He was my textbook, my study guide, my door into the realm of the marvelous intricacies of human anatomy—his anatomy. What served him 93 years now served me my purpose, to understand, at the basic physiological level, how we function. So as he laid there, dismantled, I examine every crevice, orifice, muscle, nerve and fiber in order to understand structure and function. He was once a professor of music, and I’d like to believe that even after his time, he continued to teach. In fact, all 22 of them taught me about the subtle differences and stark similarities from person to person. And ironically, I feel that what I’ve come to value even more than the eloquent complexities of the brachial plexus, intricacies in the tortuous paths of each cranial nerve, or countless other details of the body is how our functions manifest and allow us to be unique individuals. We are, generally speaking and ignoring the minor differences, all wired the same, yet each person is his own. Those myelinated/encapsulated axons throughout our nervous systems, for example, all have the same configuration, yet it’s how they’re used and the paths they’ve made that makes each person unique. Although I’m only scratching the surface, it’s this type of knowledge that excites me. And to think that HSF and Anatomy is only the beginning.
Studying the human body has been very humbling, and I can’t say enough how grateful I am for the experience. This course has been extremely fulfilling, and after hours upon hours of prying and digging into the human anatomy, there is only one thing left for me to say…thank you professor.
1 thought on “He Was My Textbook”
My mother donated her body to the anatomy program at UVM three years ago. I am heartened once again to hear the appreciation for those gifts. I hope you can attend the ceremony in June, The ceremony truly honors the donor families and they hear the thanks from our health professions students in many of the ways you described. Thank you for your insights and thoughtful comments.