I've been attending weekly human cadaver labs down on the University of Toronto campus since January. Every session features different parts of the body, depending on the "theme" being covered (i.e. muscles of the forearm, cardiovascular system, brain, bones). At the end of the semester, I will be tested on my ability to identify parts of the human body in a bell-ringer exam (there will be between 15 and 30 stations, each with a body part and a little red flag marking the exact part to be identified; each station will be given 90 seconds to complete, then a bell will ring, signaling that it is time to move to the next station. The exam will be SO difficult to study for as I obviously won't have preserved and dissected body parts at my disposable in order to properly study (ha ha!). I love and hate these cadaver labs: I love looking at the specimens and admiring their complexity; they reinforce my appreciation of the absolute beauty of the human body. I hate the labs though, because I stress over the sheer volume of material that I will soon have to cram in order to pass the bell-ringer exam. I really wish I could just attend the labs and soak-up the material in a leisurely, awe-struck manner.
I also just want to praise the Teaching Assistants who work in the labs. They are brilliant; I learn so much from their vast knowledge of the human body. Seriously, they know ever little detail about the human body. They make we want to drop everything and study only Anatomy so I can be that knowledgeable (and thus that cool :P).
Today in lab I had the fortunate opportunity to hold a preserved human lung in my hand. How unbelievably spongy it felt! I compare its sponginess to a foam stress ball. What was really interesting is all of the lung specimens (there were about six) had teeny-tiny blue lines on their outer surfaces. One of my classmates asked the Teaching Assistants where the blue came from and she told us that the blue represented all of the pollution and environmental toxins that had accumulated in the lungs overtime. Gross! To think that no matter how clean our diet, no matter how much we exercise, no matter how happy we feel, our environment will still play a huge role in determining the quality of our health.