Science

The Heart is Fascinating

Photo I took of a prepared slide showing the layers of cells of the esophagus.

I took 3 terms of anatomy this past school year and enjoyed the hell out of it. There were so many things I learned that I felt stupid for not knowing already. It’s seems weird to me that we all have this stuff in us, but not all of us are taught much about it. I think it also comes down to being taught when you’re in a mindset to receive the information – a lot of students do poorly in subjects because they really don’t find them interesting and can’t stay focussed. For example, it wasn’t until the 5th grade that I actually started to like science; I hated it before that. I remember getting a 29 on an exam in 4th grade – I saw the grade through the back of the test and was excited because my little brain got confused and thought it was a 92. Man was I shocked when we were allowed to flip it over and review what we missed.

I like science now though. My only complaint is we have to cram so much material into 10 weeks that I don’t feel like I get the opportunity to absorb as much as I could if I was given more time. But that’s the way school is (at least where I attend). I would like to spend extra time reviewing what I’ve learned, but I don’t want to set a plan in stone of what I have in mind – I’ve announced my plans before and it just makes me seem like a flake if I end up not really being into it and decide not to follow through. All I’ll establish is this – I want to review what I’ve learned and I may post about it; I may not, but today I am. No expectations!

You likely read the title already so you know I want to talk about the heart. In the labs we were able to dissect a pig pluck, which for those of you who don’t know, it’s the esophagus, trachea, heart, and lungs of a pig. I believe they are removed and set aside when pigs are butchered so they can be sent to anatomy labs like mine. Waste not! I’d be curious to know if any high schools provide pig plucks for dissection. The best things my school got were frogs.

At any rate, in my university’s anatomy class we were able to dissect the heart and lungs and examine the other parts of the pig pluck in a very non-structured, explore-at-your-own-pace sort of way. The most interesting part was when we cut the heart open to see the atria, ventricles, valves, and muscular walls. I wish I had taken pictures of it, but plucks are pretty bloody. They come from a butcher and aren’t drained and preserved like the cadavers. (I wish we could have taken pictures of the cadavers! Unfortunately, that would get us into a lot of trouble.)

I’ve been practicing drawing the heart and this is a (slightly distorted) line drawing I did while referencing a handout from class. It’s just to get my eye used to the shapes and how all the arteries and veins tangle around. I think that’s all I’ll share for now!

 

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