Thursday, November 1, 2012

Philosophical dissection: Gluteal region

We had our 9th dissection session this morning. oh, before I continue: Yes, in Cambridge, we do actual dissections on very kind people who have donated their bodies for the purpose of science. We do treat the subjects with absolute respect and hopefully, learn as much as possible from them.

It's on the gluteal region - it means, your butt/ass. As expected, it was really messy because of the subcutaneous/fat layer in the butt. We kept digging through that layer while the stinging embalming fluid continues to slow down our work - as if a signal telling us: Stop touching my butt! It was a relatively easy and relaxing dissection but right before that, my Irish dissection buddy (a guy) asked a very random question that starts the chain of philosophical questions: What am I doing here, about to dig through another person's gluteal region?

It's true, if we don't have the purpose of studying this hardcore, madness-filled course that requires you to actually sell your soul, your life to it, you might as well don't do it now. We study almost every waking hour of our life here since the beginning of term, with the exception of those party animals (bearing the motto: medics work hard, party harder!).  It's too much to ask from an uninterested young soul.

We have to memorise so many terms that don't seem to make any sense at the beginning, slowly absorbing each of them, force them down our throat while anxiously flipping through our course manual right before each dissection. Then we dissect, and get our lab coats and sometimes, hands soaked with embalming fluid and fats. The latex gloves just won't do the magic, the fluid does seeps through the pores in it. Fortunately, minutes of vigorous scrubbing with some unknown-brand, very effective soap is able to remove the smell.

Talking about smell, allow me to add another sickening statement here: dissection makes a person really hungry. I don't know why, it's not that we are cannibals or we are really that perverted (or perhaps we are for being insane enough to choose this course), we just get really hungry right after the 2 hours dissection. I remember one of my friends told me her dissection buddy was holding the biceps brachii muscle and said, "This piece of meat looks really juicy." D:

We would come out and start digging through our bags for snacks while running to the physiology lecture, as if we have not ingested anything for years. (in reality, we usually had a really huge breakfast right before dissection) Our seniors told us it's the formaldehyde playing tricks on our mind. I dearly hope so. 

After 2 hours of fat-digging(subject's) and brain-drilling(ours), my supervision buddy ended the dissection with yet another words of wisdom for the day
If we are normal people, we would be traumatised by all of these.  

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