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The First Cut

I took the first cut,
And suddenly it hit me … A wave of emotions
At once exhilarating, at once terrifying
A rush of adrenaline, a rush of shame
A rush of excitement, a rush of panic
A loud gurgling from the deepest pit of my
I had to look away

I took the first cut
My mind lurched and screamed,
so silent, yet so loud
Here lies someone’s mother, someone’s
So real, yet so lifeless
Everything about her so alive
Her arms, her wrinkles, her freckles, her
The wisps of hair trailing off into the
deepest of her private parts
So exposed

I took the first cut,
Resisting the urge to reach out and shake her
To tell her she’s the first dead person I’ve
ever seen!
Wake her out of her deep slumber,
Get her off the cold metal table
And ask her what it took
To live 94 long years

I took the first cut
She has beautiful arms they said,
Awesome muscular definition
Not too much fascia
She must have lived a healthy life no doubt
Yet here she lay at the end of it all

I took the first cut
Everything stood still!

Overwhelmed, anxious, excited
I’m completely connected,
Conversing intensely with her;
Fate has brought us together I tell her
Your body my willing teacher
And me your student,
Eager to learn
To explore the human body
So humbling

I took the first cut
I am on course to becoming a healer
But first I must encounter death
So ironic…

I took the first cut,
Nothing could have fully prepared me for this
I take a deep breath
Plant my feet and continue dissecting.

“Medical training is more accurately characterized as a process of re-socialization, that medical students are not only ‘passing through’ an experience intended to refine previously established values, but that those previous identities must be repudiated and new, countervailing identities assumed… Medical students are not so much confronted with an absence of knowledge as with the collision of simultaneous and conflicting values, norms, attitudes, motives and emotions.”

George E. Dickinson, et al. adapted from “Body of Work” by Dr. Christine M. Montrose

Nyembezi L Dhliwayo Nyembezi L Dhliwayo (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science

Nyembezi L. Dhliwayo is a Chicago Medical Student Class of 2017 medical student with a knack for writing, an unhealthy obsession with health and fitness, and a passion for Global health. She graduated from Dickinson State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry, and continues to pursue her dream of becoming the first medical doctor in her family. A bona fide globetrotter, she's a Zimbabwean native who claims North Dakota as her American home, hoping to leave her mark in medicine by engaging in International medicine.