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18 July 2009


To the amazing woman who gave up your body so that I may learn... And to the family who supported her decision....

I know not what your name was in life but in death I have named you Shirley.
 How amazing it is that you gave your body so that I may learn. You have become my greatest teacher.

Because of you.....

I know:
what a heart feels like.
what a heart looks like.
the layers of muscles.
the incredible amount of organs in one tiny belly.
what a spinal cord looks like (WOW).
the fascia surrounding the kidneys.
the layers of the foot (or will by the end of today).
what the sciatic nerve looks like (huge).
and the damage done to your lungs by the disease.
 I can imagine:
what struggling to breathe must have felt like.
the emotional strain of the hysterectomy.
and your family.
 I am amazed by:
your generosity.
your kindness.
and your consideration for me.
 and so I name you Shirley....
Surely you were lovely.
Surely you were thoughtful.
Surely you were compassionate.
Surely you were cared for.
Surely you were loved.Surely I will learn with your help.
Surely I will pass this class.
Surely I will help people.
Surely I will appreciate your sacrifice.
Surely I will one day make the same sacrifice.
Surely (Shirley) you are loved!
*To anyone who reads this:
Please consider donating your body for medical students. It is truly one of the greatest gifts we will ever receive. I can't begin to describe to you how amazing it is to see what you are learning... not only through pictures and diagrams but in its truest form. To read about the spinal cord is one thing.... to see the human spinal cord is an entirely different thing. There is not a day I spend in the lab that I am not amazed by something. The thoughtfulness shown by these individuals and their families is something that we as medical students do not take lightly. Shirley's sacrifice will be with me for the rest of my life. She is my greatest teacher....and is in turn a great helper to my future patients. There is currently a shortage of donors and medical schools are having to place 15-30 students per body.... To do/dissect is to learn like no other opportunity offers. Please consider this when planning for how you want to be remembered. Being an organ donor is great and saves lives. But don't write off the idea of total donation to a medical school.... They are both great options. By teaching doctors you are saving the lives of the people they treat.


ncmommyx2 said...

Wow that is deep for 3am and very well written! Nice job Christa.

junction said...

Nice Christa. This shows your compassion for others and your passion for your profession. Don't ever lose either one!