02 September 2008

Pre-dissection reflection

I've finally put my finger on why dissection is making me feel a little hesitant and slightly uncomfortable. It's not cutting into a body per se; I was fine while watching surgeries. It's the fact that dissection is intentionally destructive. Surgery is about health and healing, about the best interest of the patient and their future functionality and quality of life. Dissection is about complete and total deconstruction with no consideration for the future. It feels like a violation because this is invasion with no intent to heal; it's taking apart a human lego set piece by piece knowing that not only can you not put it back together, you're not even going to try.

On the one hand I want to be respectful, this was a person and even in death they deserve to be treated well. On the other hand, I want complete detachment and dehumanization because otherwise, how do I (inexpertly) flay someone's father/brother and just go home and make dinner?

In some cases, the body donor willingly gave themselves, but the family did not. How do I look those family members in the eye, knowing that what I'm doing is against their wishes? I don't really want to meet the family (now); that will only make it harder to keep cutting. Do they really want to meet me? Do they really want to see who is doing this to their father/brother? Will I look undeserving to them? Not what they imagined a future doctor will look like?

01 September 2008

Passed: Patients & Populations

I have successfully completed the first sequence in medical school: patients and populations. It was comprised of three threads: Medical decision making, pathology and genetics. If anyone ever told you there is no math in medical school, they were wrong. Bayesian probabilities anyone?

It was actually quite a nice starting sequence because we had no anatomy or histology - giving us more time to get to know each other and the town. Once a week we had patient presentations, for example, the mother of a son with Down Syndrome, a woman who has tested positive for Huntington (but is still clinically asymptomatic) and a girl who was diagnosed with colon cancer at 22.

Speaking of extra-curriculars... the first football game was Saturday! You have definitely not seen a tailgate until you've seen a big 10 tailgate. Wow.

We have met our cadavers though and dissection begins Sept 2. Histology Sept 3. Next sequence: Cells & Tissues.

(one photo is from the tailgate, the other is karaoke night)