Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thinking and Creeping Myself Out

I don't usually follow the doings of the rich and famous, and when I do, I usually feel pretty distant. Today, I noticed in the headlines that a female celebrity died (you know who, but no need to add mine to the search hits). For some reason, her death makes me more than usually thoughtful tonight, probably because unlike most celebrities who die, she's a good bit younger than I am. To steal from Tom Lehrer again, by the time Christopher Marlowe was my age, he'd been dead for [nearly 20 years].

I sort of creeped myself out recently. I looked up the information for the closest medical school in the state and sent away for body donation information; they haven't answered yet, so I may try the next closest ones. Obviously, I'll have to have a chat with my Mom and sibling about this, to make sure it won't freak them out beyond compare. And then I'll have to decide and such. But I think I'm pretty close to deciding. I've even blogged about it before.

But thinking seriously about it, I'd like to write a note to the future medical students who may get to (have to?) cut me up. I plan on being in and with my body for a number of years yet, but who knows, a truck could smack me on the way to work some morning.

Dear Future Medical Students,

Here I am. You may look at me lying there and think, man, she should have taken better care of herself. You're probably right. Maybe I died earlier than I might have. Or maybe the body is old and pretty worn.

Maybe you're thinking, boy, she's old and wrinkly and yucky. Let me tell you, though, the body you're looking at managed to have some good times.

But I'm done with the body now, so it's yours. I mostly had a blast with it, and I hope you find joy in it somehow, too. I hope you learn, and I hope you do good work.

Best wishes, Bardiac

ps. Check out the cybernetic eye!! Coolest thing ever!

(Some of my friends would say, instead, "Go for the eyes, Boo!" Such geekhood!)


  1. Ooo, I really, really like that letter. A few months ago I finally got around to clearly marking all my IDs with "donor" stickers, and giving signed statements to my nearest relatives about my desire to be an organ donor. Gotta be prepared!

  2. Yeah, I've always been an organ donor, even though my mom doesn't like the idea, thinks the doctors will let me die if they know they can have my organs, but I don't think they would do that. But I don't have any strong thoughts about the rest. Like you said, being dead, I wouldn't really care. So I've always figured I'd leave it up to my family. If they want to bury me so they can have a place to go to plant flowers, that's fine, if they want to put me in a vase on the mantle, that's fine too, if creepy. I don't know. I probably should have an opinion on this... maybe I'll read Stiff someday...

    I like the idea of a letter to the med students. I'm sure it would make them feel better, too. Gross lab can't be easy.

  3. constantia12:54 PM

    I wasn't following your blog when you made the initial body donation post, but let me add my experience to the "comments" here. My father donated his body--it was a decision he'd made several decades before he died and part of his wish not to have any kind of funeral, memorial service or other remembrance (he was kind of an odd guy). The nearest medical school got the donation, and their dealings with me were entirely respectful and well-organized, but there was something distinctly odd about the tone. It was as if their procedures and form correspondence had been drafted by visiting martians who knew the theory and practice of human mourning rituals from reading books but had not themselves lived the experience. For example, the letter asking me if I wanted the ashes (they cremate what's left after the dissection) they specified the dimensions of the receptacle they would be placed in--as if that were a crucial part of my decision. And I was formally invited to bring "a guest" to that year's memorial service. All in all though, I can't complain. It was what my dad wanted.