Monday, February 08, 2010

Cadaver Thoughts (October-ish)

We're done with Back and Limbs - the first of three sections of Gross Anatomy.

Today we need to remove his chest wall to visualize the heart and lungs. His ribs need to be disconnected to get the chest wall off. No one wants to do it. It doesn't bother me. I feel increasingly close to him. We have all spent a lot of time together. He's ok with this. He knew exactly what was going to happen to him when he decided to give us this ultimate gift. I can almost see him winking at me as if to say, "you ain't seen nothing yet."

We lift off the chest wall. OH MY GOSH. I can hardly catch my breath. It's the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Oh my gosh. I have tears in the corner of my eyes. I look over and one of my lab partners has them streaking down her cheeks. It's his heart! It's his lungs! I finger his lung lobe; it's soft and spongy. His heart is like a centerpiece. The aorta feels like a rubber hose. It is so strong. It's tough. This is his heart!

Heart removed and we can hold it. I had no idea it would feel like this to hold a human heart. And it's not just "a" human heart, it's his heart. It's strange how we all feel increasingly close to him. It's like he keeps inviting us in farther and farther.

Next lab, we open the abdomen and there's no omentum! I'm still a little rusty on exactly what the greater omentum does, but I'm pretty sure there's something missing. And, where's his stomach? They told us in lecture it is often a lot smaller than you imagine. I ask my lab partner. We can't find it. I feel dumb asking a prosector to show me his stomach. They just posted the cause of death on the board. Do we want to look?

He's 83. He died of stomach cancer. He's 83. I'm so glad to know. He has no stomach. They took it out in a surgery. Someone has seen this before. Weird. Some surgeon had his hands inside our guy. How violating. I'm sure that surgeon didn't love him like we do. Did I just say "love"?

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