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This is a question Have you ever seen a dead body?

How did you feel?
Upset? Traumatised? Relieved? Like poking it with a stick?

(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 9:34)
Pages: Latest, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Back when I was young little ape
I was exploring my friends back garden (snigger) looking for treasure/porn/buried civil war swords.

We were, all in all, having a smashing day simply beings boys, climbing stuff, breaking stuff and generally enjoying a sunny outdoor pre computer game world.

Our explorations eventually took us to the back of the old garage, which according to my fellow conspiritor was still full of rubbish from the previous owners who had moved out over ten years ago.

A quick sortie turned up nothing of interest,but it had exposed a massive floral sofa pushed flush against the rear wall.

Mustering all the strength our frankly stick thin arms could manage we prised the forlorn DFS reject from the wall to expose the potential treasures behind.

What we saw frankly made us both jump a little and then laugh manically.

It was a mummified cat!

The poor wretched creature must have been trapped behind the sofa all those years before and died of starvation. It was flat as a pancake along it's vertical axis, and its mouth was gaping , teeth exposed as it exclaimed it's final strangled meow at the cruel world that had led to it's awful fate.

With the help of gloves, a stick and a lot of, "oh urggh you touched it!" we managed to extract the mousing Mumra and we skipped happily back out into the light with our crispy spoils.

What to do? What to do? We pondered, and with some sort of divine intervention our sisters giggled their way around the corner, probably talking about boys/ponies/sylvanian families.

This was too good an opportunity to miss and a plan was soon hatched so fiendish in it's inception even a 'devious plan' think tank including the pure evil of Hitler, my old French teacher and robert Kilroy Silk could not have bettered it.

We climbed to a level of the garden slightly above our, obviously, stinky sisters and launched the flattened feline like an undead frisbee from hell!!!

It flew with the grace of a swallow and the excocet accuracy of a peregrin falcon towards it's targets and as it reached the point of no return my friend wailed at the top of his lungs.

"MEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWARRGHHHHH"!

Just the sound a mummified, undead frisbee cat would make I'm sure you'll agree.

The sisters looked skywards, the sisters screamed and the sisters in their haste to escape this flying hell cat jumped and ran into each other so hard that my sister lost a tooth.

I swear to God something popped inside me I was laughing so hard.

The punitive measures bought down by our parents were harsh, but by God it was worth it.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 14:39, 6 replies)
Sort of
When I was at college there was a large common between my local boozer and home. During wetter months it tends to be flooded, but, during the dry months it saves about twenty minutes of my weekly “stumbling home pished” time.
It is also a great place to have the occasional cheaky spliff while circumnavigating the roots and holes which I know like the back of my hand. I feel I should also add that this is before everyone had a mobile. When you were alone in the woods you felt very alone.

Anyway – It was on one particular summer night – with a roof of stars and a cooling breeze – I trounced through the common trying to stop the greenery spinning in my head.

In the distance – in a clearing I could see a coat. As I got closer, and things stopped spinning, I realized it wasn’t a coat, It was a body laying front down.

I stopped in my tracks.
Panicked slightly
I sobered up in a heartbeat (how the fuck does that work?)
The face looked ghostly under the moon light, almost featureless. It seemed twisted to te side and half buried in leaves. It’s a surreal moment when you are faced with a motionless body. Perhaps 90% scared and 10% nosey.

Tentatively I walked slowly towards it. As I got closer I started to take in more detail. It was male. He had a rope around his neck. The other side was tied to a broken branch which was lying half over him. I moved even closer then realized who it was. It was James, a mate from college who was drinking in our group at the pub. His girlfriend had just dumped him and he seemed really low. Surely not this low.

I could almost feel the sick rising up in my throat. I ran straight over to him. Heart pounding. Beads of sweat formed on my spine. I grabbed his body and turned him over. He seemed warm but motionless. His eyes were open yet they looked straight through me. A tear welled up.

“BOOOOGA BOOGA BOOGA” his face sprang to life and he screamed in my face “BOOOOOGA BOOGA”

When people say “Oh I was so scared I pissed myself” you never actually believe that they had pissed themselves. I did. As I stood there in complete shock my bladder released its load all down my legs.

“You fucking ginger cunt. You fucking ginger cunt”. I said. As he was both ginger and a cunt.

It turns out that after leaving the pub he had decided to have a spliff on the common too. He went to the rope swing that was there but it had broken, so he just sat on the dried leaves and smoked away enjoying the silence.
Until it was shattered by the sound of a pissed bloke saying “whoops”, “ouch” and “sorry” to the roots and trees he was stumbling over.
He knew it was me so he thought he would lie and wait.

So I didn’t see a body, but, I thought I had. That was enough.

Many apologies for length.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 20:38, 6 replies)
Dead body eh...?
I can tell you the exact date - 29th December 1996.

That was the day my Mum died, after fighting a losing battle with cancer for nearly 18 months.
That morning, My Dad had woken up to find the body, and had gone round waking us kids up one by one, eldest first, right down to myself, the youngest.

I howled, and I sobbed, and I begged that it couldn't be true. But it was.

My Dad took me through to see the body that was still lying in bed. She looked so peaceful, it was incredible. Considering this was the woman I'd had to hear coughing her lungs up every night for 18 months (when you're 8, that seems like the longest time in the world, almost beyond living memory) it was odd to see her finally relaxed.

We had seen the Chemotherapy ravage her body, making her seem even iller than she was, but up until the day she died, I never thought she would. I was 8, the woman was invincible to me!

When I saw her that relaxed, it made me worse, it was when I realised she'd never come back. My Dad gave me a little while to say my goodbyes alone, and I went to the bed and held her hand. As she had died at about 1am and this was 9am, her hands felt like ice. That is the most surreal thing in the world, to feel a hand you were used to being warmed by, with no heat left in it. It's frankly terrifying.

After 5 minutes sat crying, I realised. This was the longest I'd heard her go without coughing in almost a year. It finally clicked, my Dad was right. She was in a better place, not suffering anymore.

My parents were both strong christians, and so I suppose this was the only way they could face death. Makes me jealous really, I wish I could open up to the possibility of there being a God.

Epilogue -
It's been 11 years since that day.
My Dad remarried in 2004, now living happily with his new wife. (QUICK EDIT: She's ace, just realised I didn't mention that)
My 5 siblings are all happy and healthy, with the eldest a happy father now.

And me? I'm a stronger person now. I'm now the person that friends go to when they need someone to talk to. I'm a person I know my Mum would be proud of.

Do I miss her? Sometimes, when I think about her. It's hard to miss someone when you know most of the memories you hold of her aren't yours. Mostly stories I've heard since.

But I know that I'm living the right life for me, and I know she'd be proud of me. (Well, hope so)

Sorry if it's a bit heavy for the first day, but this is the first time I've ever gone into this much detail about it.

Length? She was 4 foot 11 and a half. Always the half! God forbid if you ever forgot!
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 10:18, 19 replies)
I've never
But i wish i had, in this case.

My Grandad, God Bless him, lost his wife some 10 years before he popped his clogs. To boot, he began to exhibit the signs of alzheimers.

We figured that it was in his best interests to move him into a nursing home, simply because he was having trouble keeping himself together and remembering to do things such as a) lock his door b) feed himself or c) attend any appointments at the doctor.

Bear in mind, this was before the advent of PDA's and other such guff for keeping people electronically moving.

Aaaanyhoo. We moved him into a nursing home, and like the scoundrel that he was, he picked up habits like he was a teenager.

He was approximately 500 yards from the pub, and would often go out at teatime, and stumble home at closing time. My old man, and myself, have also experienced this trait.

At any rate, his life was comfortable. A little ... too comfortable. My dad was given a call one evening from the home, asking if he could come and speak to his father. Apparently there had been an 'altercation' in lift. Fearing that my granddad had gotten drunk and assaulted someone, he drew up the car solemnly outside, apologising to every one of the staff on his way in.

Except, by 'altercation' they're meant fraternisation. Yep, my dear old granddad had been 'altercating' with a ladyfriend in the lift. Nice one granddad, i hope i'm still that randy at 75. I still hope my dad high-fived him, and then quietly told him to keep it 'low-key'.

The reason i bring up this story is that my granddad died in that nursing home; and it's a funny story...

He came home, pissed as a fart one night. Apparently singing lots of old Scots songs at top volume, he proceeded to get into the lift and head for his lady's room. Granddad was a filthy bugger.

However, upon getting halfway along the corridor, he tripped and fell flat on his face. Comedy images aside he -in his fragile, old state- managed to fracture his skull. Some 20 yards from his lady's room. Pissed out of his skull. Wearing a party hat.

He never woke up.

By by God do i wish i'd found him. Simply to give him credit, one last time, for his sheer audacity to die without dignity. For his tenacity for being a randy bugger that i hope one day I will become.

Cheers mate, you will be sorely missed!
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 8:58, 6 replies)
Sort of applies.
I've never been good with girls. Throughout school I was the epitome of the shy geek with a better taste for shitty indie bands and computer games than for nubile, hormone-energised young fillies off the local estate.

It got worse as I got older, but there was one time when there was a little chink in my socially-inept armour, and someone, fortunately saw through it.

X was a lovely girl from the next estate. She went to the same school as me, and was in a different form, so we didn't really know each other until later on in school. We often chatted a lot at break time, gave each other fleeting glances in the classroom and other such innocent behaviour. I liked her a lot, but was too crap as a communicator to do something about it. She was popular, friendly and quite pretty too - so what would she want with a bungling loon like me?

I was known then for being the school boffin - not totally amazing with grades but hard working and a bit of a teacher's pet. Obviously, because of this, I was a target for the school thuggery legion, and despite my frame (I'm a big lad - not fat, just stocky), I often took a few punches for my scholarly nature. I look on this now and just accept that it's the way of the world, but then it was hard, especially in the polarising environment of the school corridor.

One day, I was pushed about a bit by the main school troglodyte, and cracked my head on the wall. I fell on the floor, head in hands, whilst the rest of the school shuffled past, not wanting to get involved.

Until I heard a friendly voice - "Scentless, you OK?". It was X. She helped me up, brushed me down (A female! Touching me! Call Roy Castle!), and flashed me a smile.

"Don't worry, they're only jealous of you. I think you're great.". Then, with no-one looking, she gave me a peck on the cheek.

Well, wow. This was a whole new world. Most girls I knew were uber-geeks like me fearful of the opposite sex or horny page 3 wannabees who doted on the very kinds of nutters that liked to give me a bit of a pasting.

But this, this was different. It was completely innocent puppy love stuff but it was the first time I felt like I would be able to talk to a girl I actually liked.

That was a Thursday. Friday, we had lunch sat together in the canteen, then said bye to each other after school, and skipped off home for the weekend. I could feel something blossoming, and it wasn't just the thing tucked into my BHS Y-fronts.

Strange as it may seem, I couldn't wait for school to come round. As far as I was concerned from then on, X WAS school. Despite this I didn't tell anyone about her during the regular Saturday night cider-swilling in the park - but I was really excited about what might happen between us.

So, Monday came, and I literally ran to school. As I arrived, there seemed to be a general sense of sadness and anger - but being one of the social underclass in school, I couldn't seem to find out what was going on, apart from we'd find out in assembly that morning.

Assembly came round, and in front of the year, the Head told us that there'd be a sad accident on Saturday, and unfortunately X had died.

She'd been hit by a speeding car on a main road near her house. The Head didn't go into too much detail but it was clear that it wasn't pleasant. X was an intelligent, lovely girl with her whole life ahead of her, and some idiot in a chavmobile had killed her.

I never saw her dead body, but I did see the coffin in the hearse whilst I was doing my paper-round a few days later, her parents in the car behind. I was gutted. Not for me - I'm not that selfish - but for X. She didn't comply with the idiotic social hierarchy in school, and she always saw the good in people - something I've always respected in a person since.

I often look back at that time and think 'what if' - not because I'm a shallow bastard, but because X was so great and deserved better.

Sorry for the lack of funny. I've never told anyone this, because no-one really knew what had happened for that brief time between X and me, but I felt here was my chance to get it off my chest.
(, Wed 5 Mar 2008, 13:20, 7 replies)
When Rob suggested this question, my immediate reaction was, no, not yet anyhow.
Then I remembered Joe.

Joe had been covered with a blanket. I remember pulling it back, steeling myself in case I couldn't cope, but it was OK - there he was. Kinda peaceful looking.

The hospital left me with him as long as I needed. We sat for an hours talking about all the things I'd wanted to tell him. A one-sided conversation maybe, but a conversation all the same.

It was the silly small hours of the night, so it was quiet both inside and out. So quiet that I hardly noticed time passing or what I was doing. I certainly wasn't that rational - at one point I realised I'd spent quarter of an hour attempting to contort my body into the same pose that Joe was now occupying, just so I'd always remember it. I can't now, which is sad.

At some point I must have fallen asleep. I was woken by a nurse asking if she could take Joe away again, which was when I realised I'd seen enough and made my peace.

Farewell, son.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 15:25, 12 replies)
Usually,
I feel sad for the ones left behind, humbled that I'm the one to pronounce them, glad they've escaped their suffering, awed that I'll be on a bed someday and a young nurse will come to pronounce me, etc. I don't get a lump in my throat, but my eyes prickle and my chest is weighed down with knowing all they went through.

One time was the worst: I was called to pronounce someone who had died of leukemia and as my hand touched the front door, my supervisor told me on the phone, "Oh, did I mention he's eight?"

I went into the house-he was lying on a bed in the living room, his mother was sitting next to the bed, just gazing at him empty-eyed. I explained who I was, what I would do and went ahead. There were three other kids there: the little guy was the only one of his brothers and sisters not mentally challenged or autistic. His father was at the hospital with stomach pains and had missed his death. (Dad was a bit slow, too)

One child wanted to know if her brother had gone to heaven. When I said yes, she asked, "Which one?" Another kid kept whipping off his clothes and trying to burrow into bed with the dead child and the third wanted to tell me all about how he was going to marry Arwin from Lord of the Rings.

So I was trying to field three kids, answer Mom's questions and attend to my patient all at once. I asked Mom for a basin and some hot water and if she had anything special she wanted him dressed in for the funeral home- they were too poor for a funeral. He was so small he didn't have to be embalmed if they cremated him the next day. If I washed and dressed him, they could have a short viewing before the cremation and he would look nice.

As I'm washing him, I notice drops of moisture are appearing on his shoulder and cheek. I can't figure it out until I wipe my face and realize the drops of moisture are from me. I'm weeping and don't know it-my tears are falling on his little body. He's so fragile; I'm trying to clean the blood away without disturbing him more and it's taking forever. Due to his leukemia, the boy internally hemmorhaged until his heart gave out and every orifice is trembling with clotted blood. His dad is home by then and points to his son's mouth. He has a mouth full of dark solid jelly and dad wants me to get rid of it. I have to tell him I can't or there's a good chance the unclotted blood behind it may rush out and go everywhere. The look on dad's face broke my heart with an audible snap.

Finally, the sheets are changed, he's bathed, I've cleaned his tiny toe and fingernails of clotted blood and combed his hair when his mom comes out with his clothes. They are shortie PJs-knit short sleeve/short legged pjs with Wolverine on them. Dad tells me, "Nightcrawler is his favorite, but we couldn't find any with Nightcrawler on them. Do you think these are ok?" I can't even talk. I swallow the big sob threatening to burst out and say, "Well, Wolverine is Nightcrawler's best friend, so I think that's pretty good." and we get him dressed.

The little guy was his mom's helper with the other kids. I don't know what she'll do now.

In keeping with last week's QOTW, in his grief the father walked through a screened French door. I thought "Wow, only a retard wouldn't see a closed screen door. Criminy!" Later, the mom poured a pint mug of boiling hot tea and asked me to take it to dad outside on the patio. Guess what? I walked through the same screen door. Ripped it out of its housing and dumped the tea all down my front. Got a first degree minge burn and a big helping of humility.

All the way home I thought, "Ok, ok, God, you can stop punishing me for my evil thoughts. That's enough karma." I was afraid the car would conk out in the worst part of town for my sins or something.
(, Sat 1 Mar 2008, 19:49, 6 replies)
Probably more than the average serial killer
So, this long term lurker has been seduced out of lurkerage for this weeks QOTW, because I have indeed seen dead bodies. Many of them. I inexpertly slice them up on a weekly basis.

For the record, let me first say that the majority of stories about med students and dissection cadavers are false, or at least very very outdated.
No student in their right mind is going to remove any bit of human tissue from the lab for the purpose of amusing japery, simply because if you get caught, you don't just get kicked out of med school, you also get prosecuted under the EU Human Tissue Thingummy. Presumably you then go to jail and get arseraped by a large man called Bazzer.

For those of you who have never known the wrong and strange pleasure of detatching connective tissue from the underside of a rib cage using one's fingers (it makes a slight tearing sound) or who have never smelt formalin at nine in the morning while still slightly drunk from the night before, I present: The Wisdom of The Dissection Room

1- You look like food.
Muscles, slightly inexpertly cut away, look like bits of tuna. The inside of the chest cavity smells oddly of lamb, possibly lamb with a formaldehyde sauce. There are entire societies of med students, usually rugby players, who are based chiefly upon the concept that eating a steak after dissection is manly and hard. At least we're not as bad as vet students. When they have fresh (non-embalmed) dissections of cows and the like, apparently loads of them nick off with the meat. One way of acquiring supper, I suppose.

2. Formalin (the main embalming fluid) does not smell good. It does not smell good in the dissecting room. It does not smell good on the crowded tube home. It does not smell good after you've showered for half an hour and used an entire bottle of Satsuma Bodywash in a vain attempt to rid yourself of the odour before your first date with an extremely hot anthropology second year, who will sniff the air at intervals throughout the evening with a puzzled and slightly revolted look.

3. Lungs can explode.
When removing the top of the rib cage, if it really isn't coming off, there's a possibility that your cadaver might be a wee bit abnormal. Giving it "a good yank" is not an approved dissection technique and may result in fragments of the severely adhesioned lung separating abruptly from the main section and landing in your hair.

4. Everything inside you looks exactly like every thing else.
Not quite, but nearly. If it's yellow and slightly hard it's adipose tissue (fat). If it's reddish pink and striated it's probably muscle. If it's red and squishy, it could be anything. If it's red and stringy, it's definitly a vein or a nerve. Or an arteriole. Or a ligament. Or just a strand of muscle. Something like that.

5. Cutting up dead people is really boring.
Yeah, it really is. You'd think it would feel all taboo and forbidden, especially with the catholic church forbidding it for like a bajillion years, but in fact it's kind of dull. It turns out that people are in fact more interesting alive, even old people.

6. If you accidently cut off the umbilicus (belly button) of your cadavar, and you really weren't meant to, and it needs to be attatched so you can use it to reference the location of everything else you see.... just live with the fact that you screwed up. DO NOT TRY TO REATTATCH SAID UMBILICUS WITH GLUE. This is important. You will only make everything worse.

God, I wish someone had told me that before I started med school.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 19:05, 2 replies)
Gran
It was Christmas. We were all basking in the afterglow of a slap-up dinner and Roger Moore was parachuting off a mountain on the TV.

"Want another mince pie, Mum?" my mother asked her mother.

No answer. Granny had died peacefully in her sleep, a half-eaten mince pie on her plate and a look of wrinkled serenity upon her septuagenarian face. We looked at each other in shock.

"Well, we can't afford a funeral," said Dad. "We'll have to dispose of the body ourselves." We all knew it was true - the cost of a coffin and a service on top of Christmas would have broken us. "Get that tarpaulin from the garage, Frank," said dad.

We rolled it out on the floor and tried to manoeuvre gran on to it. She hadn't gone stiff yet, so we were able to topple her off the armchair on to the tarp. "Don't break her glasses!" yelled mum, "We can get a fiver for them on Ebay." In no time, we had her laid out on the rip-stop nylon and trussed up like a salami.

"Right, off to the quarry," said dad and we all piled in the car (gran in the boot) to head out to the country. It was an emotional trip, as we seldom spent time together as a family. "Nice to be together," said mum. "Gran is with us, too, even if she's dead and wrapped in plastic."

At the quarry's edge, we manhandled gran out of the boot and dragged her to the precipice. "Should someone say a few words?" I asked.

"That tarp cost me £20," said dad.

As one, we all laid hands on the package and rolled it off the edge. It tumbled down the hill a bit and fell vertically to land with a delayed splash in the flooded quarry. "Goodbye, mum - you were the best," said mum.

"Right - who's for a turkey sandwich?" said dad, and we all piled back in the car for a slap-up supper.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 11:43, 4 replies)
Magnus
I was 7 when my family aquired its first cat. Jet black, with big, bright yellow eyes, name of Magnus. After Magnus Magnusson. Because he was so intelligent.

And he was a character. Only a few months old when we got him, but full of personality. The friendliest, softest cat you've ever met. Would greet you at the bottom of the stairs every morning - he knew he wasn't allowed upstairs, you see.

The biggest surprise was how my Dad took to him. My Dad has never been a cat person - I seem to remember he had to be pleaded with just to get a cat in the first place. But Magnus soon changed all that. It wasn't long before my Dad's nightly ritual involved sitting in front of the TV, alone, Magnus curled up fast asleep on his lap. He loved that little guy - they had a relationship that was all their own.

One day I came home from school. Magnus wasn't there. No-one had seen him since that morning. Unusual, but no real cause for alarm.

Until the knock on the door. We were sat around the table eating dinner (I remember this as if it happened last week). It was a neighbour at the door . . . she had "found something. Probably best not to talk in front of the children. I'm very sorry, but . . .", and there he was. Magnus. In a little cardboard box, eyes closed and still - oh so very still.

I was inconsolable. My brother, being a few years younger didn't really understand what was going on, but I did. It turns out that the neighbour had found Magnus tangled up in a bush. He was confused, and his legs were broken. He slipped away in front of her. Maybe a car ran over him, maybe he was sleeping under it and it pulled away without him realising. I don't know. But I'd like to think that as he died, alone and confused, he knew he had a family that loved him dearly.

My Dad buried him in the back garden that night. I'll never forget it. My Dad, a man not known for showing his feelings, a man who has never told me he loves me, a man who keeps his emotions bottled up inside him - he wept as he buried his little night-time companion.

I'll never forget how still Magnus was, lying in that box. I'll never forget how his fur was still so soft when I stroked him, and how peaceful he looked. I'll never forget any of that. Taught me a lot, that did. Death comes to us all - it's not pretty, and it hurts, but the hurt fades and the heart heals. But the pain and the loss and, most of all, the image of my Dad, my strong, silent, emotionless Dad, weeping uncontrolably as he placed his little friend into the ground - those things will never leave me.
(, Mon 3 Mar 2008, 18:46, 6 replies)
Chuffed To Bits
My dad (who worked on the railways) got a call from the next train station up the West Coast Main Line from him. A train driver had been relieved from his duties as he said he'd hit a man walking on the lines about three miles from where my dad worked. The West Coast Main Line is pretty fast there so the chances of a slight injury were minimal.

My dad grabbed a few large plazzy bags, jumped into his car and put his high visibility vest on and patrolled up the line where the shocked driver had reported the accident. Sure enough, bit by bit, remains of this hapless trespasser came in to view on the ballast of the track and in the bushes. A finger here and an arm there. 'Chuffed to bits', you could say...

Dad radioed the county police who turned up a bit later to help with the collection of body parts. After a good scrape of the surroundings they peered into their bags and after a few shakes found that everything but the head had been found. They looked around but to no avail.

"Here it is, Sarge!" shouted one of the bobbies under the road bridge. They walked over and sure enough there was the blood and brain splashed head of the victim lodged between the rail and the ballast. My dad tried to pick it up by the hair but with the mess it only slid through his rubber gloves ("giving a bit of a squeak"). The head wasn't for budging.

"Try and find a stick so we can lever it out", said the Sergeant and a few minutes later a young constable was gently trying to prise the head away from the track.

[sound effect] SPRIDDOINNNNNGGGG!!! it went as it flew away and rolled over the Sergeant's boots. Sergeant needed a quick sit down while the rest of them poured the guy out of about four bags onto a big polythene mat. They scratched their heads while looking at a pyramid of still warm body parts with a head neatly plonked on top of it looking as if he was about to sing..

'Who was it?', 'Did he not hear the train coming?', 'Did anyone see it from the road bridge?', 'What are we having for tea?'. The questions kept coming.

They noticed an old bloke at the top of the slope on the road bridge walking his dog and trying to see what was happening. "Are you okay lads?", he shouted down to them.

"As a matter of fact, we're not. Have you seen anyone walking on the tracks here or anything strange today?", the ashen faced Sergeant shouted. The oldish lad shouted back with his best Lancashire accent, "I've seen a chap over t'past few days looking like he had a gun walking over the tracks probably trying to hunt rabbits or summat".

"Can you come down here a minute?". Of course good as gold, the chap clambers down the bank with his dog and approaches the coppers who move aside from the pile of dead bloke with his head on top.

My dad says, "IS THAT HIM?"


Ha ha ha! Nice one dad. It would've been better if the old boy had replied with "Er... No, he was a bit taller than that".
(, Tue 4 Mar 2008, 19:47, 6 replies)
Death of a friend
I discovered him, bloated and leaking.

It's one of the sights that I'll have stuck in my mind forever. This is the first and last time I'll talk about it.

**********************************

My friendship with him started like many do: I'd been vaguely aware of his presence. I'm not entirely sure whether he'd noticed me at all, but even if he had to start with I'd have never known: throughout our friendship he'd be the quiet one. Even through hard times when he got angry, it was always me that got to grips with the problem in hand.

Anyway... I first really noticed him when I was about 5 or 6. Thinking back he'd always been around. Our friendship developed slowly though for some reason I thought it should be a secret. We used to meet and play together in the woods but When my parents found out - even though he was my age - they took a dim view, saying that he wasn't a decent playmate. They tried to discourage me from playing with him, but you know what kids are like... my parents never managed to stop us.

As time went on he became more strange. There were times when he'd become stubborn and angry standing up trying to take on the world, then at other times he'd be entirely recalcitrant and I'd hardly hear from him for ages. The real weirdness began when I woke up one morning and found him standing over me, silently staring. It only happened a couple of times before it all came to a head, and I'd simply shut my eyes and tell him to go away. I never dared to tell my parents.

I woke up one night and knew instantly that something was wrong. Feeling a dull weight on me I opened my eyes slowly: expecting to see him stood staring at me, I was shocked to see that he was slumped over me. He looked pale and limp, and he wasn't moving. He was dead. I tried to take hold of the situation, but it was useless. In his final throws, he'd vomited voilently, and it must have been that wetness that had woken me up.

I'm not sure really what had happened but thinking back, his moments of wild rage were clear pointers to the frustration he must have felt. Something had been missing from his life, and he'd chosen to end it.

Looking back I wonder if I'd have been able to revive him with the kiss of life, but I was too young to know that it was even possible.

I Jumped out of bed and in quiet shock surveyed the scene. I looked down at him. He looked strangely peaceful... no sign of the original red-faced silent anger that I had woken to in the past, Just limp, warm to the touch and soaked in his own fluids.

**************

After clearing up the mess I went back to sleep. Wet dreams weren't really such a big deal.
(, Sun 2 Mar 2008, 15:55, 1 reply)
sheep
I was, at 23, married to a shepherd/farmer. In the middle of lambing, my husband caught a cold, which, due to the hours he was working quickly progressed to pneumonia and pleurisy ( I think one is an infection of the lungs, the other is of the lining)

There wasn't really anything I could do apart from take over the night shift of being midwife to 800 ewes (as well as work two day jobs and run the house, and care for my two kiddies)

Imagine getting up for work at 7 am, dropping one kiddie off at school, the baby off at the gran's, working half a day at the school, the other half in the office job, picking kids up, getting home, cook tea, bathe them, put them to bed, get some housework done, get out to the lambing shed at 8 pm and work til 5 am....then get up at 7 am...etc etc...I have never ever been so tired.

One night, I see this hideous Rouge Cross (look the fucking ugly things up) struggle and strain...I calm her, have a bit of a furtle, and bring out this tiny, malformed freak of a lamb - this thing was probably 8 inches long (bearing in mind lambs are normally born bouncing crazy things, at least 10 pounds in weight, up on their feet in no time) it wasn't even breathing.

When sheep give birth, first off you see this fat tear drop shape bag of fluid (I used to call them water bombs), looks a bit like bloody piss - each lamb has its own bag - then you see its little feet - and each lamb plops out, sometimes you have to tickle their nose with a bit of straw to get them to sneeze all the mucus out of their airways, or rub their ribs, but usually ok.

Anyway, in this case, the lamb was just a streak of failed development - but the ewe was obviously in agony - so I furtled a bit more and pulled out more of these water bombs, and more, even worse mis-shapen freaks of nature - as I said, I was absolutely exhausted - the time was about 4 in the morning. I was aware of another ewe coming over to me and just lying down next to me (very unusual, even when you're Ms Doolittle like I was) I was so preoccupied with the ugly French sheep squitting out these awful foetuses - there were 7 in all.

I eventually got all of it out, and as she wandered away looking for food, I wiped my hands down my jeans, panting a bit with the effort and the emotion. I looked down at the Texel ewe (cute dutch sheep that really do look like teddy bears) and could see a pair of little lamb feet sticking out - she was really straining - Texel lambs are often massive - and just got a grip on his heels and pulled him gently out.

He'd been asphyxiated by her contractions - the poor little dude was cold and purple in the face.

I will never forget her lying so patiently next to me as I fucked about with that awful fucking horrible sheep.

I kneeled in the straw and bawled my eyes out.
It makes me cry even now - it's so rare for a sheep to come and lie next to you - willing you to help her - and I had failed so badly. That dead body I held had more effect on me than any other body I've seen in my life.

I've lost close friends, I've even lost my mum, but holding that beautiful little lamb that didn't even get chance to take a breath affected me more than those - because it was in a completely different way - I felt I had let a baby die.

It was not long after this that the whole 'farming' 'eating meat' thing, really got to me, and I could not reconcile the job that I did, with someone buying a lamb chop in the supermarket, it fucked my head up so much I gave up eating meat...I couldn't, on the one hand, care so much about the ewes that were giving birth, and the next moment just look at their offspring as units of profit...it really brought it all home to me.
(, Sat 1 Mar 2008, 4:18, Reply)
badgers
I come from a very small Rural Community in the wilds of Herefordshire. My dad still lives there. After making some semblance of recovery after the horrific death of my mum from years of alcohol abuse, he got it together enough to not only do his own shopping (Iwas so glad not to have to find him in bed for days on end, or have to get some food in for him) but to start up with some old hobbies he had always loved - running was one, but another was campanology.

He seemed to be perking up...he'd got a whole new circle of like-minded peeps - I wouldn't go so far as to call them friends, but in a small community like we came from (less than 50 inhabitants) you can't pick and choose.

The bell ringers consisted of Jill and Aubrey (slightly odd escapees from Birmingham, but sweet and lovely - they also ran our local archery club which I was a member of) a couple of other random peeps, and, most memorably, Mr Handley - an ageing undertaker. This guy looks like one of the Adams family - he's small, very old, twisted up old body, you only have to look at him to imagine the crematorium dust wafting off him as he walks...

Well, not only does he love ringing the bells (esmeralda) he is a fervent lover of Badgers.

Now, where I come from, not only do they still advocate lamping (which is perfectly acceptable to the morons - ahem - guardians -of the countryside) they also still quite like a bit of badger baiting.

There is an organised group of people who, if they find a badger corpse by the side of the road, remove it, as if it remains where it is, is an obvious indicator of a nearby badger sett.
(I do not like badgers one bit - they are not the cute fluffy creatures you may be led to believe, but that's another story - but I also get quite sick at the thought of people using the stupid fuckers in organised fights)

So lovely Mr Handley, on his way back from a funeral in Hereford, in his gleaming, polished black hearse, whilst wearing full funereal regalia, spies an expired Brock at the side of the road, skids to a halt and retrieves his trusty Badger Burying shovel from the back of the hearse and sets to....

Cue lots of amazed/scared/freaked out people driving past this ancient Victorian looking undertaker digging a grave at the side of the road....

feck off, I don't care if it wasn't funny. None of my stories are. It made me giggle, and that is an indicator of just how sad accountants are.

so there.

yes.
(, Sat 1 Mar 2008, 3:37, 3 replies)
Goodbyes, nasty discoverys and fond farewells.
My first one was my old Nan, an unpleasant woman with a deep-rooted spiteful streak running as deep as the nicotine stain on her lungs. She managed to make the life of a young me really quite unpleasant for many years as she had been brought to live with us when she was taken ill during the end of my single-digit ages and lasted until I was 12. At least she managed to die during the night, without making a big fuss.

The next one was a colleague, I was walking into work at a Surrey golf club when I chanced upon the wreckage of a car, VERY freshly crashed, one wheel still spinning etc… and the (now very deceased) driver literally in pieces on the road. Phoned plod, waited by the wreck and so on, answered their questions and managed to identify the body for them. Then walked into work late and told them “[name] won’t be coming in today….sorry”. I had no way of knowing his girlfriend was standing just out of sight, and I was quite surprised to hear someone run off screaming with grief as I made the announcement. Sorry Cheryl, never meant you to find out like that.

One ex-colleague was found floating in the Thames one day, and had my business card in his wallet and I was asked by police to do the formal identification, and they forgot to mention what a drowned body smells like in the high summer. Remember, depression is fun, kids.

Most recent was my Dad, (d.1999). In a side room, in a Wiltshire hospital, they had him on monitors and a morphine driver as pancreatic cancer and a MASSIVE stroke took their toll on him. On his last night, I sat up with him for 18 hours straight, never leaving his side, while further mini-strokes hit him and the pain flickered brief recognition on his eyelids and on the monitors by his side.
Finally in the wee hours of a Tuesday morning, around 4am, for the first time in 3 weeks, he opened his eyes. His expression was unfocussed, vacant and very resigned to his inevitable fate, but after a few moments, he managed to focus and seemed to recognise me for just long enough to croak the faint word “bye” before closing them again as they clouded over, for the last time. (The memory of that last look from him will always be with me, it was like looking directly into his soul as it took flight) The monitor by his bedside registered his passing with a single, mournful tone and a solid, unwavering flatline. Yes, I cried like a baby, and still get a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat when I remember it. Goodbye Dad. I still love and miss you greatly.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 14:38, 10 replies)
true facts about death
- If people did not decompose, we'd be standing on a layer of bodies 14 metres thick.
- People do decompose, of course, but their atoms are merely recycled, so that we are constantly breathing the lives that lived before us.
- After death, the corpse actually increases in temperature, sometimes hot enough to fry an egg or toast bread.
- The ancient Welsh tribe of Llythmmgog tried to bury their dead in the sky by throwing them from the top of a tree.
- In modern-day America, more coffins are sold each year than tubes of lubricant.
- Lenin, who lies embalmed in Moscow, is not actually dead at all. A Duracell battery inserted in his anus maintains his organism at the most basic level.
- Kerry Katona is clinically brain dead. She is animated by invisible wires manipulated by publicist Max Clifford.
- In pre-Conquest central American societies, tribes were able to cheat death by chewing a combination of leaves called Kaaleth. The most famous example was a tribal king who fell from a mountain and continued to live as a kind of giblet soup.
- One anagram of 'death' is 'thead', which coincidentally in the Hopi word for 'getting one's foreskin caught between the dagger and the stone.'
- Fewer people die each year in the north of England than in the south. They manage this out of sheer bloody-mindedness.
- Drinking a cocktail of bleach, anitfreeze and aspirin will not necessarily kill you, but it will put you in a coma until all of your friends are dead of natural causes.
- DJ's on local radio and Virgin FM have IQs lower than that of a butterfly. I wish they were dead.
(, Mon 3 Mar 2008, 14:45, 58 replies)
Horizontal parcels.
My wife works in a nursing home, and one night while I was waiting to collect her, the undertaker's van arrived.

As the paperwork involved with a death is involved, I assumed that beloved wouldn't be out for a bit. Indeed, the deceased appeared before she did, in the form of a long plastic parcel on a coffin trolley.

My daughter, 2 and a half, was in the back. She pointed at the trolley and said:

"Poorly?"

"No dear, dead."

"Proper poorly!".
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 18:36, 4 replies)
Hospital portering: the most disturbing student vacation job ever
Many years ago, and having accumulated a crippling overdraft over the previous year at college, I took a summer-long job as a hospital porter, working on the operating theatre level. Daily duties included collecting patients for their ops, and trying not to appear as the Angel Of Death whilst they were ripped to the tits on pre-med before the anaesthetic gets administered.

But the worst duty was rubbish removal, because occasionally this involved boxed up body parts that had to be taken to the morgue.

The morgue was euphemistically called 'Rose Cottage' so as to avoid upsetting people on the geriatric wards: "Where's so-and-so gone? His beds empty." "He's been transferred to Rose Cottage." Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well, Rose Cottage was actually a very functional 60's built building just down from the main hospital site. You'd go in and the first room was the freezer room, gleaming steel fridge doors lining the walls. Then through a plastic hospital double door to the work room, where the pathologist would usually be at work. If you were lucky the doors were closed, but if it was a hot day they were wedged open for ventilation, and you couldn't help but see whatever he was up to. That bit in Heroes where Claire wakes up post her own autopsy? Pretty realistic that.

The pathologist was a nice bloke - he was the county forensic pathologist, so any sudden death would go to him for autopsy to see if foul play was involved. He was reputedly so good, he could open up a cadaver neck to groin, lean his face fully into the body, take a deep sniff and declare "arsenic..."

Anyhow, my first bin run on theatres involved the usual stuff - yellow bags for normal waste, sharps boxes and red bags for 'infectious waste' which ran the gamut of tumors to the contents of voided bowels.

And then you had the hastily sellotaped cardboard boxes. See, body parts come in all shapes and sizes, so there's no standard box to put them in - they just find the first available box and stick it in, seal the bugger up. They put them in a bag first, but chances are if it's an amputation, it's been amputated because of gangrene, and tends to be a bit... well, drippy. The bag didn't always work and you'd see a box with suspiciously wet bottom corners.

And there it was: my first box. Quite a small affair, probably a forearm. This needs to be hand delivered to Rose Cottage for proper disposal. Dutifully, I get rid of the main rubbish, and then it's off to the morgue.

Mr pathologist is busy. I shout through the plastic doors to avoid seeing anything horrible, and he just says 'Freezer 3". I open freezer 3, and it's a 3 level affair, all levels occupied. Top shelf and middle shelf have the normal corpses covered with sheets, but the bottom shelf is slightly different: it's a sheet covered corpse alright, but the sheet seems to get to neck level and then... nothing. Except a red stain. Below that, on the floor of the freezer, a box big enough to contain, say, a human head.

I'm staring aghast trying to process this and Mr Pathologist comes out to check on me. "Ah yes..." he says, "motorcyle crash. Awful really."

Gingerly I put my measly arm-in-a-box next to the clearly show-off head-in-a-box and get out as quick as I can. That bit at the end of Se7en where he's saying "What's in the box? WHAT'S in the BOX?" has special relevence for me.

But the worst one was when I had to deliver a larger box - an above the knee amputation. It was heavier (but at least not dripping this time) and as I was walking over to Rose Cottage, something happened. There was a dull thud from inside the box, and a sort of movement.

I nearly shat. I stood stock still waiting for any other 'suprises' and then pegged it as fast as I could into the morgue, my face ashen. After I'd calmed down, Mr Pathologist worked out what had happened. They obviously didn't have a big enough box to lay the leg flat, so they's sort of bent it at the knee joint and stuffed it in that way. As I was carrying it, a gangrene ravaged tendon somewhere had finally snapped, causing what was left of the septic muscle to contract slightly and 'kick' from inside the box.

I left shortly afterwards. And never cleared that bastard overdraft either.

If you got this far, thank you for your patience...
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 14:34, 2 replies)
MIND THE GAP! STAND CLEAR OF THE DOORS PLEASE!
First time. Be gentle with me..

As a former soldier I've seen quite a few dead bodies and even caused one. Never really gave me any problems, but my favourite was a couple of years after I left the Army.

About six or seven years ago I was on the last 'vomit-comet' Central Line service out of London Liverpool St to Epping at around midnight on a Friday Night.

The train suddenly stopped on the over-ground section between Leyton and Theydon Bois and the driver announced over the tannoy:

"Would anyone with any medical experience at all, please make their way to the front of the train"

Being a bit boozed (And not a bit curious, mind) I figured that the pre-Northern Ireland Combat Medic's course that I'd taken in early 1992 qualified me for a butchers, so I strode manfully down to the front.

Two other people joined me, an off-duty copper who'd also had a few and a female neuro-surgeon from Barts. The driver opened the cabin and was as white as a sheet.

"I've just hit someone on the track"

We three newly assembled muskateers looked at each other with a look of shock and I'll be honest, I thought the bloke had made a mistake and that he'd probably hit a deer or something.

Anyway, he'd radioed through and after what seemed like an eternity, got a response back that the section of track had been de-electrified and that we could get out and have a look.

I was actually rather excited - To give London Underground their credit (for once), the driver had an emergency box that contained Hi-Vis jackets and torches and the like and we de-bussed and went walking down the track.

After about three hundred metres, the copper shone his torch on what looked like a slumped youth, so we ran over to see if he was OK.

He clearly wasn't. He was missing the left hand side of his torso, his left arm and his head. It was horrible. A real mess.

The copper, like myself, looked a bit green, so I turned to the neuro-surgeon and said without thinking "Hasn't left you and awful lot to work with, has it?" The copper grinned, but she just looked at me with utter contempt, as did the now vomiting tube driver.

Police found the rest of the body the following morning some 300m away down the sidings. Head, baseball cap, left arm, watch and hand still containing spray can.

At the post-mortem hearing a Snaresbrook Magistrates Court which I attended some six months later. it turned out he'd been 'Tagging' parked trains wearing headphones and didn't hear the tube that killed him.

The great thing was, that when I gave evidence I had to repeat the line in court in front of the victim's family...

The look of contempt was back.

Don't play on the railway, children and don't expect an ex-squaddie to have any sympathy for chav vandals.....

When I relayed the story to an army mate a few months later, the FIRST thing out of his mouth was "You didn't nick the watch, then?"

Length? About a quarter of a mile of de-activated track...
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 19:05, 2 replies)
How did I feel?
I've seen quite a few dead bodies in my time, three notable ones affected me in different ways. So B3TANS, strap in while the Captain bares his soul.
My father was an unusual man. A Burma veteran and the most physically dangerous man I have ever met, trained to kill by some of the best in the business. Very hard to reconcile that knowledge with the man who taught me to ride a bike, introduced me to the joys of reading and taught me chess. He was a philosopher who had seen (and done) far too much of the savagery that man inflicts on his fellow men.
He was diagnosed with a left occiputal astrocytoma which was removed as a measure to give him a little more "life". The surgery removed the part of the brain that turned sight the "right way up" yet he managed to write again and even play chess. The last weeks of his life were spent in a semi-coma on a heroin pump, the regrown cancer pressing on the pain centres of his brain. The last time I saw him alive he was unconscious in a hospital bed, face contorted in agony, painkilling drips into every major vein in an attempt to relieve him of the pain. It wasn't working. The doctor told me that he was on the absolute limit of the painkiller and if anyone turned the drips up, he'd be dead "in minutes". The doctor then left.
The peace that came over my dad's face as he died was a relief to everyone. It would be illegal to allow a dog to suffer as hard and as long as my dad suffered and the end was as peaceful as some of his life had been violent.
RIP Dad.
My mother was, well not much of a "Mum" to me. One of my earliest memories is of her introducing me as " our Jamie, he was a mistake you know". Thanks.
She fell into a diabetic coma, was rushed to hospital and was stabilised as fast as possible. She then contracted MRSA. It ravaged her. This was only months after my Father had died and I suppose I resented a lot of the stuff my Mother had done while he was dying (I could write it all down but no-one would believe me. I even doubt some of it myself until I check with my siblings).
Push then came to shove. I collared her consultant and asked what her chances were. She had developed gangrene in both feet and one hand, her left lung was all-but gone, the right one was barely enough to keep her alive and she had severe brain damage.
I signed the DNR.
She died one afternoon while I was home, a rare occurrence while she'd been ill, I'd only left the hospital 30-odd minutes before. When I saw her dead I felt nothing, I'd not expected her to survive. I find it hard to remember the good bits when I think of her.
Tom Moss was my Sensei at Aikido for 13 years. He was probably the best martial artist I have ever met or seen. He was also a thoroughly nice guy with time for everyone and a selfless attitude. He was a man who, to paraphrase a line in "As good as it gets", made you "want to be a better person". He died from pulmonary sclerosis, a horrifically cruel way to die. Your lungs lose the capacity to expand and you basically suffocate to death. Truly ironic for a man who would teach and train longer and harder than men half his age, drink the sun up and then go do it all again. An inspirational human being. I saw him in the chapel of rest, dressed in Gi and Hakama, bloated from the steroids, bruised from needles yet still the same guy who'd turned the fear of falling into the joy of flying whilst training me. I miss him every day.
RIP Sensei.
I'm sat here bawling my eyes out for two men and I still feel nothing for my Mother, probably better than the dislike I had for her when she was alive.
(, Mon 3 Mar 2008, 17:02, 2 replies)
I may very well be a dead body soon
My mother's gone to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks, meaning I'm the only person living here for a fortnight.

I've just accidentally locked myself into the closet. [Don't make the jokes. Please.] It's a bastard thick door that I have no chance of knocking down, thanks to the lack of a run up and my spindly biceps. I have nothing else on my person except for the Nintendo DS I'm typing this from, and the bog roll I came here to collect. The only consolation is that there is a tiny window, and my neighbours left his wireless router unsecured.

Wish me the best of luck.
(, Mon 3 Mar 2008, 16:36, 13 replies)
Yes, a great many . . .
and the reactions many and varied.
As is posted on my profile, I'm a training surgeon (Orthopaedics). So, I've been a medical student (dead bodies and dissection - yes, formaldehyde STINKS), the brand new intern who does the night shift certifying those who have dies in their sleep, the resident/registrar who works in Emergency and watches those who come in trying very hard to die - some do, some don't. I now work at a major trauma hospital in Melbourne (gee, not many of those) and get to see just how close to dead people can get, and still be breathing. Death as a concept does not make me a quivering mess, nor has it turned me into a robot. I don't baulk at touching a dead body.
Also, as an adult of 32, I have lost 1 uncle, 3 grandparents (natural causes) and at least 3 colleagues (all suicides).

Credentials sorted, what perspective can I give you on death?

...

It's possibly one of the few events in life that inspires almost the entire spectrum of emotion (perhaps together with birth).
It is the great leveller - we all arrive naked and screaming into this world, and all we have on leaving is our family, friends and our past deeds to commemorate us.
It can be a violent, peaceful, humorous, relieving, tedious, welcome, feared, revered, abhorred, celebrated, catastrophic, overwhelming and unexpected event.

My stories of death and dead bodies? I will relate only two: both work-related - one which gave me nightmares for a very long time, and one which made me ashamed of myself. Deaths in my family have been mostly unexpected and in one case, I'm ashamed to say I didn't actually like one of my relatives. So, being a good girl and not speaking ill of the dead (see Mum? I do listen on occasion), here are two stories from Mrs Legless: newbie doctor.

Story the first:
Internship - country hospital, run by 5 interns who worked day/night shifts alternating. Trauma call one Friday - 4WD vs stationwagon. Seeing as I have a night off, I wander into Emergency to help with the work (we helped each other in that job).
I was given a brief rundown of the accident - high speed, drunk driver vs car with a family on holiday. Drunk driver - broken jaw; Father in other car - airlifted to Melbourne: bilateral amputations of his legs. Daughter - internal injuries: transferred to Children's Hospital. Mother and 16 year old son, deceased. Would you please go and certify the deceased in the morgue Anna? So - off I go.
Inside 2 plastic bags are two bodies - a young mother and her son. Both of them look like they could have been asleep (no external injuries - they died due to cervical spine injuries). Both look healthy, whole and are still dressed in their ordinary clothes. But they are dead. No pulse, no breathing, no response to sternal pressure. Had they been covered in blood, deformed in the limbs or trunk, perhaps with obvious trauma I might have felt less unnerved. As it was, I became an insomniac for about a month afterward - all I could see was this young Mum and her son: alive one minute travelling from NSW on holiday, dead the next - being stored in a freezer, like cargo. Thankfully I was excused from a court appearance (the drunk appealed against 2 manslaughter charges), but I slept with the lights on until I returned to Melbourne in June.

Story the Second:
I spent almost six months working in Emergency in an Eastern suburbs hospital, well known for its drug-seeking population. One full moon (ever notice nutters come to ED during a full moon?), one young girl was brought in - heroin OD, trying very, very hard to die. A senior and I get to work, making her breathe again, trying to find out what other shit she had in her veins, and giving her the right antidote for it. During a lull in proceedings, I glanced through her notes.
Personality disorder, anxiety. Multiple suicide attempts - more that 10. Self-harm. Six year old daughter, custody issues - apparently the little girl found her again this time.
Lovely, I think. Looks like she tried it out again tonight. "Pity she didn't do it properly - a bigger dose, and no one to call the ambulance" I say to my colleague. "Save us the trouble of having to bring back her sorry arse from the dead each time."

Stop.
Think about what you just said Anna.

Is this girl less of a human being than the wholesome family that was destroyed a few months ago?


Doctors - we don't deal with death any better that all of you . . . we can be just as empathetic, just as clueless, just helpless . . .
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 10:59, 5 replies)
It was the height of a long warm summer...
when the day we had been waiting for finally arrived. In the sweltering heat we kitted up, and with paddles in one hand and boat in the other we eagerly dashed for the waters edge. It was the day of the big boat race. Not of the Oxford-Cambridge scale, but big for a bunch of twelve year olds at a sailing club. We weren’t going to be beaten. We had trained harder and longer than the other team, and the pride of the club was at stake.

The reservoir offered a cool change to the Sahara like conditions of dry land, and so it was with a joyous sigh of relief that we plunged ourselves deeper and deeper into the cool refreshing waters. After clambering aboard our trusty vessel, the teams made their way to the start line. We looked across at our nemeses. They were fat, sweating, they looked unfit. “We’ve got this in the bag” we thought as the starter’s gun was fired and we took off like a rocket toward the finish.

With every row we pulled further ahead. We could see them behind us, a shambles of uncoordinated louts. We were sleek, a shining example of team work. Our paddles glistened through the water, smooth and in time. And then…dush, first one paddle, dush dush, a second had hit it on the same side. There was something in the water. We looked down at what we thought was a log. But wait… its got arms, and a head, and feet. “What do we do?” came a panicked call from the front. “They’ll cancel the race if we say anything?” were the words of callous wisdom offered from the back. It made sense. We wouldn't win if we said anything.

The other team were still quite a distance, but gaining fast. Victory was all that mattered. The corpse would still be there when we got to the other side; it’s not as if we could do anything. And so it was with an uncaring bash of six paddles that the body of a 19 year old student was tossed to one side for a bunch of twelve year olds to have a taste of the victory they craved. When we got to the other side, it was decided that we would have to keep quiet about finding the body, or the race would be cancelled. The next race would find it anyway and there was no point in us not getting our medals. We had after all won the race, and if we said anything, that would surely be forgotten.

And so, with guilt wriggling its way through our very souls we accepted our medals. The next race did indeed find the body, and the rest of the meet was cancelled. Ours were as we predicted the last medals to be given out. I still have the medal to this very day, a constant reminder of the time I chose a hollow victory over basic humanity.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 14:29, Reply)
You know that bit
in Jaws, when the head falls out of the bottom of a boat?

Nearly twenty years ago, I went to Varanasi on the Ganges. A quaint place, almost Venetian in some of its aspects, old, ornate buildings on the shore line, slowly slipping into history.

It's a revered place. People go there to die/cram for their finals, and having your ashes scattered in the river (preferably once dead) is like a turbo boost through your karmic (q.v.) cycles, allowing you to enter nirvana (if Buddist) that little bit quicker, without all that tiresome birth-life-prove yourself-aha-still-shit-as-you-were-death karmic bondage.

It's expensive to get burnt there - wood, balms, oils, unguents, poultices etc, not to mention the yards of crepe.

Poorer people reckon it's still better to get yourself in that there river than not, prior immolation notwithstanding.

So there are fair few bodies just tipped into the murky waters, bobbing, bloated, full of gas, eyes pecked out by buzzards. The water is so muddy that the long snouted dolphins which inhabit it have opaque, redundant eyes.

Occasionally you'd see a fin break the surface, occasionally a corpse would flip and flounce melodramatically, steered by unseen jaws.

We took a small punt out at sunset, and after five minutes or so, our boat got stuck on corpse. Face down (so a man I presume), naked and bloated, it got wedged under the hull.

The boat owner casually shoved an oar in its back, pushed it down and away, then turned to us with a 'don't you hate it when that happens' look...
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 10:42, 2 replies)
The great war
Granddad had so many stories about his time in France during WWI. I particularly remember the tale of the rabbit's foot.

As everyone knows, a rabbit's foot is considered good luck, and the Tommies were always keen to find a rabbit that had been killed by the shells. My granddad's squadron had a squirrel's leg instead because they couldn't find a rabbit. By common agreement, it was considered to be at least 75% as lucky as a rabbit's foot. Or so they thought.

Nobby Millhouse was the first to try out the luckiness of the leg. As they went over the top at Ypres, he was hit square in the forehead by a machine gun bullet and fell back into the trench dead. After a committee meeting, it was decided that he had kept it in his pocket rather than pinning it brooch-like to his breast, as was the tradition.

Next was Arthur Beckwithshaw. The bullets whizzed about his head but he remained untouched... until he slipped on some spilled guts, fell into a shellhole full of barbed wire and was mauled to death by a wolf that had been sheltering there. The wolf was later shot and the squirrel's leg retrieved.

Arguing that the leg should be worn claw-facing-south rather than north, Stanley Calthorpe was the next to try his luck. As his comrades were mown down by machine gun fire, young Stanley strolled nonchalantly across no-man's land without a care, stopping to file his nails as massacre erupted around him. It was only when he reached the German trenches that he realised he had forgotten his gun. He was hacked into mincemeat by bayonets and the Jerries threw the squirrel's leg back in disgust.

By now, a pattern had emerged and the next Tommy to wear the lucky leg was Bobby "Moley" Jackson - so called because his vision barely extended beyond his nose. As the squad went over the top, Bobby meandered without injury in the wrong direction, towards a village that had been untouched by shelling. There, he stumbled into a brothel, whose sex-starved girls pleasured him in so many exotic ways that he remained grinning even at the time of his death. Then they plied him with fine wines, gourmet tit-bits and a number of relaxing spa treatments. It was only spoiled by the 80mm howitzer shell that crashed through the roof and landed squarely in his ringpiece as he was mounting a blonde, evaporating him in an instant.

Well, the squirrel's leg was never found, but granddad has since maintained that it is more lucky than the rabbit's limb and he has been imprisoned by the RSPCA for mutilating squirrels in his back garden.
(, Fri 29 Feb 2008, 9:46, 4 replies)
Several years ago
My gran died when I was seven so we flew to Ireland for her funeral.
Her body was lying in the house so family and friends could say a final goodbye.
Lot's of candles round the place and it didn't really bother me as I didn't know her and she just looked asleep.

Apparantly my little cousin, after seeing all the candles burst in to a loud and enthusiastic rendition of "Happy Birthday."

Nobody had the heart to tell her to stop.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 21:24, 2 replies)
I apologise in advance for the length, and lack of funny.
Okaaaaay…

There have already been a couple of similar posts. I’ve been holding off a bit, but here goes.

I recently turned 37 – a ripe old age, compared to some of the whipper-snappers on here. Every year I get older, I am reminded of my own mortality and how I shouldn’t take getting older for granted. But I do. I expect to be around for a while yet, all things willing.

Back in the early 90’s, my mum was having some problems with one of her eyes (I forget if it was the left or right now) and took herself off to the doctor. “It’s nothing” they repeatedly told her, “it’s an infection / irritation caused by the environment you work in. Here’s a prescription for some eye drops. Now fuck off and stop bothering me with this insignificant little complaint”. Etc. And ad infinitum, each time the eye drops were finished and the problem still hadn’t got better.

This went on for about 6 months, until her boyfriend lost his rag and demanded that they stop pissing about and make an appointment with a specialist. Which happened, although begrudgingly on the medical practice’s part. Off she went for a few tests, and the usual wait ensued.

Now, at this point in time I had moved away from home, and had just got my first job at the then DSS. Actually, that isn’t strictly true, my first job on leaving college was working in a factory for two weeks, packing *ahem* ladies’ things. Anyway, because I had settled about 50 miles away, I was no longer travelling back to the homestead every weekend, and so was kept up to date with happenings either via telephone, or sporadic visits. One night the phone rang. It was mum, telling me that she had the results back, and she had cancer.

Shit.

A vigorous regime of radiotherapy soon followed, which made it easier for me to see her as she was hospitalised in Newcastle – a mere 20 minutes from where I had settled. This was good from my perspective, but not so for my family, who had the long slog of a 120 mile round-trip to look forward to nearly every day. Radiotherapy didn’t work, so a course of chemotherapy followed, during which she lost all her hair. However, it seemed to halt the spread of the cancer, which by now was hitching a ride on practically every cell in her body. Yay, we thought, we can have mum back (we being me, my brother and sister). And for a short while all seemed to be OK, until she was readmitted and it was found that the cancer hadn’t actually been stopped, but it had instead spread into her bones and was literally eating away at her from the inside.

More treatment followed, and my trips back home whenever she was allowed out of hospital became more frequent. But then, I got a phone call from her. “I can’t do it anymore” she said, “I’m not getting any better, I just want to be at home, and I’m discharging myself tomorrow and stopping the treatment”. This was a Thursday, so I made arrangements to go back home after work on the Friday. When I got there, her brother, whom none of us had seen for years, had come over from Germany. It was a bit of an emotional weekend, and I remember on the Sunday night, giving her a kiss on the cheek before I went to get my train back. “See you next weekend, mum”, I said.

Mum just smiled, and replied “Goodbye, son”.

The following Tuesday morning the phone rang. At 7am. Mum had died in her sleep at around 3 that morning. I can’t begin to describe the numbness I felt – it was expected, but not this quick. Me and the ex both took the day off work, and went up together. We got to the family home, where the atmosphere was as you would expect, and I hugged my younger sister and brother, and my mum’s boyfriend. She was already in the chapel of rest, and I wanted to say goodbye one last time, so me and the ex went down there.

Unfortunately, by that time they had closed the coffin, but kindly agreed to open it again if I wanted. Yes, I did, very much, I didn’t want to remember her as a pain-riddled, fragile woman, I wanted to see her at peace. So they told us to come back after an hour, and they’d have everything ready.

Now, some people don’t like the idea, but I’m glad I insisted, as I was faced with not a dead body, but my mum, looking no longer riddled with pain and cancer, but looking like she did before she got ill; happy, and at peace with herself. It wasn’t a maudlin experience, and I was able to give her a kiss on the forehead and echo what she had said to me the previous Sunday. “Goodbye”.

I was 21 at the time. My sister was 19, and my brother 14.

Mum was 44, 7 years older than I am now. That really fucks with my head sometimes, I tell you.
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 17:04, 7 replies)
Lady in the Water
Saw a dead body face-down in the local docks.

When I first saw her I thought she was wearing a nice mauve cardigan, very similar to this,

cgi.ebay.com/FIRST-ISSUE-Claiborne-Mauve-Cardigan-Sweater-PLUS-20W_W0QQitemZ310026161214QQihZ021QQcategoryZ63866QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

but with long sleeves.

Turns out she was naked and it wasn't a cardigan.

An elderly couple came over and after a few minutes of staring at the bloated, bluey-pink, bobbing body said, "Do you think she's dead?".

I replied, "No, just snorkelling".
(, Thu 28 Feb 2008, 11:23, Reply)
Marmalade the luckless duck
Mrs Spimf has alwasy been a bit of a Doolittle if not a slightly shortsighted version when it comes to 'stricken animals' at the side of the road. We live in the sticks so to be fair there are quite a few to be found. However the amount of times she has insisted we stop to help 'the poor little puppy' at the side of the road has caused a fair few arguments - not that i wouldn't wish to help but more because these flailing creatures tend on closer inspection to be discarded bin liners. On one occasion we stopped for another 'puppy' only to discover it was in fact a fairly large duck with a broken wing. We contacted the local vets who suggested we bring it along - this was particularly irksome as we were on route to get a takeaway rent a movie and settle in for a night of beer and TV. So we take the poor terrified creature along to said vets who pops it on the table. Mrs Spimf immediately pledges to pay for all treatment required to 'save its poor wee life'. The vet tells us that as its a wild animal and clearly stressed and probably in pain it would be kinder to put the animal down humanely. Just as he approached with the lethal injection the duck went into a huge spasm then conked out - dead as a fucked duck. We all looked at each other then the vet checks for a heartbeat and confirms it is indeed an ex duck. At this point i asked what would happen to the duck - the vet assured us it would be disposed of properly which to me seemed a shame. So we took the hapless duck home. I plucked it and removed the innards - generously coated the skin with marmalade and roasted the fucker. It was honstly the best duck i have ever eaten. Fair play to Mrs Spimf she tucked in too but ever since has reminisced about the sad demise of poor 'Marmalade the Duck'. Daft bint.
(, Wed 5 Mar 2008, 13:52, 4 replies)
school days
Everyone remembers the kids at school who died. Those early augurs of mortality were our first intimation that our lives could end. At my school. there were a few: Jason Wilding, who was run over outside the school gates; Sheree Bowles, who died after sniffing powerful solvents; Kevin Bidden, who pushed a ball bearing up his rectum and got septicaemia.

But the real shock was the death of Kyle Scunner. Kyle was more sexually advanced than the rest of us. He not only had hair on his nuts while the rest of us lads were mere fluffy eggs - he had hair on his back and a beard. And a tattoo of a lady being pleasured by an Alsatian (he had to wear long sleeves at school). He was into the kinds of sexual activity that we could only dream about - getting a BJ from a hairdresser, for example.

His death was as lurid as his life. After we pieced together the rumours and the gossip, it became clear that he'd been overcome with libido and attempted to mount a friend's black labrador. The dog had been spooked and bit Kyle, whereupon he slayed it with the flick knife he perpetually carried. Unknown to him, the dog had been suffering with an infected bottom for some time and Kyle had picked up a dose of blood poisoning that killed him within two days.

Most surprising of all, we learned from newspaper reports that Kyle (real name: Hubert Destrangle) was 37 years old and a fugitive from a chain of indecency crimes in Belgium, where he was known as "the Canine Sodomite."
(, Tue 4 Mar 2008, 9:25, 9 replies)

This question is now closed.

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