Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And for my next trick...

Today we sawed our cadaver in half. Outside of becoming a magician I never thought I'd had the opportunity to saw a person in half. 

It was surprisingly easy since we'd emptied out the abdominal cavity last week. I think another course is going to be dissecting one of the legs, so we also split the lower half through the pelvis (seeing a spinal column in sagittal section is very interesting. Actually seeing a lot of stuff in person is very interesting and it is remarkable how somethings look just like the book and how a lot of others look nothing like the book (generally the vasculature, ie: what is this small brown squishy tube??).

This course goes into so much more detail than an autopsy does, so this is my first time seeing a lot of the structures in situ outside of my textbooks. I love blunt dissection! I might be getting a bit of a reputation among my group mates because I'm a big fan of just getting in there with my hands and going to work.

Our first gross anatomy test and practical are on Monday and I'm pretty sure I've heard everyone in my class despair of failing it at least once today. But we actually stayed after lab for a few hours and reviewed a lot of the structures we would expect to see on the practical. And, at the student's request, the TAs and course directors are setting up a practice practical this weekend where there will be multiple stations with pinned structures where we can go in during certain times and test ourselves.

It will be a long week and a long weekend of studying. But hopefully it will pay off. I'm learning a lot. It has been really neat to finally realize why it was that the pathologists could tell a gastric biopsy apart from a colon biopsy even when they aren't labeled. Or to see where a vaginal fornix is after having gotten biopsies from there for ages. Having worked with the tissues it is good to know things about them other than where they come from in general.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Still alive!

This coming Monday is our last test for a few weeks (after weekly tests for the past month!) so hopefully I'll have some time after that to play catch up.

Right now my free time is spent studying, cooking and shepherding the kids around to various Halloween activities/crafting costumes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Normal Body

So this second unit is called Normal Body.

I like the names of the units at Duke, they sound so innocuous, so very not stressful at all.

Unlike the first unit (Molecules and Cells) Normal Body is subdivided into Physiology, Microanatomy, Gross Anatomy (<3!!) and Embryology.

For testing purposes the embryology subject material is on the gross anatomy tests and microanatomy is on the physiology tests; although microanatomy and gross anatomy have practicals in addition to written tests.

Some weeks have had more gross anatomy lectures and others (like last week) skew more towards physiology. But it all tries to tie in together, like we dissected the hearts when we were studying electrocardiology and hemodynamics.

This unit is so much more fun than Molecules and Cells. I know I've already gushed about how much I love Gross Anatomy, but I do! And the course director is very enthusiastic about his subject which helps immensely.

We still have TBLs, but the individual portion is done at home/open book and the group exercise is done in class and usually incorporates multiple topics. There are also GA TBLs which are at the end of the lab sessions and are closed notes but open cadaver.

Unlike Molecules and Cells where we had a test every 2 weeks on everything we've been taught in the previous 2 weeks, Normal Body had a 3 week stretch without a test, followed by something every Monday for the next month. It sounds bad and it does kill your social life, but it isn't as horrible as it could be since each week is a different subject (next week is the microanatomy practical, but happily we just had to study the MA lectures for the physiology midterm we had today so that should all be fresh in our minds. And frees up some study time so I can spend the next two weeks studying the heck out of our GA and embryology materials since that's the Monday after next).

My husband came up this weekend so I had to strike a little bit of a study/life balance and go out on a date with him. It was good to spend a few hours not thinking about anything more complex than what to order for dinner. He was pretty awesome and took the kids for a hike while I sequestered myself in my study room. I hope if I study ahead enough that I can give him more time when he comes up again Halloween weekend (can I mention how it is my absolute favorite holiday ever and I'm really sad at the idea of not getting to make costumes this year?? But I left my sewing machine at home for a reason. It is only one year afterall).

I'll make a separate entry about how I'm doing personally, but I've been meaning to put this one out there for a while. I think the course set up is very interesting and this set up with having the different units is unique (at least in my academic experience). Overall I think it works well.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gross anatomy

You know what is awesome? Gross anatomy.

Cadaver dissection is an excellent way to learn anatomy.

I have Gray's Anatomy for Students, Netter's Atas, and flashcards on order from Amazon. I've even read Grays, but nothing has been as useful as hands on anatomy lessons. Time spent teasing muscles apart along the langer's lines is time spent reinforcing which muscle it is exactly we are reflecting. Want to be able to visualize a vena cava? Stick your finger in one and follow it to the right atrium.

I love it! We are encouraged to go around and look at other groups' cadavers, and it has been really interesting to see the variations in "normal" and the impact of different diseases/pathologies.

Our group is taking its time to ensure everyone is comfortable with all the parts of the day's dissection and can identify the structures. It means we take a bit longer to go through everything but so far no one has had any problem with going in during non-lab time to catch up. Our group is probably a bit more enthusiastic than the others about the whole thing, I'm sure you can imagine ;-)