September 29, 2006

Things I’ve learned

Posted in Iramville at 4:45 pm by Iram

I almost gagged today in anatomy lab, and for the stupidest of reasons too. But at least I’ve learned one thing: give me any body fluid you can think of and I’ll deal with it, but don’t cough up a loogi in front of me. That’s when I throw up my hands and say, “That’s it, I’m out of here.” I’ll deal with blood, urine, vomit, feces, bile, or anything else, but absolutely NO mucus. Our cadaver had a whole load of it in his trachea and all I have to say about that is that I will never enter a specialty that requires me to deal with mucus….ever.

September 27, 2006

Anatomy lab antics

Posted in Iramville at 6:11 pm by Iram

Tomorrow is my next teaching assignment, and this time I’m teaching the eye orbit to the rest of my tankmates. After sitting in lab bending over the top of my cadaver’s skull in the attempt to locate the fine little nerves and arteries that surround the eyeball within the eye socket I finally gave up on the Trochlear Nerve, which proved to be particularly elusive in my cadaver. I walked around the lab a little, frustrated and attempting to cool off before I started getting overly aggressive on the delicate structures, and after a few minutes returned to my station. I glanced at the anatomy atlas to make sure I was looking in the correct region, traced out the area where I was supposed to find the Trochlear Nerve, and lo and behold, the Trochlear Nerve suddenly appeared out of nowhere. This in itself is not an incredibly exciting event because structures get lost and found in anatomy lab all the time, but at the exact moment that the nerve showed itself in front of me the perfect song was playing on my iPod: “Jhalak Dikhlaja.” For those of you who don’t listen to hindi Bollywood music (for whatever unacceptable reason), this song title means “let me have a glimpse of you.”

September 26, 2006

Being judgemental

Posted in Randumb at 1:58 pm by Iram

I have made a very important realization about myself – one that I think every student physician has to make at some point or another if they want to be able to provide unparalleled patient care to those that trust in them. As a human, it is very hard to not be judgemental. We judge people by the things that they say, clothes that they wear, people with whom they hang out, and their personal preferences in general. While I have always made a conscientious effort to not judge people before I really get to know them, I have recently found myself falling into this trap. Just yesterday I learned the truth about one individual whom I had previously judged without knowing the full story, and now I am feeling the guilt of having drawn such a conclusion about somebody based only on my own assumptions regarding the cause of their current predicament. This is not behavior becoming of a future physician, because any time you are judgemental with a patient you significantly reduce the objectiveness of your analysis of your patient’s condition, and at the same time if your judgement manages to show through your demeanor, you significantly reduce the information you will get from your patient and thus hinder your ability to help them. Fortunately, I am still in school and am in a position to learn from my mistakes without having to be concerned about potentially serious complications and consequences, but I (and all other student doctors) need to remember that objectiveness is very important to healthy human relationships.

September 25, 2006

Funny quote

Posted in Randumb at 5:20 pm by Iram

“It’s like a sea of lady bugs.”

Bhavik in response to the sea of red scrubs that can be seen out of the ACB window when the nursing school class lets out. If you’re not a Tech HSC student you probably don’t get it, but I found it funny anyway.

Anatomy just gets better

Posted in Iramville at 1:16 pm by Iram

I’m actually enjoying this part of anatomy much more in comparison to the last section. When we were studying the back everything seemed so random. There were random muscles with random nerve innervations and random arteries that ran all over the place. But all of a sudden, things seem to make sense. The muscles in the head and neck are not random at all. For example, the omohyoid muscle is the muscle that runs between the shoulder (omo) and the hyoid bone. How simple is that? Now, anatomy isn’t random anymore! It’s very logical and systematic, and for those of you who know me you know how much I love working within a system (and not rocking the boat) so of course at the moment I’m loving anatomy.

September 22, 2006

Learning about the face

Posted in Iramville at 2:16 am by Iram

Our new section of anatomy is about the head and neck. We did upper limbs, back and thorax for the last exam and I guess we’re moving North on the body before heading South. I was reading my chapter today and there’s about thirty pages that just go through all of the facial muscles one by one, detailing their attachments, innervations and functions. Based on those thirty pages, I simply cannot wait to take this next exam.

Now let me explain myself. I’m not some over-achiever who wants to take exam after exam because that’s my idea of fun. It’s just that exams can, in their own morbid way, be entertaining. For example, if you happened to glance around the exam room while deeply considering the answer choices to one of the more difficult exam questions this past Monday, you would have seen plenty of entertainment around you. One of the best ways to learn anatomy is to relate structures to your own body as you learn them, but the downfall to this method is that you also have to relate things to your body to recall these structures. So during the exam, you’ll see people swinging their elbows to see if it was the lateral or medial epicondyle that would be strained, or flexing their back to see which muscles were used the most. Considering that, imagine how entertaining this next exam will be when we are trying to remember which facial muscle is responsible for each facial expression. This is going to be a blast!

September 19, 2006


Posted in Iramville at 8:17 pm by Iram

I know I haven’t posted in a week (actually a little bit longer) but I have a very valid excuse. We just had our very first anatomy exam yesterday, and I have been incredibly stressed for the past few days. But, all is good now. All that anatomy is under my belt, I’m done with the exam, and I’m already on to the next section worth of material. So, hopefully tomorrow I will have something interesting to share.

September 11, 2006


Posted in Randumb at 10:34 pm by Iram

I spent eight hours in the anatomy lab today, part of that time in class and part of that time independently dissecting my cadaver in preparation for the lab session tomorrow in which I am scheduled to teach the interior of the thorax to my tank mates. After a few hours, the fumes start to get to you and I think they certainly got absorbed by the wrong parts of my brain today because, as I was cutting away at tissue and fascia and fat and hoping that I hadn’t severed anything important I came to a sudden realization: medical students are natural born killers!

Of course, throughout our education we are taught that the first and foremost rule when practicing any type of medicine is to do no harm. We certainly do everything in our power to improve quality of life, or at least quality of death, for our patients, but since the time of Hippocrates we never intentionally do anything that would negatively affect our patients’ health (or at least the moral physicians don’t). But, we don’t learn how to do this by being taught all of the various things that could possibly go wrong in the human body and then being taught the cure to every one of these pathologies. Instead, we learn by being told everything that should not be ‘broken’ (used in a loose sense of the word). We are then taught what the consequences would be if said tissues were ‘broken’. This means that in the process of learning what happens when certain tissues are damaged in a certain way, we are simultaneously learning what tissues to damage in order to create a desired result. Hopefully, no trained physician would ever consider using their knowledge for this purpose, but it is a scary thought that to a certain extent we hold life, and death, in our hands.

September 8, 2006

Feeling a bit behind

Posted in Iramville at 2:48 pm by Iram

I don’t know why I feel so behind, but for some reason I have this gnawing sensation in the back of my head that tells me that there is so much that I should know by now and don’t. I’ve been studying for hours and hours on end every single day and haven’t taken any time at all in the past three weeks for any sort of leisurely activity, and yet I’m feeling like a slacker. I just don’t know how to explain it. Maybe it has something to do with the pre-exam anxiety. We only have one week left, and with no previous exams to look at I really have no idea what to expect. Plus, until I take the exam I won’t know if I’ve been going in the right direction or not with my studying, and then it’ll be too late. Luckily, I get the idea from the people that I’ve been talking to that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I guess it’s normal for first year medical students to be this nervous before their first exam. Hopefully, it’ll all calm down after September 18 (D-Day).

I did get to see something really interesting in the anatomy lab today. We have a set of siamese twins preserved down there, and today I got to open up their case and poke around to get an idea of what everything looks like when it’s all connected. They shared the same heart (which is why they died fairly immediately after birth) and I was also able to observe a herniated lung in one of the twins, in which the abdominal contents had invaded through the diaphragm into the lung cavity, thereby preventing development of the lung. It was a very sad, yet intriguing, site to see and probably not one that I will quickly forget.

September 7, 2006

Not cut out for surgery

Posted in Iramville at 1:48 pm by Iram

I think I have come to the conclusion today that no member of my tank group is destined to become a surgeon. We spent three hours trying to remove the ribs to gain access to the lungs. Between a Striker Saw, a wire cutter, a giant scissors that really looked like giant hemostats, and an enormous bone crusher, it still took eight hands and three hours. And, in that time the amount of destruction done to our cadaver was devastating. I think at some point we just gave up trying to preserve structures and in our attempt to get that darn rib cage off forgot about some rather essential structures that were supposed to be important in later dissections. I spent much of the time thinking that if this were a live patient, she wouldn’t be alive much longer. I suppose that if any of us did choose to go into surgery, hours of training and skill acquisition could cure the current scalpel-happiness, but at the moment it’s gotten so bad that we actually gave one of our tank members a nickname today: “John the Knife”.

On another note: I finally got my scalpel blades. 🙂

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