Posts Tagged ‘anatomy’

The first of many procrastinations…

March 25, 2010

OSCEs + Anatomy + tequila

November 5, 2009

Yesterday was interesting. We had 6 OSCE stations: 3 were focused history taking (one presenting complaint of dyspnoea, one medical/surg/pyscho history + one gynecological pain), 1 was a respiratory exam (just the chest + back), so far so good. Then BAM! random infection control + give first aid to a pulseless dummy electrician, please.

If it wasn’t for me hearing the defibrillator voice through the door while I was waiting, or the student ahead of me mouthing “DR ABC, two breaths, 30 compressions” when he saw my look of terror, I would have totally failed first aid.

The infection control station was hilarious. Firstly because I vaguely remember doing infection control on our first day back of semester 2 + being really tired, yawning + thinking one of the demonstrators had a bit too much bling jewellery + duckbilled masks were cool. That was the extent of my memory of infection control. Secondly when we walked in to a room there was an arm on a trolley covered in blood that we had to pretend was a person, + chat to for 5 minutes while we put on all the protective equipment we would if we were preparing to inspect the wound. There was also a trolley with all the protective equipment on it. Which would have been really awesome.

If I’d seen it.

Idiot-features that I am, I just washed my hands, struggled for 2 minutes getting my gloves on because my hands were still wet then kind of poked the arm + said classic gems like “oooh. That looks…er…deep. um. does it hurt? um. lets take a look at that a bit closer, hey? hmmn. um. soooo…”

I even thought, as I was inspecting the big drawn-on-texta-wound, “Wow, that probably would be squirting me in the eye. I have imaginary blood in my eye. Right now.” It was only as I was leaving I saw the big freaking trolley of PPE behind me. Aprons, goggles, masks etc.

Anatomy was fine. A couple of random things but mostly stuff (I thought) I knew. Made up a few nerve names for good measure. There may be an External Urethral Sphincter Nerve. You never know.

You also never know when your bogan-binge-drinking-alter ego is going to emerge. Mine is called Debbie + she can drink straight tequila without wincing. Even the trusted vegemite on toast didn’t stop the toilet hugging session this morning.

It was worth it.


June 21, 2009

via Atlanta Bartlett

8 days until my first medical school exam.

9 days until my second exam.

10 days until my first anatomy exam + first mini OSCE  (being examined on one part of history taking with an actor/patient). 

11 days until I can be frivolous with my time again, visiting websites like Atlanta Bartlett’s. 

Dutchboy + I rent a two bedroom unit that fluctuates between being chaotic or divinely peaceful. I call the second room a study. He calls it a games room + protests about the lack of pool table. I’ve claimed the study/games room for the next two weeks as my panic room. There is a sofa with cushions for when its all too hard + I need a nap, white walls, a nice big desk + light streaming in from two windows. 

I’m feeling optimal stress; not so stressed I’m unproductive, but enough to give me the power to sit at my desk for hours on end, without wandering off to make newspaper hats + watch Masterchef. I’m finding it surprisingly easy to study for some parts because I still have some wide-eyed wonder about the human body.

Yesterday I spend a 15 minute “study break” doing a watercolour of the ventricular system in the brain. Until a few days ago I didn’t even know my brain had ventricles (yes. despite doing multiple anatomy labs where I supposedly must have glossed over them…).

I love that every week I’m learning something completely bizarre. Ventricles? In my brain! I feel a bit like Arthur Dent. 

Anyhoo. Here I go, headfirst into study week.

Odd moments

June 14, 2009

What a difference a few months can make. 

During a particularly frustrating moment of a study session when we were trying to figure out which bit connected to where via what, I sighed + came out with:

“I wish we had a cadaver…”

Cue strange looks from study mates. They thought about it for a moment, + then agreed that it would be really quite nice. Especially if it had pins. Pins with names written on them.

While I still feel the same reverence towards cadavers as I did in February, I am slightly shocked at how comfortable I am around them.

To the point of actually missing their presence.

I’d like to be…

March 10, 2009

australie-2008-nr-2-202 …under the sea. In an octopuses garden. In the shade.

I am, however, above the sea. In my study. In the heat.

I know there is a floor, as something must be holding up the piles of clothing + boxes I’ve strewn everywhere in a mad fit looking for something that seemed very important at some stage. I know I have a desktop, otherwise my piles of paper + textbooks are simply levitating. I know that being here, in my paper-filled, chaotic study is good for me, but it doesn’t have the same immediate pay off that guerilla gardening does.* 


As this is supposed to be my journey through med school I will start actually blogging re…er…med school. 

So here be it. My 10 tips for a non-science students:

1. You are not what you are not. By that I mean, do not start defining yourself by what you don’t have. I had never thought of myself as someone with a deficit before, yet nearly everyday I’ve been reminded by other students that I am from a non-sci background. Sure, it’s an excuse to ask stupid intelligent questions, but I try not to say “non-sci”. Instead I’ll say “my undergrad was advertising” or “I haven’t studied that before” or just ask the damn question without a precursor. Chances are a few other people in the room with science undergrads haven’t touched on it either. I am NOT a non-something person! *empowering music crescendo* Rather, I am a person with a broad depth of experience in other fields. This depth of experience is evident when I help other students to use the binding machine…or the guillotine. 

2. Which reminds me…BIND. Everything. It will make you feel like you are in control of the paper mountain that is steading increasing at an alarming rate. My undergrad was all online media. This course is all about printing millions of trees. For every PBL case I have a thick wad of bound notes from that topics lectures, readings, notes + learning objectives. I have more notes in six weeks than I’ve had in four years. Also, the binding machine makes a soothing, crunching noise which is a quite nice pick-me-up at 8am.

3. SOCIALISE. Go to every social event possible. Make friends. Get very drunk with friends. Take incriminating photos. Then friends will be obliged to help when you need to understand physiology. or pharmacology. or histology.

4. ASK for help. People do go out of their way to help you understand a concept (even without photographic ransoms). Ask the guy sitting next to you to explain the drug mechanism diagram. He just might turn out to be a pharmaceutical science undergrad. 

5. Do a vocabulary list for each topic. Your course code may say Medicine but you’ve actually just signed up to learn four years of Latin + Greek. 

6. Ebooks.  

7. YouTube. There is a guy called hyperhighs who I would like to bear hug. His clips are clarifying. Much more, than say, a lecturer talking a high speed on a Friday afternoon at 5:3opm. 

8. Fun + learning = Flearning. So Flearn. Make nerdy jokes. Write dirty acronyms. You’ll remember the concept better if you can use it in some way to insult someone. 

9. Embrace the visual aspect of anatomy. Weirdly, I’ve found anatomy to be great. Colours, textures + relationships. The human body is an intricate sculpture. If you think of physiology as it’s narrative it all becomes clear to the humanities brain. You can start to deconstruct the topic in a way you’re trained to. Art + narratives. Simple. 

10. Study groups. Uber nerdy. Uber necessary. 

* on Sunday night I replanted my ailing herbs from their balcony pots into the shared back garden of my apartment building + am hoping the body corporate gardener guy doesn’t notice or mistake them for weeds…shhhh

Please explain

February 10, 2009


Image found here

Image found here

Despite the Medical Animation Library NOT being narrated by Dr Nick (which would have increased my enjoyment enormously), I’m putting in a good word.

Lecturers have said ‘there is no such thing as a dumb question’, + I’ve been very open about my lack of prior knowledge of anything science, + even though my classmates are helpful, there are some queries that I’d rather direct to my dear friend, the inter-ma-net. 

Because statements like “Woooah, blood goes through the lungs?!” can tend to alienate med friends + nobody wants that now…

Stupido uppity-lady-voice + public-health-ad-esque music aside, I found the clips to be really useful. Good basic, quick, visual explanations of everything from snoring to Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).  

Alas, my search for a medical claymation library ended in vain.

Holy Cadaver

February 5, 2009


image from ImpactLab

image from ImpactLab

Yesterday morning I was a person who had never seen a cadaver. Not even in a movie.  So I was understandably nervous at the prospect of an anatomy class titled “Introduction to cadavers”.

It was obvious by the relaxed nature of 99% of students in the lab that they had seen cadavers. Many times before. Most left after the ‘intro to lab rules’  talk to have a coffee. Only a few of us stayed behind to view the body. 

I was a bit nervy all morning, didn’t eat much breakfast, had butterflies in the stomach wondering if I would feel nauseous, or god forbid, faint. But, when it came to the unveiling I was awestruck. I was standing a few metres away from a person. A dead person. A dead person, preserved and dissected on a table. A classmate (an experienced cadaver viewer who’d stayed for moral support) suggested gently that a few metres was not the best vantage point so we moved a bit closer. Then a little closer…+ closer…

Then, suddenly, we’ve got gloves on + he’s passed me the heart. I’m holding a heart.

At 10-effing-30 in the morning.  

Afterwards, I asked some of the other students if they remembered when they first saw a cadaver + they shrugged. I’ll remember the face of that person forever. I held their heart in my hands. On a tuesday morning at 10:30.