There isn’t a more eloquent way for me to describe it; dissecting is just… weird.
So today was our first session on the anterior lower limb, and I was very excited/nervous/anxious/buzzing. We were told to make sure we’d eaten before coming, so I forced myself to have breakfast, because I tend to skip it out of laziness, even though I know it’s the most important meal of the day and all that jazz. We do dissections with our PBL groups, and I’m lucky because we all get on well in my group, so I wasn’t worried about being judged for being too squeamish. I’m usually not a very squeamish person, but I didn’t really know what to expect; I’d never seen a dead body so I couldn’t predict how I’d react.
Verdict? It wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.
Each group gets a cadaver between them, and only 4 out of the 10 of us can dissect at a time, so the rest have the job of instructing and guiding them. I chose to do the latter today, because I am a wimp and didn’t want to go first out of fear of getting things wrong. I will be dissecting next week though, so I should feel more confident by then (hopefully!)
The only part of the body that was exposed to us were the legs; the arms poked out a bit from under the sheet, which was the only thing that really creeped me out because they still looked so… alive? I don’t know, maybe it was seeing little things like fingernails that made me remember that the body being cut open was once a living, breathing person. But apart from that, it was pretty easy to just get on with the job and dissect. Is that bad? I can’t help but feel a bit cold for being able to think like that and detach myself, but I guess as a doctor, I’ll need to be able to do this well so I don’t get too emotionally involved.
Here’s hoping I don’t lose myself as I learn to do this better over the upcoming years. My biggest fear is completely losing my ability to show compassion and empathy, which are two things I feel are a big part of who I am, so becoming an “ice queen” for real actually terrifies me. But I know I have God, who is love, and love is kind and compassionate and caring, so as along as I don’t lose God in my life, I will always have those qualities in me.