Went to an autopsy today. Waved to the pathologist, said hi to the coroner, chose not to greet the guy on the stainless steel table. I grabbed some candy off the coroner's secretary's desk (not too much... got to fit into that wetsuit come spring) then grabbed a Diet Pepsi and got ready to watch the show. Today was another "equivocal death"; 20 year old guy who, other than daily pumping 100 bucks worth of cocaine into his grossly overweight body, was the picture of health.
I looked the guy over pretty well; no trauma, nothing to indicate a violent death or injury; had a horrible tattoo of his gang name: "Pollo". What a great name, very intimidating, it's translated "Chicken". I suppose every gang has to have one; they must have run out of good gang names like "Clown" and "Puppet". I wonder if Walt Disney was a gang-banger?
Then Doctor R (forensic pathologist) whipped out the scalpel and sliced him down the middle. I try to engage the doc in some conversation, you know... weather, sports, newest model of bone saw; but he is too busy talking to Mr. Chicken,
"Hey there, aren't you a fat one!"
"Oh my, you sure have a pale liver!"
"What were you eating; what is all this pink stuff?"
"Let me just weigh your heart for a moment, if you don't mind."
It's the weirdest thing to listen to.
Sometimes I try to answer for the dead guy,
"Sorry about your shoes doc, next time I'll urinate BEFORE I die." I thought that would get a laugh; instead the stiff gets an apology,
"Oh no, my fault, should have not have pushed on your bowel like that."
The one-way conversation continues after I step out of the room for the skull-sawing (can't stand the smell of burning bone), but I can't hear the particulars; maybe doc's giving him stock quotes.
I probably should have nightmares about this sort of thing, but I don't. I'm reminded of a Marine Sniper's response to a CNN reporter's question about what he feelswhen he shoots an insurgent: