Friday, September 2, 2011

Uh-Oh, Mommy.

Sub-titled: Don't Read This If You Are Easily Made Queasy!

On Monday I was privileged to attend a moulage class, 8:30AM-3PM, hosted at St. Marks Hospital in SLC, prepared and taught by the Utah Department of Health, and paid for by a grant from the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.

It was fantastic!

Primary materials were face-paint wheels and melted latex gel. To achieve certain effects we also used food coloring, special clay, and something called Derma-Crisp. Each student's space included a whole box of paraphernalia: palettes, palette knives, odd sponges, scissors, tweezers, toothpicks, wet wipes, towels, a pot of temperature controlled *really* hot water, cotton balls, etc.

In one way, we felt like doctors and nurses (and many of the students were).

But mostly it felt like a combo art / cooking class for adults who have an odd sense of humor.

This was my first attempt at moulage, a simple bruise.

And here it is a few minutes later, doctored up with an open laceration and additional mottled bruising. My technique improved slightly over the day, as I became familiar with the texture and temperament of my medium.

I knew several of the class members from past drills. My table neighbor to the right happened to be the emergency manager for the entire IHC hospital system in Utah County. (Who's also scheduled as a guest lecturer in my class this Tuesday.)

And in super-awesomeness, a fellow attendee introduced herself to me part-way through class as one of my new students this semester! Her name is Laura, and she's pictured on the left.

At lunch I got to learn more about Laura. She's had some really neat experiences in emergency management. I'm excited to have her in class as I'm sure she'll bring a lot of quality to our discussions. She's also agreed to help moulage victims at the Lindon City Drill, along with another of my students from last semester.

In photo credit, Laura took a lot of the pictures in this post. A handful of the photos are my own.

Laura and I Showing Off Our Fabulous Arms

Throughout the day, we heard a host of cooking injunctions such as:

"Whip it quickly!" (@ making fat)

"Marble those layers!" (@ necrotic flesh)

"You can pipe around the edges if you want." (@ burn wound)

"Slice it open then add a little caramel." (@ deep laceration)

One of the Instructors Whipping Up Some Fat

Fat to Layer in an Open Abdominal Wound

Smoothing the Edges on a Disc of Layering Flesh

We Even Made & Painted Our Own Bones
for Compound Fractures & Bone Shrapnel Wounds

One Example of Necrotic Flesh

These Are Fresh-Flesh Wound Scraps--
Useful for All Your Random Moulage Needs!

My Attempt at an Abdominal Slice

A Little Compound Fracture Never Hurts

One of My More Favorite Simple Wounds

Not Sure - Maybe Meant to Be a Second Degree Burn?

Ah Good! A Picture of Me Taking a Picture of Myself!
(That's my compound fracture on the palette.)

Our Fearless, Funny Instructors Face-Painting for Shock

A Mixture of 1/3 Glycerin to 2/3 Water, Sprayed on Skin
Beads Nicely for Fake Perspiration

Here's another list I should include -- unexpected but funny one-liners heard throughout the day:

"You have way too much fat." ~Instructor to Student

"Can I share your blood?" ~Student to Student

"You're not nearly hot enough." ~Female Instructor to Male Student

"Pass me your flesh." ~Student to Student

There's some hope we will all be able to reconvene at a future time for an advanced moulage class, using common household goods to create various types of dismemberment and disembowelment, as shown below.

By the way, our catered lunch was delicious!

The last 30 minutes of class we attempted to create 3rd degree burns. I found the Derma-Crisp supremely hard to use. It comes in big square sheets from which you cut your slice of burn and then peel-off a thin protective plastic.

That was tricky enough by itself because at this point our fingers were sticky with latex.

Then you spackle your burn layers (clear, blood, flesh -- while still tacky, stringing the layers together with a palette knife), put Derma-Crisp on top, and rough it up so it looks realistic.

Mine was looking very bad (not in a gross way which is good, but in a fake, non-realistic way), so I took a gander around the room to examine other people's handiwork.

Ultimately, I realized one thing. My burn simply needed to look nastier.

I used my face-paint wheels to extend the burn site into 2nd and 1st degree burns. I added some 2nd degree blisters (jury's still out on that one). I stippled the burn site more, tapping on a little charcoal powder, tugging at the edges and ripping some Derma-Crisp off the flesh underneath (which I have to say, affected me psychologically -- yes, even me).

And in the end, having applied the whole thing left-handed onto my right-arm, I felt like it turned out pretty well!


I kept my latex applications for later use and went to pick up Bridgette. My very kind neighbor had watched her all day (another Laura as it happens), and I couldn't wait to experience Bridgette's reaction when she saw my wounds!

I wasn't let down.

Seeing my lacerated arm first, she said, "Oooooh!" then pointed to her own wrist and said, "Me too, Mommy?"

Okay, perhaps not what I expected . . .

I thought she might have been confused. I mean, let's be honest, it does look a bit like strawberry jam.

So I asked, "Bridgette do you know what this is?"

To which she replied, "Mm. Yeah. Blood. Me too, Mommy?"

Ends up Bridgette liked and was fascinated by my moulage and was quite disappointed she didn't get to have bloodied-up arms too.


So why the "Uh-oh, Mommy," in the blog title?

Well, that's what Bridgette said when we got home and found *this* on the entryway carpet.

Oh come on now! I've just spent an entire post showing you blood and guts, and you're grossed out by THAT?

Poop is a natural part of life . . .

In actuality, I was nonplussed by the greeting myself.

And poor dogs!

I was under the impression Jeff was going to put them outside when he left for work, but for reasons still unknown, he decided to leave them indoors. It is against the nature of dogs to defecate in their own living spaces, so I felt badly for them. They must have really had to go!

I felt less badly for them moments later when we rounded the corner and discovered *this!*

And rounded the *next* corner and found *this!*

Bad dogs.

Good girl though. Without me asking, Bridgette immediately began cleaning up the mess. We had it all cleaned up right as Daddy came home, so Jeff will not have seen the trash-can debacle until he reads this entry.

He did, however, come home right in time to clean up the poop. :)


Tammy and Alvin said...

Yikes! The title of the post combined with that first picture was scary. Sooo glad it's not real.

Lore said...

What a fascinating way to utilize your artistic talents! Mr. Hickman probably had no idea what his creative encouragement would ultimately produce.

Too bad about the dogs.

Alisha said...

Looks like you sure have fun with your job! I don't think I could stomach a class like that... but I have to admit, that after seeing and reading how it is done, it does sound cool. You could now walk onto any movie set and have a job ;)

Tammy and Alvin said...

That first comment was left by Alvin. Now it's my turn.
That was extremely interesting! Henry came over as I was part way through and started looking at the pictures, without any explanations of what they were. When we got to the picture of the "fat", he said, "Mmmm. That look yummy!" Ha! Not what I was thinking, but if you don't know what it was supposed to be, it does look a lot like vanilla pudding. Mmmm!