So we had a little break from dissecting recently, and we're just getting back into it. Anatomy is divided into four units. The first unit included the arms, legs, chest, and back. The second unit, which we just finished about a week ago, was the thoracic cavity - basically the heart, lungs, and ribs. Not surprisingly, it felt like a MUCH more manageable amount of information than the first unit. There was a also a lot less dissecting, because once you take the heart and lungs out, there's not much to do within the body itself. In comparison, during the first unit it felt like every day we were digging around for a new set of muscles.
Now we're in Unit III which is the abdomen. That includes all of the internal organs - the liver, pancreas, gall bladder, stomach, spleen, small intestine, colon, and about a bajillion and a half arteries, give or take a few. Coming up after December break is Unit IV, the head and neck, which we won't actually be dissecting ourselves, but instead looking at prosections, or pre-dissected structures. So, while it's incredibly hard to believe, we're almost done with dissecting already!
I thought I would introduce you to my cadaver first, and through the next couple posts I'll talk about some of my favorite things about dissecting and then some of the more uncomfortable parts - but I promise, nothing too gory! Before I start talking about all of this though, remember that the cadavers were real living people who made the most amazing donation to allow us to learn from them. When I'm tired and start to get lazy during dissections or want to rush through them (this happens during most dissections...), I try to remind myself that to not take full advantage and learn everything I can is selfish and disrespectful. So while sometimes you have to be able to step back from the cadaver as a person to be able to stomach what you're doing (for example, we cover his face with a towel as we dissect), you should constantly remember to treat the cadaver with as much respect as you would a living patient - minus the whole being-able-to-feel-pain thing.