Here Are The Wildest Things Morticians And Coroners Have To Deal With, According To, Well...Morticians And Coroners
"Dead bodies often move on their own and make noises while I'm working on them."
1. A lot of fluids come out of the bodies.
"There is a lot of poop, urine, and other liquids — including fluids that escape from the mouth and nose — that come out of a person once they’ve died. And unless they’re embalmed, it doesn’t stop for a long time. It’s called purge, and I have ruined a LOT of clothing when handling the deceased because of it!"
2. It's easy to "see" body movement in decedents when you're around them a lot.
"Since we living people are used to seeing motion in other living people — breathing, blinking, eye movement, — you kinda start seeing movement in dead bodies too. Your brain just isn't used to a completely stiff and motionless body, so it sometimes invents and adds a little motion to it. It can be creepy when you're alone and suddenly think, 'Did she move her eye? No, she's dead...but...what if?!'"
3. They don't drive hearses to pick up decedents.
"There are two models of minivans that are widely used by soccer moms that actually may be transporting the recently deceased. Look for vans that do not have back seats."
4. Sewers smell the most similar to decomposing bodies.
"Blood generally just goes down into the sewer system, we don’t collect or keep it for any reason. To me, the sewer grates in a city smell the most similar to decomposing bodies. Autopsies smell fishy to me."
5. Sometimes there are creepy sounds.
"There have been times when it sounds like people are moving around in our prep room and doors are opening and closing. It can be a little shocking."
6. Turning the body over can be startling.
"If someone passes peacefully, like in their sleep and on their back, they aren't usually turned. But when we have to turn the body over, the air that was in the lungs lets out, which makes the body exhale and makes a wind noise. It almost feels like they come back to life after being dead for hours."
7. Not all deaths are reported to a coroner.
"Time of death is almost always when the decedent was pronounced or found, not necessarily when they actually passed. It's not like CSI — the coroner isn't going to try and determine the exact time someone died."
8. People make lots of weird requests for their dead relatives.
"We had a woman insist we should install microphones or audio recording equipment in the cooler — where the bodies are stored — so we could hear talking if someone was, in fact, still alive."
9. And some are *VERY* specific.
"My grandfather was a mortician. He told me that he had a request one time for dirt to be put in the dead guy's socks. Not just any dirt though — dirt from the road the guy lived on since he grew up. My grandfather honored their wish, and the family was very pleased."
10. Pacemakers need to be removed before cremation.
"Otherwise, they're like tiny bombs that WILL explode!"
11. Putting an autopsied body back together is hard work.
"The pathologists don’t always cut and sew the best, so when the decedent comes into our care, we have to put their skull cap back on. It's hard since you have to do it with little screw pieces that require you to chisel out their skull bone and then carefully line them back up."
12. Same thing with donor bodies.
"Repairing donor bodies is INCREDIBLY difficult. PLEASE choose cremation if you’re a donor!"
13. Embalming deals with a lot of poop.
"If a decedent won’t stop defecating, then we have to pack the rectum with prep towel, and if all else fails, we may even suture the anus shut."
14. A lot of bodies are transported in cargo vans.
"After having worked in the funeral industry for a couple years, I can’t look at white cargo vans the same way anymore. I just always assume there’s a body in the back!"
15. Being a mortician takes a strong stomach and a good therapist.
"I hate when people tell me that 'it takes a special person' to do what I do. No, it just takes a strong stomach and a good therapist to keep going. I respect your loss and feel compassion for you, but if I let every case get to me, I can’t do my job. I can serve you best if I don’t get too attached to your pain."
16. And lastly, it's a lot more work than the public thinks.
"We could get a death call at 3 a.m. and have to work a funeral in the morning regardless of the weather. The phone is always ringing, paperwork is never-ending, doctors are a pain about signing death certificates, and families are constantly popping in and out. I haven't had a vacation in years, and sometimes your days are 18+ hours."