Today was my first day of dissection. I was provided the tools for learning this theme. Musculoskeletal.
I am pretty nervous about today – well I am sure everyone has some butterflies in there stomach the first day they begin dissection. I know that I was especially nervous because I always felt that I had atypical hemophobia. I have an irrational fear of blood and not only is my fear irrational but it is also atypical. Typical being a increased heart rate and blood pressure. When I see blood, my blood pressure drops dramatically and I faint. This has happened maybe 4-5 times in my life. The first one I remember was during 5th grade. We were in a movie class and there was a discussion of a baby that fell from a window that later died of internal bleeding…boom. Hit the floor.
Fast forward 15 years and I am walking into the anatomy lab.
Our dissection is the Axilla. For people not in medical school yet, this is pretty much the armpit area. There are so many nerves there. Brachial Plexus
This of course is an amazing picture of all the nerves. Labeled and and intact. Nothing like a preserved cadaver.
Regardless, the experience was amazing. I was honored with making the first incisions in order to begin locating all of the plexus. I loved the experience. Ended up not fainting. My experience with dissection is that you lose sight of the overarching activity that you are doing. Yes, you are dissection a human body – a body with so many memories attached to it. But I am also concentrating on properly doing a reverse scissor technique to uncover the ever-elusive ulnar nerve. It is only when you step back because your fingers are sore from the new activity that you realized the extent of your job. Reflection is hard to do in the moment when you are so focused on completing the difficult task that is directly in front of your face.
I am not sure if this is a common experience that people have with their first dissection, but I thought that I would share in order to show people that there are different reactions that people have to dissection. My experience was different from others, but everyone respected and appreciated the experience.
My medical school provides information of the cadaver upon request. The name, age, cause of death, job, pictures, family experiences and such. We are not required to know this, but if we feel like learning about our cadaver, the information is there for us. All the information from the gift program is curated by the family. I think this can help a lot of people, but for me personally, I chose to not seek this information. Not that I don’t care about my cadaver, but because I do not need to know this information in order to do the task in front of me. I actually think that the information might conflict with my obligations. Everyone is different though and I feel that it is better to offer the opportunity that not offer it at all.
My song for this day in med school: