Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gross Anatomy Test


On Friday we had the first anatomy test. Don't you find it ironic that the name of the course is Gross Anatomy? Where was the ambiguous specialist on the day they chose course names? The smell kind of punches you in the nose when you first walk in, but it is still the burning eyes from the embalming fluid when you get close enough to identify landmarks that I dislike the most.

Anyway, I tried studying this week at school instead of at home and I found it much easier to focus. Every morning Chiara asks where I am going and now she tries to come along with me. She is so funny how she just assumes that I am going to take her on my bike every morning just because she says, “Bye, Mama!”

The test was on Friday and I woke up at 4:30 am to an apocalyptic rain storm. Car alarms were going off but you couldn't hear them over the rain.  There is no air conditioning in Oregon so we sleep with the windows open. I hurried to batten the hatch down and wondered whether the specialists were mistaken on which side of the United States the hurricane was supposed to make landfall. I expected fish to be swimming outside our window with rain so torrential. That was really the first time I've seen it rain in Oregon.

Luckily by the time I went to school the storm had passed and I spent the last few minutes I could studying various details. I just realized that Shelli has never asked and I have not told her what we have been studying and what the test was over. It is the first section of our dissection which includes the superficial and deep back muscles, shoulders, part of the neck, bracchial plexus, pectoral region, arm, forearm, and hand. Specifically, we learned the clinical importance of the bony landmarks, muscles and the nerves, veins, and arteries that supply them. I liked the way we studied anatomy back at BYU better where they gave us a skeleton and we learned all the bones and their marks at the same time, then added muscles, and finally went through each system separately. That was more organized, but would be difficult to do here because we can't dissect the entire body and then put it back together as needed for the systems. So we learn everything at the same time. Truth be told, there isn't a single concept that is difficult in and of itself, but the volume of information that we cover is so large that remembering everything is difficult. Unfortunately, I felt like the day before the test was when I had a sufficient frame of reference for everything that I could really begin learning the details we were covering.

There were two parts to the test: written and practical. The written took two hours and covered a lot of the clinical stuff. The practical was set up in the cadaver lab with two questions per cadaver plus some x-rays, MRIs, ultrasound, and bones set out with identification and landmark questions attached. We had a minute per station to look at the tagged structure, figure out what it was, and write it down. There were fifty questions and we had ten minutes at the end of the rotation cycle to go back to stations we weren't sure about and give it our best guess. After the test, most of the class went out and got drunk and from the reports, remained so until Monday.

We should find out sometime around Wednesday how we did, but on Monday morning our lab instructor expressed his acute disappointment with our performance. Most of the class I have talked to has resented how difficult he made the test. I am not going to complain about the level of difficulty because I feel like we should be expected to identify anything that is tagged and especially those things that we have been told to look out for. I only hope that I can learn how to learn more quickly and to retain longer.

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