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My Job as A Diener

Updated on August 31, 2016

In my former life, I was a diener . What exactly is a deiner, you may wonder? It is one of the vilest degrading jobs any one could have. Actually the word deiner is German for servant , but in the context of my life, I was an attendant in the morgue. I would weigh the organs as they were removed from the body during an autopsy and do whatever else the pathologist told me to do.

Did this experience toughen me up a bit? Of course it did. I still enjoy watching shows regarding autopsies and medical traumas. In fact, my favorite shows on television are House, E.R., Grey’s Anatomy , Private Practice and other similar shows. Do I think it warped me? Perhaps. My kids think so! Luckily there were not autopsies on a daily basis where I lived, so most days I was a Medical Secretary typing up pathology reports.

I worked for several pathologists whose job it was to determine the cause of injury to the cells and tissues, the reasons a person died and study biopsies and make diagnoses of either benign or cancer. I have seen many things that typical people will never see in their lifetime except perhaps in the movies. Freshly traumatized bodies from automobile accidents, a man whose body was almost totally bruised, which turned out to be a reaction to carbon monoxide poisoning as his car stood idling along the roadside for hours, and other such maladies. The most difficult autopsy for me to assist with was of a young baby whose little body was stored in the refrigerator in the morgue awaiting autopsy. I still remember that one quite vividly.

I was always amazed how the pathologist could work for hours on a corpse and then take a lunch break in between and then get right back to work. The smells of the morgue are most nasty as the decaying human body contains all kinds of disgusting toxins.

There are different branches of pathology. Anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology. Anatomic pathology is concerned with the diagnosis of disease. When you go into a hospital and have a growth removed, it is the pathologist who determines if it is cancerous or not. Clinical pathologists deal with bodily fluids like blood, urine and feces to determine the cause of disease. Finally, forensic medicine deals with determining the cause of death of a corpse. There are other kinds of pathology, but those are the ones I was associated with.

The medical jargon was easy for me to spell, but difficult for me to pronounce and my brother, a doctor, always did a pretty good job of correcting me when I said a word wrong. My sister is also a nurse and my daughter is a registered nurse, so I guess this propensity toward medicine it is in the genes.

No wonder I am bored being a record keeper now. Luckily, I also do graphic art which I enjoy very much, but I kind of miss the trauma and excitement of the hospital scene.


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  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you Patrick. Interesting is one word for it : )

  • profile image

    Patrick Diener 7 years ago

    very interesting

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger ;)

    Thanks Mentalist acer.

  • Mentalist acer profile image

    Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

    When the going gets tough...a truly gothicaly interesting Hub;);)

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for your comments MeGunner. I appreciate it.

  • MeGunner profile image

    MeGunner 7 years ago from Lagos

    Nice hub. Autopsy is a different ball game from straightforward dissection of cadavers in anatomy... Both are quite interesting though with their peculiar intrigues. You just inspired me to do another hub on my autopsy experiences. Thank you

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Raven - glad you enjoyed it.

  • Raven King profile image

    Raven King 8 years ago from Cabin Fever

    Mmm...this is a fascinating hub!!!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Isi - now that's gross!!

  • profile image

    isi 8 years ago

    that is quite a hub. I leave and learn each day and thanks for sharing your experience. I love to do this kind of work with chicken, fish and pig. Well that does not count huh! Cheers

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    After this experience I wanted to be a nurse, but then I got married and the family came and you know - so I finally graduated in my 50s with an art degree but I still am interested in the medical field. I look at it like Rachaelle - it can be assistance to the families of the deceased. Thanks for your comments.

  • Rachaelle Lynn profile image

    Rachaelle Lynn 8 years ago from Gainesville, Florida

    I actually always thought this type of job would be fascinating, assuming one can overcome the gross factor. What you did really is a service to the deceased people and their families. Thanks for sharing!

  • profile image

    Tammy Lochmann 8 years ago

    what haven't you done? LOL...My one and only regret was not going to medical school when I had the chance. Oh well I can just write about it. Great story.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks jill of alltrades - I did this job for about three years - late teens early twenties.

  • jill of alltrades profile image

    jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

    What a job you had Elayne! How long did you do this?

    Yes, a human can get used to anything. Some just do it faster than the others.

    Now I learned a new word - diener.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I guess a human can get used to about anything - I did. Thanks for your comments.

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

    Okay, elayne-you get my vote for the most challenging job ever held...if 'challenging' even fits!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    Well this was certainly an eye opener and I learned about a different kind of work. Thank you.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks LianaK - I woke up this morning with memories of my good old days and couldn't rest until I wrote this hub. Funny huh?

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 8 years ago

    Lol @ Dolores. Yes--I guess we are a kinda funny breed. We like to look at bodies and such. My favorite class in Nursing school was human anatomy. I was fascinated with the cadavers. It was really interesting to learn how our very intricate body systems worked together in harmony. Our bodies are quite miraculous when you really think about it. Thanks for the great hub.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hope I didn't disgust you too much Dolores. Actually I was paid less than $4 an hour back then. But I learned a lot!

  • profile image

    diogenes 8 years ago

    I hope you were well paid! Certainly a different hub...worse than my creepy-crawlies. Bob

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Okay, that was pretty disgusting. You had to be very brave and dedicated to keep up with that job. I guess changing the baby's diapers meant nothing to you after that!


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