14 february 2011

Down in the basement, they were examining the internal organs not of beasts and fowls, but of men and women. The histopathologist, Morgan Freeman in half-moon glasses, looked at us gravely and brought from his bucket a herniated section of intestine, possibly cancerous. The students were bent over their notes, apart from the boy who'd given up taking notes a hour ago. Dr Freeman apologised for formalin's reduction of the specimen's prettiness, but it was pretty enough, the curves and involutions. All that is foul smell and blood in a bag.
My subconscious hates these moments. It hates science, rationality and the order of real life and seeks revenge upon me. It had (how kind) ignored the bags of red cells in the freezer upstairs and the frozen plasma like giant lollies, but now its stomach rumbled. My vision started to blur around the edges and the room began to come and go. I went outside and read the noticeboard in the corridor, Annie and Rajiv cutting until 2pm. This Week's Outbreaks. I smelt xylene and hot wax and was able to go back in and say thank you for showing.

Upstairs there was a machine which carried out 30 different types of blood test an hour on microlitre samples. A community of hundreds of tiny robots working together and talking to each other nineteen to the dozen. Forget the Pyramid of Cheops, forget the Great Wall of China, this is the real human achievement. Say to your doctor, I feel tired, and he and everyone will crank up a whole building full of the People Who Know and the machines and staff will work tirelessly, three shifts a day, to help you. For free, if you live in the UK.

Think about that next time, subconscious.