Career Journal: Entry #10: Grades so Far, Dreaming with Passion

March 8, 2014

Anatomy has had its ups and downs so far.

I had a 98 in the class after two lab exams, two lecture exams, and a dissection. I took a third lab exam, though, I know for certain I missed four out of fifty questions, and depending on how he grades it, it will be a mid to low A or a mid to high B. I’m preparing myself for the B so that if I get the B, I won’t be disappointed.

My instructor met with me (as well as every other student in the class) and informed me that I have the highest grade in the class and am performing exceptionally, with an average of a 98%. She attributed it to my hard work and my private school education former to this public junior college.

I’m not sure I still have the highest grade after the last lab exam, but it was nice while it lasted! Especially after how everybody told me before this class that I would probably do terribly in it because it was so hard.

Time and repetition are the keys, I have discovered. And passion. Passion for the subject. During this last lab exam, I was strung thin emotionally and burnt out for a time on Anatomy. A friend of mine’s five year old son passed away from cancer the weekend I should have been studying, and I went to her home. We had a family dinner planned the next night. I had a 6 hour study group for lecture planned one day. I had work. I was just tired and mentally and emotionally exhausted on that test, and I think my grade will reflect it. I’ve given myself a weekend’s rest now, though, and I’m feeling rejuvenated and excited about the subject again.

Here’s the tally so far:

Midterm A (50 points): 94%

Lab Exam 1 (100 points): 99%

Lab Exam 2 (100 points): 100%

Lecture Exam 1 Part 1 (110 points): 99%

Lecture Exam 1 Part 2 (40 points): pending (have a good feeling about it)

Dissection of the posterior upper arm (50 points): 96%

Lab Exam 3 (100 points): pending (have a bad feeling about it)

We’ll see how things go. They say this class is an uphill run, so the only reason I would be disappointed about the B on Lab Exam 3 is because I was trying to score high on all of the tests I could in order to buffer myself for the two upcoming lab exams that they say are the hardest as well as the second lecture exam which is also known to be the hardest. I wanted to save the privilege of a B for then, but alas, it looks like that will not be the case.

Spring break is in a week, so I plan to play catch up then since I’m starting to fall behind in lecture material due to the fact that I had three tests I was prepping for last week and had lab hours used up in one in order to take Part 2 of a Lecture Exam 1 and more lab hours used to wait in line for a mandatory performance meeting with the lecture instructor.

We are beginning the circulatory system now, which they say, statistically speaking, is the lab exam with the lowest grades. I really enjoy this part of the class, though, as difficult as it might be, because it is so close to home with me and my heart condition.

I actually held real hearts in my hands today. I could hardly believe it.

It was the strangest (and kind of gross) experience, but it was incredible at the same time.

There were small hearts and big hearts. The big one was actually really crazy to me. The aorta was so huge that I could fit four fingers into it. It was so heavy, and the muscles of the wall of it were really thick. When I palpated the heart with my fingers I reenacted how it would beat, and it was crazy to see this structure that I know is beating in my chest, lying still right there in my hands. It keeps the blood moving from the human body and is such an incredibly powerful pump.

I peered into the atria, put my fingers through the valves, felt the muscular walls, touched either side of the septum, and did things that I never before expected to do in my entire life.

During this class, I’m getting a glimpse inside of myself and inside of every single one of us that is so mind-boggling to me that I go home sometimes after lab having a hard time processing it.

I held a human heart today.

Wow. I love learning about the body so much.

It makes me wish I had loads and loads of money so I could go to med school without taking out student loans, and I could become a skilled cardiologist. I could perform life-saving surgeries. This class makes me dream about a life I’ll likely never have, but it’s still fun to dream. I like to dream about saving children’s lives like the cardiologist once saved mine during my three hour heart surgery. I like to dream about being the one to repair a damaged valve or the hole in the septum of the newborn baby or to perform the triple bypass for the person with the myocardial infarction. I like to dream about using a steady hand to make just the right cut to open up the sternum and watch the heart there, strong, powerful, beating, but damaged, and to know that I have the knowledge and tools and medical equipment to fix it. I like to dream about traveling to the Dominican Republic where I once went or to another poverty stricken country with other physicians on a medical tour to perform surgeries in a clinic that can save lives, to repair hearts that don’t work right so that children who couldn’t run could run, so that mothers who might die could live. I would love to educate others about their bodies, to show them for just a moment the incredible beauty and complexity of their own bodies, to help them learn how to use their bodies optimally. I would love to be able to help those who need it, to save lives that need to be saved, even if it is only a handful. I think I would love to be a cardiologist. I really would. I like to dream, but it’s just that: a dream.

That’s a life I’ll probably never have for reasons I can’t get into here, but hey, what’s the harm in dreaming, right?

For me, right now where I’m at, nursing school and getting my nurse practitioner license will be challenge enough. I’ll live vicariously through fantastic physicians I’ve met, biographies I’ve read, or the cardiologist that repaired my heart as a child so I could run and jump and live a normal life.

As a nurse or a nurse practitioner, I’ll change lives and save lives too, just in a different way.

I absolutely love how much I’m learning about the body in this Anatomy class. I’m actually a little disappointed that this is the highest level of Anatomy that they offer at the school I’m at. I would love to continue on in the subject and take another semester say of surface Anatomy, histology, embryology, and Anatomy of the human body in greater depth. Every day I find myself saying, “I think the body I have is so cool!!!!”

That’s a really great feeling to have.

I’ve also been really grateful as I learn about the body and the disease states that occur if just one thing goes wrong that my body works well and is healthy. It’s a real gift. Not everybody is so fortunate, and that’s where the medical team steps in. That’s what seems to kindle this new-found passion and fire inside of me for the line of work I’m going into. I am so happy.

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