Tuesday, September 08, 2009


We've had our first couple of dissections in the Anatomy lab.

I love Anatomy (and occasionally hate it). But, it is really amazing to read about something and then be able to actually touch it, move it and see how it interrelates with four million other things.

I took undergraduate Anatomy & Physiology, for which I am exceptionally grateful for right now. FYI there are 206 bones in the human body, each of which have an average of 10 features I need to know the name of...easy to remember things like infraglenoid tubercle. And, the bones are considered the "easy" part that we're assigned to learn through "self-study."

Learning Anatomy is a little bit like learning a language. The lecturer will say a sentence and you'll seriously only understand 20% of the words. It's overwhelming, frustrating and exhilarating when you get it. It's this massive web of interconnected information. You try learning the features of a bone, let's say and there's this protrusion where a muscle attaches, (wait, which muscle is that, and what action does it cause on what joint?), there's this foramen (hole) for nerves and blood vessels to flow through (which nerve, what spinal cord root does it come from, how many times does it change names between the spinal cord and here? what's the path of the arteries? does it branch or split? what's the difference?) and what bone was I talking about again?

The lab is actually quite wonderful. It's on the 10th floor, full of sunlight and exceptionally well ventilated. The process of dissecting a human body is really an honor. Our school has dedicated a lot of time and attention to proper respect and treatment. At the conclusion of our time with our cadaver, we first years will host a memorial service for the families of our donors. The eight of us that worked on our cadaver will plan exactly how to express our appreciation for the learning their relative made possible.

All in all, a really special experience.

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