Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Dead and the Living

Many of you know that my future father in law has been in the hospital recovering from a double bypass surgery. He is doing very well and is now recovering at home. On Sunday we visited him when he was still at the hospital. He was at Washington Hospital Center in D.C. and to get there we drove through the city. We passed Walter Reed Medical Center (the old one) and it brought up memories of going to the museum there and seeing all the medical mysteries. I started to tell Grant about my experience there and watching the autopsies.

He then asked me a question that I had to stop and think about for a second. He asked: "How does watching autopsies and seeing dead bodies not bother you but hospitals do?" It's true, hospitals making me nervous. Something about sick people with tubes sticking all through them really unnerves me, but dead bodies I'm fine with. The way I explained it to Grant is that I can deal with dead bodies because they're just that: a dead body. They're a shell; there's no soul in them. They are simply flesh and bone. The soul moves on and the left over is just matter. I can deal with that. Hence why at one point I wanted to be a Medical Examiner.

The concept of what makes people tick and getting down to the cause of that intrigues me. What stopped me was going to medical school because I would have to do a medical rotation in a hospital. I had no desire to work with people that were alive. Dead bodies on the other hand I can easily deal with because in my mind they're not people anymore. I don't mean that to sound harsh but that's just how I see it. Once a person's soul leaves the body they are just that, the body.

It is no secret that I have a fascination with the dead. Those of you who have read my fiction know that I take those concepts of death and make them part of life as bloody as it is sometimes. My book Summer's Hollow is no exception. It focuses on the dead, the living and all those in between.

In case you missed it yesterday I had to postpone the release of Summer's Hollow due to some editing problems. I promise though that it will be well worth the wait once everything is sorted out. Writing novels can be very complex at times; this is one of those times. :)


Unknown said...

I can totally relate. I have a ton of ( self-taught ) medical knowledge, and people have told me a hundred times I should have been a nurse or a doctor or something ( I have even had my own doctors ask me if I had a medical background because I knew exactly what they were telling me, and because of the questions I ask, using medical jargon lol ) and the reason why I didn't was because I can't deal with sick people very well. Tubes and electrodes and all manner of things bristling from a human body is very hard for me.

Seeing my Dad slowly die the last week of his life while hooked up to all that stuff was almost as bad as the actual loss of him.

I also have issues with other people's bodily fluid. If I know the person or care about the person, then I can deal..( although the first time you ever see a spouse or child bleed heavily it is something that is horrifying ) but perfect

I have NO problem with the dead. As you said, once they are gone it is just a shell. A wrapper of sorts.

I so get what you are saying in this post.

I am so glad your FFIL is doing better!


Magaly Guerrero said...

I worked at the old Walter Reed and at the new when it was the NNMC, you won't be surprised that when things got to hectic and I needed a break, I would walk to the morgue for some peace and quiet. It was the only place I didn't find patients, their families or other people walking around.

The sick don't make me nervous. I've always felt comfortable in hospitals and hospices, but then when I go home... I feel sad sometimes.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Yay! No demonic Word Verification. WoooHooo!

Sam Curtin said...

Wow, I didn't realize we had so much in common! :)

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