Thursday, October 16, 2008

Babies, Crazies, and Cadavers

Hi, my name is Jake, and I am a blogger (“Hi Jake” the support group replies). I never thought it would come to this, but it has. I just have too many crazy stories that I am accumulating and that must be told. I think sometimes I am much better at communicating stories and events by writing them down. I don’t know, something about a defect in my medulla oblongata.

Has my life been dull and boring lately you might ask? No. But thanks for asking. It’s been quite entertaining and “crazy” you might say. Two months ago I started working at the Psychiatric ward at Utah Valley Region Medical Center. It turns out that people get a little crazier than I once thought was possible. Also, this summer I became an anatomy teacher’s assistant at BYU. I am currently taking a class in which we work on dissecting the new cadavers and preparing them to be learned from by the anatomy students. Can you say bone saw! (I bet you haven’t seen that episode of Dora the explorer; me neither). And of course I am still working as a research assistant researching infant development via electrodes and neurophysiological responses to varying stimuli. Yeah, I don’t really understand what that means either.

It is from these experiences and maybe some others that I plan to occasionally write something about. For starters let me expand further on the subject of the bone saw.

Have you ever been to the dentist and had to have your teeth drilled. I don’t brush a whole lot, so yeah, I’ve experienced it. The drilling causes a small amount of smoke to rise from the inside of your mouth. It smells somewhat like corn nuts, but not near as pleasant as corn nuts. Well imagine that smell multiplied by a few factors. Today I used a bone saw to cut off the top of a skull with the purpose of revealing the brain. Starting from the back of the head right on that bump you can feel at about the level of the ears, me and my dissecting buddy went at it. Bone smoke seeped into my clothing and I can still smell it. Maybe I should have changed a long time ago. Not only the smell, but the little pieces of bone that spindled off onto my clothing. It was really quite intense trying to saw down deep enough to make a complete cut through the skull without sawing into and damaging the appearance of the brain. Let’s just say that it was a good thing that this was a cadaver. Otherwise someone would have more problems than just a defect of the medulla oblongata. Unfortunately we did cut into the brain just a little bit at different spots.

Aside from the fresh (or not so fresh) formaldehyde coming from inside the skull from the embalming fluids causing me to uncontrollably tear up from its intense fumes, it was one of the most incredible experiences. We didn’t get the job all the way finished yet, but we can see through the slits of our cuts the brain and some of the cranial nerves. It’s quite remarkable to see some of these structures still intact. And to feel the texture of the brain is quite the sensation. We will finish the dissection tomorrow and hopefully reveal the brain and keep it intact with the rest of the body of the cadaver.