Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Well, not MY rib. The cadaver's rib. We had to literally cut into the ribcage to get at the lungs.

We used rib cutters that look something like pliers with scissors on the ends. Let me tell you, cutting through a rib is tough! I was practically sweating! Those ribs are no joke, they are strong. My classmate made it look like she was cutting a slice of cake. She's apparently a pro at this...I'll have to keep my eye on her.

Anyway, we cut through the ribs and the sternum (the breastbone, the bone between your breasts/nipple) and we pulled it off. The same way you pull a top off a pot on the stove. It was weird.

(again, NOT our lung, just a random pic. Plus, our cadaver has been embalmed so his lung was more of a dark brown/maroon color. Not as bright red as this one.)

It was absolutely amazing, simply incredible. On TV and in books when you see a lung it looks something like a sac, or a balloon. In real life, it's more like a sponge, a super soft sponge, but without all the holes. It's smooth and slippery and bends and dips easily from the pressure of our touch.

We believe our cadaver has been smoking as there are black spots all over his lungs. He was only 20!!!! Hey kids DON'T SMOKE. It really DOES blacken your lungs. I've seen it with my own eyes. Same for you adults.

The other cadaver, the 80-something woman, had TUMORS on her lungs. They were hard as rocks! We cut through the lungs and they kind of look like rocks! Rocks in the lungs! Can you imagine??? Sounds painful. Our instructor says we may find it has metastasized (spread) in various organs in the body, including the brain.

We cut the lung out of the thorax (chest) and held it. It's really a beautiful organ. Then we stuck a turkey baster in the holes on the side where we cut and blew air into the lung.


We all nearly passed out. This was a colorful, real-life illustration of the breath of life we all take every day. Who knew it was so...incredible??!! This is what happens inside ME as I take EVERY SINGLE BREATH!


I held the lung as I made it breathe and I watched it inflate and deflate. It was so soft and so smooth. You're almost afraid to touch it for fear of mishandling it. Yet, it's so delicate and so important and vital to life. I was in awe. I'm STILL in awe.

Yet another reason to be humbled by the awesome-ness of our bodies.

Simply beautiful.

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