→ Embalming Solution - Recipe
Is there really much a difference between a first generation embalmer or a fourth generation embalmer? We're going to consider it, or we have quite a bit before writing this so read on. Remember this post is written by an embalmer not a chef, so pardon the poor culinary analogy.
What are the ingredients to a successful embalming? To start, a warm body will make flowing fluid nice and simple. A nice oil or silicon based arterial solution will aid distribution of preservative. Last, a tried and tested procedure of injection and drainage- Carotid Artery & Jugular Vein. So if this was cooking, our recipe is three parts. The corpulence of the body, the chemicals in the tank and the method of the procedure. Obviously the reality of all we do as embalmers is much more dynamic than this. What about the individual who is performing the operation? So we have the recipe and we are counting on the chef to make our dish. Yet if any of these components goes awry, our dish is spoiled.
There are more than a few great embalmers who honor their ancestors in having chosen the same career path as other family members. Equally, there are just as many great embalmers who do not have family in the profession. There is much to be said for an embalming recipe which is handed down- it worked before and will continue to. Realize we are not just talking about training, this is likely the same for both individuals. We are talking about learning life from an embalmer, starting since we are young. Surely the embalmers way of thinking and reasoning would influence one developmentally. What about those that have been handed a different life recipe, from a parent or another family member with a different career path? Is it not reasonable to comprehend their recipe might contribute to success in the embalming room or the embalming profession? Both individuals may use their life experience as a source of empowerment to do better. If you have not already done so, realize what has been entrusted to you and move forward knowing what you bring to the table. Remember, the resources available today make it incredibly easy for anyone to develop skills and techniques almost overnight- provided they are willing to put in the work.
Now lets have some fun with our previous example. Our ingredients have changed, we have a refrigerated case which fluid will not flow easily into or out of. For the sake of our example, let's say we have learned if our chemicals and procedure remain constant the results will be poor. We might have a generational embalmer suggest an old recipe for this case, a method they mastered, pre-injection against a closed vein. Maybe the first generation embalmer suggests getting the injection off starting from the aorta, using a Director Cannula. Or vice versa. Neither embalmer would be wrong in their approach to solving the identified problem and both embalmers by their reasoning show they care enough to do better.
I share this recipe for our next generation of embalmers, communication and collaboration among one another will better our industry. Don't turn anyone away who is willing to work hard or learn. We are all on the same team and each of us bring a specific flavor to the dish. Too much of the same stuff, no good. Too much stuff and not enough substance, no good. Find a way to establish growth among embalmers in your prep room. This way no matter what groceries you pick up at the store, you can still serve a five star meal.