Thursday, October 07, 2004

i spent five-odd hours in anatomy lab today. five hours of cutting up a dead human body. when i close my eyes i can still see muscle and the glistening white of fascia--the thin tough stuff that lies over muscle and separates all of the parts of the body from each other and is a huge pain in my ass.

i love anatomy. it's completely hands-on, and i'm good at it. but it really reminds me of how macabre my chose profession is. think about it--doctors are completely immersed in the stew of human life. all of the disgusting and frightening and bizarre things bodies are and do--we need to know them intimately. i'm a little worried that i'll never be able to touch howell's back again without visualizing what's underneath the skin. and let me tell you, it ain't paticularly pretty. well, that's not entirely true. the muscles and tendons, when they're clean, are stunning. pink and stripey, white and almost iridescent. but fat--and even the thinnest people have a lot of it, i've learned--it's just nasty, as is skin.

and it seems so wrong, when i think about it, to be doing what we're doing. i've become comfortable with it while i'm doing it, but i step back periodically and think "i am cutting up a dead person."

surgery feels the same way to me. what gives one person the right to cut into another? what kind of arrogance does it take to make a new wound to fix something broken? (does that make sense?) it blows my mind.

i passed a bad car accident on the way home from lab. police cars and ambulances flashed around the smashed up cars. my first thought was of organ donation--again, how weird. harvesting from a dying person to save another...

it's beautiful but alien.


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