Anatomy Class

Spring Quarter – 1975, College Sophomore School of Nursing

I entered the large lecture hall and sat down with several hundred classmates for the first anatomy class of spring quarter. This class was rumored to be the most difficult of all in the nursing program which many students flunked. Dr. O stepped behind the podium. He was a small stout dark-haired man who looked very serious in his white lab coat.

“Welcome to anatomy class. The following are the rules if you want to pass this class. You must memorize two hours daily to keep up. If you get behind in memorizing, you will not be able to pass the tests. I suggest you find a study partner and go to the cadaver lab daily to quiz each other on the body parts I go over in lecture. Not many schools have the privilege of using a human cadaver lab in the school of nursing. These people have donated their body to science in order to teach health care professionals. These human bodies must always be treated with the utmost respect. If anyone is ever found desecrating these cadavers, the student will immediately be expelled from the University permanently. After one year, the body is cremated and the remains are returned to the family.

He then proceeded to show color slides on the large screen and begin his two-hour lecture of the human anatomy. When the lecture ended, we went to the cadaver lab a block away and met our teaching assistant (TA) for our small group of ten people. I gazed around the large gray gloomy room which had a distinct almost overwhelming odor of formaldehyde. There were about 20 gray steel boxes on legs that were the same size as coffins. We gathered around one steel box, and our TA lifted the lid. Inside was a human body floating in formaldehyde with the skin removed so we could see the muscles and tendons. There were colored straight pins marking the various body parts which the TA proceeded to review with us which were explained in the lecture.

Anatomy Class

Anatomy Class

After our lecture on the lung, our TA showed us the inside of a lung of a person who never smoked. The tissue was tan and had tiny little air sacs (alveoli). Then he showed us the inside of the lungs of a smoker. I was shocked to see the lining was totally black with several one inch balls of tar which looked just like road asphalt. All the tiny sacs had disappeared. I am so thankful I never started smoking!

I had to work so hard at Anatomy class in addition to Introduction to Landscaping (3 hours), violin lessons (1 hour), Nursing Theory (5 hours), and the Older Adult (3 hours). My Christian roommate had to take this quarter off for health reasons, so I was randomly assigned another roommate, Lisa. It was rather stressful living with her since she  played rock music on her huge stereo, talked on the phone for hours, and came in from partying at 2 or 3 a.m. Consequently, I didn’t spend much time in our room. When my friends walked in, they laughed because she had a black  bed spread and huge black tapestry hanging over her bed. I had a white chenille bed spread and my Dispensational chart of “God’s Plan Through the Ages” hanging over my bed! The contrast was striking between light and darkness. I tried to share the gospel with her, but she wasn’t interested and flunked out of college at the end of the quarter.

When I opened my grades from Spring Quarter, I was thrilled to see I received a B in Anatomy!

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your grace and strength this quarter.

Reflection – 2014

I remember when I first started nursing school, I naively thought I would understand everything about our marvelous human bodies when I graduated! Nearly 40 years later, I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface in understanding. Truly, only our wonderful Creator could have made us in His image.

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him;male and female created He them.” Genesis 1:27

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139: 14

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