Charlie Hatton About This
About Me
Email Me

Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

All Quotes


Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!


#80. I have, however, seen several severed limbs and internal organs.

I used to work in the pathology department at a large teaching hospital. Now, in case you’re not familiar with what a pathology department might do, I’ll explain:

The ‘path docs’ get whatever tissue or sample that comes out of a person during a biopsy or surgery, and they study it. It’s their job to know what ‘normal’ looks like, versus ‘horribly, horribly wrong’, for whatever type of human meat or juice they’re looking at. They’re like the Mr. Blackwells of the disease world.

Most of the stuff that comes through the pathology lab is pretty small, of course. The surgeons might take off a wart, or dig out a cyst or a small tumor, or take out an appendix. All of these things first go into the ‘gross room’ — and no, I’m not making this up. As appropriate as the name sounds to those of us not used to looking at people’s insides, the ‘gross’ in ‘gross room’ refers to the relative size of the specimen, not the gag-me-with-a-stethoscope factor. Most samples that come in are ‘gross’, and then they’re processed and sliced and made into microscope slides, or ‘microscopic samples’. (Or sandwiches, depending on what the cafeteria’s serving that day.)

Anywho, as I said, most of the gross room material is pretty small. It sits there in Petri dishes until someone takes a picture of it for the records, and then it gets processed. But sometimes, a more radical procedure’s been performed on the patient, and you end up with a kidney. Or a liver. Or a leg, from the thigh down. This is when ‘gross room’ lives up to its name.

So, I was an intranet programmer at the hospital I was at. But the office I worked in was down the hall from the gross room. And, of course, as I was walking by each day, I just had to look in, despite my already queasy stomach that I’d just shoved cafeteria slop into. Most days, I wouldn’t see much of anything at all. Either the samples were too small to spy from the doorway, or it was a slow day. Other days… well, there’s some nasty business that goes on in the operating rooms, folks. I’ve seen dismembered hands — with and without arms, feet, single toes, livers, kidneys, all manner of other unidentifiable (at least by me) organs, and several things that looked a lot like ground beef. I didn’t ask. There was also a lung or two, or at least large chunks of something that used to be a lung. Believe me, if I smoked at that point, I’d have never smoked again. (On the other hand, healthy lung sitting on the table in a metal tray isn’t really that much prettier, so maybe I was overreacting a bit.)

I even got to know a couple of the guys that worked in the gross room, so I could weasel my way in for a good look, or a detailed explanation, if the sample was really weird. I’d get to hear about how the arm got mangled in some machinery, or how a liver should be that color, but never this color, so that’s why the guy needed a transplant. So I learned a little along with the gore, and even got used to seeing most things that showed up there. Still, I always did a double-take when I peeked in and saw a hand or an arm lying on the table. I dunno — maybe it’s a horror movie thing, or maybe I watched the Addams Family too much when I was a kid. But I always wondered whether, if I just stood there long enough, the thing would start twitching and moving around. Luckily, though, it never did. Which was good — I was just barely able to keep the cafeteria food down as it was.

Permalink  |  No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail © 2003-15 Charlie Hatton All Rights Reserved
Me on Film 'n' Stage:
  Drinkstorm Studios

Me on Science (silly):
  Secondhand SCIENCE

Me on Science (real):
  Meta Science News

Me on ZuG (RIP):
  Zolton's FB Pranks
  Zolton Does Amazon

Favorite Posts:
30 Facts: Alton Brown
A Commute Dreary
A Hallmark Moment
Blue's Clues Explained
Eight Your 5-Hole?
El Classo de Espanol
Good News for Goofballs
Grammar, Charlie-Style
Grammar, Revisitated
How I Feel About Hippos
How I Feel About Pinatas
How I Feel About Pirates
Life Is Like...
Life Is Also Like...
Smartass 101
Twelve Simple Rules
Unreal Reality Shows
V-Day for Dummies
Wheel of Misfortune
Zolton, Interview Demon

Me, Elsewhere

Standup Comedy Clips

Selected Clips:
  09/10/05: Com. Studio
  04/30/05: Goodfellaz
  04/09/05: Com. Studio
  01/28/05: Com. Studio
  12/11/04: Emerald Isle
  09/06/04: Connection

Boston Comedy Clubs

 My 100 Things Posts

Selected Things:
  #6: My Stitches
  #7: My Name
  #11: My Spelling Bee
  #35: My Spring Break
  #36: My Skydives
  #53: My Memory
  #55: My Quote
  #78: My Pencil
  #91: My Family
  #100: My Poor Knee

More Features:

List of Lists
33 Faces of Me
Punchline Fever
Simpsons Quotes
Quantum Terminology

...Bleeding Obvious
By Ken Levine
Defective Yeti
Divorced Dad of Two
Gallivanting Monkey
Junk Drawer
Life... Weirder
Little. Red. Boat.
Mighty Geek
Scott's Tip of the Day
Something Authorly
Unlikely Explanations

Full Archive

Category Archives:

(Stupid) Computers
A Doofus Is Me
Articles 'n' Zines
Audience Participation
Awkward Conversations
Bits About Blogging
Bitter Old Man Rants
Blasts from My Past
Cars 'n' Drivers
Dog Drivel
Foodstuff Fluff
Fun with Words!
Grooming Gaffes
Just Life
Loopy Lists
Making Fun of Jerks
Marketing Weenies
Married and a Moron
Miscellaneous Nonsense
Potty Talk / Yes, I'm a Pig
Sleep, and Lack Thereof
Tales from the Stage
Tasty Beverages
The Happy Homeowner
TV & Movies & Games, O My!
Vacations 'n' Holidays
Weird for the Sake of Weird
Whither the Weather
Wicked Pissah Bahstan
Wide World o' Sports
Work, Work, Work

Alas Smith and Jones
Berkeley Breathed
Bill Hicks
Dave Barry
Dexter's Laboratory
Douglas Adams
Evening at the Improv
Fawlty Towers
George Alec Effinger
Jake Johannsen
Married... With Children
Monty Python
Nick Bakay
Peter King
Ren and Stimpy
Rob Neyer
Sluggy Freelance
The Simpsons
The State

Plugs, Shameless
100 Best Humor Blogs | Healthy Moms Magazine



Feeds and More
Subscribe via FeedBurner


RSS 2.0
Site Hosting:
Solid Solutions

Powered by:

Title Banner Photo:
Shirley Harshenin

Creative Commons License
  This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License

Performancing Metrics

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Valid XHTML 1.0

Valid CSS!

© 2003-15 Charlie Hatton
All Rights Reserved