Friday, January 28, 2011

Second semester, by blogger of the month Claire Gahm

Hypertrophied heart.
We hit the ground running as soon as we all arrived back from break. Most of our class returned home, but a few embarked on an Italian adventure or the Swiss Alps for skiing. Now it’s back to presentations, papers, meetings, quizzes and a final in the not too distant future.

But today I got to hold a hypertrophied heart in my hands! There was a HEART. In my HANDS.

So I thought this 1st deserved its own post. I've never taken anatomy or worked with cadavers – though I imagine about half our class has this experience - so I felt slightly star struck to be hand-to-heart with physical proof that I am studying medicine. Our pathology course is taught by a Cardiothoracic/ER surgeon who also studied and now teaches Pathology. He is FANTASTIC - an excellent teacher and full of interesting stories from his years of work.  The lectures are so engaging which makes the lab that much more hands-on and interesting.

Today for our hour of lab I was reminded that I am a student of medicine and not just a student trying to successfully navigate school in Israel. Not to mention the fact that I was holding a heart, examining its thick muscular walls and valves and vessels, the calcified valve and fatty deposits covering its surface. However, I was also struck by the reality that I am able to learn and examine the pathology of gross anatomy because it tragically killed someone. One of the specimens we examined was a section of a child's heart with a congenital defect: As an aspiring Pediatrician, I may never adjust to the wave of recognition and sadness for the child's short life (and the fresh hole in the lives of the parents).

Jono taking a study break in
Caroline House
I am off to fix dinner for Irene and Caitlin – were supposed to be reviewing Biostatistics, but my guess is well be too immersed in Caitlins hilarious stories by the end of the night – laughing is no doubt the best medicine for any kind of stress!  On the menu – Moroccan couscous, sweet potato fries, pita & zatar (a common Israeli spice – hyssop + sesame seeds) and chocolate chip cookies from a U.S. mix (I brought it back from break in Colorado, ha). Finding ways to use the fresh produce and natural ingredients here has been a fun challenge for me!  I love to cook and bake and make more time than I might practically have to unwind in the kitchen.  The fruit and vegetable markets are always bringing in a new seasonal fruit or vegetable – and my limited Hebrew sometimes means I pick up an ingredient at SuperSol I think is one thingThen it becomes a google search for a recipe I can use so as not to waste it!
Jess and Aubrey in Bari.
Adam in the French Alps