Abandon All Stomach Contents, Ye Who Enter Here...

Image Today in Anatomy Lab, I did the following:

  1. Cleaned the serratus muscles off of our cadaver and removed extraneous connective tissue from the the ribs
  2. Traced the VAN (vein, artery, nerve) pathway along the costal groove of our cadaver's 4th rib
  3. Used an oscillating  bone saw to cut through clavicles and the xyphoid process of the sternum
  4. Used TIN SNIPS, and a variety of woodworking/gardening tools to chomp through 10 ribs (5 on either side)
  5. Reflected a HUMAN RIBCAGE up and held it open with twine so I could...
  6. Pull out the largest, plumpest, rosiest pink set of lungs I have ever seen,  which...
  7. Revealed, in turn, the BIGGEST heart I have ever seen. The size of both of my fists together, easily.

I've SEEN some STUFF, man -- some HEAVY stuff...

The takeaway from today's lab is as follows:

  • Ribs are flimsy and weak compared to the steel jaws of garden tools  (and as a consequence I will be haunted by dreams of thorax trauma for the foreseeable future)
  • Whenever you cut through bone - surprise - Bone marrow! Gushy, tacky, pinkish bone marrow.
  • If your lungs are too big to remove from the large opening you created betwixt the ribs, just have your small-framed Anatomy teacher wrench those pesky ribs right open - she'll get it done in seconds flat
  • And finally, most disturbing part of cadaver dissection isn't when your body is obese  and you have to surgically remove their love handles to get to the muscles (4 inches deep). It isn't when you accidentally pull off a fingernail.  It isn't when a yellow curd of fat flies up into your nostril.  It isn't when you accidentally pluck one of the exposed arm tendons on your cadaver like a violin string.  It isn't even the coagulated wads of blood that shoot out of  veins and arteries like a spitball from a straw (even though that is arguably a close second)...it's this:  When you realize that the general aroma in the cadaver lab is most similar to that of a French cheese cellar.

Bon appetit.