August 15, 2011

Home Stretch

{anatomical notes from da Vinci}

Three months and some 5,000 odd PowerPoint slides later, I'm entering the final stretch of my first semester of PA school. Let me apologize in advance for the delay in posting anything, but it was either blog or eat for a while there. To try and explain how much material I've absorbed over the summer in relation to how much there is to know about medicine, the only thing that comes to mind is a sponge and the ocean. Cliche I know, but accurate. 

My class spent the majority of our time in Philadelphia at Jefferson University dissecting human cadavers. Walking into the lab the first day, I distinctly remember thinking, What if I can't do this? What if it's too difficult or too real?  From the looks on my classmates'  faces around me, I wasn't the only one thinking that. You think you like "science" and "medicine" until you're confronted with row after row of bodies under white sheets. It was overwhelming. Most of us maintained composure. I avoided looking directly at our body. I was safe if I could just stare straight ahead or thumb through the dissecting manual.

But soon, the time to make our first incision came. Looking at the body was one thing, but taking a blade to him presented a whole new dilemma. After a few moments of quiet deliberation, a lab partner and myself set to making the first incisions down the spine. It was unlike any experience I've ever had and amazing at that. Soon, I was so enthralled by the masterpiece of evolution unfolding in front of me and I no longer had fear or apprehension hanging over me. 

I'd waited for this moment my entire life. No, that's far from the truth. I did everything but wait. It's more accurate to say I worked, struggled, failed and kept after this moment my entire life. So to put in words what it means to me to have a seat in this class is difficult. It's such a privilege, learning information that will allow me stop, find, prevent or ease an illness. It's humbling, daunting, frightening, and exactly where I'm meant to be. 


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