I knew it! By knew it, I actually mean I jokingly doubted it while getting a tad worried that I had a heart of stone and nothing would ever upset me besides Supervet or YouTube videos of dogs being reunited with their owners. However on Thursday I actually got quite emotional and had a little cry at work. It took me completely by surprise, I had no idea it would but there I was in my full PPE having a quiet sob and being quite grateful no one else was in the room at the time.
I’ve written previously about knowing one day something would get me. I mean, I’ve seen everyone get emotional at some point, but the things that I thought would get me never did. In our line of work we are constantly surrounded with emotions. You deal with your own, the people you work with, the other people coming by, the highly emotional phone calls we can receive and especially the visible and audible emotions of the family visits we have. I can only describe it as this big ball of emotional energy that throws out waves every now and then. The whole time I feel you have to keep tabs on what situation, who you are speaking to and how you are feeling. I’m still adjusting to this and learning that switching about like this can be exhausting on busy days, but so very rewarding too.
The mortuary was insanely busy on Thursday, between viewings and releases and other things happening I got left to clean up the post mortem room in the afternoon. This is totally fine, I put on some music (Led Zeppelin followed by James were my choices that day) and I got on. In some ways I like working on my own, probably comes with the territory of being an only child. There was a particular patient for post mortem who had their own clothes and items with them which we had decided to put back on them after the post mortem was complete. Quite often clothes are torn or damaged in other ways prior to us receiving them into the mortuary so we remove them and put the person in a shroud. If the clothes are nice then it’s good to either keep them with them or put them back on.
As I was on my own I had asked for help to put the patients back in the fridge but I knew from the number of times I’d heard the doorbell go that no one was able to come in and help anytime soon. I decided to have a crack at dressing this patient myself and laid out all the bits and bobs I needed to do so. I found it a lot easier than I thought, carefully moving limbs about and lifting body parts to dress them. Once I’d done I tucked their item under their arm and stood back. Then in utter bewilderment to myself I started to cry.
I guess I was chuffed I’d made them look so peaceful and dignified. I was delighted I’d done it all myself for the first time. I might have still been a little emotional from the traumatic blood test the day before (that’s a story for another time but you definitely shouldn’t end up with your own blood all over your knees). Yet really I can’t explain why I cried, it didn’t feel sad or bad, I just needed to have a little cry.
Not exactly how blood tests should go… that’s my own blood on my scrubs.
Another week in the mortuary complete, the brain count is up to 30 and my training is coming along well. Next Death Cafe is coming up in less than two weeks and some other exciting events are starting to get lined up for the summer. As always, please do get in touch if you have any comments, questions or just want to chat over anything at all.
Thank you for reading and take care!
It would give me such great comfort to think of a loved one being treated with the care and dignity that you have just described. I’m actually really touched reading it. Keep up the excellent work
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Thank you so much Louise!
I feel incredibly humbled by the tenderness with which you care for your “charges”. Though they will never know it I feel enormously comforted and reassured that you feel able to tell us about your little weep, while accepting it was neither sad nor bad, just necessary. Bless you.
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