Saturday, July 10, 2010

"On the front lobe of my left-side brains"

-"Hey Soul Sister" by Train

I'm an unabashed science geek. And I know my hubby loves me because he used his connections so we could have a "date" shadowing the Medical Examiner performing autopsies this morning. That's love right there.

It was such a great experience. Honestly, driving down to the coroner's office I started to get nervous. What if I pass out, or gag/throw up, let alone pass out!? Well, it wasn't like that at all. We shadowed Dr. G and she was great. The smell was strong but once they get going it's very medical and fast and fascinating. Dr. G had a great attitude and a great energy about her. She even said a couple of times that she loves her job. She was really just great. In the spirit of full disclosure though, one of us did have to step out for a few minutes and it wasn't me :)

We were able to observe the step-by-step autopsy of a 50-something male that just dropped dead crossing the street yesterday. Cause of death: unknown. Words cannot express how awesome the inside of the human body is. I was in awe the whole time. And it was even a little bit exciting seeing "things" that might have caused his death even though we didn't see anything that was obviously the cause. Dr. G said she'd most likely see something on the toxicology reports but it will take about two weeks to get those.

The other cases there were an elderly man thought to have passed away from natural causes, a 21-week fetal demise whose mother tested positive for amphetamines, a 2 1/2 year old whose parents said he choked on candies but had bruising from and earlier "fall", an embalmed elderly man who died weeks ago of what were initially ruled natural causes (hence no autopsy) but sent in because a family member recently expressed his suspicion of foul play, and a 21-year old male here celebrating his birthday who drunkenly fell from the fourth story of a parking garage after he sat on top of the wall. It was a very eclectic group. Unfortunately our sitter could only be here for a few hours so we didn't get to see any of the other autopsies but I was riveted by what I did see.

The case of the 21-year old stuck out to me. His body was very bloated but his hair was in a perfect faux hawk. The PD had a camera of his that contained pictures of him wearing the same clothes he fell in drinking VERY EXPENSIVE tequila in a limo with friends, attending the Love show and (from a worldly perspective) having a great time living it up in LV. And now he's dead. And now he's dead because he couldn't think rationally. Alcohol is bad, end of sermon.

Another moment I'll never forget is this conversation with Dr. G.:
Dr. G: So are you at home.
Me: Yeah. I stay home with the kids.
Dr. G: That's a good choice.
Me: Do you have kids?
Dr. G: No. I kept putting it off because of my job and now I think it might be too late. I might be too old.
Me: *silence*
Honestly, sometimes I think that I'm behind. I don't have a graduate degree or an income or any marketable talents of any kind really. But I'm happy to be "at home". I'm happy to hear the cute things my kids say, to chauffeur them to art class, gymnastics, school etc., and to jump for joy when they all sleep through the night and wake up in the morning happy and healthy. I like my job.

So now I want to send a thank you to the doctors and the awesome techs that made it fun. But really, what would be appropriate? I thought about making these cookies:
Too morbid? Maybe a nice, wholesome fruit basket would be better.
You tell me.


Skye L. said...

Seriously? that is awesome! I'd probably be one that had to step out for a bit but I bet it was so interesting. A Bracken loves that stuff..he used to watch a show with a Dr. G on it that would do autopsy's? Not the same lady is it?

Anonymous said...

I'd like the fingers but I am just that way!

So congrats on making it thru!! I find shows like that fascinating but I don't know if I could live thru a real autopsy!


Autumn said...

It's not the same lady Skye. Dr. G should be famous though, she was awesome.

Elizabeth said...

You're weird, Autumn.

Just kidding...sort of ;)

Those are crazy stories...I think some of the stories themselves connected with a real person there would make me sick, much less watching an autopsy... Pretty sure going to see autopsies isn't at the top of my date idea list... Though I'm sure Trent would find it interesting.

The fingers are great though...if you don't make them now, you should definitely make them for Halloween!

Ashley said...

Wow, that is crazy. Wow, just wow. I would have puked and Roy would have passed out - you guys are brave!

Autumn Wilkins said...

When I was in the Army I watched a few autopsies as part of my training to become a nurse. The cases were all female. One was an elderly lady and one was a young girl in her twenties. It was a long time ago so more than that I don't remember. It was really quite fine until I looked into the young girl's eyes. It was then that I realized that this girl actually had been full of life once and probably had family and friends who cared about her and now had to go on living without her. That she may have had hopes and dreams that were never to be fulfilled. Thinking those things made me just sick and I had to take a step back for a little bit. The thing that helped me through it - knowing it's not really over and that Heavenly Father has a greater plan for us. It's times like that I can truly appreciate the gospel and the peace of mind it brings.

janet said...

Totally and completely AWESOME. So, can your husband pull any more strings and get a few more people in? Just reading about that was cool... I can't imagine how fascinating it must have been.

Monique said...

Wow, that's very cool! I start my med-surg rotation in August so I'll be seeing the insides of live people.