Jan 13, 2009

The End Or The Beginning

One week till time to go home. We've practically completed gross anatomy and histology, leaving neurobiology lingering on Friday. What we do full-time now is suturing our silent mentors - every incision and dissection we performed over the skin of our silent mentors will now needed to be sutured and closed - we're rebuilding our silent mentors back.
Suturing can be mundane or meaningful, depending on where your heart lies - basically it's repetitive work, like sewing or knitting a sweater. Most of us can fluidly stitch together the strings while chatting the time away, discussing what to have for lunch and quizzing each other on neuro; on the other hand this is the last and only rite we do to thank our silent mentors for allowing us to probe and pinch every inch of his / her body in the name of medical education.
When I mourn every morning I thank my silent mentor for her unquestioning sacrifice and that I, along with all my lab partners, hope we could learn more than anatomical knowledge. And that we should always remember the basic qualities working in the medical line - to respect life and sacrifice above others.
The day would begin and we'd start suturing - closing every wound from the limbs and slowly progressing up till the trunk. The rule of the game - every group (12 silent mentors) will have to complete suturing and cleaning up the laboratory before being allowed back for winter holidays. As such, as we were inching our way across the skin, some were caught lingering aimlessly, identifying cerebral nuclear areas (for neurobiology), or simply flirting time away. It angered one of my female lab partners, as well as our neighbor group (who sutured with forest-fire speed). It's saddening to see that some take sacrifice for granted when the task at hand (exam scores) are no longer at stake.
Prof. Wang personally toured every group to explain in detail all the cerebral nuclear areas this afternoon. And though many have heard them again and again, they all gathered round with each progressing group. By our group (11 out of 12) the crowd is resembling the population of Lichtenstein. An early group argued that since they did not listen properly (chatting away I suppose) during their round, they wanted front rows during the demo.
I burst into flames in 2 seconds - lambasting them about respecting the 'landlord' and having more common sense - I really doubt I should, but under the aforementioned circumstances I was hardly able to contain myself any longer with selfishness.
I guess sometimes a little cruelty works well for those who see only themselves - my lab partners and the neighboring group had collaborated on not helping those idlers when we're done. The next step is to convince somebody with power to really make up for the difference on progress. I hardly doubt what I am doing is respectable or reasonable on religious or scientific grounds - but this only seems right, at the time being.

Author's note in response to posted comments:
I had indeed misunderstood many earlier groups who had the misfortune of viewing only lesser brains compared to later groups. We all have to recognize that conditions during the demonstration is not conducive per se and frustration can easily build up especially when anger is already present. For this I apologize.
On the issue of suturing I had had no chance of trying on other silent mentors and as such is not in any position to comment on the speed or difficulty of suturing. However, I should say I have the highest respect for all silent mentors and that I suture with nothing but the purest intention. It is to be noted that though the last two groups had somewhat different fixation methods of the cadaver, the 'softness' do not contribute to the effort of closing as during the course of dissection many parts of the 'soft' skin had dried and curled up. The fungi problem both groups encountered later during the course required us to douse our silent mentor with liberal quantities of formalin which contributed to the rapid dehydration and dryness as well.
While the fact that group demographics and talent have to be taken into account, we believe a little planning and efficiency goes a long way in getting the job done - no offense intended.
And last but not least, I agree with the notion that I am indeed exaggerating by seemingly accusing many but the accusative is in fact only a few if not none. For this I apologize as well. Though over the course of the past week I understand that we are not the only one upset about the difference of attitude.
And a final note - I am not changing the above article as a recognition of the mistake I made and the truth contained therein. I apologize again should some find the above offensive and your remarks are always gladly welcomed.


NKJ said...

hmmm... its been a long time i didnt come to your blog but it again surprised me to see this post. didnt wish to say much but i think we have right to defend ourselve. u can try ask Prof Wang if u r really unhappy, when prof is in our group, there were only 2 brain, one sagittal section which had been done well and another coronal section which is totally damaged. prof told us that we will have to wait till other groups brain is cutl. and thats why we went to listen in other sessions. and excuse me again, all silent mentors (except this two so called having forest fire speed in suturing) is using the same type formalin. and for goodness sake, everyone can judge easily which is easier and which is harder to suture. the thickness ane hardness is totally different.

anger comes from selfishness. and never doubt any group cause everyone tried their best no matter what. slow doesnt mean they didnt try their best and, fast doesnt mean they tried their best. its just like some studying for years but they just cant score well, some dont just have to repeat a few times they can score well... dont misunderstand, its just an example.

i just felt a little unfair... for those that tried so hard, and the female that is angry.. for goodness sake... does she knows who is she angry with? her partner try damn hard and we are all trying our best to help each other with what we can and what we left.

maybe im not understanding enough, i jsut felt really bad to see this when i know so many groups are trying hard in suturing. muscles ache and pain all where just because our silent mentor is not as "soft" as group 11 and 12. i bet teacher can judge it.

perhaps you would feel im getting mad with this, hmm... i just wish to say out what i feel...

its just a few days more to go. i just feel that we should really help each other in completing any tasks.

please be respectful, thanks

sorry its offensive.

Anonymous said...

如果真的覺得一堆人"simply flirting time away"讓你們不是滋味的話,若真的你們比較快縫完,那就不勞駕你們來別組幫忙了.

NKJ said...

thanks for your reply. i respect you and for this. we will still continue, before this sem end. every single inch i did it with full respect and i believe everyone too. and i agree the point that we all got no chance to try on other silent mentor. i take back for what i had mentioned bout this. its not the main point of suturing... just hope everything end up peacefully...