Sunday, November 19, 2006

Choir Boy

So, I failed to show for the choir performance we've been practicing for at church for the past several weeks. Rather, I declined to show. I have nothing against singing in choir, and the songs we've been practicing were coming along quite well despite the best efforts of our choir director. Really, I hadn't been planning on going for a while now, but I went to the choir practices anyway just to support everyone else's efforts. There's this girl who I like who was in town this weekend, and we made plans. I wasn't about to blow off a first date with her to support the choir, I mean I love hymns as much if not more than the next guy, but I think I'd have to have stupid stamped across my forehead before I blew this girl off.

We've talked before, so I already knew we got along well enough. It was cool how we didn't seem to run out of things to talk about. Before heading out to the movie, I told her I needed to stop by my brother's house to let out his dogs, and asked her if she minded. She didn't. I asked her if she was okay with big dogs. She was. She came in with me, and helped me with the dogs. She was pretty good with them. They listened to me much better than they listened to her, but they know me better. Also, after I unlocked and opened her door for her she always tried to reach over and unlock my door. I say try because the lock stuck once, and she had trouble finding it the first time. I know it's a small thing, but it's nice to see someone helping you out where they can. Myex wouldn't unlock the door if I asked. Anyway, this post isn't about her. We headed off to the theater after that.

We saw Stranger than Fiction, which I highly recommend. It was deeper and more moving than anything Will Ferrell has ever been in. I know that's not exactly a big feat, but it was deeper and more moving than several things Will Ferrell has never been in, too. I didn't break down and cry at any of the more moving parts, but I had one picked out where I figured other sappier people might cry. I certainly wasn't choking back anything. I'm tough and all that.

Interesting note about this girl, she jumps/flinches/grabs/etc. at anything slightly gory/tense/frightening/whatever. If any of you have seen this movie, you know how little there is to really jump about. It's a bit weird, but in a date this works out to my advantage. My hand hurt a bit after one of the more tense parts, but all in all, not bad. We hit Old Chicago afterwards, and then headed up to her (her parent's) house, which is way out in nowhere. As it turns out, nowhere is the perfect place to check out the stars, and if it's a cold night that's even better. There were several shooting stars. It was a nice night. After that we watched cartoons and movies that she had on her DVR, and talked a lot. She laughs a lot, which of course goes to my head. I must be a comic genius or something. I think that's what drunk people feel like most of the time. Also, when she laughs she snorts. All the time. I always thought it was awesome. I'm not sure why, but it's just funny, and very her.

So, that was the night. Then I headed over to Berserk's house to let his dogs out to pee again, and reheated the leftover Italian nachos from Old Chicago. I'll likely be a bit late to church today, as I am writing this, but not too late. I'm also on caffeine now, more than I am on sleep. I'll have to take care of that tonight.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Cadaver Lab

Cadaver lab was interesting. Most of the things I saw were things I already knew, but it was cool to see them in three dimensions, and in more detail than any model. The lab itself was interesting. Not much more than a half hour away from my house there is a mall. Just next to the mall there is a smallish shopping center with a couple buildings divided into several suites between them. One suite, nestled between two normal open to the public stores has no front door. If you drive around to the alley in the back, there is a rear entrance. Inside are a few rows of desks, some chalkboards and anatomy charts covering the walls, and in the corner next to the restroom, a number of tables, some with metal covers and some with large zipped up bags. Once class begins the desks are stacked and the tables are spread out to fill the room. There were six cadavers, four male and two female, and each one about eighty some-odd years old. Each one was in a different state of disassembly. The longer they've had a cadaver at the lab, the deeper they cut into it. The chest is big and empty with all of the organs removed.

One of the cadavers, a female, had ovaries the size of small oranges. For any readers not too familiar with ovaries, they are supposed to be about a twentieth of that size. They were full of cysts. I got to hold a cyst. It was about the size and shape of a rather large marble, just a bit more irregular, and not clear, shiny, or sparkly. It was pretty hard and heavy.

Another one, this one male, had most of the digestive organs removed and on display on a separate table. Still in his cavity however, was his esophagus, and the end of his colon. We were looking at the colon, and noticed several small round hard objects embedded in the tissue. They looked like big peppercorns, or like the bullets from a shotgun. I thought maybe he had taken a shot from a shotgun to his abdomen, recovered, and lived with the shot unremoved. That may sound a bit far fetched, but Myex's grandmother went through just that, and she's still kicking around today. Still, I was wrong. Apparently that's what colon cancer looks like. Specifically, those were colon polyps. Remind me not to get that. I don't need peppercorns in my bum.

There was another guy, who had served in WWII. Well, either that or there was another guy who liked tattoos that said he served in WWII. I suspect not the latter. He was likely a smoker, not just because of the fact that he was a young man in the army many many years ago when smoking was seen as less of a hazard than we see it as today. Also, not just because of the hole in his trachea. Also, not just because of the black, although otherwise healthy size and shaped lungs. Mostly it was a combination of all these things.

His lungs/heart/esophagus/diaphragm/tongue were all removed but otherwise in one piece. You could look down the throat, behind the tongue and epiglottis, and see the vocal cords. Last time I had a view like that I was doing an endotracheal intubation on a plastic model. It was the same general thing, but better to see what the real thing looks like.

Last thing I thing I should mention here is the exposed bone. I've always liked the
skeleton, and there was no shortage of it here. On some, with the internal organs removed you could see the bodies of the vertebrae forming the vertebral column, and the inside of the ribcage and pelvis. One had the back of the spine exposed, and much of the vertebrae broken away exposing the spinal cord (from the front, this guy had a cut open heart with a pacemaker). The best bones though were the arm and leg with all skin and muscle cut away leaving nothing but bone and the connective tissue that holds everything in it's shape. It seemed a little odd holding a thigh bone, and sticking my finger in the hole it came out of, but at the same time, you get a better picture of how things fit together, and how things move than you do even with one of those classroom skeletons. Maybe I just need to go to a bigger better college with a bigger better budget, but I have yet to see a classroom skeleton where the bones are actually held right where they should be to articulate with the bone next to them. Things are always kind of wired, or hanging in the approximate place sometimes twisting around, but at the lab parts fit together and moved normally.

Anyway, all that said, I can say with confidence that I do not want this guy's job. Todd, the man who runs the lab, is an odd man, with some odd philosophy he can't help but share. Something about how people aren't sensitive enough to strangers, and how the body parts all know when something is wrong with their neighboring parts. Things like that. Nothing too odd, just odd that he had to share. He seems like a good kind of man though, to have this job. He spends all sorts of crazy hours with his dissections trying to expose nerves and organs without damaging anything. I could see myself running an autopsy where you open them up, solve a puzzle, and call it a day, but spending the kind of hours this guy does on a dissection is another thing entirely. Also, by the end of three hours there I had inhaled enough formaldehyde that I seemed to smell it everywhere. And it wasn't entirely in my head. Even through the latex, my hands had the smell of it, and it wouldn't wash out. Not the sort of life I would want, doing this day in and day out. I wouldn't mind running a dissection or two though, and as for a three hour lab, I'd recommend that to anyone interested in anatomy.