“Corpse fever isn’t what it’s actually called. But it happens when your body dies, all the cells in your body see that you’re dying, and they react to produce more energy. They go full power to produce as much energy as possible to save your life. But you’re dead so it doesn’t matter. Yet for a brief second after you die your body is hot, like you have a fever. That’s how you can tell how long a body has been dead.”
I'm not sure if it was the subject matter or simply learning something new, but something pricked my interest and I wanted to learn more. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am someone who believes in a soul. I can't explain what it is, I just feel something inside me. I also can't tell you why people die, only that we all do. All living things die. That's just a part of life.
Reincarnation, resurrection, spiritual transformation are just a few things about life and death you might want to know more about. If so, we can talk. But on this special KNOWvember day I just want to know what happens to your physical body after you die. Is corpse death really a thing? Or is it just some Scandinavian Death Metal band? Like so many things that make me curious, I googled it.
On the website, verywellhealth.com Chris Raymond had this to teach.
“We often think of the moment of death as that time at which the heartbeat and breathing stop. We are learning, however, that death isn't instant. Our brains are now thought to continue to "work" for 10 minutes or so after we die, meaning that our brains may, in some way, be aware of our death. The research, however, is only very preliminary.” (1)
Raymond says that right at the moment of death, “all of the muscles in the body relax, a state called primary flaccidity. Eyelids lose their tension, the pupils dilate, the jaw might fall open, and the body's joints and limbs are flexible.”
Of course, much more happens physically to your body. “With the loss of tension in the muscles, the skin will sag, which can cause prominent joints and bones in the body, such as the jaw or hips, to become pronounced. As muscles relax, sphincter tone diminishes, and urine and feces will pass.”
Instead of being fascinated by potty jokes, my son was gravitated to this corpse fever idea. It’s around this time, Raymond notes that “the body begins to cool from its normal temperature of 37 C (98.6 F) until reaching the ambient temperature around it. Known as algor mortis or the "death chill," the decrease in body temperature follows a somewhat linear progression: 1.5 degrees per hour.”
Around in the third hour after you die, “chemical changes within the body's cells cause all of the muscles to begin stiffening, known as rigor mortis... the first muscles affected will be the eyelids, jaw, and neck.” Over the next several hours, this stiffening spreads over the entire body. (2)
And just when you think that’s all, I learned “After reaching a state of maximum rigor mortis, the muscles will begin to loosen due to continued chemical changes within the cells and internal tissue decay. The process, known as known as secondary flaccidity, occurs over a period of one to three days and is influenced by external conditions such as temperature.” (3) It’s in this final stage “the skin will begin to shrink, creating the illusion that hair and nails are growing.”
Both my son and I found this fascinating. I hope you did too. Or at least got you a little more curious to KNOWsomething new.
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An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”