Going, going, not gone, yet

I can’t even give my body away! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never tried to sell it, but after my sister’s sudden death, my husband Ron, and I, decided we’d better get our affairs in order. My sister was our power of attorney for everything and the executor of our estate. Now that she is gone, everything needs to be changed.

Thinking that I’d like to be useful up to and including the end, I thought that surely some organization, medical school or teaching hospital would delight in a really well worn CMT2A2 body to study. Boy, was I wrong.

My search began with a call to the mortuary people who will be picking up our bodies when the time comes.

Nope, they don’t even know who to ask but there is a transport company in Toronto that takes bodies everywhere. Call them.

I make the call. Yes, certain places take bodies but the body has to meet certain criteria: no recent surgeries, no communicable disease, etc, etc.

I don’t expect to be dying after surgery but who knows how the end will come. As far as a communicable disease goes, they are far and few between here in North America but you never know what will be going around the old folks home if I check out in my 90s with only a few of my marbles left like my mother did.

McMaster University, that trains many of our young area doctors, said they would take me but upon further questioning couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t just be used for regular anatomy studies. My old body is so far from regular that those med students would most certainly be led astray. And, what a waste of a perfectly good CMT 2A2 body!

I feel like my body is akin to a used car with added accessories. Along with one terrific 1942 model they get fused toes, feet and ankles and they can play with the metal screws and staples that hold them together.

Also included are very slim calves with no added padding to get in the way of often stressed out, splintered shin bones.

An extra heavy thigh with added padding and a luxury-style derriere beautifully spread from years of expert sitting is a real feature.

A liver likely damaged from tons of painkillers and heaven only knows what the thousands of acid inhibitors I’ve taken over the years have done to my stomach is thrown in for examination.

My intestines are thickened from decades of constipation, sort of like winter tires with a few bulges here and there.

My heart, the main spark plug, is weak and working hard to keep my ever-cold extremities at a constant just below room temperature.

There is a fault in my electrical system because something is burning across my derriere all the time and down the back of both of my legs.

My hands feature curled fingers that only work part of time but there are great strong fingernails for prying things open and scooping up small things. My thumbs haven’t moved in maybe 30 years…a great study in atrophied muscles. My wrists feature wrist drop and they can have my wrist braces if it makes any sense to show those kids how a simple piece of plastic works even better than surgery.

One thing I do have that is really good is great upholstery. My skin is terrific – hardly any wrinkles at all. Yet.

Above the neck there is only one vocal cord working but it does the trick (is that the car horn?) and my eyes have both had double cataract surgery done on them plus lovely new lens implants. I see well. I guess they’d be similar to windshields.

My headlights are terrific round DDs.

Someone, somewhere once said I had killer eyebrows. Nobody really cares about eyebrows when they are taking your body apart.

What my brain will be like when I finally leave this mortal coil, nobody knows. The doctor looking after my mother said hers looked like lace when she died. I may go the same way if something else doesn’t get to me first.

I guess you have figured out that I’m not too broken up about dying. I don’t want to die in pain or neglect in some rest home but you take what you can get.

I did hope that a good CMT 2A2 body would be of use to someone for research purposes but I guess not in Canada, anyway. Shipping me to the United States would likely be a logistical nightmare, so that’s out as well. I can just imagine the questioning at the border crossing. The customs officer leans over and asks the driver of the hearse: “And what do you have to declare today?” Answer: “One terrific CMT2A2 body for research.” And then the fun begins.

Realistically, there likely are legitimate ways a body can be shipped into another country but I don’t think I can put my husband through the stress. If I could arrange everything beforehand, it might work.

My husband and I bought a double cemetery plot when we were married 34 years ago. It cost us $35. Yep, that’s right, $35. It’s in a lovely old cemetery out in the country and there is a big herd of Jersey or Guernsey cows, I’m never sure which is which, right across the road. It’s our kind of place.

It’ll be a lot easier for Ron to just have me picked up and shipped to the crematorium rather than having to fill out a stack of papers to have my body transported to a medical school somewhere, but hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying.

I love this photo by Paul Alexander of me on my scooter. It makes me feel good.

I love this photo by Paul Alexander of me on my scooter. It makes me feel good.

I’ve always wanted to have, She finally got warm, on my tombstone. I don’t know if Ron will do it but I might just get that done before I go. If I can’t give my old body away, it will at least rest with the cows that I love so much. Maybe Ron will mix my beloved dog’s ashes with mine. I have always said I’d like to go where dogs go. Who knows, I may find out where they go and my journey will continue.

Too bad about the medical schools missing out on a great 2A2 body, though… their loss.

I hope I’m not going anywhere anytime soon but I’ve learned that there is a very thin line between life and death and you never know when the end will come. I’ve always believed that if you can’t be useful, at least being prepared.

Until next time – stay warm.