Lessons Learned (Part 2)

I’m still working on my personal Anatomy reflections. In the meantime, I’d like to share the second part of anatomy’s grand finale:  scholarly insights and past students’ feedback. After typing my notes for the gait lecture, I proceeded to entertain myself with the following comments Dr. Stern presented to us =)

Dr. Stern’s thoughts:

– “You will have to learn many tedious things… which you will forget the moment you have passed the final exam, but in anatomy it is better to have learned and lost than never to have learned at all.”  On Human Bondage

The beginning of wisdom is getting things by their right names.” – Confucius

– “It’s peroneal, not fibular, stupid!” – Confucius (well not really, because he was just a bearded philosopher). My professor makes it a point that we use “peroneal” instead of “fibular” for that nerve in the lower leg. Supposedly, clinicians never use fibular, so we’d be committing a vocabulary crime if we do otherwise. And also, if “peroneal” is pronounced like “perineal” rather than “per-O-ne-ul” then it can be easily confused for the pelvic region. That’s a no-no too.

– “A day without dissection is a day wasted.” -Dr. Singer, anatomy professor’s old anatomy professor… But, it would also mean more sacrificial cadavers o.O

Now the real entertainment begins:

– “At first I wasn’t too fond of Stern because he said I was the ugliest person he’d ever seen. Then he grew on me, and he called other kids ugly too. Now he’s my best friend too.” (2002)- This guy is now a heme-onc fellow at UPenn. Plus, they’re apparently still pen-pals… how touching.

– “I think this may be the first time that I actually had to learn something and learn it well rather than just BS-ing my way through the exams like I’ve always done before.” (2009) This is true, I’ve never had to study so much to simply keep up! Cramming is a sin in medical school.

– “One thing I’ve taken away from this course is not to get inebriated to the extent that my recovery time will require excess toilet seat time! I’m going to take care of my sciatic nerve from now on! (and as a result, I guess my liver too).” Ah yes, alcohol + liver = cirrhosis. It’s not an elevator ride to cloud 9, because occlusion of the liver sinusoids leads to portal hypertension. Venous blood flow is diverted and the increased pressure can rupture delicate veins. I’m not going to write out the complicated venous anastomoses, but the dangerous results? Caput medusae (umbilical venous plexus-the name gives away its appearance), esophageal varices, and anorectal varices. And just now, my mom is reading her usual Taiwanese newspaper, and she just told me one of the many warnings that spread through the Chinese community. That is, 2 beers a day increases the likelihood of esophageal cancer by 10-fold. On top of that, if you have a tendency to turn bright as a tomato because you lack the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, then you are similarly at risk for similar cancers of the GI tract.

– “To next year’s incoming class, I would just say that overall anatomy is a lot like the corpus cavernosum- the more you do it, the less hard it gets.

– “Taking anatomy was a lot like the first time I had sex. I had no idea what I was doing, but I know I liked it and it was over way to fast.”

– “Two books that I have read this past year stand out in my mind. One is Gone with the Wind and the other is Core Concepts of Anatomy. While reading it, one invoked in me feelings of passion, despair, desperation, defeat, and triumph. The other was merely a love story that took place in the south.” – I’ve been intending to read the former since 4 years ago. Maybe I will finally start.

– “All in all anatomy was an incredible experience. Certainly, some days were better than others (feel free to to refer to my list of “101 things I would rather be doing than plucking the fat out of the ischiorectal fossa).

– “Life is uninspiring without dissection. I now wander aimlessly through the halls, frantically waving my spear probe in search of something to dissect.” (2005)

– “It’s amazing how far I’ve come since the first day of anatomy lab. Then, I was hesitant to even look at the closed body bags. Now I could walk past a dead person on the street and not think anything of it.” Now I wish I had an early exposure to anatomy before those many times I stumbled over ‘sleeping’ (or inebriated) homeless dudes in the city.

– And finally, Dr. Stern expresses how much he and his faculty have enjoyed teaching us as much as we have learned in the class. The video clip he showed on behalf of his collegues to thank us students… Martin Luther King, Jr. shouting “FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST.” [claps and laughter]

Which does remind me, I need to finish course evaluations, which are supposedly long- Oy. I better make an impression for posterity too.


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