Epiphany By Anatomy

Over at The Huffington Post I've written an essay about an experience in an anatomy lab a few weeks ago, and how seeing so much death gave me pause to think about life:

This was by far my most vivid experience with death and the fragile human body. Never before had I been so close to a dead body unadorned with embalming fluids and inches of makeup, much less buckets of lifeless organs. It's difficult not to be crass, but everything I saw vulgarly resembled animal meat, from the dry skin that had a leathery look and texture, to the brains and lungs that once animated human beings but now resembled something you wouldn't ever purchase from the butcher.

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A couple months before this visit to the lab, my grandmother had been diagnosed with an aggressive but treatable form of lung cancer. I was devastated when I heard the news, but optimistic with the reports from doctors. Cancer, the body and medicine were an abstraction to me. But when a cancerous lung was laid on a table in front of me, it was suddenly more concrete.

Read the full piece here.

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Crystal Watson
7 years ago
I had a job working in a hospital surgery and saw body parts, living people cut up, and had to wrap up a few dead people to send to the morgue.  It all reminded me of animal bodies too - maybe one reason I'm a vegetarian.  So strange how dead a dead person seems:  alive one moment and then just a thing.  Disturbing.
7 years ago
OMG this piece reminds me of a discussion I overheard years ago.  My cousin who was in medical school and her classmates were  discussing body parts they were working on in anatomy class.  They were so animated, you'd think they were talking about art or literature or a movie!   The description was so graphic!    I didn't eat meat for a month!!!  
ed gleason
7 years ago
Pulvis? Dust and ashes I can handle .. the putrid flesh described by Michael  is another thing altogether.

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