What Do I Actually Do?

It’s my first ever full week on call and it’s kind of made me feel on edge all week. I was certain that once I had my first phone call that would go away, but the first call came and went yet the feeling stayed. I think it’s mostly my own neuroses causing this, but I also think that it will take a fair few more weeks on call to make me feel comfortable with the idea of it and not mean I sit and stare at my phone every waking hour. Even while I type this I have my phone propped up and my eyes keep darting towards it like I’m waiting for it to ring.

As you might have seen, we’re in no short supply of cake yet again this week…

Being on call has made me wonder who understands what we do in the mortuary. Switchboard and site management refer to me as the ‘On Call Mortuary Technician’ which is quite grand but also quite incorrect when I am actually the ‘On Call Anatomical Pathology Technologist’. It’s something that has come up quite a bit this week, especially after the fabulous news that we won the Team of the Week award for the hospital and received a fruit basket from the executive team. People come down with a real misconception of what the mortuary will be like itself, let a lone a strange idea of what the people who work there will be like. If I say describe a mortuary what would you say? Dim light? Cold? Small? Would it surprise you to hear we have a very bright and spacious fridge area which can be very toasty at times? I like to think a lot of people get an insight into my work and what we do as APTs through this blog, so I wonder if the regular readers might not have thought this at all which is great! In truth, when I am out and about, or I am asked what I do for something official (for example when I went to the opticians) I generally do say mortician. Ashamedly, it saves a lot of time explaining, yet it also probably does require some explanation because who really knows what a mortician does? A lot of people follow this up by asking if I see dead ‘bodies’ (note I quote the bodies part because I avoid saying body as far as to me they are still patients or people just deceased), which always seems like a rather stupid question but I guess that is formed from the fear that seeing the dead people would be the worst part of my job. Far from it in my opinion, the worst part to me is all the cleaning!

A clean mortuary is excellent but it is hard work to keep it spotless

So, what does a general work day in the life of me look like? It varies greatly but I have been thinking about doing some summaries of a day in the life of Mortuary Gem at some point. Generally, the mornings are for post mortem examinations, so I can spend a great deal of time in the post mortem room, otherwise I will be out in the fridge room booking in the new patients who came in overnight or, on a Monday, over the weekend. Afternoons are used for reconstruction and cleaning the post mortem room but can also be for other cleaning tasks or some administration work on the computer. In all honesty, the tasks we can do can seem quite random at times like returning pillows to the A&E department which have come down with patients, but it all is part and parcel of working in a mortuary. I think I became quite used to this as an archaeologist when my days could be spent mainly excavating, but also building a fence or nipping down the shops for ice lollies. I certainly thrive in a place where every day is different and anything can happen!

Off to sunny Hartlepool Marina on Wednesday and looking forward to it

I think I’d best leave it there for now but please get in touch if the day summaries would be something of interest to you and the kinds of things you would like to hear about. Next week I am not in work but preparing for my next exam and heading up to Hartlepool. I might be able to fit a blog post in at some point but expect silence from me until next weekend just in case!

MG x

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