Saturday, 23 April 2011
A Different Viewpoint.
Warning - not for the squeamish. This blog-posting may contain controversial material.
I have always had something of a yearning for medical school, but in my days of 'O' and 'A' levels the choice between arts and sciences had to be made at a very early age. The old, and in so many ways admirable Grammar School system channelled its pupils into inflexible 'Arts' or 'Sciences'. Once in one of these channnels it was very difficult to change. I ended up as an 'Arts' pupil, with lots of English and Latin and Humanities and only 'General Science'. I should have been doing Biology and Physics, but I didn't and then, for 'A' level, I couldn't.
At several critical points in my life I explored the possibility of attending medical school, but it never quite worked out. There was another career, and marriage and parenthood, and a great many other good and satisfying things. But the leaning towards medicine has never completely left me.
At last, at 71 years of age, I have the opportunity.
My younger son was here a few weeks ago. He checked my application form for me, and countersigned to say I knew what I was doing.
'Go for it, Mum,' he said. 'If it's what you want, you go for it!'
My older son was told during a telephone conversation,
'Are you sure about this?' he said. 'Is this a fully rational decision? Have you thought it through, all the implications?'
I told him I had, that I was being quite grown-up and sensible, and he laughed.
'Good for you, Mum!' he said, just like his brother.
So now my application to attend the medical school of the nearest large teaching hospital is being processed.
I can't start just yet.
I have to wait until I'm dead.
Then, when I'm dead my body will go for anatomical study and dissection by medical students.
Medical schools need bodies. How else can student doctors learn the real and delicate intricacies of the human body? To me it seems the ultimate good sense to make proper use of something that would otherwise be burned or left to decompose in the ground. It seems the last act of generosity, the last thing I can give.
For anyone interested the information about body and organ donation in the UK may be found 'here'.
There are strings attached.
The Human Tissue Authority does not want flabby, saggy, fat-filled old bodies that are difficult to dissect, so I will have to become fitter.
The Authority does not want bodies that have been through a post-mortem examination and had essential bits removed, so I will try to die as neatly and predictably as possible.
I need to be a trim, relatively unscarred cadaver.
A great new ambition at 71!
The picture above is not for the faint-hearted, either. It's from the wonderful Xstrata Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens. It sways and is see-through.