Thursday, 6 December 2012

220: Death and Dreams

I dream of death and have done since I was a child.  I don’t see them ill and dying, just the end stage when they are already dead.  And that’s when I step in.  Post-death is my field, my forte, where I am most comfortable.

I never used to tell anyone.  Dreaming about dead bodies is weird right?  I didn’t want to end up with some psychiatric assessment or having to talk about my feelings twice a week for a year.  To me it wasn’t anything weird, just how it was.  Falling asleep into the waiting arms of the deceased was almost welcoming.  I probably wouldn’t be the only teenager to say that but few would be honest enough to admit that.

The setting was always the same and even though the faces and the bodies varied over the years, my role never changed, not once.  I loved the thought of it and now I’ve done it for real, I love doing it.  Love it.  My dream lived up to what I’d hoped for.  How often does that happen?

Sometimes, especially when I was young, the gory bits were blurred or pixelated.  I think as a child I had no real concept of what the insides of a body might actually look like close up.  I knew skin was pink or brown, blood was red and inside was a bit of both but that’s it.  I added detail in my dreams as I studied biology and by my A-level year I had a good idea of anatomy.  But I’d still never seen the real insides of a body.

Medical school corrected that.  I thought I’d have my own body to dissect and imagined talking to him as I worked, reassuring him through my muscle slicing and nerve exposure.  I shared with ten other students.  Ten.  To a single body.  Donate your body after you die people, I plan to.  How do you think students learn about the insides?  On real live people straight off?

Studying medicine and my first few years as a doctor were a chore.  I was good at it, still am, and I had a way with the patients so the nurses said.  Especially the elderly, as I recall.  And no, not just because I see them as being one step away from people in my preferred state.  All those live bodies, all demanding and noisy and active.  Give me a dead one anytime.

Dr G is my heroine and I want to be like her, and the real-life bones woman.  I’m just as excited by unusual cases and just as dedicated to finding the truth.  That’s what it has always been about for me.  They need me to speak for them.  They need me to find answers for them and for their loved ones. 

I want to speak for them.  It’s not just about being good with the loppers.


  1. Other than not knowing what a lopper is, I found this riveting and slightly disturbing!

  2. Loppers are those huge snippy things gardeners use to cut off branches and Dr G uses to cut ribs so she can open the chest! :)

  3. Realistic :-) This reminds me of one of my favorite non-fiction books - "Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers".