Farewell, My Dear Cadaver

Tuesday (February 16th) was the last day of anatomy lab. Four blocks…  over six months of growing as a medical student with the same specimen… and the journey is at en end. 😯

With surgery at the forefront of my career goals, my inclination towards studying anatomy was rather natural. My cadaver was undoubtedly the single greatest “professor” I’ve had to date in advancing this goal.

I remember a particular experience early in medical school. A week before the first block exam, I decided to visit the anatomy lab in the early morning hours to review for the practical. It was quiet. The sound of classical music resonating through the lab was partly muffled by circulating air. At first, being surrounded by so many dead bodies was a bit daunting. Heck, I’d been a medical student for just over a month at the time.

Opening the cadaver tank and flipping through the dissector manual, I realized how precious this time was. It’s almost as if she was providing a walkthrough of the brachial plexus, what to watch out for, why her extensor and flexor compartments were arranged as they are, etc. Showcasing the elegance of her body initiated my appreciation for how incredible human anatomy really is.

This was also the same day I realized time moves faster in the anatomy lab than anywhere else I routinely visit. Seriously, one doesn’t realize just how many hours they burn in that lab until their legs start locking. 😀

I just wish there was some way to express to her how much she has helped me as a teacher. I’ve given nothing in return, not even a word of thanks, yet she provided me with one of the most memorable and applicable experiences I’ll ever have in my medical training.

Thanks to her, my experiences in gross anatomy lab can be summarized in one word – dynamic. 🙂

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