You know you’re a medical spouse when … you’ve carried around a chest of real human bones in your trunk. A medical spouse or a twisted serial killer. I’m the former.
My husband is only in his second year of medical school, so at this point, it’s all been classroom and lab stuff. Yes, he’s done the notorious cadaver dissection, but mostly it’s been lectures and textbooks, not labcoats and patients. Still, the closeness to life, death and pathology can be disconcerting.
For instance, the human skull that sat on Will’s desk for a while. He’d been studying cranial anatomy, and I came home from work one afternoon to find a very old, very authentic skull – in my home. It’s just not one of those things you can ever be prepared for.
What’s weirder, if this can get weirder, is that some long-since graduated student wrote on the skull. In pencil. I’m not sure why the fact that it was pencil bothers me. Would it have been better in ink? Probably not. But that skull once held someone’s brain, their mind, their consciousness. And now someone has written anatomical terms on it, erasable, in case they mislabel the foramen lacernum or the sphenoid bone.
Aside from the penciled labels, it looked surprisingly like the plastic skulls you’d find in the seasonal aisle of a drugstore around Halloween. I doubt the Halloween decoration designers have ever seen a real human skull. I’d estimate this experience puts me in elite company. I mean, how many normal people get to keep skulls in their house for a week?
I fought the urge to break into a Hamlet soliloquy (Alas, poor Yorick!) and ignored the thing until he returned it to the school at the end of the unit. He did well on that test.