So I took the train in to town with my buddy ‘Old Sally’. I talked and laughed unnecessarily the whole way there, an awful habit of mine triggered through nerves………….I need to get a grip as it starts to irritate me after a while, Christ knows how my friends feel, exhausted comes to mind. I’m actually naturally quite laid back and subdued but in the wrong environment I simply turn in to a small overexcited, if not hyper toddler (I speak from experience having one at home).
Very impressed, we were running on time courtesy of British Transport, (a rare treat might I add) and enter the hospital reception to be greeted by the most delightful co-ordinator, attractive, articulate, completely eccentric and very Chelsea. We are briefed on the do’s and don’ts, all very obvious, other than the ‘no Tupperware’ policy. WHAT? Can you believe that someone had actually once taken in Tupperware containers to take away body parts…………what is the matter with people? What on earth did they think they were going to do with the ‘parts’? Jesus I really lose faith in human nature sometimes. I was slightly disturbed by the ‘ensure you roll up your trousers’ instruction but found myself nervously giggling at the thought that I may not be taking in Tupperware but I might just come out the lab with a kidney in my turn up.
I’d like to report that as I entered the lab the lights were dim, there was ‘tension building’ music playing softly in the background and I could see Trevor Eve walking assertively up a glass panelled corridor, wearing a smart navy suit,
unbuttoned white shirt, running his hands slowly through his long grey hair…………..back in the room Rach *small slap*……….instead we entered a very clinical, well ventilated and open lab. Thankfully it didn’t smell (something I was absolutely dreading). We sheeted ourselves up in long sleeved plastic aprons and very tight latex gloves…..strangely these gloves seem to bring out something in a man I can’t quite pinpoint, it verges on a level of childish excitement, my
brother-in-law was always the same at the sight of my mum’s marigolds sitting on the draining board at home, he’d come in try them on a few times and then blow them up whilst laughing uncontrollably. I never thought it appropriate to probe
any further as to why he behaved like this, a topic I found sense to leave well alone. Sorry I digress, the professor was non-patronising, informative on a level we all understood and incredibly approachable, putting us all immediately at ease. Each body had been flushed through with a preserving fluid as soon as the person had deceased and they are kept for medical studies for approximately three years before they are returned back to the family for a burial. The study
was as hands on as you wanted it to be, however, I was always very conscious that what lay before me was somebody’s loved one who had very kindly donated their body for medical studies and I wanted to respect that and felt the need to
be hands on was unnecessary for my level of learning.
The whole experience was fascinating and broadened my knowledge of the anatomy and the complexity of the human body. If we were all educated in this way I cant help but believe that obesity would drop and we all as individuals would look after ourselves a whole lot better, simply from understand our own bodies better. The cadaver made me think of what my body actually was, how clever it was, how much I take it for granted and even though it’s mine how little I actually know about it. In fact, in a weird way my body owns me and I don’t actually own my body at all, if that makes any sense or is it late and I’m over tired and therefore over thinking shite, is this red wine chat now!!!
I know that from attending a cadaver I will be a better therapist, I’m grateful for having the opportunity and even more grateful for the individuals that gave themselves over as donors to the hospital and of course to their families who are waiting to finally bury their loved ones, this in itself must be incredibly difficult.
I can suitably say the cadaver for me personally did not come at an easy time but I was incredibly grateful to have received the following from a friend the Sunday prior, I also feel it’s quite a good way to end my somewhat more subdued
blog this evening………..
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson