Friday, August 31, 2012

Anatomy: a Complete 180

Gross anatomy has completely changed. Last year it was distressing; this year it is invigorating.

Last week I was in the lab again as a peer teacher, and the hours floated by like minutes--an experience I've only had a few times in my life. Three hours into the lab, one of the anatomy teachers said, "say, you can go," and I spontaneously replied, "no, I like it too much."

I'd been walking around the room, helping different groups with whatever they needed, and quizzing them. (What is the blood supply to that muscle? What spinal segments supply the greater occipital nerve? Is it motor or sensory? What is lordosis? What ligament is displaced in a herniated nucleus polposus?) Later, I went into the dry lab and quizzed a group or two on bones. I'd hold up a scapula and ask them where it was a left or a right scapula, and how many muscles attached to it; I'd select vertebrae and ask whether they were cervical, thoracic, or lumbar; I'd grab another and ask which ligaments ran on various surfaces. And later, when the lab began to empty out, I helped the groups that were a little behind (or a little too obsessive) find all the structures they needed. I answered a few questions about what to expect on the test. And I gloriously found a dorsal root ganglion (well, I cleaned off one that they weren't sure about).

Ah, so much fun!!

What's changed?

I've known for some time that I love teaching. I admit that I love the security of being knowledgeable, but I also know I love freely giving that knowledge to others. There's a high that comes with answering questions well, reducing test anxiety, or focusing their studies, or cleaning off a DRG.

I guess it all boils down to: I like comforting people and feeding people (here, metaphorically speaking). In fact, I suppose these are two of the reasons I'm becoming a doctor in the first place.

So, anatomy is different because I'm doing what I was made to do, instead of doing what feels unnatural? I'm still not sure, but I'll let you know in October. I don't serve in the lab until then, because September is the home of...


More soon.

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