Hearty Handful

So guess what I did for Valentine’s Day? (Ok, so not on V-day, but the previous week, but its close enough!)

I held someone’s heart in my hand.

No, no…its not what you think. Or maybe it is. How would I know? I’m not clairvoyant now, am I? Anyway, I digress. My point is, I didn’t woo anyone or get wooed.

I actually held someone’s heart in my hand. Really. I swear.

Ok, so here’s the full story. Thursday mornings, from 10 to 12, Anna, Macho Girl, Andromeda and I (along with about 60 other students) do nasty things at the Anatomy Lab in the University. Now, before your mind wanders off to dirty places, let me elaborate. We look at dissected corpses (aka cadavers), and try and make sense of the jumbled bunch of organs in them. That’s right. For two hours every week, the four of us fight off nausea and examine dead bodies. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Actually, to be truthful, it is. It wasn’t fun the first day of lab when, horrified expressions plastered on our faces, we looked at two bodies mounted on glass cases right in front of the class. Bodies with heads, with eyes partially open, with ears and hair. Ew. All of us looked at each other with similar ‘Good Lord, what the hell have we gotten ourselves into??’ looks. What followed was worse. Bodies in bags. No glass case protecting us bewildered students anymore. We saw a tuft of hair peeking out from one of the bags and promptly proceeded to freak out. Our imaginations went out of control, and we thought the worst. (Remember all those times you watched movies that had dead people waking up in the morgue and thought, ‘Bwah! That is so un-scary!’? Well, trust me, they can take a whole different meaning when you see rows and rows of body bags in a cold cold hall…brrr!!)

Anyways, coming back to the point, the lab assistants proceeded to show us cut up bodies, and describe the various muscles (it was our first lesson) to the utterly horrified (and terrified) students. And week after week, it just got worse. We moved on from muscles to lungs, hearts and guts. Yep, you read right. Go on, allow yourself to feel grossed out.

So the week before V-day, in an attempt to do something brave, we all held hearts in our hands. Tiny things, they are – fit right into your palm. We felt them, checked out all the lobes, auricles, ventricles and what-nots and even squeezed the hearts. And you know what? It actually wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined it would be! Once we got over the initial shock (the heart was quite cold – something we should’ve expected, but never gave a second thought to), it became quite fun to hold the little things. Might sound barbaric, but its true.

Now, the four of us can look at anything and walk away without feeling grossed out. The video on the digestive system was probably the worst thing I’ve had to see in a long time, but all of us walked out of the lab that day like nothing had happened. Our stomachs can handle anything now. We’ve conditioned ourselves. Nothing can intimidate us anymore.

Urinary systems next, you say? Ah, I believe I speak for all of us when I say:

‘Bring it on, dudes!’ 😀

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9 thoughts on “Hearty Handful

  1. The Girl Who Sold The World March 30, 2006 / 4:35 pm

    Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate Upadate :P:P:P:P:P:P:P:P

  2. Clueless March 26, 2006 / 1:31 am

    #Deepu,Er…yep, you caught me. I’m dead afraid of bloody stuff. I remember once fainting cuz I saw a little blood on someone’s finger. *shudder* Luckily, dead corpses aren’t chock fulla blood, so I can manage to look at them without fainting or throwing up! Yay! :D#Sayesha,You can say that again! :P#The Girl,Dissecting is not required of us (and thank the dear Lord for that!!!!); we just peep into various bodies and have a look at all the messy gooey stuff in them. We don’t really have to touch the stuff, but hey, what’s the fun in just looking, right? ;)And oh, me studying Life Sciences, not Medicine (quite similar in some ways, but very different in others). I bet students training to be doctors have to do worse things. I voluntarily chose not to go into Medicine because of my pathetic fear of blood, among many other things. But seeing as how I’ve gotten used to seeing corpses every week, who knows? Maybe I would’ve gotten over my blood-o-phobia too! *ponders*

  3. The Girl Who Sold The World March 24, 2006 / 8:13 am

    WOW! That’s so exciting!!! So, how many hearts have you broken…errr…I mean, dissected till now? :PYou studying medicine?

  4. deepu March 11, 2006 / 10:22 pm

    hey i wonder is tht u whozzz talking abt d anatomy.. i remember as d one who wud faint n fall seeing d blood.. I really don beleive it.. how do u find it….

  5. Clueless March 5, 2006 / 7:23 pm

    #Anonymous,I agree. The human body never fails to amaze and fascinate me. So messy, so disorganised, and yet, so superbly efficient. And it also amazes me that people actually discovered all these things so long ago. How on earth did they distinguish one thing from another? //is the human body incredible or what?Totally. :)#macho girl,I didn’t know what to expect for the first lab session, and when we went and sat right in front of those cadavers, I bloody freaked out. I remember you wondered that instant what we’d gotten ourselves into. Eesh. And now, as u said…coils of intestines, and no problem. Heh. Weeeeird. ;)#AnN@,Its so cool that you got to see all this stuff before u took the module; if I’d had the same chance, I probably wouldn’t have freaked out as much :PAnd ‘ew weeeee’? No need to tell you what that reminded me of!!! 😉

  6. AnN@ March 2, 2006 / 8:20 am

    yup, that’s what we do in anatomy lab! for me it wasn’t so bad cos i had seen and touched probably the same cadavers before when i came to NUS for this pharmacy camp when i was in JC. its awesome how our human body works with the systems all co-ordinated. can you believe your heart has been beating even before you were born?! sometimes it feels surreal that all those systems are actually present and functioning inside me! word verification: uerwesounds a bit like “ew weeeeeeeeee…..” haha

  7. Macho Girl March 2, 2006 / 1:38 am

    Bring it on dudes!!! Hit us with ur best shot!! Ok.. i better shut up before they bring in fresh dead bodies and ask us to cut them open. But serioulsy dude.. the first lab was FREAKY. I was simply horrified to look at those bodies in the glass case with their empty abdomen, half open eye, half cut head with the brain jutting out and what not! i was even more horrified to see that the rest of the lab seats were taken and we were left with the ones right in front of the cadavers!!! And a couple of weeks later, when u invited me to join u to touch the human lung… i was like “what the hell is wrong with this female???!!!” The next thing i know… i am digging through coils of intestine!!!! I still can’t believe I held someone’s heart in my hand. Not just heart… stomach, part of the intestine and something else… can’t remember…. oh well.. It will come back to me!pssst.. without becoming doctors or even having to do mbbs, we dealt with cadavers!!! aren’t we just great???? 😀

  8. Anonymous March 1, 2006 / 11:11 pm

    Strange to say, i actually look forward to anatomy lab now. It is incredible how the different organs all come together to give a wonderful ‘machine’. I never cease to be fascinated by that. Looking at cadavers is also totally different from looking at pictures in the textbook. I agree, it seems to be one hell of a mess in the body, not nicely compartmentalised and distinct which again amazes me. How? How can a 6m long tube be stuffed in a small space, work perfectly as it is meant to, and not get entangled…is the human body incredible or what? 😀

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