August 25, 2010

lessons I've learned from gross anatomy

I was quite proud of myself.  I had successfully finished my dissection and felt like I had a decent grasp of the material.  The warm water ran over my body rinsing away that horrible phenol smell.  I thought to myself how glad I was to bring a change of clothes.  The last thing I wanted to do was sit in rush hour traffic for an hour or more smelling like phenol.  If you've ever smelled phenol, you know what I'm talking about.  It's not an overly horrible smell like week old rotting garbage or anything (not that it smells pleasant either).  But it's an exceptionally powerful smell that permeates EVERYTHING - your clothes, your hair, your pores - everything.  So I was glad to be ridding myself of it.

Then it hit me as I stood smugly washing myself.  I brought clothes.  I brought soap.  I did NOT bring a towel.  Standing there in the shower with the water running off me, I have no intention of drip drying or riding home soaking wet.  So I gingerly walk over to the blow dryer trying not to slip and bust my butt.  It's right next to the door of the bathroom, too, so I'm crossing my fingers that no one walks in while I'm standing buck naked air drying myself.  There is simply no way to do that without looking like a complete freak or pervert.  Med students is ssooo smart.

Lesson #1 - always remember to bring a towel when showering.


Cary said...

Some lessons we learn early in life. Some, we learn late. The point, of course, is to learn. Been there, done that. Welcome to the club.

Steve Parker, M.D. said...

Now that's a funny image, especially if it was a wall-mounted hand dryer as in a public restroom rather than a hand-held hair dryer..

When we dissected our cadaver around 1979, I don't recall us trying immediately to get the smell off us. It didn't smell great, but we could live with it. May have been a different preservative. Formaldehyde maybe.

Wait till you smell your first surgical abscess.

Some of the things you'll smell won't actually linger with you, except in your imagination. Which is bad enough.