Friday, January 18, 2008

poking cadavers

poor grims had no idea what he was in for when i said we should "check out the lab"...
we went to collect the birth control pills mom sent up (so much cheaper in trini; over the counter) with a friend who happens to be a medical student. when she handed me my pills and black cake, then asked if i wanted to see the lab, this science geek was thrilled. grims came along, unsure why i was so excited until he asked her what she was working on in said lab, and the answer came back, "cadavers".
right up my alley. we went into a massive room full of maybe 50 cadavers and stink. she says the student teams each work on the same body for the whole school year, so these've been in use since october-ish. they started last semester by dissecting the foot+leg.
the room smelled of dead+antiseptic, thick enough to stain the inside of one's nostrils. they spray the cadavers and reclose bodybags each time (conscientious students, anyway) to keep them hydrated so they can keep using them until june, and there are catchment trays under each gurney(?) for body fluid runoff- grossest body fluids ever, collecting+sitting in metal trays, which means the bodybags don't really help with the stink. i can't imagine how they get used to it, but i stuck around for as long as grims let me. i got gloves so i could poke around and basically stick my hands into everything, like the shredded leg and neck (current project). she said it'd been her idea to cut the breasts off to access the thoracic cavity after watching others try to saw through all that fatty tissue, and showed us another team's fat guy for an idea of how much work that could be (the fat guy's runoff+stink were also in proportion to his size).
it was so cool- her dead lady still has hair+face and pink nailpolish and everything. i saw+touched everything from lymph nodes to inside the fat guy's testicles- oddly, when a body's been dead+preserved it looks+feels so much more like cooked turkey than the seemingly raw, fresh, red meat i saw @ the bodies exhibit and in my imagination, and testes, which seem so soft when not preparing to pop are the part (of those i poked, anyway) that stiffen most post-mortem...
the only truly disturbing moment for me was when she opened up the fat guy's bodybag, turned to her other friend and said, "i think the dental students stole the head..."- her class hasn't started heads yet and apparently fat guy had his head on for the entirety of that day's neck dissection, but it's not unusual for dental students to bag that particular part for their needs- i don't know fat guy's medical team, but i'd be pissed if somebody else ran off with my dead head before i got to poke around in the brain, especially after months of hefting dude's dead weight to turn+cut him, and smelling his stench...
anyway, the experience was too cool to not mention, and i figured everybody's tired of hearing about my show (closing weekend as i type; i'll miss the house of fuck yeah! as one audience member called it).
next up, once the project's primary posts the storyboards themselves, storyboards and finished product for our pom tea commercials...
walk good.


Blogger Chris & Mike said...

That is absolutely AMAZING!! I don't think I could have stomached it quite as well, but it's pretty cool all the same. Thanks for sharing - for real!

4:31 pm  
Anonymous zed said...

u nasty!!! but i woulda love to be there and check that shit out myself...who brought d pills?? we know a med student??

5:08 pm  
Anonymous gwen said...

this post is hilarious.

Have you read "Stiff" by mary roach? it's all about dead bodies - in the first chapter she's standing a room full of decapitated heads on trays - at a plastic-surgery practice session. It reminded me of that.

12:45 pm  

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