If you are reading that title and scratching your head, let me just say that this post will not appeal to all of you.
In fact, some of you who might be first time visitors to ‘From Inmates To Playdates’ will know without a shadow of a doubt, that yes indeed, I am a little
different crazy.You will get no argument from me and this post will certainly prove that yes, I am a rare bird.
For many months, I have been begging bugging a mortician friend of mine to let me watch an embalming.
A few weeks ago, I was at home and received a phone call from him. My mortician friend asked if I was available later that evening.
To watch an embalming.
Was I available?
Sweet mercy I would make myself available. My dad, who happened to be at my house when the call came agreed to watch the boys. I changed my clothes even though I had no idea what to wear to an event such as this and tried to prepare myself for the um, event. I was a little nervous when I arrived at the funeral home, unsure of what I had gotten myself into. Upon my arrival, my mortician friend handed me a lab coat to wear, I guess on the off chance I happened to go all mad-scientist on him. I was a sight.
The first thing that shocked me was entering the room and seeing the body on the embalming table. Now one would think I would have been totally prepared for that, but I’m not sure if one can ever be totally ready to see their first dead body.
It was so final.
The embalming process viewing experience was really cool and I would suggest you stop right here if you have a weak stomach. If you are nosy like me though, you just keep right on a truckin’. And just to be clear, I would do it all over again if my mortician friend ever called.
If you are interested in the actual scientific procedure, you can read all about the gory details of embalming here. I don’t know enough about the process to get into the scientific portion of it, but I will share my experience with you.
You know, mainly because it is Tuesday, and it is time for another edition of What I Learned This Week. Because where else might you ever hear about a real, live embalming?
I say it all the time people. This blog is about so much more than just cheap entertainment.
Brace yourselves. This could get
1. Embalming the human body takes just over an hour. (Probably less if you don’t have to stop and explain every. single. thing. you are doing to a weird gal who just happens to be standing over your shoulder asking approximately 3,617 questions.)
2. The mouth is wired shut during the embalming process using an injector needle. Yes, I said wired SHUT.(McDaddy, please promise me you won’t let them wire me completely shut!) I once had my jaws wired shut for six weeks. It was not fun. At all. And the thought of my mouth being wired shut for the better part of eternity is more than I can handle. I have asked my mortician friend to leave me a little “breathing room” if I happen across his embalming table.
Breathing room. I crack myself up.
3. An artery (usually the carotid) is used for the entry of the embalming fluid. A vein (usually the jugular) is used for the bodily fluids to be drained from the body. There is LOTS and LOTS of blood.
4. Once the blood leaves the body, it goes right down a drain and into the sewer.
Weird, but also true.
5. Eyecaps (which look like contact lenses with grooves on one side) are used to hold the eyelids closed. [It makes me sad to think that one of my best features won’t even be visable at my last hoo-rah!]
6. After the arterial embalming, another process called cavity embalming is necessary to preserve the internal organs. If not, you would rot from the inside out.
7. Cavity embalming is achieved using a really cool device called a trocar.
OH MY SWEET MOSES. It was all fun and games till he busted the trocar out.
The cavity embalming is the most overwhelming part of the process. It is achieved by driving a trocar into an organ as if one is stabbing a piece of meat. And yes, it is just as gross as it sounds.
I still shudder when I think about it.
[Side note: In my search for an image of a trocar, I found these earrings on a site called PushinDaisies dot com. If you’re looking for a gift for that special funeral director in your life, you should go there when you leave here. They even have a shirt that says Support your local funeral director: DROP DEAD! Can I just say that IF I were a funeral director, I would totally buy one of those shirts!]
8. As I watched my mortician friend, I prayed for the family of the person being embalmed.
9. The face is shaved to give the make-up a more natural look.
10. In most cases, the mortician applies the make-up. [Y’all. I was totally impressed with his make-up skills.]
11. Morticians must learn methods of embalming without the use of electricity in the case of a power outage. [For some reason, I was fascinated by this fact. Who thinks of this stuff?]
12. Even though I have talked at length here on the blog about my funeral and my desire for a solid mahogany casket, I learned that a wood casket is only a good option IF you have a water-proof vault.
[Did you hear that McDaddy? I need a water proof vault! Don’t roll your eyes at me. I. am. worth. it.]
13. If you watch an embalming, there is a good chance it will stick with you for
days weeks months to come. Plus, it will get you thinking about your own embalming and wondering whether or not your mortician friend would be willing to suck out some gut before putting you on display in all your glory.
(Is this possible, B?)
14. The embalming process is an interesting thing to watch and I have it on good authority that an embalming after an autopsy is a lot different than a “normal” embalming. I’d be up for watching that, too my friend.
I know. I know. I told y’all I was crazy. If this don’t prove it, I don’t know what does.
There you have it.
Fourteen more things than you ever wanted to know about embalming.
Head on over to Musings Of A Housewife for Things that other people Learned This Week, most of which probably have nothing to do with embalming.