Twin ball

One night I was called to pick up an elderly woman from her home. As most night calls, I drug myself out of bed, donned the trademark black funeral suit and arranged my hair as best I could. I met a coworker at the mortuary to retrieve the hearse and cot and of course talked about how we were to wake up, jokes or coffee? We pulled up to the house and I alone made my way to the front door while my coworker waited in the car for instructions. I was greeted with a smile and invited to come in. As I entered the house, there were pictures of the family everywhere. It was a clean, well put together home with lots of love surrounding everywhere. The children and grandchildren were gathered in the living room, quietly talking amongst themselves. They were all in different manners of dress, some pajamas, some disheveled street clothes (probably from being called out of bed at such a late hour). I sat down and started asking questions, I like to get to know something about the family and the deceased before leaving with such precious cargo. They told me that she had been a great mother, grandmother and wife. She kept the family together and was gentle and always kind. They were saddened about the loss, yet recognized that she had lived to be 99 years old. They explained that she had lived a full yet simple country life, and that she had been ready to go. They talked about how she had never seen a doctor for anything! Not even to deliver her babies (all of her children had been born at home). After my coworker and I placed her on the cot, we said goodbye to the family and made our way back to the funeral home to start the embalming procedure. To continue gaining experience in handling embalming on my own it was determined that I would go solo this time, with help just around the corner if I needed it. As I made the incision and started looking for the vessels I needed, I was deterred by a huge gray mass! It was intertwined with, well, everything. And the more I sorted through the mass the bigger I saw it was. I was fascinated, so I started to remove it as intact as I could, cutting around the normal tissue and vessels until eventually I freed the glob. I placed this glob, mass, thing on the table and started dissecting it and pulling at it. (Ok, here I will insert that I have a fascination for the human body and what it does and produces. Not in a morbid creepy way but a scientific, observational way.) After some time of looking and dissecting I came realize that it was hair! A mass of hair and bits of hardened… somethings. As I carefully took this anomaly apart I couldn’t help but think about what the family had told me, that this woman had never seen a doctor in all of her 99 years! Not sure what to think about this, I brought in my coworkers to look at it with me “Oh my gosh she ate her twin!” was the first comment made. Well… maybe. I had heard stories and watched documentaries about one twin absorbing the other in the womb. It’s hard to describe what I was seeing, and it certainly fit the bill. Was this the case here? I will never know and of course I never told the family, but I think that I was digging through a 99-year-old twin ball?Two white daisies in the grassPicture provided by Pixabay


  1. Wonderful blog. As a retired nurse I wonder if perhaps what you saw was a terratoma. It is round in shape, covered with hair and nonmalignant…

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