DIARY OF A KIDNEY LOVER
Just a quick entry to say I’ve checked off one exciting thing from my life’s to-do list. I finally visited one of those traveling anatomy exhibits showcasing real bodies and organs at the LA County Fair last weekend. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw the poster at the entrance gates to the fair. I had no idea something like that would be there. Two of my friends made sickly noises – no way they were going – but Mom and I beamed as we bought our special tickets to “Our Body: The Universe Within”. We waited in a long line to get in, analyzing the reactions of people leaving the exhibit. Young cool boys smiled. Older people and children looked pensive or bewildered.
It was pretty crowded inside and I must say, I was disappointed at the 20-somethings giggling and pointing at the bodies. What did they think they were going to see? But when I told my friend, the grade school teacher, she said, “Oh, don’t feel so bad. They’re just laughing because they’re uncomfortable. They haven’t faced their mortality before.” And of course, she was right. Even with the somber lighting, there was a strange carnival atmosphere – life and death side by side, as they must be. There was music and cheering from the Selena Gomez concert outside, but I managed to focus after a while. I perused the muscles of the legs, the spinal column, the brain, the surprisingly large lungs and what looked like a coral reef of dried-out blood vessels surrounding them. I found the kidneys mid-way through the show. It’s strange seeing lifeless organs that are meant to be filled with blood and activity. They were miraculous nonetheless, and much smaller than I thought – even smaller than my tiny fist.
By that time, Mom was feeling queasy and it was time to go. It was a fascinating show and I do recommend it, despite the jeering kids. (You can learn more about the exhibit here.) There were plenty of people interested in the science of it all, reverent as they stared at a lung shriveled by smoking or a liver damaged by alcohol abuse. Perhaps some contemplated a lifestyle change…starting tomorrow. Until then, they had things to check off their personal to-do lists. Chocolate-covered bacon and fried Snickers maybe. It was a day at the fair, after all.