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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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good Chinese Food

I usually don't post twice in the same day, but this has been on my mind, especially after our disastrous supper outing tonight. When I was in high school in Atlanta, there was a favorite Chinese restaurant I used to eat at frequently. This was the best Chinese food I have ever tasted, even better than the meal I had in Singapore while on shore leave in the Navy. When I first asked the woman who would become my wife out on our first date, I took her there for supper. The whole time we lived in Atlanta, we would eat there whenever we could afford to, which wasn't too often. When we left Atlanta for Greenville, SC, we tried to find a restaurant that was just as good as what we had left behind. Sadly, our search was fruitless. Apparently people in Greenville have no conception of what good, really good, Chinese food is. Eventually we gave up searching and stopped eating Chinese altogether.

Now that we are in our new home, we have been looking on and off these past couple of years for good Chinese food. I fear this market is even worse than Greenville. We've tried restaurants on the recommendations of friends, but this turned out to be disastrous, as nobody has recommended a winner yet. What they think is good and what we consider good are two completely different ends of the spectrum.

So this has left me wondering; am I being too snobby or picky? Or is it that, so far, we have not found any Chinese food to compare with what we had in Atlanta? I hope there is good food out there, I really do. There is nothing worse for supper than bad Chinese food, which is what we had tonight in our continuing search for a quality restaurant.

The Family Was Pleased

The person I embalmed Monday was buried today at the National Cemetery. The family came in an hour before for a private viewing, and they were very happy with the appearance of their loved one. Most of it was due to the cosmetizing done by the owner, but I am still proud of the work I did and the difficulties I dealt with and overcame.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Should Have Feared

In my last post I talked about another solo embalming I was going to do. I'm sorry to say that despite my confidence, it did not turn out too well at all. The body was full of water, I got very poor circulation and poor distribution. I ended up working for 3 hours, and my case turned into a 6 point injection. Both carotid arteries, both brachial arteries, and both femoral arteries. Despite injecting the right leg, fluid was not moving at all. I ended up hypodermically embalming both legs and the torso. The only good results I got were going down both arms and going up the head.

However, despite the poor results, I take satisfaction in knowing that I was able to deal with it. I successfully raised and injected the arteries, and successfully treated those areas that did not get good distribution. The owner checked my work today and said everything looked good, which I will take as a compliment, considering the condition of the body.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Flying Solo, Again

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to perform my first solo embalming. Tonight, I will have another opportunity. There are no services, just a family to witness the burial at the National Cemetery. As soon as the call comes in, I will head back to work to take care of everything. I am fearless.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What We Have Here Is Failure To Communicate!

For the past two days I've been trying to track down the doctor for the death certificate on one of our calls. The person passed at a local hospital, yet there was no face sheet in the file. I called the hospital to get the name of the doctor, but was never able to reach him. I left a couple of messages for him, but never heard back. So in desperation I called the family to see if the person had a primary physician I could contact. I was informed by the family that there was no primary, which is why this person had been taken to the Medical Examiner for autopsy. I felt about an inch tall. Turns out this was an ME call, but nobody bothered to put it on the board or in the file. So about 2:30 this afternoon, I hop in the van and head off to the coroner's office to pick up the body and the death certificate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Planning Ahead

Recently I started thinking about the internet and people who spend a lot of time there. What happens when that person dies? Does the family know how to notify the online community? There is a blog I follow which hasn't had a post in over two months. What if that author has passed on?
Last night I sat down and thought about every website, username and password I use online, and I wrote them all down in a notebook that I keep by the computer. I've showed my wife what it is and where I keep it. If anything should ever happen to me, she can access all my websites, user accounts, etc., to let friends, vendors, facebook users, etc., know that I'm gone. Something to think about.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

An End To The Madness

Things have finally calmed down. After our services Wednesday, we did get a couple of calls, but they were direct cremations. One of them was in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. I did have one to embalm for ship out, so the owner came in and helped out, doing most of the work while I assisted. He did tell me the left arm was in need of fluid and that I would need to inject it before I left, then he went home, leaving me to finish up. Raising the brachial arteries is my weak point when it comes to injecting, so I was thinking it would take me a good 20 minutes to raise the vessel; fortunately a few minutes after making my incision, I found it hiding behind the tendon. I raised it, injected the fluid, got excellent results, then shut everything down and went home. I got called out a few hours later (about 1:30am), but that was nearby and took only a little while. Plus, I did not have to embalm. I made the call, then went home and climbed back into my warm and cozy bed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Making Up For Lost Business

This year has been slower than normal for us, but it seems as if fate is trying it's best to make it up to us. In November we averaged almost a call a day, which for our staff is quite busy. This month it started out slow, but things exploded over the weekend. We've had four calls since Friday night, plus several calls for the other location, and most of them were embalmed. They are either ship outs, burials, or full service cremations. Our prep room is so crowded we're having to put bodies onto stretchers instead of tables, simply because we ran out of tables. We've got visitation every night this week until Wednesday.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Random Observations And Thoughts

Just a few random thoughts for today:
Every time we call a doctor's office and get a recording, without fail each and every office will start out by saying, "You have reached Dr. {Name}'s office. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911."
I would like to think that people aren't so stupid that they would try to reach their doctor instead of an ambulance in a medical emergency, but 20 years of retail won't let me.

When older people call the funeral home checking on services, a lot of them will say something like, "When will Mr. Boddy be laid out?" I know what they mean, but in my mind laying out was what I did with my clothes for the next day when I was in high school. I would lay them out the night before so I could get dressed quickly. Younger people usually ask, "are there any services for Mr. Boddy?"

Why is it families wait until the most inopportune moment, like a Sunday afternoon, to call the funeral home and check on things like death certificates?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Just Too Funny

The other day the owner's wife sat down with me and started asking me about my day off. As you may know, I usually have every other Monday off. About once every other month, I will have to work on my day off due to the amount of business we may have going on that day. Every time this happens, the owner tells me that we need to figure out a better day off for me, but then he promptly forgets about it until the next time it happens.

So between myself, the owner and his wife (who is in charge of payroll) we decided to switch my day off to every other Friday, starting with the one tomorrow, which is also the start of our new pay period. Well, my boss had made plans a few weeks ago for a long weekend, starting today after work, and my owner left town today for a couple of days. So on my very first new day off, which was designed to avoid the issue of me having to work when I'm supposed to be off, I have to work.