The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: One Week Down....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Week Down....


I now have my first week of medical school under my belt, and so far so good :-) They did a good job of easing us into everything...one of the highlights of the week was definitely our day in the simulation center - I learned how to do sutures, use an otoscope (we got to see a normal ear and an ear infection ear), ophthalmoscope, listen to heart sounds, and put a chest tube in a test dummy...I was so proud of myself!

Last night, the hubs and I went on our first date since Valentine's day and it was a lot of fun :-D Today we were reunited with the little one and when he saw us he let out a HUGE scream. It was the cutest ever. I missed him so much and I am so happy to have him back....

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For homework, we had to write a reflective essay on our first week of gross anatomy, and I think it sums up my most memorable experience this week and probably the semester:

Having the little organ donor heart on my driver’s license always made me feel like that was my way of leaving this earth and giving back one great final gift. However, as I begin my medical school education, I have gained an even better perspective on the selfless gift of our donor. Like those others who in death have given someone else a second chance at life through their vital organs, my donor is also giving the gift of life. He is giving life to my education and proficiency as a clinician. And most importantly, he is giving life to all of my future patients. It is through my donor that years from now I will draw on what I have learned during my time in gross anatomy.

This is the second time that I have had the opportunity to dissect a cadaver. I went into this experience with a pretty good idea of what to expect when we opened those stainless steel containers. I thought, like last year, I would focus on our task for the day and not the totality of the person on whom we were working. But during one of the moments in which I had handed off the scalpel to one of my group members, I began to look at the hands of our donor. His hands had a familiarity to them that took me beyond anatomy lab and led me to a trail of thoughts about who once held those hands lovingly, what children might have examined those big hands with curiosity, or who looked to those hands for support or strength. I realized that the word “cadaver”, although the correct term, did not do this man justice. He was not just “a cadaver”, but someone whom we would get to know very well in the coming months.

After our first week with our donor, I noticed that each lab session we approached him with increasing familiarity. The trepidation that we had as we began an external examination of the back of this stranger was soon turned into a respectful awe. Finding out his cause of death, bladder cancer, also added an element of self-disclosure – it was a piece of our donor’s story. Three days a week (at least) our wide-eyed group leans in close like sponges to soak in everything we can. Our donor allows us to delve into what was his most intimate and personal possession. In taking the time with our donor seriously, my group members and I are setting the stage for our medical education with some of the most unchanging fundamentals in a field that is ever evolving.

I have always been taught “to whom much is given, much is expected”. We now have a great responsibility, and I will spend the entirety of my career trying to repay his gift – by using the knowledge I have learned to improve the lives of my patients. I also feel like this is our donor’s opportunity to take back what the invasive and unyielding cancer tried to take from him. In the end it was him, and not the cancer, that determined the fate of his body. And in turn, our donor is training those who can help continue the fight to eradicate it. His decision to give an anatomical gift has reframed what I once defined to be a selfless act. He is a quintessential example of altruism and may he rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely amazing Grand. I wish you continued success with Med school. You Rock!

    ReplyDelete

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