Dissection conversation of the day:
- Me: Oh man, it would be so awesome if we took out their brains and there was a tumor!
- Archie: I'm just hoping her lady parts are all there.
- Archie: No I mean inside.
- Archie: I gotta go check on something.
This just happened:
So I’m dissecting my cadaver and have the Otis Redding station on Pandora playing a bit too loud when a cop walks in on me. I start taking off my gloves and mask to talk to him and he slowly backs away saying “uh…I was just seeing what all the noise was” and leaves. Really? You’re not gonna ask why I’m cutting up a dead body on an empty campus? What kind of cop are you?
Cadaver dissection quote of the day:
"You know it was just really hard to get to that vein, her vagina kept getting in the way."
what. why. WAT.
I literally just ripped out a dead man’s testicles while discussing women’s reproductive rights.
Strangest moment of my life.
is it difficult??
I’m not sure if difficult is the right word. Everything you attempt in life gets easier with practice and although this is my first cadaver dissection, I have had a lot of dissection experience and I did give anatomy lessons using the already dissected cadavers last year. I would say the most challenging thing is it definitely requires A LOT of patience and very steady hands. You can spend hours exposing just one or two muscles.
Cadaver Dissection Update
Just finished dissecting out the heart and lungs! Monday I’ll be going in to finish up the abdominal cavity, so I’ll have an extensive post for you early next week.
One thing I forgot to mention in my brain dissection post,
I was promised I could take out the heart.
…better than winning a toaster
At least there was no zombie apocalypse…
I woke up at 6 AM on Friday morning like most kids wake up on Christmas. I had unnecessarily laid out my folded scrubs outside of my closet, because really what else can you do to prepare yourself for taking out a human brain? In my mind I kept repeating the line from Young Frankenstein, “Abby…something…normal,” and that Simpson’s Halloween special where Mr Burns steals Homer’s brain for his own copyright-infringed cyborg, plops it on top of his head and says “Look at me!!! I’m Davey Crockett!”
Prepping the cadavers when I got there was pretty routine: Roll out and unlock the gurneys, uncover Ken and Barbie, put blades on the scalpels, decide what music to listen to. Ken was laying on his back and we had to turn him over. Unexpectedly I hear a voice approaching the room. “Um…excuse me? I’m looking for…”
Oh crap it’s Sarah. Sarah is a fellow Chemistry TA who finds dissection of anything utterly repulsive. I’ve never seen her even walk though the Biology department.
"SARAH DON’T LOOK!" But it was too late. Sarah looked. I had forgotten to put up the hospital screens. Rhonda ran over to her (that’s who Sarah was looking for) and shut the door behind her. I only saw her long enough to see her face turn green.
Making incisions from the nape of the neck and going right behind the ears and across the temples to end of the eyebrows, we began scalping Ken. He has this really prominent bump on the lower back of his skull (which, in case you were wondering, is the Inion of your occipital bone where the ligamentum nuchae and trapezius muscle attach to). It was unusual in that instead of a bump it jutted out kind of like a shark’s tooth.
(That yellow region is the inion [source])
After peeling back the scalp we had to chisel off the pericranium, the periosteum enveloping the skull.
There I was ready to take an electric bone saw to Ken’s head (holy crap, it IS kind of like how Mr Burns did it!) When the big boss lady (my former physiology and current research professor) comes in and says I need to come in and watch a presentation (which was a few doors down). I can’t say no.
When it was over I ran back eager to get to the fun stuff and there’s Ken wrapped in a sheet again.
"Sorry…you just missed it."
(“Sorry Billy…you missed Christmas.”)
I looked like someone told 6 year old me that my kitty just died, which is funny I guess because there were dead preserved cats back there. No it isn’t.
I was devastated.
I stumbled back to the research room and sat with my group.
"What are you doing back? I thought you were still dissecting."
"I…I…missed it." Oh fuck I’m about to cry aren’t I.
And I ran out of the room like a middle school girl dumped right before the dance to go cry it out in the bathroom like an idiot. I know it may be hard to understand, but this meant SO much to me. I had been looking forward to this all year. I worked so hard to get to this moment right here and-
Oh crap my professors coming, act like nothings wrong.
"So what proposals have you guys come up with?"
She pats me on the shoulders without missing a beat and says “There’ll be other brains.”
(“Don’t worry Billy, Christmas will come next year.”)
Extracting a human brain on Friday
keep an eye out for that post
I’m going in this Friday for cadaver dissection so I’m looking forward to another post!
….however I have to remove butt fat. Can’t tell you how much I’m not looking forward to that.
Day 8 of Cadaver Dissection
This morning I had the key to the lab since Rhonda was at a meeting and would be a little late. I show up but can’t wheel out the cadavers from their room since it’s a two person job, so I start to put blades on the scalpels when the fire alarm goes off for just a second…I nearly piss myself. Slicing into a cadaver doesn’t seem to freak me out. Loud unexpected noises that break dead silence (yeah you like that pun?) however seems to do the trick. Turns out they were testing the alarms in the building since the semester starts on Monday and the alarm that nearly scared the piss out of me proceeded to annoy the piss out of me for, oh, the next two hours.
Gross comment warning:
We turned Ken over yesterday so we can start working on his back and he FINALLY started draining fluid into the steel buckets in the gurneys. The gurneys we have look like you put a huge steel padlocked coffin on a stretcher with a bucket underneath where the feet are for fluid to drain into. Ken hadn’t been draining up until this point which made it a real pain to work on certain areas.
And now onto a new challenge. I’m not fabricating this in any way when I say that EVERY time I felt like I was faced with something really challenging with dissection, Eye of the Tiger would start playing on Pandora. Ever since I saw Persepolis, I automatically think of this scene when I hear that song:
Which I guess was motivating, since peeling back the skin and removing fat and tissue is my least favorite part of this whole thing. It takes forever, it’s messy, I go though like 10 scalpel blades, your arms get sore, sometimes towels are involved, you start inventing things in your head that you swear would cut this time in half.
We started by making an incision along the base of the neck and worked from the top down, pulling back his skin down to waist level.
We exposed the trapezius, Latissimus dorsi, and finished exposing the deltoid.
We also exposed the posterior upper arm muscles and anterior forearm. At one point Rhonda gets up and says, “I’m gonna go get a towel so I can rest Ken’s arm on my lap while I work on it.”
…no way. I gotta draw the line somewhere. But you go ahead.
I’ve got another full day of dissection tomorrow. Until then. Thank you.