Saturday, September 8, 2007

Whiff of Death

The preserved cadaver lies prone or supine on the black body bag on the cold metal table, helpless against the assault of my group's steel tools. We pray for the soul of the cadaver, make the incisions, remove the fascia and the fat, isolate the neurovascular structures, cut across muscles, point out tendons, and then we leave after cleaning up, sometimes forgetting to pray. All the time I am exposed to the indescribable smell of necrosis and of the menthol-smelling lachrymator that is formalin; somehow, in an utterly inexplicable way, I think I know the smell of death. Many people won't know that I somehow sense/see future events; it may sound freakish that these thoughts come to fruition without my interference. Two boats that sank, an airplane that crashed, a pregnancy, two deaths, and just recently a foreboding that another death will come along. The very thought sent shivers down my spine and has taken over my mind. The foreboding came when I was with the person, and I invariably caught a whiff of death in this person. I've tried to banish this thought from my mind, but knowing the habits of this person, I'd say an early grave wouldn't be too far behind. But I never wish this death to happen because that person is quite dear to me, and I could never will anything terrible happening to that person. Or maybe I've been spending too much time with the cadaver that the embalming chemicals are giving me hallucinations now.

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