Your Body is a Wonderland

a vintage image of four men, and a woman, sitting around a cadaver, dissecting it, in black and white.

I remember working on cadavers in my own anatomy class, back in the first year of medical school.

It was in the basement of the building, locked tightly away. The students would huddle around an exam table, and look on, amazed gazes fixed on their faces, eyes as wide as can be. There would be buzzing of whispered excitement as that day’s section was revealed. It didn’t matter to us who lay behind the anatomical pieces of that particular lesson’s unveiled parts, but that it contained essentials needed for learning.

Black and white image of a naked man, posed in a way that you cannot see his naked body, his head buried in his hands

There was a beauty to the bodies that still makes me shudder today, the beauty that we all contain on the inside, no matter how the outside appears. On that dissection table, the body was anonymous.

With no name, no financial status, no profession or title, the body no longer owned ‘things’. It was simply the casings of a soul, left behind in the name of science.

 

I spent hours there, in my anatomy lab, studying the different parts of the body.

Marked off were the joints, ligaments, muscles, bones.

All the pieces of the brain had been labeled with pins. It was a sight to remember, worthy of museum exhibits. Painstaking work had elucidated minuscule components.

The dissection alone took weeks to prepare, as pieces soaked in formaldehyde and were prepared for our indulgence, that of our medical student thirsty mind.

I look back now, having graduated over 13 years ago, and I think of those lives that were lived. Men and women, like you and I, were sitting around a table, or reading a book, when they made the decision to contribute to science. They actively breathed the air of life as they actively chose to further science. For me. And for that I am thankful.

Donating your body to science speaks to the generosity of an individual and I find it to be priceless.

a woman's figure, in a cute pose in a bathing suit, facing away from camera, but head turned toward it, is drawn in and she is replicated four times, each time with another layer of her body missing so that the last figure is a skeleton.

To get in touch with an organization that can help facilitate the donation of a body to science, contact Science Care.

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