Archive for October 7th, 2007

My body is a cage

Songs for train journeys on sunny mornings:

Eels – numbered days

Gemma Hayes – stop chasing everything

Duke special – Brixton leaves me alone.

Postal Service – Clark Gable.

And so passed my most recent acquaintance with public transport in Norn Iron. The last time was 15 months ago on a trip to dublin for a course. In fact in my whole time in nz I managed not to even come close to public transport.

Anyhow, today I’m on the 0750 (yes there’s a 0750 these days, who’d have thought it!) to City Hospital for my second job. Funny how when you say it like that it makes it sound like I’m overworked. Ha.


I managed to get a part time job as an anatomy demonstrator at Queens. This involves taking a group of medical students through a guided dissection of an elderly, rather saggy looking corpse. And not nude modelling for groups of students to draw charcoal etchings of me sitting on a stool looking pensive, as my brother thought.

I’m both scared and quite sure that they’re gonna know all the anatomy¬† better than I do. Though we are starting with the pancreas, gallbladder and spleen – all the organs my Dad no longer has, which is convenient (though not for Dad). I suppose it’ll give me an anecdote or two.

Anyhow getting to see Norn Iron in all it’s crispy clear beauty is just the best. To not have to worry about pressing the acclerator or not driving into the car in front is just wonderful. We’ve driven quarter of the way to NZ (about 4500 miles) just in visitng dad in the past 7 weeks.

And so I find myself back in the dissecting room. I love the smell of fomaldehyde in the morning.

The first group of the day are already huddled round their corpse, the plastic sheet still covering it. On a friday morning many a tall tale is told over (my dead body?) the plastic sheets about how drunk so and so was the night before.

They all look so young. Almost a definiton of getting older, that all the new doctors look incredibly young. I doubt most of the other demonstrators believe I’m actually a doctor, looking no older than the students, even with my 3 day old facial fluff. Coupled with the fact that I’m the only one not wearing ‘proper clothes’ ie shirt and tie. I mean who are they dressing proper for – the cadavers?

I start off with little simple questions about our poor recently departed stiff. For example, ‘my Dad no longer has this organ (Nelly points out recently departed’s pancreas) what does that mean for him?’

I’m surprised that what we’re teaching is so… Well… Basic I suppose. I forget easily that I knew none of this at their stage, and indeed only learnt a lot of it in the past few years. At least my fears of students pointing to obscure organs and blood vessels and asking complicated questions were unfounded.

I must admit it became something like anatomy according to my da. It makes for an excellent clinical scenario to give the students. Even other demonstartors used dad as an example. I’m not sure he’d like the (in) fame.

The second group reminds of that time I tried to get blood out of a stone, and even more of what it’s like to lead groups of young Christians to think about anything.

I run out of Dad related anecdotes with them and settle on getting them to learn the ‘hip bones connected to the … Other bone’ rhyme and send them on their way to make the lame see and the blind walk.

Our future is safe in their hands. As long as they can remember which bone the hand bone is connected to…


October 2007