In just the past week, I have fallen in love with a hundred new things about my classmates, the field of medicine, and the human body. As I was studying hearts in the cadaver lab, I began squealing in delight after finding the little auricle, barely noticeable at first glance and perched right on top of the right ventricle. I couldn’t get past this little “floppy ear” appendage on the heart, that really has no significant function or reason. It just sits there, a little knob that flops itself right on the top of the heart. Then, dear lord, I found the lingula of the lung. Equally as adorable but mostly because of it’s name, it is a flap of tissue that is a remnant of the middle lobe that is no longer present in the left lung. I kept bouncing back and forth between the auricle of the heart and the lingula of the lung like a child who got two of the best toys for Christmas and can’t decide which to play with. The human body is more amazing than I even comprehend. Then I had a moment: my first medical school moment.
It was late. Two classmates and I were studying in the cadaver lab. Huddled down in the dark basement of the empty building, we tried to identify structures of the thoracic wall and name vessels of the heart. We were inspecting the fibrous bands attached to the upper valves of the heart when my classmate held the heart in his hands and blew into it. The valves snapped shut and his eyes popped wide open. The three of us spent the next five minutes passing around the heart, blowing into it, and dancing in excitement from our discovery. That’s when it hit me smack in the face: this is a moment. Not just any moment, but a moment. One that I’m going to remember when I’m old and frail and a well-traveled navigator of medicine. I will close my eyes and sink back into this memory of standing in the basement cadaver lab late at night, beaming with excitement from peering inside a heart.