The Life of a Hand

The hand is the initial contact place where a mother holds her child for the first time. 

The hand is the support that the child uses when he is beginning to take his first steps in life. 

The hand also serves as a security blanket when the child is walking to his first day of school and he needs that extra little squeeze of support from mom and dad walking on each side. 

 The son then begins to rely on his own hands. 

He learns the importance of helping hands, and how the work of his hands can make a difference. 

He never knew that these two body parts could enable him, in so many ways, to help and provide aid throughout the world. 

He reaches out to others.

He holds their hands through the tough times.

He uses his skillful hands to touch others. 

And then, when he is using his helping hands in a far away country, he holds the hand of a girl who he will forever hold hands with. 

The feel of her hand in his, leaves an imprint in his memory that he cherishes forever.  Her hand, like his, has been a helping hand. 

Together, the strength and potential for the good work that is a result of their hands joining in marriage is amazing.    

Then, as their hands become wrinkled, and hard worked as time progresses, they only hold their grips even stronger as their love has strengthened through the years. 

Their hands shake and are not as dependable, but the evidence of the work of their hands is prevalent. 

The ability of hands to touch so many peoples’ lives when they are acting as helping hands is amazing. 

The gentleness of the hands as they stroke the face of the person they love is indescribable. 

The possibilities and capabilities that are contained within the palm of a hand are drastically understated, simple, and beautiful.     

                                                                                                     Lee Goatley

 We take for granted the capabilities of our hands.  We do not know what it is like without hands, therefore, thoughts of coping through life without them is never a thought.  Now I ask you to reflect on your day, and recall that from the very moment that we wake up in the morning to the moment when our eyes finally close after a long day, we use our hands.  The hand is one of the most significant parts of the body.

During my Gross Anatomy Dissection, I have been constantly switching my thoughts back and forth from physically being in the dissection room with our cadaver and thinking only of the muscles, tissues, organs, and vasculature that I need to know and that I dissect through as the course progresses.  I cut through the spinal column of the cadaver and removed a piece of her back so I could see the spinal cord. Or, I just removed the breast plate and ribs from the body so I could see the heart and lungs, which enabled the donor to live a long life. Then, I leave the lab, and I realize what I just did. 

 Reflecting on dissecting humanizes the donor much more than being in the actual dissection room with a task at hand.  Reflection allows my mind to wander.  This happens daily, and each time I have to realize that the muscles and organs and tissue that I dissect through still comprise a human being, who graciously gave herself for the benefit of science.  It is during these times that I think of the one body part that humanizes the donor in my mind more than any other, and it is her hands.  I think about the peoples’ lives that she has touched with her hands, mine included.  I think about the children that she probably had how she raised them all with her hands and heart.  When I hold her hand to dissect it, I hold her fingers in mine, but it’s almost as if she is holding my hand through it all.  Her spirit and decision to donate her body to science, keeps me motivated to do my best and take the best care of her.   

Lee Goatley


About Lee

I am a collegian who is in the process of deciding whether or not to pursue a career in the medical field. Because of the enormity of this pending decision I am going to utilize this blog as a medium for reflection and rationalization. I will combine two of my passions, literature and science into a blog. The content of this blog will be stimulated by medical literature that has been written throughout the ages.
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One Response to Hands

  1. Maureen Tuthill says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to the woman whose body is unfolding before you. She is holding your hand and you are feeling the link that stretches back into her life. You are feeling her deep humanity in a way that will make you a great healer, if you choose this path for yourself.

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