Apr 2, '03
I worked with cadavers in anatomy lab (prereqs for nursing).
I was scared out of my mind when the teacher unzipped the body bag for the first time. Then again, I also felt ready to jump out of my skin when the instructor very casually lifted a saggital section of a human head out a bucket one day during lecture. ;-0
Yes, the smell of the preservatives is awful. I had never seen a dead human body before- and was afraid of "fainting" or having some other reaction. But I did not faint. In fact, nobody in our class fainted. Sometimes I had to go out and get fresh air when working on a dissection or something (the preservative smell is so unpleasant).
You know what got me through it? First of all, we always kept the cadaver's head shrouded. It was partly out of respect, and also partly because it's hard (emotionally) to view the face of the body you are working on. I prefered not to see the face when I was learning about the other body parts/organs. More than that, though- I realized that these were once real human beings. In fact, our main donor cadaver was a man who had purposefully willed himself to science. He was only in his fifties. It was somewhat of a comfort to know that the body I was working on, this former person's body...they wanted me to learn something. YOU will have the opportunity to see real human organs. You can learn all kinds of neat things!
Anatomy can be a fascinating class. Working with cadavers can be scary at first, but you might do better than you think.
I think it would be even more interesting to take that class again now that I have been a nurse a few years.
Last edit by Genista on Apr 2, '03