Anatomy Lab Memorial Day
It has been quite an exciting 3.5 months in anatomy lab. First we worked on our first patient’s back, then slowly, we revealed her face, looking back at us. Then as we dissected deeper and more thoroughly we began to unravel the details about her life and her last days, as she left for us to find, all without knowing her name or her hometown. She was our greatest teacher this semester.
Today was our last day in lab. It was a day of clean-up and ceremony. We gave acknowledgements and a round of applause to all five of our anatomy professors, our numerous TAs, our two technicians in the lab, our fellow students, then finally, our cadavers, who generously donated their bodies for our enrichment. Dr. Nash gave a final speech about the personal, inspirational, and memorable impact this experience in lab will have on us, our careers, and our lives. Then, we had a moment of silence to pay respect to our first patients. It was nice.
Afterwards, we cleaned up the lab, and disposed the last of our patient’s body, the legs, packing them in bags with the rest of our patient’s body to be sent off to the local crematorium. Whenever an individual donates his or her body to science, the receiving institute has the legal responsibility to deal with the remains. And so when the ashes are returned from the crematorium to AUC, we are to have another special ceremony in which the ashes are buried in the Memorial Garden we have on campus. I’m not quite sure how they fit all those ashes semester after semester into that little garden, but somehow it gets returned to the earth and the circle of life continues. I’ve always wondered how the flowers grow so well on campus!
Lastly, the whole class took a group picture along the front steps of campus, in our full lab garbs.
So that was my day today. As people always associate medical school with working with cadavers, it feels good to be finished with this chapter in my med school career, to have a story to tell, and an experience to hold onto.