How could such a foul smell be the force in setting my future goals in place? Yet, at the age of just fifteen, I came to associate this smell with my calling in life. It was the summer of my sophomore year. During the summer, I had decided to attend the Professional Medical Careers summer course at West Sound Tech. I had only enrolled in the course to pass time and get some extra credit, but it became so much more than that when I actually went. At the beginning, we just did basic CNA skills such as bed baths, vitals, bed making, and first aid. We watched Netflix a lot during the class too – House, the famous TV show about the messed up doctor who is a total genius when it comes to health care. At the end of that week, Mr. Thornton told us we had to dissect a piglet and a kitten in just a few days! I was terrified. I was going to be classified as a monster. I had three cats at home that I would have to come home to, right after cutting up one of their relatives. During those few days, I had tried to prepare myself for the horrid, disgusting, and terrifying day ahead. But nothing would really be enough preparation for me to dissect these animals, without feeling horrible. When the day finally hit, I had butterflies so bad and thought that I was going to vomit. Before we went, we learned how to use all the equipment. Scissors, forceps, scalpel, two teasing needles, mall probe, glass dropper, and a ruler. Actually knowing what we had to do with all the instruments made me even more terrified. Before we went, we got to pick our own groups. I had chosen my closest friends in that class – Heather, Jessica, Sarah, and Anastasia (who I should mention was 7 months pregnant). Sarah had already dissected the cats and pigs, so she advised us to put Vicks vapor rub on our upper lip so that we wouldn’t have to smell the embalming fluid. Let me just say that Vicks rub did not help, not at all. I still smelled the gut wrenching scent of embalming fluid.
We all put gloves, masks, and goggles on. Mr. Thornton brought my group a sealed plastic bag containing a piglet drenched in embalming fluid. Heather was the lucky one who got to cut open the bag and place the piglet on the dissection tray, then I had to then pin the legs and arms with the dissection needles. Sarah grabbed the scalpel and cut open the stomach, and I pinned both sides to the side of the tray so that we could look at all the major organs. When we started removing the organs and placing them on the tray, all of could really start smelling the fluid. My whole group took a break and stepped outside to put more Vicks on. Mr. Thornton had come out to ask us how we were doing, and Anastasia lost her cookies….all over his feet!
Anastasia had went back to the classroom while the rest of us continued to dissect the piglet. Jessica and I started to cut open the heart, while Heather and Sarah started to take…