So today was a rather informative day for Ethel and her fellow companions, however, I should probably fill you in on what happened on D-day plus 67 first (this would be yesterday...). Now I should warn you, I will include some technical detail in this post. I do this partly so that it helps me to remember it and also because hey, it just makes me sound smart! So get your Wikipedia handy and let's get to it!
Yesterday was a looong day. It started with lectures/tutorials at 8:00 in the morning and concluded at 5 when we "wrapped up" our 4th date with Ethel. Haha, "wrapped up!", get it? We literally have to wrap her up after we're finished with her in a big cloth and plastic sheet! Oh boy, I crack myself up sometimes. Anyways, yesterday we took a little more skin from her and give her some more of a weight reduction procedure. We skinned the arms down to the wrists so that we could see the cephalic, basilic, and median cuboidal veins of the forearms. In addition we observed her superficial branch of the radial nerve, the dorsal branch of the ulnar nerve, and the lateral and medial cutaneous nerves of the forearm. This was pretty exciting and was quite the delicate procedure. Not the type of thing you do with a mallet and chisel. But this was yesterday, it's in the past baby!
Today was fairly quick and simple. This was nice since this is now our 5th day in a row of gross anatomy labs and we will have another run of 5 more next week. Today we cut into Miss Ethel's shoulder. We observed her deltoid muscle, her Teres major and minor, her supra- and infraspinatus, and also her axillary, supra- and sub-scapular nerves. We also viewed her circumflex arteries and veins and her suprascapular arteries and veins. This was pretty neat, but this wasn't the greatest find of the day.
When we got into lab today there were sheets posted on the wall. No, these weren't grades, or the list of those who made the team. These sheets contained information as to how Ethel and her fellow friends had passed. Yesterday I made the hypothesis that Ethel had died of some form of heart condition. Whilst skinning her arm we noticed that she had been bruised pretty badly from IV's and that she had a little knot tied in her skin up towards the anterior of the right side of her neck, suggesting she may have had a central line. This all indicated she had been in the hospital prior to passing. I speculated a heart condition, and today it was confirmed by the little white paper on the wall that Miss Ethel indeed passed from "cardiac arrest". RIP my fair lady. Perhaps we should have hit you up about that dietary counseling a little sooner, or maybe at least studied your diet diary a little better.
In other news, we also got to learn of some of the other conditions with which the people around the lab had died of. The most interesting had to have been one that was caddy corner to our own Miss Ethel. This man, in all seriousness, passed of a methamphetamine overdose. I guess all the commercials I've been seeing lately didn't reach him in time. This did raise some of my own questions though. My main one is, who makes the call on whether your body is used for science? I mean, I was always under the impression that this was a voluntary thing. But I ask you, what meth addict would plan to donate his/her body to science? Interesting question to ponder if you ask me.
One last thing for the day. I know I'm about to open the Pandora's Box of ridicule and grief with this but I just have to share it. I witnessed today, the greatest anus I have ever seen in my life. Now, I haven't....really seen one, or any...ever...before except for the others cadavers' in this lab. But, this anus was probably close to 2x the diameter of a Kennedy half dollar! Hooooly crap! The sheet says this person died of natural causes too...Now I could make all sorts of comments about this, but I'll just leave you to ponder it on your own.