In 2023, I will reach a major milestone in my career – I will celebrate 30 years in the funeral industry! My career over the years has been varied, but the bulk of my experience was and continues to be focused on the preparation room and decedent care. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with professionals across the globe who inherently know embalming is an important and respected profession that helps families honor and remember their loved ones. It takes a special kind of person to have the skills and compassion to do this work.
It is easy to be reflective at a time like this. I have embalmed and educated in multiple states, countries and continents. I have worked in a multitude of environments, from sophisticated preparation rooms, to bedrooms at homes, to hospitals. It is widely accepted that having the right tools is essential for any profession, and that is certainly true for embalming. Some of the key tools that an embalmer should carry in his or her kit include:
Scalpels: for making incisions in the skin. (2-SCALHAND4)
Needles and suture thread: for closing incisions and for other tasks that require precise suturing. (2-NEEDDBLE1, 2-THRELIN-WX)
Forceps: for gripping and holding small objects. (R-FORC120)
Trocars: for removing gasses, liquids and semisolids from hollow organs. (R-TROC812)
Cannulas: to be inserted into an artery for the purpose of injecting embalming solution. (R-TUBEART06C)
Embalming fluids: for preserving the body and retarding decomposition. (see Frigid catalog)
……and, of course, a pump for distributing embalming chemical around the body.
In my career I have used almost every embalming machine available, and even had the opportunity to use the historical hand pump on occasions when it was the only option for embalming a person in their bed at home with the family in the next room.
Regardless of the apparatus employed, creating a well-mixed solution is paramount. It is important for an embalming solution to be homogenous because this ensures the concentration of the solute (embalming chemical) is uniform throughout the solvent (water in the machine/jar). Regarding modern embalming machines, the Frigid Machine is the only one with a centrifugal pump designed to provide a thoroughly well-mixed solution. This is accomplished through “Top Down” mixing. In my experience, many machines do not mix the chemicals well which leaves the embalmer with uneven distribution of chemicals throughout the body.I have spoken with hundreds, if not thousands of embalmers over the last three decades, and uneven distribution is often a topic of discussion. People cite “splotchiness” of dye and note that if the dye were not distributed evenly then neither were the other chemicals. With the Frigid Embalming Machine, its mixing system assures me that the solution I create is what is being injected, rather than a tank of half water and half concentrated chemical. A sure mix better assures a well-embalmed body.