Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sauropod Surgery

We have our test on the abdomen and thorax tomorrow.  That means we are covering the heart, lungs, diaphragm, stomach, liver, pancreas, and both the small and large intestines.  We have different teachers than we did for the back and arm.  In fact, each section has its own instructor; in this case, we have an integrative biologist teaching the thorax and a surgeon teaching the abdomen.

Each teacher stresses different things.  During the mostly muscular section of the back and arm, the emphasis was trauma and the deficits you would expect depending on the nerve or artery that was severed.  For the abdomen, the surgeon stresses orientation and positional relationships as well as problems that may arise from development (hernias, vitelline duct not closing, malrotation, etc).  I'm not quite sure what the integrative biologist stresses, but I do remember him showing us pictures of places he has gone to do archeological work and he once stressed that the recurrent laryngeal nerve starts in the brainstem with the vagus nerve, courses through the neck, loops under the aorta on the left or subclavian artery on the right, and returns to the neck to innervate the vocal cords.  The reason he thought this was so cool was because giraffes do the same thing and evolutionary relatives such as the diplodocid sauropod must have had nerves 92 feet long.  Those are big cells.  Anyway, I'm not sure how his 25 questions of the test are going to go.  Hopefully, he just sticks to human medicine, although it would be pretty sweet to be able to tell people that I am certified to perform vocal surgery on dinosaurs. 


In the lab, we have a Scottish instructor who helps with the dissections, radiology, and identification of structures.  During a review he asked a question and I gave him a bad answer.  With a half-smirk on his face he told me, "Bloody ---, you give me an answer like that and you better do the honorable thing and fall on your sword like people used to do."  His tongue lashings are rather severe, but he tirades in such a way that most people just laugh it off.

Anyway, I got home from studying late last night and my phone had run out of batteries.  Consequently, S told me upon arrival that the bishopric wanted to meet with me.  The bishop left to Afghanistan with his brothers on a business venture and may or may not be back by Christmas.  Some restructuring was possible so I breathed a sigh of relief when she said it was the bishopric and not the stake president.  Turns out when we showed up for the meeting that it was in fact with the high councilor.  He asked me to be the ward executive secretary.  I told him I was willing and he said, "Now I'm a dentist so I know that you will have time for this calling even while you are in medical school."

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