Sunday, March 10, 2013

Harder Than It Seems

Maybe to everyone else it's perfectly obvious what physically taxing work embalming is. Maybe I'm the odd one out (as usual) who just never put it together.

I just wrapped my twelfth (of eighteen) day of Clinicals at a local funeral home. My school splits our clinical requirements into three semesters of six weekend days (fri-sat-sun) each. During these clinical weekends, teams of 3-5 students report to an accredited funeral home to work in their prep rooms for three full days. We do everything (dressing, casketing, cosmetizing, etc) but we only get credit for being there & the number of embalming cases we do that count towards our required 25 cases needed for graduation.

For those of you who didn't ace math, I'm basically done w/ my second semester of Clinicals. Next semester I have about a half dozen cases left until I do my qualifying case (where I do an entire embalming start-to-finish on my own). Anything after that is cherry on top. In addition to my final semester of clinicals, I'll be doing my practicum which is a weekly externship with a local funeral home (usually one other than the funeral home we do our clinicals at).

But what people don't realize is that embalming is actually quite difficult. I see the little tiny women in my school & wonder how on earth they are able to get through Clinicals when it takes the stuffing out of me & I ain't small - not by a long shot.

Between moving corpses from gurneys to prep table to dressing tables to caskets, hunching over the table, maneuvering a trocar inside bodies, and dressing stiff, lifeless cadavers, at the end of my clinical days, I feel like I've run a couple of triathlons. It's sort of a stupid moment for me because I don't know why I would have thought this job was easy.

This job is hard. It is wasn't, more people would do it. I knew that before I ever decided to apply to mortuary college. I knew it before it ever occurred to me that I'd figured out what I want to do with my life. I knew it, so why am I so surprised when I come home after clinical weekends & can hardly walk?