Saturday, February 16, 2013
When I was making the rounds across the country for various medical school admission interviews, they all, for the most part blend into one black and blue cheap suit day filled with nervous, forced smiles. All the schools have little idiosyncrasies in terms of how they run the day, but you can expect the information session, the tour of the facilities and then the actual interview -- usually in this order. One school, which hosted me for what was my second or third interview had a tour guide who was not a student, which was the case in all of my other interviews. I might not remember this fact, if it were not for the guide telling our group, while touring the cadaver lab that he/she suffered from a terminal disease, and was trying to get the school to allow her to donate her body to the cadaver lab. This struck me, and a few of my fellow interviewees as strange as we gave each other sidelong glances to make sure we weren't the only ones surprised by this.
Thinking about this now, it actually seems like less of a strange thing. Having spent many, many hours in the cadaver lab, I am still awed by the gift that all these individuals have made for the benefit of us students. That being said, the emotional element is practically gone, and time in the lab is primarily all business -- med school will do this, as there is not time to reflect on much other than what needs to be done next, and anatomical studies are just another task, at this point. While I'm not sure I'd really want to have a person's body I knew in the cadaver lab where I was spending time, it is now something that I can understand, as I would feel honored to have my dead body serve a usefulness beyond acting as a meat vehicle for the real me.
Here's to that tour guide -- hopefully they're still giving tours and telling wide-eyed pre-meds about how they could one day be cutting the body that is standing in front of them, open.