Holy Cadaver


image from ImpactLab

image from ImpactLab

Yesterday morning I was a person who had never seen a cadaver. Not even in a movie.  So I was understandably nervous at the prospect of an anatomy class titled “Introduction to cadavers”.

It was obvious by the relaxed nature of 99% of students in the lab that they had seen cadavers. Many times before. Most left after the ‘intro to lab rules’  talk to have a coffee. Only a few of us stayed behind to view the body. 

I was a bit nervy all morning, didn’t eat much breakfast, had butterflies in the stomach wondering if I would feel nauseous, or god forbid, faint. But, when it came to the unveiling I was awestruck. I was standing a few metres away from a person. A dead person. A dead person, preserved and dissected on a table. A classmate (an experienced cadaver viewer who’d stayed for moral support) suggested gently that a few metres was not the best vantage point so we moved a bit closer. Then a little closer…+ closer…

Then, suddenly, we’ve got gloves on + he’s passed me the heart. I’m holding a heart.

At 10-effing-30 in the morning.  

Afterwards, I asked some of the other students if they remembered when they first saw a cadaver + they shrugged. I’ll remember the face of that person forever. I held their heart in my hands. On a tuesday morning at 10:30.


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5 Responses to “Holy Cadaver”

  1. doctor007 Says:

    It’s an awesome experience. I don’t remember exactly which specimen I saw first, because it was actually a limb. I think the first thing I remember is seeing a leg, with all the skin and fat dissected away to show the musculature. It was one of the few moments in life you can say was surreal and actually mean in.

    By the way – it was in that very same room that I saw my first cadaver, in 2005.
    Welcome to the game, C 😉

  2. king solomon Says:

    I’ve not actually had a cadaver anatomy class before, but i’ve seen my dead grandfather when he passed away at home last year. But then again he wasn’t cut open or mutilated or anything like that. But i reckon, if I was to have a cadaver anatomy class today, i’d be hyper excited.

    Just keep in mind that the body is no longer a living entity. And don’t get too personal. I mean the person is no longer there, whats left lying on the table is just a dead body.

  3. Hayley Says:

    It’s YOU! Haha.. It took me ages to piece this whole thing together, then I totally recognised the writing. Oh I will definately be following you now…. X

  4. Odd moments « medically blonde Says:

    […] I still feel the same reverence towards cadavers as I did in February, I am slightly shocked at how comfortable I am around […]

  5. Kent Says:

    Well, I’m doing research for a book I’m writing. I teach composition and intro to Lit. but I am researching the whole process of doctors, “donors,” their connections to the cadavers they are dissecting, etc. Now, all these blogs have been very interesting, indeed. Who knows, I may have to paraphrase some of you in the novel… blog on young MD’s.

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