“We cut and open the body with an electric saw…” and he continues, “…but for skull, you actually have to use hammer and all!”. That’s my brother replying to the question, “What did you study last semester?” For some odd reason, he talks only about his ‘autopsy’ class from his medical school curriculum, and he is extraordinarily good at describing it in most graphic way possible. Since I have heard it so many times, I take the opportunity to notice the expression on people’s face change from general curiosity to puke-ish. His descriptions are a normal non-medical students nightmare and, a Tarantino fan’s sweet dream.
Its his passion for work, that he would go to the extent of telling any relative, friend, stranger on the next berth, Australian tourist at Taj Mahal, regular-Saturday-beggar on street etc, every minor detail of each autopsy procedure; and his vivid wordplay will take into account every tiny drop of blood that came out of dead body. It is as if the description is not gross enough, then he has not done justice to his profession. Things become even more interesting when he decides to find analogies; “We once had this burns patient, and her skin crumbled off like you are taking a potato peel off”. And believe me, no amount of “ahhh!!”, “ohhh”, “please stop!”, “my ears can’t take it”…are enough to stop him from explaining more.
“Doesn’t it bleed when you cut it?”
“Oh it does! Like big time! The dissection table is constantly being washed with water…Blood is like all over the place!” The only thing people can imagine after hearing this is a dead body swimming in a pool of blood, and my brother, the Edward Scissorhands of medical world, ripping every organ out of it.
Somebody once asked him, “Do you cut the head too?” And my brother replies, “Yes we do, but the procedure is slightly different. Since the skull is a very hard. We have to use a hammer to break it open. BREAK IT OPEN! Yes those are his exact words. At that very moment I felt a slight discomfort in my skull. Some of you may be feeling it right now. “We take out the heart, lungs, kidney.. and weigh them, check for toxicity, poisoning and lot of other things…”, he will say and my internal organs would start sinking and hiding behind each other.
My favorite part of his description comes when somebody asks, “So how do you put every organ back in place, once you are finished with the autopsy part?”
And his invariable first reply is, “No, we don’t!” and then he chuckles and adds, “Just kidding! We do put everything back but not at fixed position as such. We just put everything in the body and seal it back!” Once, a friend of mine fainted after hearing this. When she woke up in a hospital and found my brother standing next to her hospital bed, she fainted again. My brother till this date argues that it was just a normal relapse of unconsciousness, and his presence had nothing to do it.