August 31, 2006

Too much to read

Posted in Randumb at 5:49 pm by Iram

I’m caught up in my reading at the moment, but I wanted to take a moment to spread the word that if you have a Facebook profile, for the next couple of weeks Facebook and iTunes have teamed up to give you 25 free songs a week. Of course, they pick the songs that you get, but it’s still free music. So be sure to sign into Facebook to take advantage of this offer!

August 29, 2006

Yay for people with too much free time

Posted in Iramville at 11:11 pm by Iram

I’ve been trying to learn all of the nerves and branches of the brachial plexus, which is the bundle of nerves and arteries and veins that runs down your shoulder, through your arm pit, and into your arm. The number of branches is ridiculous, and I have already spent several hours tracing and retracing each piece on a picture trying to remember what everything is called. Then, a classmate sent me a link called “Learn the Brachial Plexus in Five Minutes.” And it’s true! I learned the stupid thing in five minutes and can recite all the branches like a parrot. So yay for all the people that have too much time on their hands and don’t have anything better to do than to officially PUBLISH quick ways for medical students to learn complicated structures! Keep it up!

August 28, 2006

Interesting cancer fact

Posted in Iramville at 10:37 pm by Iram

While in the anatomy lab today my group members and I experienced a moment of acute frustration because we could not, for the life of us, find the brachial plexus in the shoulder region of our cadaver. We’d been digging around for a good hour in the area, and all we could come up with was what looked like calcified tissue. I had just about given up and was at the neighboring tank to look at their brachial plexus when one of my tankmates yelled out, “Hey! Look at this!” Of course, thinking the ellusive bundle of nerves and blood vessels had finally been uncovered, I returned to the table only to see my tankmate holding up what looked like a piece of purple metal. Now, why would there be metal in this lady’s shoulder? That’s exactly what I wondered, and began digging further into the orifice created by the removed piece of metal. It turns out that there was plenty more of it where that came from and we were later able to identify it as wire mesh used in a splent.

Our cadaver died of metastatic cancer, and judging from our observations and the confirmation of some of our TAs and professors, it appears that her cancer had caused much of her muscle and neurovascular bundle to fuse in the right shoulder. We had already found the brachial plexus near the beginning of our search, but because all of the nerve and blood vessel membranes had been fused together and to the adjacent pectoral muscles we just didn’t know it. Who knew that cancer could do that??? The wire mesh must have been used to hold the vein walls open so that blood could continue to pass through.

I was still curious about the relatively large stretch of wire mesh that we found compared to the size of a typical splent, so I did some side research and found out that there are some experimental therapies that involve implanting this wire mesh coated with anti-tumor agents into blood vessels for slow release of the chemicals. Now I think that this wire mesh was serving a dual purpose, and I continue to be amazed at the amount of random knowledge one can pick up from a dead body.

August 25, 2006

Drowning in the sea of knowledge

Posted in Iramville at 8:38 pm by Iram

The first week is over. I think it went well, but what more can I say when I’ve put a total of sixty hours into studying just this week alone? I just hope that it doesn’t get any worse. As it is, I feel like I’m struggling to keep my head above the water. The information just keeps growing, and I don’t feel like I’m absorbing it as quickly as I need to. I have come up with a few new learning strategies which I am going to try this weekend, so hopefully those will help me get more on top of things so that all of the information that has passed in front of my eyes over the past five days can stick somewhere in the long term memory file of my brain.

My reflections of this week: Everyone just has to face up to it at some point or another – medical school is difficult and there’s just no way to get around the hard work needed to survive. People keep saying to have fun and to take it easy or take some time off, but you really can’t. Yes, you don’t want to lose your sanity in the process of learning how to help others, but there will be time later to party and celebrate. At the moment, the only important thing is learning everything you can possibly learn so that when a patient comes to you with some random bizarre problem a little lightbulb in the back of your head can click and remind you that somewhere in anatomy lab you discovered the very nerve or muscle that could be the source of your patients’ distress. My goal for the next four years is to make sure that I leave no stone unturned in maximizing my knowledge about the human body and its various processes and ailments.

August 24, 2006

Searching for sharp objects

Posted in Iramville at 6:25 pm by Iram

I went to three different stores today in search of scalpel blades for my dissection lab. It seems, though, that the small town of Lubbock underestimated the spike in demand for scalpel blades that would inevitably come with the beginning of the new semester at their medical school, and thus nobody had any left in stock. I did find one chap who was willing to at least put my name on a box when his shipment arrives next week so that nobody can steal my precious scalpel blades, but the unfortunate caveat of this arrangement is that I will have to purchase a full box of 100 scalpel blades rather than purchasing individual ones on an as needed basis. So now I am searching for creative ways to use the 56 scalpel blades that I will not need once my 44 lab sessions are over. My list so far:

1. Keep one in my purse for self defense purposes

2. While I’m at it, I’ll also scatter a few around my car, my apartment and under my mattress in preparation for any unexpected guests

3. A few might be nice in the kitchen knife drawer – they are definitely a lot sharper than many knives I’ve seen

4. A bunch stuck through a fly swatter and coated with Sudden Death Roach Spray could make a nice Amazon-style cockroach guillotine and a great way to send those nasty creatures running back to their mommies with stories about the evil cockroach killer

5. If I hang them just right from the ceiling they might make neat little suncatchers that reflect light all over the place

6. With a few pieces of double-sided sticky tape I think I could create a new mirror for the inside of my closet door

7. On Halloween I could have a real Freddy Kruger costume (in mini-size of course, unless I weld a few of the blades together)

8. If I get really bored, I guess I could keep them until next year and then scalp them at outrageous prices to the new first year medical students who are facing a blade shortage

Note: If this list sounds demented, it’s because I’ve been in the anatomy lab all morning

Note: No cockroaches were harmed in the making of this blog post

August 23, 2006

My brain has expired

Posted in Iramville at 9:40 pm by Iram

A friend and I once decided that since we were so smart in high school, and then ended up further and further behind in college, our brains had surely given out on us. It is our theory that each baby is born with an expiry date stamped into its skull, sort of like the date on the milk bottle that you want to make sure you check before purchasing milk because otherwise it can be a nasty experience. If at the time we developed this theory I was about 60% sure of its accuracy, I am now 100% positive that my brain has completely expired. How else could I spend eight hours staring at an embryology textbook and still not quite get what’s going on???? And it doesn’t help of course that the book is not in chronological order and keeps jumping around the timeline. I think there was once a time when I could look at an image in a textbook for two minutes and then photographically conjure up the image in my mind the following day during an exam. Now, it takes 8 hours a day for a whole week to get to that point. Maybe if I hadn’t filled my mind up with all the useless crap they make you learn in undergrad years I would have space for all this information. I think the only solution is a complete reformatting of my harddrive followed by reinstallation of all essential operating systems, and then I can begin inputting all of this data from scratch. Otherwise, the information keeps growing and my brain just keeps getting smaller.

August 22, 2006

Gross Anatomy

Posted in Iramville at 7:58 pm by Iram

When they tell you that you’ll be taking Gross Anatomy as your first basic sciences block in medical school, they preface their statement with the fact that ‘Gross’ Anatomy simply refers to bodily structures that can be seen with the naked eye versus ‘Microscopic’ Anatomy, which would require a microscope. What they don’t tell you is that Gross Anatomy is just that: gross. Don’t believe me? You spend three hours scraping the fat off the back of a deceased woman and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m not trying to be disrespectful to this lady who has so graciously gifted her body to us as an educational tool, but I do think that if people could take a good look at what their insides look like, they’d definitely think twice before having that double cheeseburger with supersized fries and coke.

And a quick note about liposuction: don’t do it! When people gain weight, they are not increasing the number of fat cells in their body, but are actually increasing the size of their existing adipose cells. When this same indivual undergoes liposuction, though, this extra fat does not get pulled out of the growing adipose cells. Instead, liposuction actually sucks out entire adipose cells. This means that in the future if you gain weight again you won’t put on any inches in the area where you had the liposuction procedure but will increase the size of your remaining adipose cells and end up lopsided and oddly shaped. So if you’re thinking about liposuction as a means to solve a weight problem, the best solution really is diet and exercise, and never forget to do everything in moderation.

On the plus side: I can now identify the superficial and intermediate muscle layers of the back along with their points of origin and insertion and their relevant neurovascular bundles.

August 21, 2006

My new best friend

Posted in Iramville at 3:09 pm by Iram

seventy-one years,

a lifeless body remains,

a gift of knowledge

August 20, 2006

I can’t believe it’s already begun…

Posted in Iramville, Uncategorized at 10:05 pm by Iram

I just read the first three chapters of Human Embryology. I could tell you every single cellular detail of human embryological development from conception to the end of week three. And, classes don’t start until tomorrow. Now isn’t that a bit scary???

We had our scrubs party yesterday, which is where two Texas Tech Medical School alumni who are now married put on a party and give each entering medical student their very own pair of scrubs. It was a wonderful gesture, and I’m sure I speak for the whole class when I say that we appreciated the efforts by Dr and Dr Snodgrass in making the entry into medical school just a little bit more friendly. Plus, those scrubs will definitely come in handy when we begin our first anatomy dissections on Tuesday.

Well, off to grab dinner and then get to bed. I’m gonna have a really early start in the morning. Wish me luck!

August 18, 2006

Medical School

Posted in Iramville at 7:08 pm by Iram

It has begun. I have just finished a week of slow, laborious orientation into my new medical school. I can tell you how to find the student affairs office, the bursar’s office (for when you have to give them your firstborn child), the main first year lecture hall, and the gross anatomy lab where we will be beginning cadaver dissections at the beginning of next week. My blog has been all over the place this past year, with daily posts slowly winding down to weekly posts to the point that at times it was lucky that I even had one post a month. But now, I’ll have plenty of things to talk about. There’s something going on in my life again, and I’ll have plenty of stories to share. So, expect new topics, new posts, and random medical school tidbits from today forward as I dedicate this blog to my travels into the world of medicine.