Monday, January 18, 2010

We Survived!...barely

So we did it!  Made it through our first cadaver experience (relatively) unscathed.  Though I can’t say that I didn’t have my doubts.  When our professor opened the door to that creepy basement room there was a collective gasp and we each began to tentatively inch our way toward the sheet-covered bodies.  Side note: When I say sheet, picture a thin, white. plastic tablecloth.  Just enough to disguise the details of the body but not nearly enough to keep me from seeing that my cadaver was akin to the likes of a jolly old grandfather (complete with bowl-full-o-jelly belly) who was likely named Bubba, judging by his multiple tattoos.  Oh and did I mention he still had a colostomy bag attached to his body?!  You think I’m kidding.  He was 69 years old when he died of Cardiopulmonary Disease but I prefer to picture him looking like this:

After getting over the initial shell-shock, Dr. Ohde informed us that we would be spending today’s lab cutting and pulling the skin away from the body of our cadavers.  Yes, it was just as disgusting as it sounds. 
But amidst our shrieking, gasping, and the occasional gagging, our dear Dr. Ohde made sure that we remembered just why we were spending our evening with Bubba and his friends.  He explained to us that we should not be afraid or grossed out by the bodies but rather we should think of them as four more teachers with us in the room.  These people were not morbid individuals who liked the thought of having their bodies poked and proded long after they had moved on, but they understood the value of this first hand experience.  They had given us a gift.  The gift of their bodies to be used as vessels for our further understanding of the incredible systems and structures that make up the human form.  And though Dr. Ohde didn’t actually take his sermon this far, his words did get me thinking about the individuals who had donated their bodies.  It got me thinking about how maybe Bubba had a better grasp than I do, of the fact that though our bodies are incredible, fine-tuned machines, they are really just a shell.  So what better way to put them to use then as instruments for teaching others after the body’s original inhabitant has moved on to bigger and better things.  Though I may have a long way to go when it comes to wrapping my head around this whole concept, tonight’s class definitely gave me some things to ponder…besides whether or not I will ever be able to eat a cheeseburger again.
So all in all, I guess it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.  Bubba and I got to know each other and he’s not quite as scary anymore.  But don’t think for a second that I didn’t come home and stand in a scalding hot shower, disinfect my clothes, skip dinner, and snuggle up on the couch with my DVR of The Bachelor in an attempt to get the smell and the sight of big Bubba off of my body and out of my head.  That is until next Monday…when we tackle the brain!  EEK!

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