Monday, February 21, 2011

A Not So Scary Experience: Bodies Revealed

I have always been queasy when it comes to the human body. At the sight of blood I feel nauseous, at the sound of a break I pass out, and for some reason eyes and teeth just really freak me out. Needless to say, when Shannon told me we were going to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, I was a little hesitant.

I remember my parents had gone to see this exhibit years ago, and purposely left me and my sister at home- because believe it or not, my sisters is just as bad as I am. My parents raved about the exhibit when they came home. Actually, rave is probably an understatement. My Mom talked about it for weeks after; about how beautifully displayed it was, and how amazing it is that scientists can preserve human bodies. She went on and on about how much we could learn from it and how it would really expand our knowledge about how our body works.  Being a former nurse, she thinks everyone should know how the body works, and personally, I really didn’t care.
That being said, I was hesitant to go see the exhibit, but at the same time pretty excited that something this amazing had come to Grand Rapids.

So off we went. As I approached the two huge doors to get into the exhibit, I felt my stomach drop. I almost backed out, but knew I couldn’t. I had to face this fear I have of the human body and go check it out.

As the doors opened a feeling of serenity overtook my body. Yes, there are bodies surrounding you, but it really was amazing. The fact that these bodies have been perfectly preserved and displayed for us to see was actually pretty incredible to me. And despite my original thoughts, there are not as many bodies as I thought there were going to be. There were skeletons, different body parts, and only a few full bodies.

Shannon and I were in awe as we walked through the whole exhibit. My favorite part (and Shannon’s too actually) was the room where all of the human organs were laid out. The exhibit showed a healthy organ and then a few of the same organs that had been affected by different diseases. It was truly unbelievable to see exactly what happens inside the human body. We hear all the time about different diseases and what they do to your body, but do we actually know what they look like? I sure didn’t. To be completely honest, I don’t think I could have even told you where my spleen was before I saw the exhibit. Now not only do I know where the spleen located, I also can use the word “polyp” and know what I am talking about  (I impressed some of my med school friends with that one). But I digress.

If you have not seen the exhibit yet, I highly recommend you do. And take your children if you think they are ready. I wish I had gone years ago with my parents. Not only is it extremely informative, it is also a beautiful exhibit with a great message: treat your body right because life is precious.

This week, we will be giving away 2 passes to the Bodies Revealed Exhibit in Grand Rapids. All you have to do is tell us about the most outrageous bump, bruise, or break you have ever had! Let us know by Friday- and you could be a lucky winner!



Jackie said...

The worst break I had was in third grade. I was walking outside at recess and my ankle just broke! Just like that- ever since that, I take calcium every day!

Ethan B. said...

I broke my arm falling from a tree when I was 5. Little did I know that when I turned graduated from High School my older brother let me in on a little secret; he had pushed me out of the tree that day. He's now a pastor in Seattle...

StacyN said...

When I was about five years old, I was jumping up and down on our front porch steps with a blanket over my head.

Do not ask why... as I do not understand myself... except that I was five.

Naturally, I fell, and I bit clear through my tongue. There was a lot of blood, and I launched into hysterics.

Now - I had heard a story more than once about my grandmother - who had apparently sewed the tip of my Mom's finger back on years prior. She hacked it off with a lawnmower. Grandma being the frugal Depression-era Mom, took matters into her own hands. Mom has a scar on the finger to prove evidence of this story...

My grandma came out of the house to help me on the porch, and things went from bad to worse as I was certain she'd sew my tongue back together. Let's just say that was one unpleasant afternoon!

And I did end up with stitches, but thankfully administered by the village doctor.

jamie said...

I was at a friends house and I was hit with a rubix cube when it was thrown at me.

jeff said...

When I was 2 years old I jumped on a sled when nobody was looking sailed down this long steep hill and went face-first through a barbed wire fence-- ouch! Lots of stitches, but I still have my eyes! It made enough of an impression on my little mind that I actually remember details of looking in a mirror, riding in the car to the hospital, etc.

Anonymous said...

I believe the bodies in the 'exhibit' were purchased from China. These shows are so, so unethical... I wonder if any of the families of those dissected people know where they are... :( this is just wrong.

West Michigan Weekly said...


When I spoke to our Public Museum representative during our visit to Bodies Revealed, she informed me that the controversy surrounding plasticized body exhibits, both regarding the graphic nature and the procurement of the specimens, weighed heavily on the decision to bring it to West Michigan. It is important to note that there are several like traveling exhibits, and not all are created equal. They took great pains to select one that most reflected the science in a respectful manner. The exhibit they chose had documentation for every single body in its collection, each person having donated their body to science.

-Shannon Springer
WMTA Communications Director