I am certain that one day I’ll burst into tears. Or vomit. Or run away. Or come over feeling faint, but I just keep shocking myself that I haven’t yet during all the sights the mortuary has had to offer so far. Although twice this week someone has mentioned cases of severed heads or lone body parts and I’m very aware that I’m still so far from seeing everything, let alone even probably a small portion, of what an experienced mortuary worker has seen. I know even then you can be surprised, or get emotional about anything. It will happen one day.
Please don’t take my title seriously, it was just that it rhymes with Christmas! So, yes we were playing Christmas songs in the office this week. There’s something very surreal about checking the condition of the deceased patients while humming ‘I wish it could be Christmas every dayyyyyyy’ to yourself, trust me. Surreal but wonderful. All thanks to the wonderful Magic Christmas radio station, I do love this time of year more than any other. You may think I’m too early but apparently I am happier because of this – see here.
I had more computer training this week on the hospital systems, I weirdly enjoy learning new stuff like that. This was for a patient information system which lists details that we might need in order to check certain things. Even better that I bumped into a friend who has worked at the hospital for years but I hadn’t seen since I started. Nice to see a friendly face. I’ve got a lot more training coming up so I’ll let you all know what I’m doing and how I’m getting on. So far I think I’ve made most of the systems training I need, but still a long way to go otherwise.
On Wednesday, my manager was giving a talk about the Coroner to a group of students and I was lucky enough to be able to go along and watch. It was really interesting to learn about them and the capacity of their work. I already had an awareness before in regards to the Treasure Trove act in the UK which governs what happens if you find valuable items, in your garden while digging for example. I knew being an archaeologist could link to this job somehow!
In a mortuary sense, the Coroner oversees any deaths which cannot be given a cause of death by a doctor initially. Generally, if you have seen a hospital doctor or your GP in the last 14 days of your life and they can say how you died, you do not need a post mortem or an inquest into how you died. The Coroner manages all other cases, will determine if a post-mortem is necessary, and will give clearance for deceased people to be buried or cremated once they can say what caused their death. It was a great talk outlining the background of the Coroner, their role and what their main aims are. I may well talk about this more in future if people are interested! I also bumped into another friend who attended this talk and has worked at the hospital for a long time but I’d not seen yet. He laughed at me for getting lost because I literally just know the basement and how to get there from the entrance.
It got very dark in the morning and evening this week, I made a joke to my partner that every day I go to work in the dark, spend all day in the basement and then come home in the dark. However funny, it’s true and it feels a bit weird. Might have to get out in the sunshine if it’s sunny this weekend! Although today I did have an impromptu visit to the dentist in the morning because I completed destroyed my lower left first molar. I might be being a bit dramatic there, but I also might need a root canal so maybe not.
Sunrise this morning across the park on the way to the dentist
Main highlight of the week was getting signed off as competent to receive the deceased into the mortuary. This means I am able to check them in and book them in on the computer too without supervision. One very important step in the right direction! Hopefully I’ll soon be deemed competent in this way for releasing the deceased too and then I’ll consider myself having the basics completely down.
Next week I have Fire Warden training, I’m attending another event at Barts Pathology Museum and it will be the start of December so I definitely won’t feel bad about listening to Christmas music anymore. Thank you for reading and your kind comments so far, keep the questions coming as I’m always happy to answer!