Sunday, February 28, 2010

I See Dead People


Yesterday was the first of four cadaver labs that I had to participate in for my anatomy class.

My carpool got there kind of early (my fault...I hate being late) and when we walked into the lab, I saw three beds with three body bags on them. Apparently I instantly went white as a sheet, because my friends were asking me if I was alright. I guess it's just been a little too soon since Mom's passing, because I just got an immediate pit in my stomach. Thankfully, the professor needed some time to set up, so we all decided to go hang out in the lobby.

Once we got back in, he had all of the bags open and ready to go. The bodies were very dissected, with most facial features removed, so that helped a lot. I still felt kind of anxious, but I was able to focus on what we were learning and forget that these were someones relatives.

Seeing everything in "real life" was fascinating! Pictures in books, or watching surgery videos just don't give enough justice to the amazing features of the human body. I was overwhelmed at the amount of information that I was going to need to memorize. However, at the same time, I was deeply moved by the sacrifice that these people and their families made, in order for me to learn.

We are getting new cadavers mid-way through the semester. That isn't ideal, since it's easier to just become familiar with the same bodily structures, but it is, what it is. The new cadavers were already delivered and someone thought it would be a good idea to check them out. Bad idea.

The new cadavers have not been dissected at all. It looked like someones dad had been taken out of his coffin after the funeral and delivered to the lab. That made it way too real for me and I walked out. After chilling in the hallway for a bit, I gathered up my stuff and we left.

I'm in no way second guessing my career choice...but somehow I'm going to have to find a way to disassociate myself. To a point. I'll always care...I don't think I can be a good nurse if I don't...but I'm going to have to learn not to turn and run. :)


Anonymous said...

Cadaver lab was one of the hardest things for me too. You are definitely not alone. I am just thankful of all of the career options for an RN. I am sooooo not the ER type. After 7 years, I think I have found my calling in research nursing. Good luck. It does get easier. I can remember in High Acuity Nursing class we were all talking about how hard we thought anatomy was at the time we took it. :)

Whitney said...

Don't worry! I had the opportunity to go to the Utah State cadaver labs both my junior and senior year of high school. They don't let us do anything but we get to tour it and test our skills. They have a head cut mid-sagitally, skin, eyes, eyelashes, nose, lips and hair on the head and all. The first time I held it I thought I was going to lose it. But the second time there it was much easier. I knew what to expect and I was more prepared. I saw nothing like that at my UVU cadaver lab so it was all ok. You will get better. And just remember, dead bodies aren't for everyone! That's why you try to keep them alive!

mickey said...

what an experience. i'm glad you made it through. good luck with your class, you'll make a great nurse!

Rachel said...

Ya know what's funny...Michele titled her post about seeing a cadaver the same as you. lol

Mom said...

Good luck daughter. I would have been throwing up. (or running scared).