Medical Odyssey

adventures, monsters, battles, and maybe a moral here and there


Day #62: What better inaugural topic is there to write about besides the human heart? The human brain? Quiet down.

As instructors, physicians, and every upperclassman will agree, being a medical student (and especially a first year at that) your life is again filled with milestones as if you are back to your baby/toddler days. First day of classes. First time seeing your cadaver and dissecting. First time taking exams. Etc, etc. As someone who is fascinated by the cardiovascular system and surgery, today’s gross anatomy lab was chock full of milestones: dissecting out the heart and holding this amazing organ in your hands.

Now what’s more romanticized than the heart? Nothing! So imagine holding a human heart in your hands, feeling that personal trusty motor of a generous body donor, imagining that this time last year it was steadfastly beating away, pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body and deoxygenated blood to the lungs — working furiously and unfalteringly. After completing a few minute lab instructions, I was able to free the heart from the thorax and hold it in my two hands and just simply gaze down at it. It would be an understatement to say I was thrilled. I simply stood there for a few moments holding the heart, rotating it around and just appreciating it for what it is physically, practically, and metaphorically. Snapping out of my amazement I reflected on what I just experienced and again realized how lucky I am to be where I am today and how I can check off another box on the old milestone checklist.

Hold human heart in hands? Check.

This milestone reaffirmed my strong desire in pursuing a medical degree and a career as a surgeon. Moreover, this experience reaffirmed my amazement in the technological and educational advancements we’ve made in the field of medicine. Although most things in medicine are amazing (at least to me), take a second and appreciate what it really means to do a surgery like heart surgery. There’s no room for error in an area that beckons accidents: a few centimeters in any direction and you’re on top of something that, if damaged, will bring a swift death to your patient. But just because we can get into these places isn’t the real amazing part, the fact that we can actually get in there, repair structures, and get out while doing so little damage that patients can make a full and healthy recovery is the real miracle of the technological advances. It truly baffles my mind just how amazing surgeries on vital organs like the heart can be.

So what’s the moral for today? Studying might suck especially when it’s late and you’re tired. But everyday brings a new fascinating experience and everything gets better and better because you’re building your knowledge foundation and working toward something you’ve wanted your whole life. Keep working hard. Stay humble. Love every minute.


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4 thoughts on “Heartbreaker

  1. That must have been awesome!! (The heart thing, not the studying thing, haha.)

  2. Carolinapuddles on said:

    Can you imagine having one of your elementary teachers being the medical cadaver that taught you again? Medicine is a wonderful field with all its many branches. Something new is discovered everyday and you’ll have patients that affect your personal growth and life as much as you do their. If you are lucky enough to practice where you grew up ,you will find the relief in patients that know you have something or somebody in common or maybe you actually know each other.

    • If the cadaver was an elementary teacher of mine, that would be very weird…but on the other hand, it would be very touching. Like a complete circle of life, or rather, of learning in this case. I love this field and I can’t wait to learn all the nuances of fully treating another human being. My goal is to stay here and to treat people in my community. I wasn’t born here but I’ve grown up here, was educated here, and hope to work here for the exact reason that you mention: because I know where these people are coming from and what challenges they face.

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