We went to the "Cadaver Lab" the other day. It's a place in the basement of a nearby University/teaching hospital where we had opportunities to practice some of our more invasive and damaging interventions on the cadavers (dead bodies) of some wonderful people.
Wonderful people? Yes. I found out from one of the doctors that many of the cadavers in the lab came from the Anatomical Gift Foundation. I think this is tremendously cool since that's where my mother-in-law made her arrangements when she passed.
Before we go into the lab, I have a qualm: After hearing that the two cadavers we're working with are elderly women who have donated themselves for our study, I fear that I'll see the face of my Mother-in-law. I love her very much and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to take it.
Irrational, I know. She passed in September and here it is, February. It couldn't possibly be. But the possibility leads me to a wonderful realization. Because of my Mother-in-law's generosity, a whole group of 'medics and doctors may have had the opportunity to learn the finer points of life-saving interventions and skills. It's pretty awesome when someone can be so generous after their heart has stopped. I really love her.
We enter the lab and, at first, I'm not fully prepared for the experience. I've seen a few dead people in my day but they were all so badly done in that they were clearly dead. Bloated, floating, full of critters, that kinda stuff. These two women looked sleepy. They had passed a day or two before. I wanted to ask their permission before I did anything. I was not fully prepared to see someone who looked lifelike who I knew was very dead. I was comforted to hear a mumbled, "pardon me" from one of the doctors before he started his demonstration.
It was a great experience and I got to do a lot of interventions and see a lot of things I had only read about. Totally worthwhile. I did a couple intubations and some with a bougie (a flexible stylus to help me find the airway by feel), needle and surgical crychothyroidotomy (making a hole in the throat to allow a patient to breathe), Needle chest decompression, intraosseous infusion (putting a needle into someone's bone marrow to get fluid access) and more! All of these things, If done properly, could and will save someone's life.
At the close of the lab, we cleaned up our debris and we all thanked the ladies who made it possible before we zipped them back up. That final bit made it totally complete. They gave their remains to our education and we were grateful to them for their generosity.
What more can I say?
Posted by --maddog at 04:59