Today I finally felt like I was really in medical school. When we got there this morning, we had to go over to the CCF hospital and change out of our clothes into scrubs. Then we had a lecture for about 20 minutes by a heart surgeon. He showed us some echocardiograms and went over the heart anatomy with us. We spent the last hour and a half or so in the actual lab looking at several different stations in groups of six. Each station had a cardiothoracic surgery fellow or one of the PhD anatomists there to explain what we were looking at. One station had several dissected hearts so that we could see the valves and chambers. Another was a superficial dissection so that we could see the pecs, ribs, and sternum. There was a station to show us the lungs and diaphragm, and a station to show us the outside of the heart in the chest. The last station was the Leonardo program that shows 3D anatomy and radiological pictures.
I've told you before that we do not use embalmed bodies here at CCLCM. Because of that, when we do our anatomy labs, we not only wear scrubs, but also gloves, masks, and safety glasses. Booties to cover your shoes and surgical hair nets are optional. Also, although we don't do any cutting at all the entire first year, we do get our hands dirty, so to speak. The fellows had us reaching into the cadavers to feel structures like the lungs (kind of soft and squishy, with crackly pockets where air was trapped in them), the ventricles of the heart (the left one is much thicker since it has to pump blood all around the body), the blood vessels, and the nerves (they feel kind of like guitar strings). It was amazingly cool. I didn't expect to like anatomy lab very much, but so far at least it has been one of the neatest things I've done in medical school.
After anatomy, we went back to the LRI to do our first PBL. The hypothetical patient in the case has congestive heart failure, and we are studying the normal function of the heart and circulatory system. I'll tell you more about the PBL later (we have two more sessions for the same case on Wednesday and Friday), but suffice it to say for now that today went MUCH more smoothly than our first PSS did last July! We were finished at noon, and it was raining outside, but now the sun is out and it's just beautiful.