So today I had my first anatomy session: anatomy of the lungs and thoracic cavity. Looking forward at the start of the year to what we’d learn throughout, anatomy was the module that stood out most to me. An old cliché reason to study medicine is to want to know about the human body and how all of its components helps it function on a day-to-day basis. Well, this was my first chance to see it all (though I missed the first session last week due to annoying tube strikes).

The first thing you’d probably notice is the lifeless-ness of all the cadavers. All the fluids of the body have literally been drained and replaced with preserving agents; blood in the heart solidifies and resembles little stones; muscles feel like rubber; the lungs feel like chewing gum. After a while, it’s easy to even forget the person you are dissecting and be too engrossed in the anatomical structures.

You might have seen diagrams and schematics of the human body – of the blood vessels so perfectly scattered amongst the perfectly shaped organs. Sure, they are correct in terms of size and location, but finding those same structures in real life is tricky to say the least. There is no color-coordination and most of the structures are simply white (in a dead body, of course). Veins are not blue, arteries are not red, lymph nodes are not green, nerves are not yellow.

On the other hand, you have to accept that medicine is filled with challenges. The learning curves can be steep but you will eventually understand concepts, after which you will be faced with another learning curve. Medicine is a relentless pursuit towards perfection and patience.

This concludes today’s thoughts. Signing off at the BMA library as I try to get my head around the veins of the internal thoracic wall.