A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne
K. Young, Associate Editor.
I cling to the lamppost on the city corner, my heavy anatomy book clutched
to my chest for ballast against the strength of the winter wind. Sleepy from
my all-night marathon study, I smell fresh snow off the lake as I recite the
mnemonic for the 12 cranial nerves. Only garbage collectors and surgery residents
are awake at this hour. I'm on my way to the lab to finish my dissection before
Dr Burns arrives at 8 AM to test my knowledge of the old, leathery, formaldehyded
man. I'll never get over the cadaver's stench, a mixture of vinegar and burnt
rubber. When I leave the lab, strangers on the elevator move to the farthest
corner. No matter how many times I wash, death still clings to my hands.
King SL. The Most Primitive Sense. JAMA. 2001;286(7):766. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.766