Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lessons in Anatomy


For the second time in my life, I find myself in a basement laboratory, spending countless hours dissecting a human body.  This is an experience that I really would have preferred to have only once - but since I have this opportunity I thought I should at least write something about what I've learned.

1) You can get used to anything.  Let me start with the obvious.  Most people probably cannot consider anything more disturbing than spending time with a dead body - especially when you are cutting, picking, and digging in order to find the important functional parts of the body - namely, muscles, nerves, and arteries/veins.

Really, it's like anything that seems daunting initially - you just focus on what you're supposed to be doing and eventually it kind of seems normal.  You even find yourself getting weird looks from people in the cafeteria as you discuss your dissection - forgetting that most people don't talk about such things when they're eating.

2) What we have under our skin cannot be duplicated.  We are not just some kind of fancy robot.  Even with all of the incredible strides that we've made in technology - there is simply no way that we can come close to building something that moves like us, much less, thinks like us. 

Over hundreds of generations our ancestors lived and died.  We are borne of the survivors.  No matter how difficult of a day you had today it doesn't compare to anything that a direct ancestor of yours dealt with 10,000 years ago.  Our bodies were engineered to be active - because the only way to survive throughout most of human history was to be active.  And regardless of whether you're rich or poor we all get to own something priceless - our bodies.

3) What appears to be soft and weak eventually reforms that which appears hard and strong.  When you look at the inside of a skull one of the more interesting things is that there are branching grooves formed by arteries on the bone.  The shapes of all bones are impacted by soft tissue to a certain extent.  Tendons pull on bone - which makes bumps that we call processes, tubercles, and tuberosities. 

Bone is constantly being reformed.  Constant pressure - even by something as soft and small as a blood vessel changes the shape of the bone over time.  This reminds me of why endurance training needs to be so organized and consistent.  As Andy Dufresne knew - anything can be overcome eventually through the power of "pressure and time." 

BIG NEWS - Today I received two e-mails - one from journalist/podcast producer who wants to interview me about my blog.  The other is from a sports related site asking me if I wanted to be included as one of their bloggers.  I will post more info once things become final!