gross anatomy

One thing that most people fixate on when they hear that I am a medical student is the fact that I participate in gross anatomy lab.  I find it funny that the term for anatomical structures visible to the eye, without the aid of a microscope, is "gross structures."  This seems so apt for how people view the gross anatomy lab...a place where I, and the rest of medical students throughout much of medical history, go to dissect a real human body.  This, before anything else about my burgeoning medical career, is what I am asked about most frequently, and indeed, with the most fascination and disgust.

"They are real human bodies?"
"You do that?"
"Is it creepy?"
"Do you like it?"

The first two questions are easy to answer...yes. Real, dead human bodies.  Lying on tables, embalmed, shorn of all clothing and the hair on their heads.  At least twice a week, I walk into a room full of body bags, unzip the bag belonging to what I reverently and affectionately refer to as "my" body, and get to work.  This is a rite of passage for doctors-to-be...our first "patient," the first human being who has placed their body into our hands...also our greatest teacher, an individual who has made a completely altruistic gift of their body so that I, and my fellow medical students, can know everything we can about the human body in order to aid those who are still living.

The second two questions are more difficult to answer...sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes I truly have no answer at all.  It is a little creepy, a little disgusting.  There is no denying that.  And yet, somehow, it is not nearly as bad as you, or indeed I, would imagine.  I think it is because the people whose bodies are lying in the room made a conscious, educated decision while they were living to give their bodies expressly to MUSC, expressly for our education.  This makes the "grossness" of the dead body much less disturbing, and it reminds us all of the real person we should be honoring in our studies.  It implores us to respect the bodies and to recognize the true beauty and majesty of the forms we uncover throughout our year in the gross anatomy lab...the efficiency of the nervous system, the complexity of the blood vessel networks, the organization of the muscles in just the correct way to do the job for which they were designed.  And this discovery of the beauty of the human body, in all of its intricacy and purpose, is what I really do like about anatomy lab.  I like what I find.  I like knowing these structures and recognizing the clinical implications of them not functioning properly in a living person...in my future patients.

But this is far too much to explain in the casual questioning of various friends, family, and acquaintances.  And so when I am asked these questions, I try to do them justice, but I also recognize that these hidden struggles and gifts of gross anatomy lab have now separated me in some way from the rest of society.  What I have done, what I have seen, what I have discovered is not easily understood through explanation.  It must be experienced. And that is why after these hundreds of years of human dissection in the medical field, gross anatomy lab continues.  These lessons are meant to be learned.  This experience is intrinsically tied to the transition from patient to physician.


medical school to date

Wow.  It is hard to believe that I am five weeks into medical school and preparing for my first official block exam.  The time has absolutely flown by.  It has been hard...a lot of studying, a lot of time in class, anatomy lab, hospital visits, standardized patient interviews...and everything that makes up a normal life, like sleeping, eating, and time with friends and family.  Despite the overwhelming amount of entries on my to-do list every day, I have absolutely LOVED every minute of the journey so far.

God has blown me away with his love, with his faithfulness, with the beauty of the world he created and the people he made in his own image.

God has also used this short entry into the medical field to speak life into me... "This is it! This is what you have been waiting for! You were made for this!"

And all I can do is keep thanking Him for this glorious burden, this weighty gift.  I am blessed.


Mikey's First Flight Lesson

This past Monday was Mikey's 25th birthday, and to celebrate this momentous occasion, we (myself and my parents) got him a flight lesson.  Since he was a little boy, Mikey has loved all things having to do with planes.  Although he became a musician and minister, young Mikey wanted to be a pilot.  And this past week, his childhood dream was fulfilled...he took his first flight lesson, and will likely be signing up to start training towards getting his full pilot's license soon!

I got to ride along on this intro lesson, and I was so impressed with his instructor, and primarily, with Mikey.  He picked everything up so quickly.  By the end of the hour, he even did a take-off by himself and most of the landing...it was amazing! I was so incredibly proud of him, and I am excited for him to get to continue on...here are some pictures and a video to give you a taste of all the excitement!

Mikey getting excited before the first takeoff..

Me hanging out in the back seat during the flight :)

Mikey takes the controls

We flew over some really gorgeous areas...it was a bit foggy, but still lovely!

Mikey and his flight instructor towards the end of the flight...
I loved how the sun looked in this picture!

Gorgeous sky