New Knees, Neddy

It looks as if I am finally starting on the long road to new knees. I know it will take time, but I am hopeful I shall get equipped eventually.

Which reminds me of a story.

When I was a Health Protection Officer in Auckland, New Zealand, part of my role was to inspect mortuaries, crematoria and cemeteries. Also to approve disinterments on behalf of the Minister, and supervise them.

Which reminds me of another story. But I’ll tell that one later.

And another. But maybe I won’t tell that one at all.

But I digress.

To continue. I got to know the cemetery staff and local morticians quite well. One day the sexton of a large cemetery asked me if I could advise him on how to get into the medical appliance market.

It’s actually quite complicated and involves a lot of red tape. I was curious about what he had in mind. He took me to a shed in which was stored all the stainless steel knees, hip joints, pins, skull plates and what-have-you from all the folk who had passed through his furnaces.

He had lovingly cleaned and polished them all until they were good as new. Refurbished. Sort of. They were on shelves, and benches, hanging on hooks and all smaller parts were carefully sorted into labelled boxes.

I’d never before really thought about what happened to these things after a cremation. I knew that some electronic implants must be removed by the mortician, as they tend to explode. But surgical steel survives the fires virtually unharmed.

Of course they can’t go through the grinder that reduces the remains to a sandy powder to be put in an urn and lovingly thrown away somewhere, or stored on the mantelpiece.

Here they were. A fortune in indestructible body parts, useless to anyone but a scrap metal merchant. He was so disappointed when I told him not even third world – Sorry, developing – countries could have them. Even though there was probably a great kneed.

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

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