The other night I was watching Dexter, one of my favorite shows. If you’re not familiar with Dexter, it’s a show that airs on Showtime, and the main character, Dexter, played by Michael C. Hall, is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police department by day and a serial killer by night. But the catch is that Dexter only kills bad guys.
Interestingly enough, Michael C. Hall played the funeral director on Six Feet Under, and I didn’t really like him on that, but I LOVE him as Dexter. The show is dark and suspenseful and I have a crush on him. If Dexter was my boyfriend, I’d help him kill people.
Anyway, at a crime scene in a recent episode (because Dexter always shows up when there’s blood), he was explaining to the cops how a body putrefies shortly after death, and it reminded me that I mentioned putrefaction in another post and would tell you what it is. Hold on people, because this is pretty rough. If you’re eating, read this later. .
The SMELL, not the sight is the most distinctive sign of a putrefying body.
The first sign of putrefaction is a greenish skin discoloration that appears on the lower, right side of the stomach area, and this usually happens within two to three days after death. The discoloration spreads and covers the stomach, chest and upper thighs. Most times, this comes along with a really putrid smell. A breakdown of red blood cells and intestinal gas causes this. The bacteria in the body, especially in the colon, is what mostly contributes to decomposition, although while alive, this bacteria helps with digestion.
The intestinal bacteria in a dead body produces large amounts of really, horrible smelling gas that gets into the blood vessels and tissue. “It is this gas that bloats the body, turns the skin from green to purple to black, makes the tongue and eyes protrude, and often pushes the intestines out through the vagina and rectum.”
WHAT?? (when I was reading about this, that all most made me fall off of my chair. Thank God you’re dead when this happens, otherwise that could be a really horrible experience. “Sorry, I took so long in the bathroom, my intestines fell out of my vagina and into the toilet.”)
Anyway, this gas also causes more fun things like foul-smelling, bloodstained fluid to come out of the nose, mouth and other orifices. When a body is dead for about a week, a majority of the body is discolored and large blisters appear. The skin loosens and comes off in sheets, (referred to as “skin skips” which I covered in another blog.) As the organs and tissue decay, they produce large amounts of nasty gas, and by the second week, the stomach, scrotum, breasts and tongue swell up. And let’s face it, NO ONE likes a swolen scrotum.
After three to four weeks, the hair, nails and teeth loosen and the internal organs rupture and liquefy. But the internal organs decompose at different rates, so even after a year, the uterus and prostate are often still intact. Unless of course, you’re Michelle Duggar, the woman who has given birth to 20 kids. Her uterus must be destroyed by now. But under normal circumstances, this is one way pathologists can identify the sex of a corpse.
So that’s “putrefaction”. It was interesting, right? Gross, but still interesting.
And Michelle Duggar is a freak, right? She’s totally contributing to overpopulation. It’s her fault we reached 7 billion people on earth. I wish Dexter would take care of her for me…I’d be happy to help.
Have a pleasant smelling day! 🙂