My short bio: im 20 and have been doing this for 2 years... AMA!

My Proof:

Comments: 218 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

chmbrs57 karma

Thanks for being that person.

shower052228 karma

I don't really understand, but yw! :D

iflickbean36 karma

Pretty sure he means it's not an easy job but somebody has to do it. You're that person.

chmbrs15 karma

That's correct

shower05229 karma

well then thank you! and youre welcome!

amatorsanguinis28 karma

Wait, what do you do exactly?

shower052251 karma

when a patient dies, I have to go to their room, and clean their body, close their eyes, put on fresh clothes, take the tubes out, pick up the room etc. until hospice arrives, if they aren't on hospice, I just wait until the coroner arrives, and then do all of that

chainedsoulz12 karma

My gf does this same exact job except she also takes care of them(help bathe them, get them dressed, w.e else they need assistance with) She says people normally die in a trio. You basically take care of them till they die, and empty their rooms once that happens (among other things). She works in one that has two 16 story buildings and shifts between em. 99.9% of the people who get taken care of there do not leave alive. She told me one of the saddest parts of the job is seeing elderly people just thrown into retirement homes by their children and basically forgotten about.

shower05225 karma

yep, exactly! always in a trio, and if a fourth one dies, then the cycle starts over... its kind of creepy o.o

emochicksloveme14 karma

I used to work at a hospital when I was 20. I moved 2 dead bodies and placed them in the body bags and to be honest it stuck with me. Nothing like flash backs or anything just a memory I will probably never forget. My question to you is does every experience stick with you or is it just part of the job now?

shower052251 karma

they all have a little piece in the back of my mind, but nothing serious, mostly part of the job, but I will say the worst ones are the ones I took care of for months then have to put in bags to be carted away, I was so close with one patient I was caring for him when he died, and was a complete basket case, literal heaving sobs, I couldn't move, but I still had to do my job and suck it up for when the family got there. I still miss him, so much, even to this day.

mattmanlex3 karma

What is your opinion on getting close with the patients after that?

shower052213 karma

im still nice and incredibly friendly, but I put up a wall so they don't get too close, i cant handle something like that again...

MizzleFoShizzle11 karma

I know this may seem odd but what aspect of this delicate job do you like the most?

shower052247 karma

ABOUT TO TAKE A MILDLY CREEPY TURN: im usually there right before they die.. so sometimes im the last person they see... I kind of like that

stabbyma26 karma

I did that sometimes to when I worked in a nh. I liked knowing that the peoples bodies were truly respected. And I felt honored to do their final cares. Once you get past the initial squeamishness, it was rewarding.

shower052214 karma


znimmons10 karma

That's is kinda cool

shower052216 karma

its weird and cool, I kind of feel like the angel of death lol

phoeniks8 karma

You see the life, the departing, then you deal with the clay, the abandoned vessel.

Does it give you private religious departures, speculations, insights? Meaning of life stuff?

shower052255 karma

eh.. my perspective on death is pretty much its just another step in life.. is it the final step? idk... and honestly I don't care to know, I live life as much as I can since starting this job. everything is a little more beautiful, I take more time t think. ive become much more aware of my own mortality as well, I always say I love you when I leave my parents, I keep my stuff a little more tidy, I care about myself a little more, I even have a letter incase of the worst. but Im not afraid, im just prepared, I don't fear death, I fear age, when I cant enjoy life, bed bound and shitting into a bag.. you've never seen misery until you see the elderly in homes. no amount of silk flowers and perfume can mask the fear, and agony that comes with age. so, long story short I enjoy life while I can.

EDIT: OMFG......thanks for the gold kind stranger!!!!

hatchettrydar5 karma

I work in biohazard cleanup and occasionally meet the families of the people we clean up after. I take a great pride in knowing the job is done properly and it has given me a very similar view on death. Kudos for doing what you do.

doctordilaulau5 karma

Biohazard cleanup, am I correct in thinking this means like, crime scene cleanup/deaths that have been especially gory or leave a lot of blood behind?

hatchettrydar3 karma

Indeed you're correct! I've also done other aspects of restoration, but biohazard is my specialty.

shower05228 karma

do an iama!

TheDeedsWereDone9 karma

Just chiming in to say thank you for doing this work. I wasn't there when my father died (other family members were; I was en route) and it was comforting that they'd cleaned him up and taken away the more "hospital-y" things for when the rest of us arrived. The little things DO mean a lot to people, and this is actually a big thing. So thank you.

(Also would like to say we did not engage in fisticuffs over money in the room.)

shower05226 karma

lol, thanks for the appreciation!

2stuped2liev9 karma

How do the families usually react when they first get there?

shower052216 karma

it varies... some are sad, some relieved... no matter the case I never really know what to say...

2stuped2liev9 karma

Any particular one you remember and care to share?

shower052235 karma

not really, but, the worst thing is when the family shows up to their deathbed instantly fighting about who gets the deceased members money, that's happened several times before,once ending in a physical altercation between two sons.

DoobiusPrime11 karma

I work in a hospital ICU. To chime in on this the worst for me is the family members that keep the patient on life support to keep the monthly checks coming in. You explain to them that there's no chance of recovery and they still have you code their family member. Breaking a 90+ year olds ribs doing CPR because someone wants a check for a few more months....disgusting.

shower052210 karma

the job really brings out the best, and worst in people, huh?

Nurse_kpo3 karma

My most memorable moment after a patient passed was the two sons stepping out of the room to argue about how there going to split the profits of her house and possessions.

shower05222 karma

That has happened, and quite frankly it sickens me

Fattybitchtits8 karma

EMT here, I've had my fair share of "dead on arrival" calls, a handful of which were in nursing homes, and I usually try to do something similar to what it sounds like you do, make them look more peaceful so it's easier on the family and whatnot when they show up, but sometimes when rigor mortis has set in they get that terrifying permanent gaping mouth thing going on or are in difficult positions for loved ones to see if they died on the ground, sitting up, etc. and I always feel bed like even though they're beyond bringing back I still have some sort of responsibility to help in the situation even if it's not in a medical capacity. Do you have any tricks or tips that might help in that regard? I'm always tempted to just force it but I don't want to break fragile old people bones or abuse a corpse if it's not going to help anything. Also thanks for doing what you do, I've run into a few guys filling a similar role to yours and it's always nice knowing that we aren't leaving a horror scene for the family to witness when we head out.

shower05229 karma

I don't really have any tricks lol, if they fall asleep and get rigor in the morning when we find them, we just immediately call the coroner and then the family, although I will say ive broken a couple bones on accident, it happens to everyone, its literally the worst sensation in the world...

1800BOTLANE7 karma

How do you even get a job like this? Do you just tell them you wanna take care of dead people?

shower052216 karma

im a caregiver in a retirement home, the last person retired and I volunteered, it was kind of a promotion

Alacri7 karma

How do you deal with the awkwardness of being in the room with a dead body?

shower052217 karma

at first it was awkward so I just tried not to look at the eyes lol, but now its less awkward, more reverent.

Destruzah7 karma

How are most people positioned when embracing death?


What do you make of their faces? Do they just look emotionless or have you noticed a fading smile or sad expression?

shower05229 karma

theyre usually already in bed, so we fold their hands on their chest and close their eyes.. the jaw hangs open, usually have to wire that shut for funerals

Destruzah7 karma

As for emotional expression on their face or in their body language, any at all?

shower05229 karma

nope, completely blank typically, loose, limp, gone.

Destruzah6 karma

hmm.. interesting

shower05224 karma

why do you ask? if I may ask

Destruzah5 karma

When people die, a chemical is released in the brain called DMT. This chemical is only released when dying and during our sleep. It's the most powerful psychedelic substance I think, that is why our dreams are so crazy and why people have claimed to see god when having died, but brought back to life by CPR or w/e. So, because of this, I was just wondering if people left some sort of expression on their face or body language from whatever mental experience they were having. That, or from them knowing they were going to die and their attitude with the conclusion of their life.

shower05228 karma

oh, that's really interesting lol... ill pay more attention next time

thedragslay6 karma

I saw my grandfather's body an hour after he died. He hated hospitals, so he had in-home hospice care. Hospice workers are absolutely amazing.

He was reclined in the hospital bed, and his skin was already looking a bit yellow. However, the most disturbing thing was the jaw hanging open. My mom got there a few minutes after he died, and she tried to close the jaw, but it wouldn't stay closed. His dentures were taken out, so his face was all sunken in and hollow. That was the most disturbing part. He didn't look like the grandfather I knew and loved.

I burst into sobs the minute I saw his body, and I still wonder if I should have stayed at home. The memory is stamped into my mind, but I still think it was a valuable experience.

Thanks for all that you do, and thanks for hearing my story.

shower05224 karma

im sorry for your loss...

znimmons6 karma

Did you have to get a special certification in a certain field? Or some form of schooling?

shower05229 karma

a little, you need med certification first aid, stuff like that, im also a cna and have just finished school for phlebotomy... but that isn't really required

Edit: the cna was required, I feel like o wasn't very clear on that... Sorry :)

Smiff27 karma

I'd have thought 1st aid is the last thing dead people need ..

CosmicConn15 karma

Maybe "last aid" is more appropriate.

shower05225 karma


Smiff22 karma

shower05222 karma

omg... too perfect.

NorbitGorbit6 karma

any false alarms?

shower052213 karma

nope lol, you know when someones dead... everything is different, color, body language, and theres always a big breathe that they never let out

nutellablaster6 karma

Death is such a strange thing. I admire the work you do and the strength it takes to do it. Do you believe in life after death? Or do you think Death is final.

shower052211 karma

honestly, idk, but my perspective on death has changed radically from something to fear to another step in life, is it the final step? idk, and I try not to think about it, I take everything to heart a little more though, i laugh a little more, cry a little more... I think less about the after I guess and more about the now, with the idea that no matter what you do or who you are, we all die...

No_more_prolapsing6 karma

Has anyone ever started breathing or moving while you cleaned up and ended up being alive?

shower052222 karma

nope, you pretty much know when someones dead, the color changes, their body goes limp, its completely different. but they do make noises when you roll them to clean the shit... sounds like a balloon letting the air out

ayubelwhishi17 karma


shower052216 karma

pretty glam, huh?

AideMaPeau6 karma

Have you had any strange experiences that might encourage a belief in life after death?

shower05229 karma

eh, not really, but ive had experiences with families that make me hope for their sake there isn't life after death

phoenix9052 karma

Can you elaborate a little more?

shower05223 karma

families can just be selfish jerks, worrying about themselves and money before their loved ones

Wicked812 karma

My entire family split in two after my dad died. If anyone had told me that was going to happen I would of NEVER believed them. It is disgusting how people change when money is involved.

shower05222 karma

very, very true... im sorry for your loss

peted18845 karma

Would you recommend dying in a retirement home?

shower05229 karma

personally, absolutely not, but I don't want to live into my 90's, if you do, then i would highly recommend it. theres plenty of people alive past their time in retirement homes. its not uncommon for people to actually beg for death. sometimes theyre ok with being there, but sometimes they pray for death on a daily basis... theres very few patients that i take care of that aren't on anti depressants.... don't get me wrong though, i work in probably the nicest nursing home in the state. but it doesn't matter, after all your friends, family and your spouse have died, no amount of pretty flowers and smiling nurses will make it ok.

gkiltz5 karma

Are you actually clergy of any faith?

When my father died, he was at a facility that was essentially Jewish run. They called my Mom, but she got stuck in traffic, and got there too late.

Even though we aren't Jewish, I think he appreciated having the Rabbi with him in his last moments.

Are you one of the ones who is actually there for the last moments, or are you called only once they die?

shower05222 karma

no i am not, but a few times, a patient has requested a priest to be with them in death, we are a non-denominational company so if they want religious service, the family has to provide it.. although im not religious, i can guarantee most of my patients ive been with in the last stages of life have been at peace and comfortable

Swarleymon5 karma

Thank you for doing your job! I'm a Cna and luckily haven't had to do any of that ( luckily no one I had even died when I had them). I do remember saying goodbye to a lady after she had passed and made sure they kept her favorite blanket with her.

shower05226 karma

aww! she sounds adorable!

HardstyleLogic4 karma

Why is it ok and such common practice to put up your parents or grandparents in retirement homes? I don't understand this.

shower05228 karma

because some people physically cant take care of tem anymore... a lot of older spouses put their spouses in homes because the physically cant do it, or because they don't have time to take care of an older relative 24/7, also because it sucks seeing someone you've loved your whole lie whiter away and theres nothing you can do about it, especially when they have dementia or alzthiemers

persoms4 karma

Have you ever done a weekend at Bernie's thing?

shower05228 karma

not yet ;)

ayubelwhishi3 karma

Are you planning on taking another job? Is being a caretaker a rough job based on other ones you know about?

shower05226 karma

I want a new job later in life when im out of school... it takes a special person to do this work.

Wolf_the_Quarrelsome3 karma

How does this kind of work make you feel about your own old age? The notion of dying alone and incapable freaks me out (I'm only 29). At that point I think I would rather end it myself than keep living in a situation where I could not look after myself. Maybe it's different when your closer to it, but at this point I fear incapability far more than I do death.

shower05221 karma

exactly, i would rather die in my fourties than live to be 90

TommBomBadil2 karma

That would be a very dire way to avoid an unknowable outcome.

Maybe you'll be healthy and have your loved ones around when you're in your 80's or higher.

Maybe you should wait til your 60's, just to be sure.

shower05221 karma

ok, ill wait lol...

IncidentOn57thStreet3 karma

How has it changed your thoughts on your own mortality? Do you fear death more/less?

shower052212 karma

I fear death a lot less and age a lot more

IncidentOn57thStreet3 karma

Interesting answer. Furthermore; would you mind dying in a retirement home or would you prefer more comfortable circumstances? I suppose it beats dying in a hospital or an accident.

shower052213 karma

i would rather kill myself than end up in a retirement home.

corobo2 karma

The other half used to work in one so I sort of hear where you're coming from but could you go into more details on how come?

shower05222 karma

because no matter how well theyre taken care of, no matter what needs are met, every person in a retirement home is miserable, their bodies wasting away, shitting and peeing in a bag, usually a spouse has died and their kids couldn't handle them. they know their a burden, and that's why theyre there... i wouldn't/couldn't live like that... id gladly embrace death before i had to deal with the agony of age.

Magooswife2 karma


shower05221 karma

yeah, not that its a bad place.... just not how i want to go out

ismellpretty3 karma

Do you think this is a job you'll want/be able to do for a long time? I think I would get to a point where enough is enough.

shower05228 karma

there will definitely be a point of enough, but im young right now, and I make more money than most of my peers, so I put up with it.

UrbanRenegade192 karma

How long do you usually wait with the body until the coroner arrives? Also how often do other caregivers at the retirement come by to say goodbye?

shower05227 karma

it depends on his schedule, sometimes its only an hour or two other times its four or five... a lot of caregivers say goodbye... although its not professional we really bond with our patients and it hurts to see them go

hoodyuplod2 karma

it will be scaring for me doing your kind of job . how many death have you witness do you keep records ?

shower05223 karma

the company keeps records but I don't... ive seen countless, its not scaring, youd be surprised at what the human mind can take while in "professional mode"

Aregisteredusername2 karma

I read in another comment of yours that you're a caregiver at a retirement home. Good for you. I'm a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults, pretty similar. I am 25.

This isn't something I ever encounter, besides once, someone I work for/with dying I mean. A lot of the people I work with I see over long period of time, years usually, and get semi-attached, I would consider one to be my own family actually.

When one guy I worked with passed, he had moved out of my care before it happened, I was devastated to say the least.

My question, and I hope I didn't miss this elsewhere, is how much does this effect you, your emotions, and your relationships with family and friends?

shower05223 karma

nothing really dramatic, I just treasure life a little more, make sure to argue less, I take a little time to appreciate where I am and that my parents are still young and healthy.. stuff like that. I also treat death a lot differently, for lack of better words, I just care about it a lot less.

Mr-WTF2 karma

Does this place have a pool?

shower05222 karma


Kirchyking2 karma

What do dead people smell like?

shower052212 karma

like old people... that are dead lol

Kirchyking2 karma

Do you like your job handling dead people? :D

shower05228 karma

all in all yes, but I don't want to do this forever lol

cookiej2 karma

I worked as a CNA, similar to what you do. In my experience, many of my patients have seen their deceased spouses and have talked to them before they've died, i.e.: I'd walk into a patient's room, patient: "oh I'm just talking to deceased husband about dinner tonight" Is that common?

shower05221 karma

I misunderstood the question lol, no, I haven't seen people talk to passed loved ones before they dir

sup932 karma

Odd question, have you ever had a body move, I don't mean like a twitch, I mean like an arm move up in the air if you get me? I imagine this to be kind of freaky when you see it for the first time.

shower05223 karma

i have noticed the fingers move a tiny bit JUST as they die.

coffeecigarette2 karma

You talked a lot about preferring death over old age - what happens if you get to be 40, 50, 60, 70 or whatever you consider "old" and still healthy as ever? Would you willingly die before going to a retirement home?

shower05226 karma

the people I care for are never "healthy as ever" you come into a retirement home broken. as you age theres certain things that happen that it doesn't matter how many vegetables you ate, or how many triathalons you've competed in, happen. your bones more brittle, memory loss, constant pain, other loved ones passing... you really have to see it to understand, its not horrendous on the out side looking in or anything, its just not the way I want to go out.. useless, a money pit, just trying to keep me alive so I can wake up the next day in just as much pain, and depression as I was in before... you've never seen a truly broken man unless you see one whose spouse of 50, 60, 70 years has passed... it heart-breaking

StandardDeviation2 karma

But the question is, would you give up wonderful times in your 50s through 80s to avoid this sort of end in your 90s?

shower05222 karma

I've never thought of it like that... Idk honestly, if I'm in constant pain and my loved ones have passed, then yes, if not, I'm hoping by the latest my mid 70's

myvirginityisstrong1 karma

do the bodies often poop themselves? :/

shower05221 karma

yes, all the time

coochiecrumb1 karma

You still around? Is this the only part of your job or is this like a side thing? I mean if it's all you do the people must be dying often... Do you make a decent salary?

shower05222 karma

no im also a caregiver at the company, people don't die everyday, im just the person they call when they do... and yeah i make a decent wage, its not much, but since im in college and have no bills i don't need much, its about $10/hr after taxes

Experya1 karma

Do you really have to break boners?

shower05221 karma

No, but if they die in their sleep so.etimes rigor takes effect and when we try to move them they just break, its the worst sensation in the world >_<

WittiestScreenName1 karma

You're a CNA? Or NAC

shower05221 karma

cna :p

todayletmein1 karma

Have you been through an entire cycle of residents yet ?

How long would you say that probably happens?

shower05221 karma

yeah, and uhhhh idk, probably like a year or so, spare 1 or 2 patients

Lion_on_the_floor1 karma

Can you talk a little bit more about cleaning patients? What exactly are you cleaning, is it like a full body sponge bath?

shower05221 karma

Yeah, we clean the poo and stuff off of them and change their clothes comb their hair, clean their face, just so they look ok for when the family arrives to say goodbye

Lion_on_the_floor1 karma

How common is it for someone to crap themselves after they pass? Is it just because they're older and already have loss control of their bowels?

Thanks for answering!

shower05221 karma

They pretty much always do, I've never encountered someone who hasn't

Sil3691 karma

what time of the day do you remove the bodies from the buildings. do other residents see you during this (if it's night)?

shower05221 karma

We remove them as quickly as we can, after the family had arrived if any comes, and the coroner comes, so any time of the day, and yes, we try to be discreet but they're old, not stupid they see us sometimes, and there isn't really anything we can do about it :/

Edit: that came out snippier than Intended, sorry

greenfaile1 karma

There is a hospital program called no one dies alone (noda) where we sit with patients that have no family or no one can be there when the patient passes. You are doing the world a good service. Make sure you take care of yourself too. Caregivers are the most stressed. Do you think you'll make a career of this?

shower05221 karma

no, i don't want to make a career of it, im in school to become a respiratory therapist, hopefully that works out

socialclash1 karma

Thank you for the work that you do. I work with elderly people as well and it's heartbreaking to see what their lives can be like in retirement homes-- some patients have family members who never come around, never call, it's just awful. The work you do isn't easy but it can be incredibly rewarding.


shower05221 karma

so true!

daydreamingmama1 karma

Hi from another Michigander!

How did you get this job? Do you need to have a college degree or anything?

shower05221 karma

I was a caregiver at the home and the position opened up, I didn't need a degree but I did need a cna, cpr/firat aid and was trained on the job :)

decptacon31 karma

Have you ever seen any evidence of neglect?

Is there a protocol you are supposed to follow if you see evidence of abuse/neglect or a error that led to death?

shower05221 karma

I've seen neglect from the families, I tell me higher ups and they deal with it, never from the facility though...

lowspeedlowdrag-22 karma

Seems like patient care for dead people is pretty easy... No medication to give, no therapy, they arent going to sneak away...

Babysitting dead people is like the perfect definition of unskilled labor.

shower05228 karma

I also care for living patients lol, im just the one the company calls when it happens