28 8 / 2014
did you know that the main reason we have a school lunch program is that in 1946 kids were too underfed to qualify for military service bc i just found that out and am horrified
nobody cares about children’s well being without an ulterior motive
28 8 / 2014
Title: Ordinary Life
Ship: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Summary: "So, uh," Wharton said, with a little nervous cough. "You’re not so much his mathematician as you are his—mathematician.”
OMG we had so much fun writing this. *nostalgia!*
28 8 / 2014
Friendly reminder that The Simpsons recently had an episode that portrayed trans women as men in dresses who are doing it solely to trick lesbians into fucking them. The Simpsons is a piece of shit and no better than Family Guy in my eyes.
OMFG I REMEMBER THAT EPISODE
when i was a kid i just went with it omfg they fed me so much shit ;A;
It’s pathetic as fuck. It aired back in 2005 I guess, I thought it was more recent but fuck it was horrible.
28 8 / 2014
This has been a hard week.
By now, nobody needs to be reminded of what’s going on. An ongoing campaign of harassment by the men of 4chan, reddit, and other sites has driven two women out of their homes and has targeted dozens more. The unacceptability of this has been stated by hundreds if not thousands of people, and doesn’t need to be reiterated. It’s more than unacceptable - it’s monstrous. It’s ridiculous. It’s worthy of nothing more than contempt.
So where is the contempt?
28 8 / 2014
I met my cadaver today. Lab doesn’t start until Tuesday, but we had a orientation specifically dealing with the emotional and spiritual side of cadaver dissection. I was glad for it; by the end of the orientation I felt much calmer and more at peace with it.
My grandfather donated his body. He died when I was in high school, more than ten years ago now. We had a writing exercise, writing a letter to our future selves, and I found myself writing about Papa. He was a mean, vitriolic man, a genius, an emotionally and verbally abusive father who could still reduce my grown mother to tears by calling her fat—and who would do it at a cruel whim. He was a literal rocket scientist. He was a snide coward. He lovingly taped every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and sent them to us. He thought of us often, harangued us when he visited, mocked my and my sister’s sexual development. He was hilarious and awful. I loved him and I hated him. My mother is the way she is in large part because of him.
The thought of Papa on one of those narrow metal tables wouldn’t leave me. Papa, naked, frail, exposed. Papa, who never relinquished power in his life, finally powerless against the medical students who would slowly descend through the layers of his body and even raid his bones. He would be peeled apart like an onion, cut into, splayed open with pins.
And I felt, very powerfully, that it’s wrong that the bodies remain anonymous, except for age, gender, and cause of death. If we’re going to take these enormous liberties, it should be done with love. I believe that you can perform physical acts that destroy with love. I do not mean that domestic violence is ever excusable. I mean that you can make the decision to kill out of love; the act of delivering a lethal dose of morphine can be done with respect, with the wishes of the patient in mind, with love. You can kill an animal in order to eat it with love, after raising it with love, to have the best possible life an animal of its kind could have. Similarly, to cut into someone’s dead body to learn can be done with love. And I think it’s easier to love someone when you know something about them. Right now all I know about my cadaver is that she died of heart failure in her very old age. I want to know more. I will learn more, but not who she was. The body isn’t her—it ceased to be her—but she existed, as a person, and I want to know her.
I cried when I performed a perfusion on a rat I’d cared for. A perfusion is a very physical and unpleasant process, and the rat dies in the process. I cut through its ribs with shears, and I held its heart as it stopped beating. I cried, but not out of pure sorrow; I cried because to see the intricacies of its organs, its small and rich life, made me feel the feeling of grace that I have not felt in a very long time. The feeling that God is present and loves you and all things. I found God in a rat’s abdomen.
I cried today when I wrote about Papa. I cried because that is one a wide range of human reactions to thinking about death and the dead. I believe that there is no sense in undertaking the incredible proposition of medicine—hurting in order to heal—if you can’t understand that the body is sacred, not just in spite of but because of its temporary and fragile nature.
I’ve been suicidal with varying intensity since I was ten. I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking about death. I’ve never seen a dead person before—certainly not a preserved dead body. The color of the skin changes and things appear more sunken. I found myself getting faint briefly, and I had to sit down, when I noticed a hole in her neck and the ring of lacy pale fat protruding beneath the edges of the skin. I simultaneously felt faint, and wanted to know why that hole is there: did she need a tracheotomy? It seemed off-center for that. Is it a remnant of a central line? Was there a port of some kind? Did she need laparoscopic surgery?
I know so little about her. I wonder what her name was, what her life was like, how it will affect me to cut through her gray, leathery skin, with the stink of formalin and alcohol prep solution in the air. I don’t know that I’ll undergo the depersonalization shift that many students do, because my knowledge of how mechanistic our minds and bodies are precludes me from seeing any of us as mysterious on a physical level. I know what’s inside; I’ve seen that rat’s beautiful organs, I’ve perused photographic atlases of the layers of the human body, I’ve been to the Bodies exhibit where my queasiness was exacerbated by the thought that the bodies might be from prisoners who hadn’t consented to this use.
But it will still be a miracle to see how she was constructed. Her body, even in its current state, is still a miracle. The body remains sacred, whether it’s burned, left to vultures, or picked over by medical students. I can’t separate my agnosticism from my approach to the cadaver. Whether or not there’s a god, the body is sacred. Whether or not there’s a god, we owe someone—we owe each other, we owe our ancestors, we owe our descendents. Life as a social animal means being born into a vast network of debts and obligations, and those debts and obligations exist whether we want to acknowledge them or not. One of my debts has been to the people of the past whose bodies have been examined to train the doctors who cared for me. Now it is to the people whose bodies I will examine, and whose bodies taught the doctors who will teach me.
I’m still disturbed by it—the gritty physical aspect of it, how the tissue will dry out if left in the open air, so we have to keep the cadaver moist, how they’re put on tilted tables so the liquid runs down to the foor. I assume I will be for some time, and I will acclimate to the oddity of being inside a cadaver that was once the body of a living human.
It’s been a big day, for such a brief meeting.