I just came in to say that it isn't only future MDs who take anatomy and learn from cadaver dissection, other healthcare professionals do, as well. I'm a nurse practitioner and the academic year I spent in anatomy with our 'silent professor' (as my two lab partners and I referred to our cadaver) was truly incredible. I learned more from the woman who donated her body to my studies than almost any of my professors in my academic career. She confirmed for me, every time we dissected a new system, how incredible human anatomy and physiology really is and I grew to truly respect her as the year went on and I learned about how she had lived her life by observing how life had worn her body (she was a very elderly woman when she died, but had lived a healthy life).Via.
I have a name for her, in my mind, which I never shared with anyone, but I often still sort of talk to her, addressing her by name, when I am in exam with a patient (things like 'show me where that tendon is again? Right, thanks.'). I think about her often. I think about what I know about her life from learning her body, and how much I couldn't possibly guess. Every time I randomly have a patient who has an absent palmaris longus (normal variation present in about 10% of population) I get this deep, longing pang of what feels very much like loss or grief associated with her--I remember so clearly sitting at her hand on a rolling stool and realizing that she had this variation.
As long as I work with patients, she'll be present with me, there are even little things I learned from her that I've already passed on to other students. I am an atheist and it has struck me more than once how her generosity and post-mortom vulnerability has created a working legacy of her life and how her body lived it. I think it's really beautiful, that brand of immortality, and I grew to find her very beautiful.
You have to take really exceptional care of your cadaver, so that it stays workable, free of pathogens, and easy to learn from. Towards the end, this care became very ritualistic for my lab team, and nearly reverent. She had been a very small lady, and so we had to be so careful. In the end, there is a very simple ceremony students can attend honoring the life, contribution, and cremation of our subjects. It was overwhelmingly emotional and I remember my lab partner reached over and held my hand, and though I almost hesitate to say so, there is a way that we felt like her family. She had shared so much of herself. It wasn't something we talked about, but it was a palpable feeling.
3. More than a dozen posters from Jay Shaw's Blue Underground Mondo Gallery Show.
4. Marvel Universe 3.75" Nick Fury Mail-Away Exclusive available for preorder at the BBTS (expensive.)