explain what a ‘Body Farm’ or ‘Human Taphonomic Facility’ actually is. In other countries around the world, most prominently in the US, there are insitutions like these. The basic principle is very straightforward and research is conducted into human body decompostion by placing donor bodies in certain situations or conditions and monitoring them for periods of time. The idea behind this being to get a better understanding of not only how bodies decompose but also being able to better interpret decomposed remains. The potential of the research being conducted is fairly endless in the amount of variables that could be examined. The ability to explore different environmental conditions alone is so vast I can’t imagine you could stop thinking of different ideas, let alone when you then combine these possiblities with the huge range of different physical and chemical aspects of the body too either due to lifestyle or other impacting factors.

I would like to specifically mention one of Anna’s comments during the talk that I found fascinating. She explained how it would be interesting to compare the decomposition of a vegetarian versus a vegan and then also versus those of a meat-eater, on the assumption that the different bacteria in the gut due to their diets would have a different affect and alter the decomposition presented! Something seemingly so obvious but I would never have thought of that before. That alone is just one example of how different aspects of lifestyle can affect decomposition.

Personally I would encourage people as a whole to read into this subject matter further if they are interested. As Anna stated, there is no legal reason why such a facility does not exist yet in the UK. In fact the impression she has of the situation is that a lot of people would like to make one, but are waiting for someone else to be the first person to take the leap into the unknown. Most people I speak to are all for this to happen, and the kind of people who attend talks are those who are wanting to learn more because they like the idea it would seem. It would definitely be more interesting to hear from people who have reservations or are completely against this happening.

There is a lot of information online about the existing facilities and also the UK desire to have one. Anna has put together a survey for people to fill out and have an opportunity to have their say which I encourage you fill out. The Twitter handle for this movement is @HTF4UK and there is a blog here. I genuinely want to help this cause and get poeple talking about it. Dr Anna Williams is also on Twitter @bonegella. Huge thank you to Anna for sparking this idea in my head and for a brilliant talk! I have pinned my badge to my coat and willing people to discuss this with me from here on in.

There’s a lack of photos this post so here’s a lovely lion from Brompton Cemetery to make up for it

Apologies for the short post this week and the general lack of posts in the last week or so. Rocks (my cat) is unwell again which has been awful, between that and a busy work week, going into the city for the weekend, plus some other crazy stuff happening I’ve not really had a chance to catch up on much. The next month or so is not promising to calm down although I do have a couple of trips planned where I should be able to chill out and take a step back from the crazy. Keep your eyes peeled for updates but you can also check out my Twitter or Instagram @mortuarygem if you want to see what’s happening. As always, get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

MG x

London Month of the Dead Continues

At the weekend I had the absolute pleasure of spending most of my time within West Brompton cemetery amongst the graves and shielding from the rain on Sunday in the chapel. I’d inadvertently chosen two events to attend that interested me for different reasons but ended up being very close to my heart for the same reason. In some ways I’m glad I don’t look too much into events before I attend so I can have nice surprises like this. In other ways I felt very naive for not realising!

What a difference a day makes! Bright sunshine to dreary rain. Definitely made for a different atmosphere in the cemetery each day.

In the sunshine of Saturday, Laura D and I attended a double session of talks on the topic of the Crossbones Graveyard in Southwark. Long time readers might remember I wrote about this graveyard previously as it used to be a favourite lunchtime spot when I was working at Guy’s Hospital. In the mizzle of Sunday we went to a talk discussing the mass graves of Spitalfields, something I thought would be historical and interesting. However, it proved that both talks had a large, if not complete, basis in archaeology, and those that know me well will know I have an archaeological background.

Lives of London Past – Red Cross Way (Crossbones)

I won’t go into too much detail as always, because I want to encourage you to go to talks and I don’t want to ruin any future ones for anybody. That and it doesn’t seem fair to the speakers to tell you all about their work. However, the Crossbones talk was a brilliant contrast to Spitalfields and I will explain why.

On one side you have a relatively unknown graveyard that was saved from being destroyed entirely due to the work of the community and those who fought to save it. This largely came through the work of the second speaker of the day, John Constable, who wrote a book titled Southwark Mysteries and has a lot of his work based around the figure of the ‘Goose’ who would have worked and lived in the area of the time as a sex worker. Jelena Bekvalac spoke intitially on the collection of 148 individuals who were excavated from this site and are now looked after by her at the Museum of London in Barbican. Her detailed analysis of the demographic of the individuals and some of the insights their bones gave to their lives were really fascinating. It’s hugely important to note that this was only a partial excavation and there were a lot more than 148 people buried there, although many have probably been destroyed or removed by buildings on the site previously.

Some interesting decor by the sponsor Hendricks gin

On the other side, the Spitalfields excavation that Don Walker from Museum of London Archaeology presented was more complete. Thousands of skeletons were removed and the site now has the market on top, although you can visit today and still see remnants like the priory. The research project into this excavation was lucky enough to be funded well, so they were even able to carbon date a lot of the findings. This allows much more precise dating than normal, and meant that certain assumptions about the period of burial were not made and therefore something much more exciting happened in the research into why there were so many mass graves at that time.

It was odd but lovely hearing about archaeology again. About stratigraphy, matrices, site codes, and even a little mention of hypoplastic defects (I might have written a whole 15,000 word dissertation about those delightful little things! I also have volunteered for both the Museum of London, although at their Docklands Museum, and also for MOLA but at their archive in Eagle Wharf Road. It was great in addition to bump into two of the hosts of the Dead Kids Club podcast too and say hello to them! They’re three PhD students from UCL where I studied who discuss different archaeological stuff together in a great podcast. You can listen to it where you get your podcasts, for example here.

So the London Month of the Dead is about halfway through now and I’ve loved the events so far. I think most of the events are sold out but it’s worth checking out what’s available and get yourself to a talk if you can! We have a couple left and I will let you know about them when we’ve attended.

MG x

Where Is My Mind?

As I tweeted on the day, I really struggled to say anything in regards to Mental Health Day when so many others were posting poignant and significant things. I struggled not only because I didn’t know what to say but I also didn’t know how to say it. I almost had too much to say while also having nothing to say all at the same time.

The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to explain myself. I think I thought it such a hard topic to discuss, and then again I discuss the similarly hard topic of death all the time, so how can I find it so hard? Maybe because I’m not used to talking about it so regularly, but I’m not against the idea. I think also, death is something that happens to everyone and is universal whereas mental health can be an individual thing and you could not be affected by it negatively at all.

Like with death, I do believe as with so many others, that mental health issues should be discussed more. I think the problems with mental health are two fold in that we rarely see evidence of people having problems and the experiences of those with problems are so wide and varied it can range from mild to incredibly severe scenarios. In effect, this makes it invisible until it becomes visible, often in the most awful and damaging of ways.

My own experiences with mental health started quite young, I’d say mid-teens and I still have the faint symptoms now although I accept I could always end up back there or worse than my truly awful days. I mostly suffered with depression, with bouts of anxiety thrown in, which worsened when I moved out from my parents’ house and bought my own flat. I did take medication, the dosage increased until I was on the highest the doctor said I could have. Medication for me was an appropriate thing for three years but I knew when the time was right to come off. By time being right, I don’t mean I was better exactly but I was done with the changes the medication made to me and wanted to try to cope without it. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take it again if I was advised to, or be against someone taking it for the rest of their life if necessary.

Working where I do now, I see the horrible things that bad mental health can do to people. I see suicides far more regularly than I thought I would, and I see families completely unaware there was even a chance their relative felt that way in some cases. I couldn’t possibly explain why it happens, I honestly believe that the evil nature of this range of illnesses can make you believe the worst things and that can mean someone thinking that they would be better off dead. Like with any other illness, I believe in there being hope for these people, but the stigma around discussing mental health problems needs to be destroyed before more people come forward. Especially men.

When I first moved out, I did something I thought was crazier than the thoughts in my head and I started running. I say running, I mean poorly jogging around the park on my doorstep in the dawn light hoping not to bump into anyone else. I did the Couch to 5k programme, then moved on and did a 10k with a friend who asked me to do that as a helping hand at a tough time, followed by many other runs. Running became a time to be able to think about things logically, it was working better than therapy ever could, allowing me to order and catalogue my thoughts. My dream was to run the London Marathon because that is what kick started my crazy-self stepping out the door in the dim early hours in the hope of one day feeling like a super hero.

Proudly completed the Brighton Half Marathon in 2014 and the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2015. I did the Shine Walking Marathon in 2016 but never have I attempted to run one before.

For six years I’ve applied for a ballot place in the London Marathon knowing I could never raise the thousands of pounds the charity places ask you to. Every year you can donate your entry fee if you are unsuccessful and in the post you receive a consolation ‘Sorry!’ magazine and a rather nice running jacket or jumper. This year I’d decided to not apply again next year, to appreciate a sixth jumper and accept defeat. That was until Monday when I saw the familiar red plastic wrapping of a marathon magazine, minus the puffiness of a jumper. I won’t say exactly what I said but it was the same swear word repeatedly for about ten minutes while laughing like a maniac. I’m not certain I can do this, but I’m going to give it a good go.

Uh oh…

I’ve spent the last four days trying to decide who to raise money for because although I can’t raise £2,000, I can try and raise a bit of cash for someone. Originally I was looking at the bereavement or hospice charities but something didn’t feel right, even though that would totally be on brand! Then I saw a little thing pop up from Mind. What with all the amazing posts this week, I also came home yesterday to have a discussion about mental health with my other half unrelated to any of this. Then we popped out and Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies came on the stereo in the car. That settled it really, and I applied to run for them when I got back. Please bear in mind I have to have a health check before I know I can definitely run but I’m fairly certain I’ll be okay!

Check out the work they do because it’s wonderful!

In all of this, I think I just want to reiterate that I think we have a long way to go when it comes to improving mental health but the more and more I see people talking about it on social media or in normal conversation I know we are moving in the right direction. I will put all the effort I can into helping this change.

MG x

Happy 1st Anniversary To Me!

One whole year employed as a Mortuary Assistant/Trainee APT has gone by. What an incredible thing to be able to say. One year on and I’ve achieved some amazing things I really find hard to believe. Our lovely admin assistant bought me a box of French Fancies to celebrate, and I might have just mentioned it a few times more than was appropriate through the day.

Always a yellow one. Yellow is the best.

Brain count is up to 55, it’s slowed right down again but I’m still counting. I can’t wait to get to my next milestone of 75, although I think I will need to add another post it note at some point or devise a better counting system.

We might have got a new label machine in the office and I definitely didn’t play around with it for a while.

The week before last we said goodbye to one of our experienced members of staff who left to go and work at another mortuary. I was sad to see her go, and I wish her all the best in her future at her new job. She taught me a lot in the post mortem room and I’m really grateful for all her help. My other colleague who has been on maternity leave for what feels like forever has confirmed she is coming back soon so I’m really looking forward to having her back in the team!

I’ve been training people and on Monday I have to stand in front of a room full of nurses and talk to them about what we do. I’m actually quite nervous but also very excited in a weird way. I find giving training to others is really good at showing yourself how much you know.

This week I went and got my flu jab at work! I think it’s really important to protect yourself against the flu if you can, and by doing so you also protect those around you. I hope. Last year I got the jab but my other half didn’t, I had a bit of a cold at one point which was easily gotten over whereas a few days later he was completely bed ridden with flu. I don’t know if I gave it to him, but if he’d had the flu jab he probably wouldn’t have been so sick! Some might wonder why a mortuary worker needs to worry about protecting patients. I still walk through the hospital, see family members and my colleagues so it’s not that I never see another living person!

Dr Flu! This year’s flu jab campaign theme at the trust.

Outside of work, Rocks (my cat) has been out of the vets for over a week now, the longest he’s been home since August. Really great to have him home. I missed him so badly and honestly didn’t think he would be coming home at one point.

October is a busy month, what with the London Month of the Dead happening and a few other events. I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve attended and what happened. The events at the Barts Pathology Museum kick off again shortly and can be found here. I’m also off on a couple of trips next month and planning them has been a lot of fun.

The Upminster Death Cafe is taking a break for October but will be back on the 6th November and then again on the 4th December. We hoped doing an early one both of these months might attract some different people and give us a chance to have a break over the busy Christmas period! I’m also in the works of planning a weekend event for those that can’t get to the Tuesday evening so if you would like to be included let me know.

MG x

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑