Monday, March 24, 2008

A Story

This is just a story. I’ve been considering a writing project and have come up with some ideas. Do not fear, this is not based on my life. Enjoy.

Occasionally there are moments when we find ourselves in unfamiliar or distressing situations. The Holmes and Rahe stress scales are useful, if you want to acknowledge that what you’re about to undertake is one of the most stressful events a person can do. Death of a spouse, divorce, moving, starting a new job or school, losing one’s sense of self or societal position are considered some of the most vexing on the human ego and psyche. Taken singularly, they can cause depression, but amalgamated, suicidal ideations may flow serenely from the unconscious mind.

By my nature, I prefer to ignore these scales, inasmuch as reading them leads inevitably towards the very notion planted therein. Subconsciously we begin to feel that we must abide the expectations, open the chasm of depression, wallow in the briny filth of morose feelings, and sponge ourselves with latent self deprecations as each event is sampled. Therefore it is neither beneficial nor prudent to tempt such acts.

Finding myself at the age of 26, having forgone the comfort of the business world and regular income, sitting between the legs of a cachetic and jaundiced cadaver, trying to not inhale fully the formaldehyde redolence of room, I was certainly high on the suicide scale.

As I carved at the withered genitalia and nether regions, I surveyed the room. Other students were elbows deep in bodily fluids and preserving solutions while they cleaned out the pelvis. Others were still toiling away at the prodigious amount of fat that their cadavers held, waiting until the last week before they would dissect the privates. The months of arduous labor had turned our lab coats from a starched white to a waxy, oily yellow, reeking of Death. Every fiber of our being had begun to take on this stench, regardless of the time or place. Showers were always welcome, but the morbid perfume was inexorably lodged deep in hair, skin, and soul.

The ignominy was deeply palpable. Here and there we would look at our classmates and smirk as we worked assiduously on our bodies. Each was a mirror unto ourselves and the haggard appearance my eyes met at each turn had begun to frighten me.

The fetid stench had overwhelmed the senses at times and various groups had forgone the dissection of their bodies, electing to use sloppy prosections - previously dissected body parts removed from their bodies - that would allow the students the chance to learn the anatomy without the time necessitated by dissection. My group had democratically elected to cut.


In spite of my attempts to ignore the stress scale's warnings, thoughts of suicide had entered my exhausted brain on various occasions. While disturbing, these were never contemplated long enough for me to consider it a startling change. I was troubled, however, by the increasing domination of one bizarre idea - being annihilated as I drove home.

A two-lane highway lead to my residency. This highly frequented road was traveled regularly by large 18 wheel behemoths as they took supplies and inventory to the metropolis down the road. Since the freeway did not connect, these leviathans were forced to navigate the twisted highway. Often times the noise brought upon my home by these monsters was enough to drown out the television and awake me in the night. I hadn't been able to sleep well in months.

On many nights, long awake and fighting off sleep, I’d found myself drifting into oncoming traffic as I returned from a night of study or dissection. Staring at the glare of an oncoming truck I found a beauty in the pure brightness. I had always veered back into my lane, sometimes moments before Death gripped me, but the idea of allowing myself to die in such a fashion had begun to invade all suicidal consideration.

More and more I ruminated over this nihilistic fantasy, slowly talking myself out of an attempt as I would drive home. It was getting harder to not think of those lights as ethereal in nature, as though they were two angels welcoming me and Truth was moments away.

Nightmares began to fill what dreams I had. I wondered how much longer I could last.


Anonymous said...

Hopefully this doesn't actually happen to a lot of medical students. It would be awful to begin thinking along those lines.

Mervyn said...

This will not actually have effect, I think so.
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