Bones. Joints. Ligaments. Tendons. My cerebral cortex has reached its saturation point. If I have to hear one more muscle origin and insertion of an extensor carpi something, I’m going to scream. The professors do a good job and the material is straight forward, but there is just SO MUCH MATERIAL. I spend most of the 12 weeks I am in anatomy looking pale and stressed, rocking gently in my seat. Everything I see has an anatomical twinge to it. I see a shampoo bottle with symmetrical ridges and think “costal cartilage connecting to the body of the sternum. I see a strawberry with two tips and think “bifid spinous process of the cervical vertebrae. ” It never stops.
Well, actually it does, BECAUSE IT IS OVER NOW!!!!!!!!!!! In my program, it was a twelve-week course with the PT students, MWF 1-5. An hour and a half or so of lecture, then cadaver lab. Two OTs, two PTs to a table. We had an old man with paper-thin muscles, but little fat. If you are an incoming student about to take anatomy, here are a few tips.
1. If you have a choice, avoid the bodies with lots of fat. You’ll be picking off the fat (which looks like bright yellow corn) for hours otherwise. Also try not get someone TOO old and frail, or the muscles will be hard to separate due to their thinness.
2. Anatomy labs are always cold. Wear long underwear.
3. The scrubs or outfits you wear in anatomy will probably need to be thrown away when the class is over as the smell of the formaldehyde never really goes away. So don’t buy expensive scrubs or undershirts for it.
4. Don’t try to cram for the test, you’ll fail. Study as you go.
5. Use nmemonics to help you remember sequences. I think of the popular online acronym BBL (be back later) to remember bones-bones-ligaments. Or that BrachioRadialis is the beer-raising muscle (flexor). The latter I got from http://www.medicalmnemonics.com/
6. Don’t freak out about the body. Yes, it’s a little scary at first, but you’ll get over it. I guarantee you by the end of the class you’ll be resting your hands on the cadaver without thinking twice.
Update with #7: I just wanted to point out that our program had an AMAZING anatomy department and I fell in (platonic) love with all my anatomy professors & helpers. They were SO helpful and kind and great!