Being on campus feels like stepping into a parallel universe. Everything is exactly as it was but it feels so different returning as a second year. I’ll probably only feel like a second year when I get asked for directions from a lost first year in a few weeks time. It’s amazing, that two months of leisure are reduced to a distant and hazy memory in the blink of an eye. It is lovely to be back. It almost feels as though I had not actually left at all.
The Deep End
Within an hour of our arrival, we had our first anatomy lecture and were taught about superficial fascia and superior thoracic apertures ! I thought that we would start lectures the following day but alas it was not to be. They literally threw us into the deep end. For two months we had done nothing and all of a sudden they expected us to start learning ! I felt ambushed. ! I needed time to acclimatise and do bureaucratic nonsense like registering for my modules , activating my card and other admin-like things.
Our first block of the year, the respiratory system is interesting, however. We have pre-clinical (Anatomy, Histology and Physiology) and clinical lectures. We also do practicals for the pre-clinical lectures(dissections etc.). My timetable is not at all accommodating. I end early on some days but incredibly late on others. At least three practicals are scheduled weekly and my first test is in three week’s time .
My first experience with cadavers was in the eleventh grade. My Life Sciences class got the opportunity to visit the medical museum and we toured the dissection hall too. A third year showed us cadavers and I nearly fainted. The smell of formaldehyde was overpowering and seeing the cadaver was emotionally ravaging. The thought that they were once walking , talking , breathing , laughing people broke me down. I went into an emotional crisis because I really wanted to study medicine but dissecting into what was once a living being seemed so wrong, a gross violation of them and all that they had been.
My sister, who also does medicine, eventually took me aside and explained everything regarding dissection. She explained that dissection was not about mutilation but about learning and discovering and gaining an incredible amount of knowledge. She said :“We learn from the dead so that we can keep the living alive”. I am grateful for her intervention in my mini crisis( one of many) because it prepared me for the dissection. I have learnt that it is an honour and a privilege to be able to do this.
Today was my first dissection! It was a little bit scary but also pretty cool and awesome at the same time. I was anxious before we started but it went swimmingly .The smell of formaldehyde stills makes me feel nauseous and sometimes really hungry(can someone please explain why this is?). I have a shelf dedicated to dissection hall practicals because I don’t want all my clothes to smell like formaldehyde.
My dissection group is full of lovely people whose only misfortune is that they are stuck with me for the next two years 🙂 ! ). We named our cadaver. I won’t say the name just in case someone who happens to chance upon this post has the same name #awkward. The only thing that upset me was that the veins were not blue. Textbooks are liars.
I understand that dissection is necessary for my training because I am , as of now, a
TriWizard Champion doctor in training and I’m ready to take this challenge on.
Lots Of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)