And So Begins My New Life

Join me as I embark on a new life and new career in Funeral Services.

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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Most Frustrating Day In A Long Time

Today was not a good day for me. My wife's car broke down Friday night. We towed it to the shop and they worked on it some Saturday and Monday. This morning I get a call that it runs, but the water pump needs replacing. Add $175 to the already $450 repair bill. Then, one of the death certificates we had signed was incorrect, (doctor's fault, not ours). To correct this, we need to take a medical amendment form to the doctor, have him sign it {correctly, this time} in the presence of a notary, then re-file it with the health department.

Let me back up a moment and talk about our errand guy, the one who normally delivers and picks up death certificates and handles incidental errands and tasks. He has a habit of taking three day weekends. By this, I mean, when he has a weekend off, he'll call in sick on Monday, or he'll ask for that Friday off. This weekend was no exception. He called in Monday and asked if he could have the day off. He wanted to work on his truck. So he got his second three day weekend this month. Last night he got called out twice, once around 1am, and again around 5am. I get to work this morning and he had put a note on the board that he would be in by 10am. Keep that in mind.

As a notary, I was given the task of handling the amended death certificate. I call the doctor's office and they tell me he will be there until 12:30pm. So I get everything ready, hop in the van and make the drive to the address I was given, which is about an hour away. I get there and they tell me that he never comes to that office, I should go to the one which is about 15 minutes from the funeral home. I had no idea he had a closer office! So I get back in the van and start heading back to town. About 3/4 of the way there, my boss calls, asking if I'm done and where am I? I tell him about the other office and that I'm on my way there. So I arrive at the more conveniently located office and explain the situation to the nurse. She tells me the doctor is not in yet, but will be shortly. So I wait about half an hour, and my boss calls, asking once again where I am and am I done? I explain the situation to him, and he starts getting testy. "Tell those nurses you're still waiting! The doctor's there, he probably just forgot about you! You've got to stay on top of these things! Get it signed and hurry back!" About the time I hang up the nurse comes to tell me the doctor called and will not be in until 1pm. (It's about 12:05). So I head back to the funeral home.
When I return it's about 12:20 or so, and since lunch starts at 12, I pull mine out of the fridge and put it in the microwave. I guess I was not too gentle about closing doors and such, because my boss tells me I don't need to be pissed off at him over the situation. I ask him why he thinks I am (I was, but hadn't planned on letting it be known.) He said I was slamming doors and making lots of noise. I apologized for that, as I really didn't mean to be too loud.

So while my lunch is warming up, he's telling me everything that needs to be done. Files to be entered, doctors to be called, death certificates to generate, bodies to go to the crematory, ashes to be picked up. Then he tells me I'll probably be going to the crematory, and I'm thinking to myself, "why can't errand guy do it?" But I don't ask, figuring he's doing other things. So after my one hour lunch break which lasted all of 20 minutes, I get back to work. In the meantime, we are receiving a body from out of state, and the cemetery keeps calling wanting to know about the vault we plan on installing in the grave space. I give them the cell phone number of the owner, because he's been dealing with the family and is more on top of things with this call than any of us. So he comes in to the funeral home and calls the family, telling them there is no vault at the cemetery, they need to purchase one. Then he asks if the cemetery has contacted them about signing the appropriate paperwork. They have not. So after his phone call, he comes barking at me, "The cemetery never called this family! Didn't anybody take care of this yesterday!?" I informed him that, yes, I did, and they told me they would call the family. That calmed him down a bit, and he left. What got under my skin was the fact that he actually thought we had not taken care of it. I have never given him any reason to doubt my efficiency. He just sometimes gets it in his head that if he's not in the funeral home hovering over us, nothing ever gets done.

Once I get the files entered and contact the doctors to make sure they will sign the death certificates, I get ready to make the crematory run. I call errand guy, who I assumed was out running errands. I needed to know which body was which so I could label them appropriately. He tells me he has the day off, because when he came in at 10am, the owner said he "looked tired" and gave him the rest of the day off.

So I end up taking both bodies to the crematory and pick up the ashes they have ready. To summarize my day:
Got nailed for more expensive car repairs.
Got screwed out of my lunch hour.
Wasted a whole morning chasing down a no-show doctor.
Got fussed at by my boss for the doctor not showing up.
Entered one file. (Would have been two, but the other family came late in the afternoon.)
Called two doctors to confirm they would sign DC's.
Wrote and faxed the one obituary that I could.
Took two bodies to the crematory-picked up ashes while there.
Put ashes in urns, called families.
Cleaned up the stretcher, as one body was very "messy."
Put stretcher away and parked the hearse, since errand guy just left it at the loading zone instead of parking it in it's usual place.
On top of all this, I'm on call tonight.

I told my boss after I cleaned the stretcher that we were completely out of clean sheets, and I said point blank that Errand Guy needs to do laundry.

Of course, the biggest problem with Errand Guy is that he and my boss went to school together and have known each other since they were kids.


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