Monday, October 11, 2010

Post Seventy-Seven: Catch my Disease.

Ever heard of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease? (It's featured in an x files episode called "our town", which is pretty cool...if you are awesome...)

Basically, its incurable, always fatal, and largely terrifying.
It's thought that we can contract the disease from eating beef that is infected, and most people know the disease by its nasty name of 'mad cows disease.' Cannibalism in tribes and that sort of thing was a big spreader of the whole schmozle apparently.

That's just one piece of 'meh' info that I'm not sure about, but generally the disease really badly damages the brain and makes it look like a sponge. It's a prion disease, which I think means that a protein in the brain goes wacko?!? Google it anyway if you're so inclined.

The reason I'm writing about it is because I think it's pretty much the scariest thing to deal with as a mortician who doesn't have a hugely scientific background. I mean, we're taught about infection control, but it's rather terrifying when you're working with a dear dead little darling who has an illness that could most certainly kill you. I dealt with it today and I was dressed in about 4 layers of PPE, just to be sure. I sweated like a banshee.

Health regulations do state that deceased people with CJD can be looked after just like anyone else, as long as they haven't had an autopsy. In this case, a qualified embalmer has to carry out any cosmetic work because the risk of infection is remarkably higher. Neurosurgical instruments are bad bad bad, as the cerebro spinal fluids are a mega contaminant.

The things I do huh. And for about the same amount as a check out chick at woolies! The lovely lady today looked amazing in the end. I don't discriminate by what people died from, they're all in need of my TLC (even if I have to scrub the skin off myself after).

Peace. x


  1. OK rest easy Sarah, CJD is not the instant and indiscriminate killer that it's made out to be. It is not transmitted via the air or through general physical contact. Brain tissue and spinal cord fluids are the main offenders so if you can avoid being in contact with these then your life will be enriched for sure :) Blood from CJD patients show no danger or risk to date but take basic precautions and you'll be fine and blogging in no time.

  2. Wait is the pay seriously nearly the same as a check out chick? You would have thought there would be some danger money in there!

  3. It's all an illuuuuuuuuuuuuuusion. Danger money, I wish!