Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cadavers !!!

"She would definitely puke, and he'd definitely be intimidated or freaked out," I thought while looking at a slim blond with delicate skin and a thin frail-looking man who couldn't seem to speak out without stammering.

It was the first day of our Human Anatomy/Biology class. We all had our lab coats and surgical gloves on. The twenty of us medical students were standing around a cadaver, still covered under a mantel, while listening to our instructor's briefing. I was full of expectation and thoughts.

"So who's gonna be man enough to first dig his hands into the cadaver ? Heck, might even be a she! Can't let that happen! Hmm, I wonder how he or she under there looks like, but boy, it sure stinks!"

Our instructor shuffled over to pull the cover off while mentioning that he himself hasn't seen this particular cadaver yet but he knew it was a female. I took a deep breath as he pulled off the sheets, only to choke mid-breath because, sweet mother-in-law, she freaking stinks!

"We've got a fresh one guys! Woohoo!" Oh boy, Our instructor was definitely exited about this. He took a minute to examine the cadaver himself with his bare hands. It was already segmented and neatly sliced into its frontal region. After a while of examining it, he then turned to us and said "Take time look through her and tell me what you've observed. Oh, and its okay to touch it with your bare hands!" He finished his instructions with a wink.

I hoped she didn't look like my grandmother as we drew nearer to the cadaver. Her chemically preserved body stank of formalin. "She's tiny!" I thought. Her skin was also sagging. She was 75 years old at the time of her death, after all. We took turns while our instructor observed. A couple of guys went first (Aha! I knew the girls were not that eager!). By the time it was my turn, her intestines were already messed up along with the some of her other organs and were hastily shoved back into its place. I took off my gloves and decided to inspect her lungs first and work my way down while making mental notes. "I couldn't find her appendix nor her left kidney. Oh, and her pubic hair is like the Amazon forest."

When we were all done and have licked out fingers clean, our instructor turned to us. "So? What did you notice?!" he asked expectantly. I waited for someone to quip about the missing kidney. I knew the appendix was hard to find in the first place and I might have missed it. I didn't want to appear like I was trying to sound smart or anything (Although we all know, I am) . Even so, I had an observation up my sleeve that would be sure to make an impression!

"Come on. Anybody?" our instructor said sounding flustered.

Noway! Hadn't anyone noticed her missing kidney ?!? We're they too intimidated or timid to answer ? I was bewildered.

"Erm, her left kidney is missing?" I said, trying not to sound too enthusiastic.

"Yes! Oh, come on guys! How could you miss that!"

"Err, and also I couldn't find her appendix, sir."

"Very good!" he said, sounding impressed.

Heh, just you wait! I still had something up my sleeve!

"I understand missing the appendix, it is rather hard to find. But How could you guys miss the kidney?" our instructor went on. He sounded disappointed and perplexed. Poor dude.

Well, if he's not gonna ask, I might as well just say it.

"Sir, I also noticed her lungs we're a little darker in color than what I see in the text books and its surface was also rough and rather firm, but the text book said that it should feel smooth and cushy...Does that mean she was a smoker?" I tried to make it sound like a question. I didn't want to appear too cocky now, did I ?

My instructor smiled. "Very impressive! A good observation indeed! Whats your name, boy?"

Jono scored a home run! Woohoo! He was so pimped, I tell you!

He went on, "Yes, she was a smoker. So with her appendix, left kidney and the state of lungs, we all know that she wasn't a very healthy person right?"

For the rest of the class he drew out different organs, lymph nodes and arteries and gave us an introduction and brief overview of the human body. He also said that he told us to touch it with our bare hands because there were certain features of the organs that are hard to feel with a glove on. I knew it! Whatever. I walked out of the lab like I just walked out of a limited edition Ferrari. I am a genius, you're not.

I've always enjoyed the lab sessions. It is a privilege, did you know that ? The human body was once considered to be "sacred" and it was extremely disrespectful to cut into a dead person's body. It was also taboo to do so as it would "disturb the resting person's spirit." Today, as eager students of the human body, we are allowed to tear through flesh, muscles and tendons to learn the secrets of anatomy and also the secrets of each individual's body (With an Anatomy License, of course). The first sections we were allowed to cut, stain and look under the microscope during our Med. Lab was a liver. It was fun.

After a month or so, we were getting a little over confident and cocky with ourselves. We started naming the cadavers and "chat" with it disrespectfully. Some even had fun juggling the kidneys ! We we're also always making a mess of the bodies and hurried through to look at certain organs or parts we were assigned to look at without caring for the other parts. The cadavers were no longer he or she but rather, it.

I think we students should stop, put down that scalpel and ponder of our actions and thoughts. These cadavers were people who so graciously gave his or her body to science. What would the family think if they saw what we were doing with their loved one's body?

Hmm... and I'm really thinking of donating blood by the way. Imagine saving someone's life with your blood in their body. Heh. But thats a whole 'nother story!

1 comment:

3rNgMeI said...

Gosh Ive always wanted to be a donor. As in donate my body when I die. After what you said u ppl do, Im having second thoughts.
I do however totally agree with the donating blood part! Im under weight tho(for now). Always wanted to do it.