Cadaver (noun) – a corpse.
On Friday, our class was introduced to the rite of passage that is human anatomy. Today, medical students made their first cut with a scalpel without the fear of killing a patient. Today, we got the opportunity to (legally) explore the human body in ways that most people can’t. It is also unfortunately when we begin to become desensitized.
Following our afternoon break today, we sat in lecture to prepare us for what was to come. Walking into the anatomy lab, standing in front of my cadaver, I honestly did not know how to feel. I was excited to be given the opportunity to further my medical knowledge by cutting into this person, learning how muscle, skin, nerves, etc. were all interrelated. But at the same time, I am cutting into another person. Someone who enjoyed what life had to offer, someone who probably has a family that misses them dearly, someone who is no different than me or any of my friends.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to begin cutting but as the day progressed, I began hacking away at fascia and adipose without a second thought. Nothing about gross anatomy is normal but I know it will become routine; as we spent the next year, 10 hours a week, exploring these people who have given up their bodies to teach the next generation of doctors.
When asked how my first anatomy lab went, I couldn’t help but answer “good” or “it could have gone better”, because honestly, I don’t know what to say. It’s so counterintuitive that in order to learn/help people, we have to first cause damage to this person’s body. As I begin processing the events of today, I will say that I am eternally grateful to the people who made the conscious decision to donate their bodies so that we may learn from them. While I can’t speak for my class, I will say that I will do my best to make the most of this sacrifice and that I will not let this opportunity go to waste!
Today has been a LONG day and I reek of formaldehyde.