Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fun in the perineum

Yesterday one of my dear dear friends (you know who you are) reminded me that it's been far too long since I wrote anything of substance in this silly blog. Ok, so that's not exactly what he said, but the intent was clear. And he's right! Things have been a bit busy lately, and it's time for some lab updates. All I can say is that you asked for it!

I said I'd tell y'all about my day in the abdomen, and I will, but first I'll discuss what I've been studying all day:

(thank you, frank netter, for everything you've done for me)

Oh yes, yes indeed. The day finally came to dissect down there. The day that Andrew's been snickering about every since he learned I have a male cadaver. We've been working with our body for two months now, and we're very respectful. When we're not working on a specific region, we cover it up with the towel. Until now, that's meant keeping his nether regions discreetly hidden. We all knew it was down there, we knew that we'd have to get to know it eventually, but until that time, we were perfectly happy to ignore it. We try to let the man keep his dignity while desperately clinging to our own, enjoying our time with his arms and heart and colon.

But it couldn't last forever, could it? The day came when we had to remove the towel. It was an ominous act; we set it aside and stood staring for a few moments, not saying a word. Then the three men in the group quietly stepped back out of the circle. You see, each table had been assigned a different dissection to do, because they're all tedious and intricate and take several hours. For better or worse, we'd been assigned the money dissection: male urogenital triangle. Us gals were a little apprehensive, but the fellas were having nothing to do with using scalpels, probes, and scissors in that most tender of areas. Especially not if the end result was going to look something like this:

We waffled for a little while, putting off the inevitable. We moved him into position, which was unsettlingly similar to the one women assume at the gynecologist: legs bent and spread, feet in the stirrups, scoot down a bit please, a little further, there we go... Now we were ready, and I had somehow ended up in the dissection position. It felt a little like in the cartoons, when they ask for volunteers and everybody steps back except for the one unlucky sap. I was that sap.

But I'm not afraid! I crouched down and started skinning, the feet hovering somewhere near my ears and my relieved lab mates grouped around the end of the humidor. It was strange at first, holding his abnormally hardened you-know-what (I'm trying to avoid those creeps that google dirty words and stumble upon well-meaning blogs) and peeling away skin and fascia. But eventually it was just another body part, and skinning can be very soothing (as far as dissections go)--you don't really have to think about much, you're not searching for annoying nerves and vessels, you can watch the progress you're making minute by minute.

After a while we started to draw a crowd, and everyone stood around watching me dissect. I earned a reputation as a man-hater pretty quickly--completely undeserved of course! But I'm afraid it's going to stick with me for a while, and all because no one else would step up to the plate! To be fair, (almost) everyone did their part eventually.

The dissection itself went well. We found lots of little structures and ended up with a pretty nice perineum, which, by the way, has SO much fat! We didn't find anything too unusual, although he had a bunch of benign fatty lipomas in his spermatic cord. Weird! One of the bodies a few labs down the hall found a surgically implanted penile pump--totally cool!

(a little gray's anatomy from

As much flak as I took for dissecting a penis (oh no! I said it!) and testis, I feel like our table was pretty lucky. We could've gotten stuck with the anal triangle--no fun at all, let me tell you.

That's all for now, folks. The weather down here is finally cooling down. Today was the most lovely, breezy day. Thanks to my block II exams next week, I spent the whole thing inside studying, but I enjoyed it on the walk to breakfast. Hope all is well out there, and ta ta!

1 comment:

J. A. Broussard said...

Wow. There really isn't much else to say. Wow. Better you than me. And Good God especially better him than me.