having to serve & cut meat ?

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having to serve & cut meat ?

Postby calico » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:34 pm

I've been volunteering at my local hospital. Right now I'm working in their "Adult Daycare" which is where older folks in the community can go for socializing and care while their families work. It's a nice program full of nice people.

The problem is that if I stay past 11am, I have to help with lunch. I did it once, and it was so upsetting. They bring over a giant tray of animal legs from the adjacent hospital cafeteria. I had to help plate the food and then cut the food up for those who can't do it themselves.

I know they have to eat. I know I can't force my beliefs on them.

But darn it smelled vile! Don't they know this slightly-decomposed piece of animal muscle & connective tissue used to belong to a beautiful bird?

So my problem: what to do? Any tips for not getting sickened by the site of a tray of 50 animal parts in a steaming heap? ugh

I know they won't understand if I explain why I can't handle the food. They seem upset that I wouldn't take any food to eat out of the trays for myself.

Maybe there isn't an easy answer. I just needed to vent these frustrations to someone who would understand. Thanks for listening.
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Postby BlueRose » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:51 pm

Is it possible you can explain to them about being vegan, your beliefs, and would it be possible for you to assist them in another capacity during that time?

If they understand it in context to similar terms such as a religious belief, they might be willing to cut you some slack.

Good luck!
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Postby Gelert » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:28 pm

The above is good advice, volunteer to do any other duty that's needed which doesn't involve the handling of animal tissue. Find someone approachable in your line management and explain that you have a strong commitment to your ethics, it's not a religious thing.

Am I right in recalling from a previous thread that you intend to go to medical school? Obviously, part of the package with careers in this field is working with grim stuff, including ripe animal (i.e human) tissue. Sooner or later you will have to deal with stuff that will be really upsetting, particularly if you start playing that Before & After game in your mind.

I mention this because a while ago I got dicked to do some work at 2 am which involved cutting up a pile of decomposed pig upper respiratory tracts to remove tissue. Fortunately the anatomy of pig and human trachaeas and larynxes etc is remarkable similar and so I just thought of it as being bits of human, disciplined my brain and cracked on, got the job done, binned my kit and crashed. Far less disturbing that way, in practice, although certainly not in principle.
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Postby calico » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:00 pm

BlueRose : It's a volunteer position, so I suppose I could just say I am unavailable during those hours.

Gelert : I've already done my anatomy and dissections. I am not grossed out by looking at dead things. I don't mind live bodies (wounds, bodily fluids, odors) at all.
I AM sickened by people taking a pile of dead bodies, heating it up, then handing parts to me to have people eat. I kind of feel like I am part of the 'problem' if I am part of that meat-providing process.

Gelert, you have my sympathies on the pig samples. Yuck!



I am having an internal conflict. These are elderly people mainly, and they do need help cutting their food. My goal there is to help people who need help. This stuff was especially smelly, impossible to ignore like canned cat food. :lol:

I was hoping for some magical mental trick I could use. Is there anything I can apply to my nose to block my ability to smell? If I can do that and avert my eyes, I'd do much better.
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Postby Gelert » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:45 pm

calico wrote:Is there anything I can apply to my nose to block my ability to smell?


Some people apply strong-smelling stuff - essential oils such as eucalyptus or vicks under their nose to drown out unpleasant smells, but there are recommendations against doing either, as they can irritate the sensitive skin there.

Worst thing I've smelt is gut contents. A colleague on the next bench to mine in work had a job of clarifying and sterilizing them by the litre for use in growing microbes. It was just so evil - but only for the first three or four minutes, after which you'd not be able to smell it, although the odour would permeate your lab clothing for days. The explanation I was given was that your nose is only sensitive to strong smells for a short period of time. Since then I've just kept telling myself that!
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Postby beforewisdom » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:16 am

My father and his wife are retired. They still lead very active days as volunteers. They love telling me they love being volunteers because they "have the power of No".

Exercise it.

Explain yourself politely to the staff, offer to do something else and if they aren't flexible leave. You are doing them a favor by volunteering.

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